[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Porridge_Logo.jpg]]

->''"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 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 ''TheLikelyLads'' and its sequel ''WhateverHappenedToTheLikelyLads'', and ''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).

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: For reference and interest, the prisoners [[What Are You In For and their crimes ]]
are:]]
* 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''.
----
!!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.
* BottleEpisode: ''A Night In'' may be the ultimate example. It consists almost entirely of two men talking in a darkened room.
* 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".
* TheDitz: Heslop. Warren too, to a lesser extent.
-->'''Warren''': "Objection!"
-->'''Rawley''': "... Well go on, Warren. What is your objection?"
-->'''Warren''': "... I don't know."
* DoubleKnockout: Godber and Nesbitt have both been [[ThrowingTheFight bribed to lose their boxing match]]. Both are knocked out by the first punch.
* 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!
* ItTastesLikeFeet
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Why Fletch of course!
* 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.
* 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.
--> "I was the one what 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}}
* 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.
* TransAtlanticEquivalent: ABC's short lived ''On The Rocks''.
* 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.
* 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.
!!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: 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.
* 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 Beckinsdale died shortly after ''Going Straight'' completed filming.
* DistantFinale: Quite literally.
----