Porridge remake starring Kevin Bishop to get a full series

Actor will serve another stretch as Nigel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher as BBC picks up show

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The BBC is making a full series of its Porridge remake starring Kevin Bishop.

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It has commissioned a six-part series of the comedy which will see Bishop return as Nigel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, grandson of Ronnie Barker’s iconic character Norman Stanley Fletcher.

The BBC1 series following the successful pilot episode shown earlier this year and will once again be written by the show’s original creators Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. In the new version, Bishop’s Fletch is banged up in Wakeley Prison for a series of cyber-crimes. 

Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe) is expected to return as Officer Meekie with Ralph Ineson (The Office) likely to reprise the role of prison bad boy Richie Weeks alongside Dave Hill (EastEnders) as cellmate Joe Lotterby.

The cast of the pilot also included Dominic Coleman (Miranda) as Officer Braithwaite; Harman Singh (Rude Boys) as Aziz; Jason Barnett (The Javone Prince Show) as Shel and Ricky Grover (EastEnders) as Scudds. The full cast list for the series has not yet been confirmed.

Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais said of the commission: “We’re in a state of disbelief that Porridge is coming back after all these years but Kevin Bishop is a worthy successor to Ronnie Barker. So even though we feel like recidivists, we’re more than happy to go back inside.”

Bishop added: “It was an honour to be asked to play Fletch although I never thought it would go further than just the one off homage. To be welcomed back by Porridge fans and the BBC to make a full series, is one of the proudest moments in my career. Dick and Ian are true sitcom masters and I know they’re going to write a brilliant series.”

The pilot episode aired as part of this year’s BBC Landmark Sitcom Season, which celebrated 60 years of the sitcom on the BBC and featured 17 programmes.

Also getting a commission from the batch of shows from the season is the middle-class mum comedy Motherland.

The comedy will be made into new six-part series for BBC2 following the successful half-hour pilot written by Graham Linehan and Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan and Holly Walsh.

Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning said: “The Landmark Sitcom Season was a big, celebratory moment for BBC comedy and signaled our unrivalled commitment to the art form.

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“With Porridge we have two writing legends putting a modern spin on their masterpiece, proving that their fingers are very much still on the comedy pulse. In Motherland we have the wish list writing powerhouse giving us a painfully accurate yet fresh take on the relentless emotional carnage of child-rearing.”