Series 2 - 8. The Desperate Hours

The Desperate Hours
Radio Times
Review by:
Mark Braxton

Christmas and Slade go together like holly and ivy. Not just the purveyors of inescapable hit Merry Xmas Everybody, but also the inmates of Slade Prison, who are still pretty much an annual fixture even though the last serving of Porridge was 35 years ago and there were only two festive helpings. This one from 1976 is rich in drama, character revelation and quotable lines, plus a terrific turn from Dudley Sutton as luckless trustee Reg Urwin. The pairing of wily old lag Fletcher and quaking warder Barrowclough remains a double act made in sitcom heaven.

About this programme

8/8. Fletch plans to bring a bit of Christmas spirit to Slade Prison in the form of his own home-made booze. But when Mackay and Barraclough uncover the stash in his cell, the crafty con seems in danger of spending the yuletide period in solitary confinement. Festive edition of the classic comedy from 1976, starring Ronnie Barker and Fulton Mackay.

Cast and crew


Norman Stanley Fletcher
Ronnie Barker
Mr Barrowclough
Brian Wilde
Mr Mackay
Fulton Mackay
Lennie Godber
Richard Beckinsale
Reg Urwin
Dudley Sutton
Mrs Jamieson
Jane Wenham
Governor Venables
Michael Barrington
Sam Kelly
Tony Osoba


Sydney Lotterby
Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais