Porridge (1974–1977) is a British BBC television sitcom, written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais and starring Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale. In a 2004 BBC poll of the 50 greatest British sitcoms, it was voted number 6. It is set in the fictional "Slade Prison" in Cumberland (now Cumbria).
Prisoner and Escort
New Faces, Old Hands [1.1]
- [voice-over on the credits of every episode]
- Judge: Norman Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences: you will go to prison for five years.
- Mackay: 12 o'clock, midday bang-up... [Godber looks surprised] Not what you think, laddie! Not what you think!
- Mackay: Any questions?
- Fletch: Any point?
- Mackay: None whatsoever.
- Barraclough: Next of kin?
- Fletch: My beloved Isabel, the little woman. Not that she's so little, mind you. I said to her one day, I said "Isabel, I shall never get over you. I'll have to get up and go around".
- Fletch: Oh, by the way - when you have your medical, tell him you've got bad feet.
- Godber: Why?
- Fletch: 'cos then you might get your brothel-creepers back. Otherwise you'll be given prison boots - and they're guaranteed to give you bad feet for the rest of your life! [Heslop starts laughing] Why are you laughing? That's absolutely true, that!
- Heslop: No, I don't mean that! I mean, that's funny about your wife being a big woman and you have to get up and go around! [roars with laugher]
- Doctor: Suffer from any illness?
- Fletch: Bad feet.
- Doctor: (annoyed) Suffer from any illness?
- Fletch: (insistently) Bad feet!
- Doctor: Paid a recent visit to a doctor or hospital?
- Fletch: Only with my bad feet.
- Doctor: Are you now or have you at any time been a practicing homosexual?
- Fletch: What, with these feet? Who'd have me?
- Doctor: (stamps his form) Right, you're A-1.
- Fletch: A-1! 'ang on, 'ang on, I can hardly walk here, doctor! (pretends to limp over to scales)
- Doctor: Now I want you to fill one of those containers for me.
- Fletch: What, from 'ere?
- Godber: I'm only in here due to tragic circumstances.
- Fletch: Which were?
- Godber: I got caught.
- Heslop: [after Fletch implies that he is illiterate] I read a book once! Green, it was.
- Fletch [explaining to Godber about the early lights-out]: If you wanna watch Z Cars, forget it. You'll have to get your kicks from the Wombles of bleedin' Wimbledon.
The Hustler [1.2]
- [Fletcher is on the farm, feeding the pigs]
- Fletch: You eat like pigs an' all!
- Mackay: What have you got there, Fletcher?
- Fletch: [sotto voce] Crown jewels. [out loud] Chicken feed!
- Mackay: Empty it.
- Fletch: It'll make a terrible mess, Mr Mackay!
- Mackay: Empty it!
- [Fletch empties the bag, which contains nothing but chicken feed]
- Mackay: All right Fletcher, just don't let me catch you thieving!
- Fletch: I won't, Mr Mackay.
- Mackay: You won't what?
- Fletch: I won't let you catch me, Mr Mackay!
A Night In [1.3]
- Fletch [to Godber]: We could go out, you know... yeah, I could phone up a couple of them dolly birds that dance on Top of the Pops. What are they called? Pan's People. There's one special one - beautiful Babs. Dunno what her name is.
- Fletch: That's what you've got to tell yourself, you're just having a quiet night in.
- Godber: Trouble is, I've got six hundred and ninety-eight quiet nights in to go.
- Prison officer: (Fletch has just sat on Godber's needle) What's going on 'ere, then? (indicates Fletch) Did you assault this man, Godber?
- Godber: No, he sat on me darning needle.
- Officer: That true, Fletcher?
- Fletch: Naff off, can't you see I'm in agony?
- Officer: Why don't you get a move on? (Walks out of the cell)
- Fletch: Why don't you go home an' see who's been sleeping with your old lady while you were night duty.
- [Officer returns to the cell, looking bemused]
- Officer: (sarcastically) Ha, ha, ha. Oh that is original, Fletcher. I've been havin' that for the last seven years. (wanders off)
- Fletcher: So's she an' all.
- [Barrowclough and the prisoners are trapped in a locked church]
- Barrowclough: Come on, Fletcher, you've been convicted of breaking and entering.
- Fletch: Ah - "entering" being the operative word, Mr Barrowclough. I ain't never been convicted of breaking out of nowhere.
Ways And Means [1.5]
- Fletch: Lots of famous people have been illegitimate, you know. William the Conqueror.... Napper Wainwright....
- McLaren: Who's Napper Wainwright?
- Fletch: He was a screw at Brixton. Mind you, he was a bastard.
Men Without Women[1.6]
Just Desserts [2.1]
Fletcher: That is the plant! MacKay: No is not, it's the tin of pineapple!
Heartbreak Hotel [2.2]
- [Fletch has a question for Mackay]
- Fletch: 'Ol love-lorn Lenny here wants to know whether the BBC ever play prisoner requests.
- Mackay: No. Oh no. The answer to that is no. On the grounds that it could cause embarrassment."
- Godber: Embarrassment?
- Mackay: To the prisoner's families. The families might've excused his absence by telling the neighbours that the felon in question was abroad, or working on a North Sea oil rig.
