->''"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."''

Named after the then-slang for being imprisoned ("doing porridge"), '''''Porridge''''' is a prison comedy that aired on Creator/TheBBC between 1973 and 1977 with three seasons, two Christmas specials and [[TheMovie a film]]. It was written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who also wrote ''Series/TheLikelyLads'' and its sequel ''Series/WhateverHappenedToTheLikelyLads'', and ''Series/AufWiedersehenPet''.

Set in the fictional Slade Prison, ''Porridge'' starred [[TheTwoRonnies Ronnie Barker]] as Fletcher, a cynical and streetwise career criminal, and Richard Beckinsale as Godber, a naive first time inmate. The plot centred around the prisoners' attempts to negotiate everyday life in prison and make it more bearable with "little victories" over the guards (primarily the stern Mr Mackay and the soft Mr Barrowclough), avoid trouble with the Prison Governor (who thinks he runs the place) and avoid the wrath of Harry Grout (an East End gang boss who really does).


[[folder: For reference and interest, the prisoners [[What Are You In For and their crimes ]]
* Fletcher - Probably breaking and entering, although a speech that may have been a joke claims it was the theft of a lorry (five years).
* Godber - Breaking and entering (two years).
* Blanco - Wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, although in the episode "Pardon Me" he claimed he did kill his wife's lover, a crime for which he was not convicted (sentence unknown, had served 17 years by the time he was released).
* "Genial" Harry Grout - Crime and sentence unknown but required extradition from Italy.
* Heslop - Robbery (three years).
* [=McClaren=] - Crime unknown (three years).
* Harris - Mugged an old lady but it went wrong when he found she had a brick in her handbag and successfully pinned Harris down (sentence unknown).
* Rawley - Three charges: "Party to criminal conspiracy, forgery of legal documents under the Forgery Act of 1913 - 1948, and accepting an illicit payment as an officer of the crown" (three years, quashed at appeal. The judge who sent Fletcher down).
* "Lukewarm" - Crime and sentence unknown but shown to be able to steal a man's watch off his wrist.
* Bernard 'Horrible' Ives - Fraud. sentence unknown. Universally loathed.

Came seventh in ''Series/BritainsBestSitcom''. The sequel, ''Going Straight'', depicting Fletcher's life after his release, was also popular (though less so) and won a BAFTA but was limited to one series by [[AuthorExistenceFailure actor Richard Beckinsale's very untimely death]]. In 2003, a {{Mockumentary}}, ''Norman Stanley Fletcher: Life Beyond The Box'', gave a complete history of Fletch's life before and after the series, ending with him running a pub in Muswell Hill. This was Ronnie Barker's final TV appearance.
Inspired a short-lived American TV sitcom, ''On The Rocks''. In 2016, a one-off special, simply titled ''Porridge'', starred Kevin Bishop as Fletcher's grandson Nigel, who finds himself in prison for computer hacking and has similarly savvy gifts as his grandfather.

!!Tropes used in ''Porridge'' include:

