Porridge

Porridge

Porridge Theme ( 1992 )

Porridge is a British situation comedy broadcast on BBC1 from 1974 to 1977, running for three series, two Christmas specials and a feature film also titled Porridge. Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it stars Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale.

Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale ( Father of actresses Samantha Beckinsale and Kate Beckinsale ).as two inmates at the fictional HMP Slade in Cumberland. ‘Doing porridge’ is British slang for serving a prison sentence, porridge once being the traditional breakfast in UK prisons.Porridge originated with a 1973 project commissioned by the BBC Seven of One, which would see Ronnie Barker star in seven different situation comedy pilot episodes. The most successful would then be made into a full series. One of the episodes, ‘Prisoner and Escort’, written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (who appear in one episode) about a newly convicted criminal, Norman Stanley Fletcher (Barker), being escorted to prison by two warders: the timid Mr. Barrowclough (Brian Wilde) and the stern Mr. Mackay (Fulton Mackay). It was broadcast on 1 April 1973 on BBC2. Despite Barker’s initial preference for another of the pilots, a sitcom about a Welsh gambling addict, ‘Prisoner and Escort’ was selected.It was renamed Porridge,

The BBC was forced to look around for locations because the Home Office refused permission for any production filming in or outside a real prison. Instead the main gatehouse of the disused St Albans Prison (in the town’s Victoria Street) was used in the opening credits.