- Godber: Oh. I see.
- Mackay: No doubt your wife, Fletcher, has told your friends that you are on a five-year safari. [chuckles at his own joke]
- Fletch: No. She just tells them I'm doing missionary work in Scotland.
- [Godber has just asked Fletch if he would make it outside of prison]
- Fletch: With you, it's different. I mean, you're young, you're 'ealthy, you've go an honest face.
- Godber: Is that enough?
- Fletch: Yeah, I think so, yeah. Character, that's what I can read there. That's what you've got, son. Character. [pats him on the shoulder] You're a good lad.
- Godber: So you think, Fletch, that if somebody cared for me. Like, a girl, like, she'd... uh... forgive me past misdemeanours?
- Fletch: Yeah. If she's any sort of human being, yes she would, yeah. Any human being would. [places his hand on his shoulder] You see, you've got to learn to believe in yourself, ain't ya, eh? 'Cause I believe in ya.
- Godber: Do ya?
- Fletch: Of course I do, yeah.
- Godber: [handing him an envelope] Oh, well, I'll post this, then. Could you get your mucker, Barrowclough to post it in the village for me quite, like?
- Fletch: [Reading envelope] Who is it? BBC?
- Godber: Yeah. It's on plain notepaper, so they won't know it's from a prisoner.
- Fletch: "'Ello Young Lovers Corner?" Is all this soul searching just for the benefit of that slag Denise?
- Godber: No! Not 'er.
- Fletch: Who, then?
- Godber: [tentative] Ingrid.
- Fletch: [obviously shocked and infuriated, smiles falsely] My Ingrid?
- Godber: [poetically] Our eyes met across the crowded room.
- Fletch: My daughter Ingrid?
- Godber: [continuing] And though we didn't know each other, we both knew -
- Fletch: [interrupting him in fury] You think I'd let my daughter Ingrid hang out with the likes of you!? [Grabs him by the shirt and raising his fist] A JUVENILE DELINQUENT FROM THE BACKSTREETS OF BIRMINGHAM!!!
- Godber: Fletch! Fletch! Fletch! Be careful!
- Fletch: WHY!?
- Godber: You've crushed your ping-pong ball.
Disturbing The Peace [2.3]
- Mr. Mackay: I think some of you wrongly assumed that I had left you for good. But, as you see, nothing could be further from the truth. Only... I am somewhat disturbed to hear what has been happening in my absence. So now... We're going to have a new regime here, based not on lenience and laxity but on discipline, hard work and blind, unquestioning obedience. Feet will not touch the floor. Lives will be made a misery. [At the door] I am back, and I am in charge here.
- [Mr. Mackay leaves, but as he walks down the corridor, Fletch and Godber start singing]
- Fletch and Godber: [singing] For 'e's a jolly good fellow, for 'e's a jolly good fellow, for 'e's a jolly good fellow, and so say all of us.
- Other inmates: [joining in] And so say all of us, and so say all of us. [Mackay smiles proudly and continues to march to the exit] For 'e's a jolly good fellow, for 'e's a jolly good fellow, for 'e's a jolly good fellow... And so say all of us!
- [Fletch and his friends are cleaning a floor. Mr. Wainwright walks through it with dirty feet, leaving boot marks.]
- Fletch: [annoyed] Mr. Wainwright! Now look what you've done!
- [Wainwright wanders over, leaving more dirty marks]
- Fletch: We'll have to do it all again now, won't we? [Wainwright nods with a smirk on his face]
- [Fletch sulkily dips his cloth into his bucket of water and throws it on the floor, deliberately near Wainwright's shoes. Wainwright's smile fades and he angrily steps forward and crushes Fletch's hand with his boot. A cry of pain is heard.]
- Fletch: [Talking about Wainwright] Do you know what sorts of curtailments we've suffered? Shorter telly hours, no fraternisation in the exercise yard, and he's only removed our ping-pong table to put in your flamin' mess.
- Barrowclough: Yeah, well, that's only until our billiard table is re-covered.
- Fletch: Oh yeah, yeah, well, yeah.
- Barrowclough: Well, it was your fault it wanted re-covering.
- Fletch: Our fault?
- Barrowclough: Well, some prisoner certainly tampered with it.
- Fletch: Can you prove that!?
- Barrowclough: Well, we can surmise it. When Nosher Garrett went over the wall, he was picked up in Blackpool wearing a green baize suit.
No Peace For The Wicked[2.4]
- Fletch [sings]: Born free..... till somebody caught me..... now I'm doin' solit'ry.....
- Fletch [sings]: I believe for every bit of rain that falls..... someone gets wet.
Happy Release [2.5]
The Harder They Fall [2.6]
- [Fletch, under Grouty's orders, is trying to get Godber to throw his fight]
- Fletch: [Slowly] I've got to ask you... Well, I've got to tell you, what someone has asked me... Well, told me... Well, that they was wondering you see... Well, they was insisting if you could see your way clear... Not that you've got much choice... Oh Gawd, I don't know how to say this to you, son.
- Godber: But, what is it you're trying to say, Fletch?