* AndADietCoke: Fletcher is offered cocoa, which he accepts, and then sugar. He refuses the biscuits, citing watching his weight, as he dumps at least four heaping spoonfuls of sugar in his already-sweet cocoa.
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: The opening narration in which Fletcher receives the maximum possible sentence after pleading guilty doesn't reflect the reality of UK sentencing guidelines - one of the incentives to plead guilty is a mandatory sentence reduction of at least 10% and possibly up to 33% depending on the exact circumstances.
* BottleEpisode: ''A Night In'' may be the ultimate example. It consists almost entirely of two men talking in a darkened room.
* TheBoxingEpisode: When Godber takes up boxing, culminating in a DoubleKnockout.
* BreadEggsMilkSquick : According to Fletcher, the prison football team has a good mix of "youth, experience, flair and brutality".
* BritishBrevity: 21 episodes. The show came to an end at the height of its popularity, at Barker's request.
* TheButcher: Parodied with "The Butcher of Eastgate". He fiddled his VAT.
* ChronicVillainy: Fletcher is described as an "habitual criminal" in the opening narration, and has spent a large portion of his adult life in prison. Explored more in the sequel, as Fletcher attempts to "go straight".
* CriminalProcedural: Of the convict variety.
* CrossReferencedTitles: Episodes 3 and 4 are "A Night In" and "A Day Out".
* DecisionDarts: Fletcher mentions that in his previous prison they used to run roulette by bribing a warden to turn a blind eye, blindfolding the "croupier" and spinning him around when he threw a dart at a dartboard covered with a list of numbers. Until the spinning was a little too vigorous and the warden "turned a blind eye to everything after that".
* DisproportionateRetribution: Grouty mentions an inmate who put four prison guards in hospital because someone knocked over his jigsaw puzzle.
* TheDitz: Heslop. Warren too, to a lesser extent.
-->'''Warren''': "Objection!"
-->'''Rawley''': "... Well go on, Warren. What is your objection?"
-->'''Warren''': "... I don't know."
* TheDreaded: Mackay has this reputation to an extent, his much much worse replacement is a much better example. However LondonGangster Harry Grout is the true winner, simply cause everyone knows that angering him could lead to you losing your life.
* DrillSergeantNasty: Mackay, he even was a sergeant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment, before he because a prison officer. He likewise still acts like he is.
* DoubleKnockout: During their boxing match, Godber and Nesbitt knock each other out with the first punch, having both been [[ThrowingTheFight bribed to lose]]. It works out well for Fletcher, though, as he was the only person in the prison to [[CrazyPrepared bet on a draw]].
* FauxAffablyEvil: Genial Harry Grout, a high up London Crime boss. He is always charming, polite and never even raises his voice. If you do a job especially well for him, he'll pay back the favour and he's in a good mood, he might even be willing to bribe others. But fail him, anger him or just simply annoy him and he'll have one of his many heavies break your arms or beat you to blood.
* GenreSavvy: Mackay has his moments, but Fletcher is generally still one or two steps ahead.
* GoshDangItToHeck: The prisoners use the words "naff" or "naffing", depending on context, for viewer-friendly swearing.
* HatesEveryoneEqually: Mackay
-->'''Mackay''': I want you to know that I treat you all with equal contempt.
* HowManyFingers:
-->[Godber bangs his head on a goalpost]
-->'''Mackay:''' [holds up one finger] How many fingers am I holding up?
-->'''Godber:''' You can't fool me, sir. Five.
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne: In "A Day Out":
-->'''Godber:''' You talk with your mouth full. You whistle out of tune. You snore. You spit.
-->'''Fletcher:''' How dare you! I do not whistle out of tune!
* InsaneTrollLogic: One of Fletcher’s skills acquired over his years in prison, how to give an answer that is seemingly satisfactory but on later examination is either nonsensical or raises more [[FridgeLogic fridge logic]] than it settles...
-->'''Q:''' What became of the soil that was excavated from the tunnel?\\
'''A:''' [[spoiler:We dug another tunnel and put it all down there.]]
* ItTastesLikeFeet: Basically all the food is described like this.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Why Fletch of course!
* KangarooCourt: In "Rough Justice" Fletch puts Harris on trial for stealing from his fellow inmates. While the judge (an actual judge, convicted of corruption) tries to maintain some degree of fairness, he's hampered by everyone else's disregard for proper procedure and firm conviction that Harris ''must'' be guilty because he's Harris. (Including the defence counsel.) It turns out [[spoiler: they're right, and he returns the watch when [[ViolentGlaswegian MacLaren]] threatens to "extract" a confession.]]
* KnightOfCerebus: Harry Grout, specifically the actor was told not to play it like he was in a comedy. Whenever he appears the threats hanging over Fletcher's head get a lot more serious and the show dips into more BlackComedy.
* LondonGangster: Genial Harry Grout, an East London crime boss, serving time for an unspecified big job that required him being extradited from Italy. Grouty pretty much runs the whole prison: rigging sports matches, organising escapes of other high up criminals who can afford to get out and being completely in control of the entire prison drug trade. Likewise you really don't want to get on his bad side. His only rival in the prison, is another London crime boss, the two compete through betting on prison sports matches then rigging them in their favour.
