Classic BBC sitcom 'Porridge' is set to return to our screens, but with a thoroughly modern makeover.
The original show centred around the cloistered life of longtime criminal Norman Stanley Fletcher, played with peerless aplomb by Ronnie Barker, as he struggled with the likes of cell-mate Lennie Godber (Richard Beckinsale) and warden Mr Mackay, played by Fulton Mackay. It only ran for three years during the 1970s, but earned its own sequel 'Going Straight' and a film, and is still considered one of the funniest sitcoms in TV history.
Now, the show's original writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais have penned a brand new pilot of the show, this time centred around Fletcher's grandson, also called 'Fletch', housed in a modern prison, and banged up for cyber-hacking. “He’s called Fletch too and has what I would call attitude,” Ian Le Frenais told the Sunday Times.
The original hit sitcom starred Ronnie Barker, Fulton Mackay and Richard Beckinsale
“We were asked by the BBC to do a revival and decided to set it right up to date,” La Frenais explained. “It will be set in a modern prison while Slade was of course Victorian.”
The writers are hoping the pilot will be successful enough for a whole new series to be commissioned. Fans will have to do without the comedic chemistry of the original cast - Ronnie Barker died in 2005, while Richard Beckinsale's death in 1979 aged only 31 shocked his millions of fans. Fulton Mackay died in 1987.
While the BBC has not confirmed the production of this one-off show, the Corporation have revealed they will be making all sorts of material to commemorate the 60th anniversary of comedy on television, a date they take from the launch of 'Hancock's Half Hour' back in 1956.
One stalwart of the show is still going strong, however, and fans will be crossing their fingers there's a role somewhere for gay inmate Lukewarm, played by our favourite Christopher Biggins.