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Porridge – a 1970s Salvation Narrative

April 3, 2016

Richard Beckinsale died on this day in 1979.
These are may old thoughts on Porridge…



I’ve been meditating on the structural strengths of Porridge as a salvation narrative.  It’s remarkably elegant in its construction.   Thank you  Mr Clement and thank you Mr La Frenais.

Others have noticed its similarities with Bilko in that rarely for a British sitcom, its central character is the cleverest character, the most effectively opportunistic character who manages to score “little victories” on a regular basis.

There is much to admire in the series nearly forty years on.  The show features quite possibly the very first avowedly and unambiguously gay regular character in the form of Lukewarm.  Of course, he is treated to some hideous stereotyping and the character could not (and should not) be written in the same terms in the twenty-first century.  However, Lukewarm is clearly a friend and an ally of Fletcher’s, and Fletcher’s circle of friends accepts him for who and what he is.  There’s a case…

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  1. Interesting how when the story is continued in Going Straghit there is very much a feeling of Godbar having grown up and no longer needing Fletcher, while Fletcher now on the straghit and narrow seems more of a prisoner then he was in Slade Prison. He is no longer a big fish in a small pond in the same way Mackay is a bit lost outside of his job as Prison Officer. It is a pity that Clements and La French’s didn’t follow up Mackay’s story more.

  2. Very true…

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