* LuxuryPrisonSuite: We see Harry Grout only three times, each time in his large, well-furnished cell. Apparently when he was extradited he paid for himself and the policeman to be bumped up to first class.
* ManipulativeBastard: Fletch argues this is the moral choice. Since everyone in prison is out for what they can get, manipulating people is better than getting what you want with your fists. His teaching [=McLaren=] to do this gave the latter some character growth.
* MasterPoisoner: Riggs, who now works in the prison kitchens.
* MilitaryMoonshiner: Or prisoner moonshiner in this case.
* MoralDissonance: Blanco, a kindly older prisoner who insisted for years that he was innocent of murdering his wife, later telling Fletcher it was his wife's lover who had actually done it. As he's now [[strike:paroled]] [[InsistentTerminology pardoned]], Fletcher tells him not to go looking for revenge, but Blanco replies that the lover is long dead, and he should know.
--> "It were me that killed him".
* TheMovie: aka ''Doing Time'' in the U.S. Made in 1979, featuring the same cast and writers but with no BBC involvement. Not as well-received as the series, though not as bad as some TV spin-offs. This was Richard Beckinsale's last performance before his untimely death.
* NeverLearnedToRead: "Bunny" Warren claims to be in prison because he could not read the sign: "Warning, Burglar Alarm". He also gets Fletcher to read him letters from his wife.
* NoThemeTune: The opening is the top-of-the-page quote (voiced by Barker as the judge) over a locking-the-prisoners-up montage. There is a closing theme tune.
* OddCouple: Both Fletcher (cynical old timer) and Godber (naive young criminal), and Mackay (strict and nasty as they come) and Barrowclough (soft as ice cream in a Californian heatwave.)
* TheOldConvict: Fletcher to some extent, but Blanco plays this more straight. He's completed a replica of Muffin the Mule in the prison workshop: "You know, him what's on television". (''Muffin the Mule'' was broadcast from 1946 to 1957. The ''Porridge'' episode was broadcast in 1975.)
* OpeningNarration: See the top of the page.
* PetHomosexual: "Lukewarm".
* {{Prison}}: The setting, though unlike most examples its a comedy, their is very little violence or focus on the more dangerous inmates. Instead the focus is on more average people dealing with being imprisoned, and winning the occasional little victory.
* RuleNumberOne: According to Mr. Mackay, there are only two rules in Slade Prison. Rule number 1: Do not write on the walls. And rule number 2: Obey all the rules.
* ScaryBlackMan: Jock [=McLaren=] (though he's more of a [[ViolentGlaswegian scary Scot]] who happens to be black).
* ScaryMinoritySuspect: Ditto.
* SecondEpisodeIntroduction: Godber, and all other prisoners except Fletcher himself, does not appear in the pilot.
* ShoutOut: Harry Grout, who bears [[{{Expy}} something of a resemblance]] to a certain [[NoelCoward Mr. Bridger]], is apparently doing time for some sort of [[TheItalianJob job in Italy]]...
* StatusQuoIsGod: Averted. Fletch is sentenced to five years; as the original series had run for four, the sequel ''Going Straight'' focused on Fletch's release back into society.
* TragicVillain: Reg Urwin from the Christmas Special "Desperate Hours" he's perfectly happy to hold Fletcher, Godber, Mr Barrowclough and the Governor's secretary at gunpoint and contemplates homicide a few times. However all he wants is to get out of Prison and be free again as he's clearly not coping with his incarcination and is also clearly mentally unwell. Its revealed he was recommended for psychiatric treatment three times before this event, but never got any. He admits if he doesn't get out he'll kill himself, having already attempting suicide once before. When Fletcher disarms him, he outright breaks down to tears. Fletcher and Godber even pass up a chance of a pardon for stopping him, so that Reg can surrender on his own and finally get some much needed help.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: ABC's short lived ''On The Rocks''.
* TreasureMap: Blanco has a map showing where his ill-gotten gains are buried, [[spoiler:though it turns out to be a fake]]. Another inmate, Norris, gets caught trying to dig it up under a football pitch.
* UnusualEuphemism: Retasked the existing word 'naff' as an expletive, as in "naff off". Also created 'nerk' (presumably in place of 'berk') and possibly 'scrote'.
* VetinariJobSecurity: When Mr Mackay is promoted a stricter, crueller screw from a prison Fletcher had been in earlier in his life replaces him and bullies both the criminals and [[KickTheDog Mr Barrowclough]]. The prisoners get rid of him by orchestrating a CrowningMomentOfAwesome for Mr Barrowclough and [[WeWantOurJerkBack welcome back Mackay with a rendition of "For he's a jolly good fellow".]]
* ViolentGlaswegian: Jock [=McLaren=], again.
* WardensAreEvil: Averted, the Warden of Slade Prison is a all around genial, cheerful and friendly man, who firmly believes in treating the prisoners correctly and rehabilitation. While the inmates aren't above taking advantage of his occasional naivete he never the less even strikes up a reasonably friendly relationship with Fletcher.
* WeMeetAgain: Fletcher and Mr Wainwright. Fletcher and Judge Rawley.
* WeWantOurJerkBack: As mentioned above, Mr Mackay's overly-cruel replacement had the prisoners getting nostalgic.
* WhatAreYouInFor:
-->'''Fletcher:''' Got caught.
* WorthyOpponent: Fletcher and Mackay, make no mistake both of them will never miss a chance to get one over or humiliate the other, but their is a clear unspoken level of respect between the two. It says something that when they meet up after Fletcher is released, while starting off hostile they are soon cheerfully drinking together and reminiscing about their past. They even part on mostly friendly terms.