- Fletch: Tomorrow night ain't gonna be your night, Len.
- Godber: How?
- Fletch: Big Grouty wants you to take a dive in the second (round). [Godber looks aghast, while Fletch stares solemnly at his boots] It's no good looking at me like that. 'Course you're shocked, I know you'll be shocked. I'm ashamed.
- Godber: [Still aghast] I can't do that, Fletch.
- Fletch: I know, I know that, I know that. I respect you for that. But you gotta try and see the position that I'm in, see?
- Godber: Well, I appreciate that, Fletch, but I just can't do it!
- Fletch: [pleading] But why not? I mean, what does it mean? It's meaningless. Just inter-wing fightin'! What is it, it's meaningless!
- Godber: [shouting] I know that!
- Fletch: [taking his arm] Well then why can't you do it? For me?
- Godber: I've already promised Billy Moffet I'd go down in the first. (Moffet is Grouty's rival)
Christmas Special (1975)
- [The prisoners are singing the carol Good King Wenceslas:
- Prisoners: Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen. When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel...
- Mackay: [Entering] SILENCE!
- Fletcher: [continuing maliciously] ... When a Scotsman came in sight, hollerin' -
- Mackay: That'll do, Fletcher.
- [Fletcher is in hospital with a broken leg after falling through a false escape tunnel he was showing to Mackay, who is visiting him, visibly full of "Christmas cheer"]
- Mackay: There is one question I'd like to ask... [crosses to door and checks nobody is outside] What became of the soil that was excavated from the tunnel?
- Fletch: Ah now, wait a minute, I don't know what you're imagining about our relationship, but do not presume you've got a new informer in your back pocket. Everything's just the same, it's still them and us, I'm still on the side of us.
- Mackay: Perfectly harmless question, Fletcher, for future reference. I just want to know they disposed of the soil.
- Fletch: [insistently] I can't help ya!
- [Mackay smiles, takes a green bottle of whisky from his packet, shows it to Fletcher and places it on his dinner tray]
- Mackay: Scotland's finest.
- Fletch: [checking the bottle] With a couple of nips out of it, I see.
- Mackay: Well, still a rare treat.
- Fletch: Bribes, is it?
- Mackay: Christmas present.
- [Fletch reaches for the bottle again, but Mackay rests a finger on it to stop him]
- Mackay: Come along Fletcher. Just between you and me.
- Fletch: Is that door closed?
- Mackay: [grinning triumphantly] Oh yes. And there's no-one outside.
- Fletch: Christmas present?
- Mackay: Christmas present.
- [Fletch takes the bottle, unscrews the cap and takes a glass]
- Fletch: You wanna know how they disposed of the soil?
- Mackay: Simple as that.
- Fletch: I'll tell ya.
- Mackay: I thought you might.
- Fletch: [pouring himself some whisky and leaning in close] They dug another tunnel and put the earth down there.
- [Mackay smiles and leaves, but freezes when he realises that Fletch has made a fool of him -- since if true, what did they do with the earth from the 'other tunnel'?]
Christmas Special (1976)
A Storm In A Teacup [3.1]
Poetic Justice [3.2]
- Fletch [to Rawley, the judge who sentenced him]: If I'd known you was crooked I could have slipped you a few bob!
Rough Justice [3.3]
Pardon Me [3.4]
- [Fletch and Blanco are playing Monopoly]
- Fletch [draws a Chance card]: Would you Adam and Eve it? "Go to jail".
- [Blanco is just about to leave the prison on a pardon]
- Fletch: Here here, come here. [Blanco approaches] Listen, we all know that you didn't kill your old lady, see. Which means that some other bloke did. And you've paid the penance for it, right? But I don't want you going out there harbouring any thoughts of revenge, alright?
- Blanco: No. I know 'im wot did it. It were the wife's lover. But don't worry, I shan't go round searching for him, 'e died years ago.
- Fletch: Well, that's alright then...
- Blanco: That I do know. It were me that killed him!
A Test of Character [3.5]
Final Stretch [3.6]
- Fletch [explaining his advice for prisoners to Mackay]: One: Bide your time. (raises index finger) Two: Keep your nose clean. (raises middle finger) And three: don't let the bastards grind you down. (Mackay turns around in shock to see Fletcher still has two fingers up) Oh, sorry (raises third finger).
- Ronnie Barker - Norman Stanley Fletcher
- Fulton Mackay - Mr Mackay
- Richard Beckinsale - Lennie Godber
- Brian Wilde - Mr Barrowclough
- Peter Vaughan - 'Genial' Harry Grout
- Sam Kelly - ‘Bunny’ Warren
- Tony Osoba - Jim MacClaren
- Christopher Biggins - Lukewarm
- David Jason - Blanco Webb
- Brian Glover - Cyril Heslop
- Ronald Lacey - Harris
- Ken Jones - 'Horrible' Ives
- Michael Barrington - 'The Governor' Geoffrey Venables
- Patricia Brake - Ingrid Fletcher
- Maurice Denham - The Honourable Mr Justice Stephen Rawley
- Ray Dunbobbin - Evans
- Dudley Sutton - Reg Urwin 'with a U'
- Philip Madoc - Williams