Porridge, aka, the slop once served up for breakfast in the nick, which led to “doing porridge” being slang for serving a prison sentence, doesn’t bring Ronnie Barker’s character back into it, but attempts to brings some elements up-to-date for the modern era with Kevin Bishop as Norman Stanley Fletcher’s grandson, Nigel Norman Fletcher.
He’s in for cybercrime and Credit card fraud, and tries to get by with some cheeky Cockney wit, whilst also trying not to stray too often into the path of bad guys Richie Weeks (Ralph Ineson – The Office, and a million voiceovers) and Scudds (Ricky Grover – Getting On, Going Forward).
With some jokes so light it’ll almost float away with under-written-ness – practicing the ‘downward dog’ on a yoga mat, some practicing of dancing prior to being ‘encouraged’ to meet in the gym with Weeks and Scudds, and also getting a visit from his Dad, Raymond (Martin Trenaman), I have to say that I never saw the original series which also starred Richard Beckinsale, and Fulton McKay – here with Mark Bonnar as Fletch’s Scots nemesis Officer Meekie – but for this one, while it started off reasonably well, it soon started to fall flat and never really recovered.
Oh, and there’s canned laughter, again.
I sentence Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to five years for crimes against comedy!
You can watch this on the iPlayer in due course, but far better on there, and available now, is Kevin Bishop’s turn as Barry Hearn in The Rack Pack.
Porridge airs on BBC1 on Sunday night at 9.30pm, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. After broadcast, if you missed it, you can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer, up until September 27th, and click on the top image in this review for the full-size version.
Director: Dominic Brigstocke
Producer: Richard Webb
Writers: Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
Music: Max Harris and Paul Honey
Fletch: Kevin Bishop
Joe Lotterby: Dave Hill
Officer Meekie: Mark Bonnar
Officer Braithwaite: Dominic Coleman
Richie Weeks: Ralph Ineson
Scudds: Ricky Grover
Shel: Jason Barnett
Aziz: Harman Singh
Dr Tessa Marsden: Zahra Akmadi
Raymond Fletcher: Martin Trenaman
Governor Hallwood: Pippa Haywood
Judge: Colin McFarlane
Prosecuting Counsel: Joanne Mitchell
Skinny kid: Edward Kagutuzi
Andy: Steve Marsh
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.