!!Tropes used in ''Going Straight'' include:
* ExpositoryThemeSong: "I'm going straight, along the straight and narrow, and I don't mean straight back to crime..."
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: All the episodes begin "Going..."
* NoodleIncident: The hotelier who gives Fletch a job has never regretted giving prisoners a second chance "except on... two unfortunate occasions".
* ReformedButRejected: PlayedWith, but ultimately averted. Fletcher's efforts to go straight are sincere, but, doomed to a life of low paying menial work and surrounded by temptation, he almost becomes this but decides to stay on the straight. The specials confirm that he never went back to prison and happily enjoyed his quiet retirement until his death.
* SpinoffSendoff

!!Tropes used in ''Norman Stanley Fletcher: Life Beyond The Box'' include:
* CharacterOutlivesActor: Ingrid (Fletch's daughter, who married Godber in ''Going Straight'') gets a phone call from her husband to say that he can't make it back for the documentary. Richard Beckinsale died shortly after ''Going Straight'' completed filming.
* DistantFinale: Quite literally.

!!Tropes used in the 2016 ''Porridge'' special include:
* BrickJoke: Throughout the episode, Fletch tries to get a pineapple tin, only for it to be taken away from him. At the end, Officer Meekie leaves the cell with a pineapple tin again, only for Fletch to reveal to Lotterby that he succeeded in smuggling a second tin under his pillow.
* CallBack: Loads, since Fletch is Fletcher's grandson through his son Raymond, making him Ingrid's nephew. Lotterby mentions that he briefly served time with Fletcher 40 years ago in Slade, and learns that he passed away five years ago, in 2011.
-->'''Lotterby''': Eh, "little victories", that's what your granddad used to say, and by God, you need them inside.
* ContinuityNod: Ingrid and Godber are still married, and he had made the arrangements for Fletcher to run a "real pub, you know for geezers".
* DeadGuyJunior: Fletch's middle name is Norman, after his grandfather.
* GenerationXerox: Nigel Norman Fletcher, or Fletch, as he preferred to be called, has similarly savvy gifts as his grandfather for gaming the prison system to make life a little easier for him and his fellow inmates. He even manages to [[FlippingTheBird give the V-sign]] to Meekie, just like his granddad did with Mackay.
* HollywoodHacking: Fletch is a gifted computer hacker convicted of cyberfraud. Naturally, his reputation precedes him and he's forced into employing his valuable skills into cleaning up Weeksy's record so he can be paroled early. Officer Braithwaite regularly asks him for computer advice and even ''the prison governor'' comes to him when the prison's systems go berserk courtesy of Fletch accessing Meekie's computer and triggering the fire alarms through it because the system was still being run in Windows XP.
* IntergenerationalFriendship: Fletch easily bonds with his new elderly cellmate Lotterby, especially since Lotterby knew his grandfather. He then reveals to Lotterby that while he was snooping in the prison records, he gave Lotterby an AgeLift so that he'll be released three years sooner.
* TheInternetIsForPorn: While working the graveyard shift, Braithwaite is about to click on a pinup site when Fletch triggers the fire alarms from Meekie's computer.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Governor Hallwood's password is [[TitleDrop Porridge]]. The look on her face when Fletch realizes it indicates that she's a bit embarrassed by this.
* LuxuryPrisonSuite: Wakeley Prison is a high tech 21st century minimum security prison, with a foosball and pool table in the common area, a clean gym, and televisions in the cells. The cells slightly resemble dorm rooms with a bunk bed, table, some shelves and a bulletin board.
** Officer Meekie is suspicious how Fletch managed to get himself a single cell within a month of arriving at Wakeley.
** In exchange for fixing Wakeley's computer systems, Governor Hallwood has Braithwaite install a new television in Fletch's cell.
** Aziz is seen listening to an mp3 player while eating breakfast with Shel and Fletch.
* WhatAreYouInFor:
** Everyone knows that Fletch is a hacker and that he's banned from all electronics. Another inmate, Aziz, says that he stole more money than all the other inmates at Wakeley combined.
** Shel is convicted of drug possession, despite him claiming that he bought the drugs for his wife. He did sleep through the fire alarms because he had smoked some very strong weed.
** Lotterby is convicted for involuntary manslaughter, for accidentally backing his gang's heist van into another member.
** Weeksy is a member of a Manchester crime family, and is impressed that the clan is notorious enough to have a page on TheOtherWiki.