Kevin Bishop plays Nigel Norman Fletcher, the grandson of Ronnie Barker’s character from the original series. Dave Hill (Eastenders) plays Joe Lotterby and Catastrophe’s Mark Bonnar plays Officer Meekie.
What can I expect from this episode?
The inmates of Wakeley Prison are enjoying a game of name the prison film (“I’ve got another one: Two-Way Stretch, Peter Sellers”). And it’s hard for fans of the 1970s version of Porridge not to play a game of their own: spot the familiar storyline. This episode of the new serving features smuggled drugs, confiscated confectionery and a timid officer being reassigned, all of which were plots in the Ronnie Barker era. But instead of “Genial” Harry Grout we now have Dougie Parfitt (Harry Peacock) bringing pressure to bear on Fletch via his giggling henchman Scudds (Ricky Grover).
But if these early episodes are playing it safe, Porridge slowly steals away from the giant shadow cast by its near-perfect predecessor. Many of the best moments are between Fletch (Kevin Bishop) and his seen-it-all cellmate Joe Lotterby (Dave Hill), a fractious rapport that assumes increasing importance as the series unfolds.