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Porridge (film)

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Porridge is a 1979 film based on the television series Porridge It was released under the title Doing Time in the United States All the warders and inmates from the original series appear in the film, with the notable exceptions of Lukewarm, Blanco, Heslop and Harris There is also a different governor, played by Geoffrey Bayldon rather than series regular Michael Barrington

The film, set a year before the final episode of the TV series, includes one of the last appearances by Richard Beckinsale, the actor who played Godber He died in March 1979, a few weeks after its completion

Contents

  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Music
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Plot

Life moves by at HM Slade Prison on a day-to-day basis, with the usual antics of the various inmates becoming usual form The newly-arrived and violent armed robber, Oakes Barrie Rutter approaches the Slade Prison's Mr Big, Harry Grout Peter Vaughan, and using a cut from his last job before being caught, asks for his escape to be arranged Grouty sets the price, then begins making arrangements

Grout starts by forcing Fletcher Ronnie Barker to persuade the prison Governor to allow an inmates-versus-celebrities football match, to boost prisoner morale and 'put Slade on the map' Fletcher gets new prison officer Mr Beale Christopher Godwin to make the suggestion to Tough officer Mr Mackay Fulton Mackay, who approaches the governor and it is accepted, although all three claim the idea was theirs alone Fletcher then becomes the prison team's manager and Grout next insists that Oakes be on the team

The celebrity team arrive in a coach During the match, Oakes feigns an injury and is taken to the changing rooms where he meets the coach driver, revealed as an accomplice They exchange clothes and Oakes ties the coach driver up to throw off any suspision Shortly afterwards, Godber Richard Beckinsale is concussed on the field so Fletcher takes him to the changing rooms Taking no chances, Oakes forces Fletcher and a dazed Godber into the coach's luggage compartment at gunpoint then drives out of the prison under the guise of topping up the fuel

Oakes meets further accomplices and they drive the three inmates away in another vehicle Meanwhile, the prison officers have discovered the escape and the police are searching for the coach, though the prison officers attempt to help isn't well met, as no-one can explain how they let three inmates drive out the front door Fletcher tells Oakes that they don't want to escape as he and Godber only have a short time left to serve, and that they won't tell anyone about Oakes plan because it's 'Them and Us' Oakes releases them and they find a barn to catch their breath Fletcher explains to Godber that there is no possible way that being caught outside ends well for them, as any policeman they approach will claim the find for himself Furthermore, he realises that once the Governor, Mackay and Beale start passing the idea of the match back down the line, it'll end up with Fletcher looking like the responsible one and he'll serve more time, meaning the only solution is to break back into prison

Making their way through fields and villages, they steal a sextons bicycle, and manage to sneak back into the coach just as the police let the prison officers take it back to the prison Once inside the prison walls, both convicts slip out of the coach and smuggle themselves into the prison officers' club storeroom, where Fletcher quickly consumes several bottles of alcohol to become inebriated enough to make their story pass: They stumbled on Oakes tying up the bus driver and he forced them down the delivery hatch, where they claim to have been since

The story is believed by all, and life seems to return to normal As the other inmates question Fletcher on what really happened, Grouty subtly tells him that he will be rewarded for his efforts and keeping his mouth shut Later in their cell, Godber laments that Oakes got away, though Fletcher assures him that it won't matter: Oakes will hate being on the lam Fletcher reminds Godber that in a few months, he'll leave prison as well: the difference being he'll be free and clear Mr Mackay visits them and tells them that, while the Governor believes they have been locked in the storeroom all day, it doesn't explain the mysterious UFO Sightings Unidentified Fleeing Objects, and the various happenings they created on their journey Realising he will never be believed, he tells them that he will always be watching, and that his day will come

Cast

  • Ronnie Barker as Norman Stanley Fletcher
  • John Barrett as Hedley
  • Richard Beckinsale as Lennie Godber
  • Fulton Mackay as Mackay
  • Brian Wilde as Barrowclough
  • Peter Vaughan as Grouty
  • Geoffrey Bayldon as Treadaway - Governor
  • Christopher Godwin as Beal
  • Barrie Rutter as Oakes
  • Daniel Peacock as Rudge
  • Sam Kelly as Warren
  • Julian Holloway as Bainbridge
  • Ken Jones as Ives
  • Philip Locke as Banyard
  • Gorden Kaye as Dines coach driver
  • Karl Howman as Urquhart
  • Derek Deadman as Cooper
  • Tony Osoba as McClaren
  • Oliver Smith as McMillan
  • Zoot Money as Lotterby
  • Jackie Pallo Jr as Jacko

Production

Unlike the television episodes, the film is not a BBC production and there are no references to the corporation on the DVD release 2003 Instead, the DVD was produced by ITV Studios and the film is often broadcast on Channel 4

The budget for the film was £250,000 and it was backed by Lew Grade's company ITC Entertainment It was shot mainly on location at Chelmsford Prison, Essex, which was unoccupied at the time because it was being refurbished after a fire in one of the wings The escape sequence was filmed in Buckinghamshire, and Boxley, Kent There is also a brief shot of the gates of Maidstone Prison Sets were constructed for some cell and kitchen scenes

Most of the filming took place in freezing conditions in January 1979 The resulting delays to the filming schedule meant that the part written for Tony Osoba had to be reduced because he had a commitment to appear in Charles Endell Esquire and his lines were given to other actors

Music

The opening credits of the film feature the hit "Without You" by Nilsson and "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick" by Ian Dury and the Blockheads The closing credits contain a more upbeat song by Joe Brown, entitled "Free Inside"

See also

  • List of films based on British sitcoms

References

  1. ^ a b c "Porridge 1979 - Film Review from" Film4 Retrieved 2010-03-20 
  2. ^ a b "Porridge IMDb entry" Retrieved 2012-04-15 
  3. ^ Richard Webster; Dick Clement; Ian la Frenais 2001 Porridge The Inside Story Headline Book Publishing ISBN 0-7472-3294-6 

External links

  • Porridge at AllMovie
  • / Porridge at British Comedy Guide
  • Porridge on IMDb
  • Porridge at Rotten Tomatoes

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Porridge (film)


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