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1[[quoteright:314:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prisoner_cell_block_h.jpg]]²²An Australian soap opera set in Wentworth Detention Centre, a women's prison. It was loosely based on the UK TV Series Within These Walls. Despite original being written as a 16 episode miniseries, it ran for 692 episodes from 1979 to 1986.²²Although sometimes the object of derision for its infamous shaky sets and weak Continuity, ''Prisoner: Cell Block H'' is a cult show, and it found success not only in Australia, but also the United Kingdom, USA (where it rated higher than Johnny Carson), Canada (under the named Caged Women) and Sweden. It also spawned two successful stage spin-offs.²²The show's success in the UK helped pave the way for other Australian Soap Operas like Series/{{Neighbours}} and Series/HomeAndAway.²²A DarkerAndEdgier and supposedly more serious ContinuityReboot (officially not a {{Remake}}), called ''{{Series/Wentworth}}'' in Australia and ''Wentworth Prison'' in other markets, began airing in 2013.²----²!! This show provides examples of:²* AlphaBitch: Or, in ''Prisoner'' parlance, Top Dog. The Top Dog is the boss of the prisoners - controlling things as she sees fit. The position of Top Dog was usually the preserve of the smartest and toughest, and much sought-after. 'Good' Top Dogs usually serve as a kind of protector of the prisoners. 'Bad' Top Dogs might be in league with corrupt 'screws', or simply run rackets to line their own pockets.²* AmbiguousCriminalHistory: Doreen Anderson's criminal history is briefly suggested that she was in and out since she was younger but the full list is never given. Then there's Barbie Cox who is a dumb blonde that says about three lines, even The Freak is lost for words when she reads the chances [[spoiler:it has been suggested the writers didn't know why she was in jail]]. ²* AntagonisticOffspring: Nancy Mccormack took the blame for the murder of her abusive husband by her son Peter however after realising that her son has been abusing his new wife, she makes him confess and she is freed. ²* BattleCry: Rita Conners does this when she enters the jail.²* BeingEvilSucks: Joan Ferguson acknowledges this about herself and she hates the person she is. ²* BeingGoodSucks: Anita Selby, a nun was witness to the other women framing Joan for attacking Lou [[spoiler:Joan was suffering from Blackouts due to a Blood Clot on her brain]]. She tells the girls she has to lag on them, Myra (Top Dog) warns her of the consequences of Joan returning. Doesn't matter she still confesses and asks the women to try and forgive her but they can't. ²* BerserkButton: Doing time for dealing drugs? Better not let Bea Smith find out. Any kind of cruelty towards children is pretty much a shared berserk button for the prisoners.²** If you are speaking to Ferguson don't insult her Lesbianism or her Father (after his death), she will make your life a living hell until she can destroy you.²* BitchInSheepsClothing: First we have Angel Adams, she is presented as a picture of innocence but in fact she is a monster, she is suspected by her grandmother to have murdered her own parents and later arranges [[spoiler:Meg Morris to be raped]] but the other prisoners cause her to expose her crimes sending her to a mental hospital.²** Then we have Eve Wilder who is in for shooting [[spoiler:her lover]] she claims it was accidental [[spoiler:it wasn't, he was leaving her]], she ends up manipulates [[spoiler:her lawyer]] to hide evidence, she later beats [[spoiler:Joyce to a coma state]] for overhearing her admit the truth, she tries to get the [[spoiler:laywer]] to murder [[spoiler:Joyce]] however [[spoiler:he]] writes a confession of Eve's crime before shooting [[spoiler:himself]]. Later on Eve turns out to be [[spoiler:The Phantom Lagger]] which costs her [[spoiler:her life]].²* BreakingOutTheBoss: Ruth Ballinger's husband, a crime lord gets a group of terrorists to cause a siege killing a few prisoners and get her out. [[spoiler:However Joan and police fool the group and Ruth is sent to Blackmoor.]]²* BreakoutVillain: Arguably, Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson. Introduced in episode 287, she is probably one of the show's most recognisable faces.²* BrokenBird: A common trope for many of the prisoners and the officers. ²** Vera Bennett is a good example of this among the officers. Seemingly cynical and severe, Vera's problems all stemmed from her horrible mother's bullying.²** The Freak might be a monster but she has spent her life trying to impress her father, also she had a Prisoner girlfriend who was murdered which resulted in her stony behaviour.²* ButchLesbian: Franky Doyle was the first. Joan Ferguson is another example.²* CatFight: The Show was filled with them.²* CantHoldHisLiquor: Joyce Pingle was easily drunk, she ends her husband's birthday party trying to answer her phone with her shoes.²* ChippendalesDancers: Twice one comes for Bea Smith's birthday and the second dances on a van hired by Jessie Windom after her release. ²* CodeOfHonour: No lagging!²* CoolOldLady: Lizzie Birdsworth, she is for some of the women in the prison a mother substitute.²* CordonBleughChef: Mrs O'Reagan was the cook for the early years, there was regular jokes about her food being terrible and she blamed the inmates working with her, she finally left after scalded by hot fat.²* CrossCastRole: Chrissie Latham's daughter Elizabeth is played by a baby boy. Lorelei Wilkinson's daughter Zoe was played by young twin boys, one of which refused to let the producers put him in a dress.²* CardboardPrison: Barnhurst is such a low security prison that it doesn't have a fence, but it's unnecessary as it's 10 miles from the nearest town meaning the guards would pick up the prisoners. ²* CrowdChant: In [[spoiler:the final episode]] the girls chant [[spoiler:Ferguson]] revealing to her and the whole of Wentworth that they know she's here possible [[spoiler:ending Rodney Adams' career at the same time]]. ²* DadTheVeteran: Major Ferguson is a veteran of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. ²* DarkAndTroubledPast: A frequent explanation for how the women ended up in prison. ²** Paddy Lawson's mother was a cruel disciplinarian and locked her in a cupboard, which led to her claustrophobia and violent outbursts. ²** Chrissie Latham's father sexually abused her. ²** Bea Smith's daughter died of a drug overdose after her neglectful father kicked her out of the house. ²** Joan Ferguson's corrupt ways and hatred of prisoners stemmed from the murder of her inmate girlfriend.²* DealWithTheDevil: [[spoiler:Joan]] does this with [[spoiler:Ernest Craven]] after he offers to remove [[spoiler:Ann Reynolds and make Joan Governor]]. However she didn't realise this would mean the mental health of [[spoiler:her old friend Lorelei Wilkinson who is in jail raped and falsely accuses Ann of making her say it]], thankfully it goes very wrong, [[spoiler: Ernest pays with his life and Joan escapes firing and will remain a officer]].²* DepravedHomosexual: It's highly suggested of Joan Ferguson, with her gloves.²* DirtyCop: Jock Stewart and Joan Ferguson are the most notable examples.²** Rodney Adams tried to be, but it was clear that the prisoners had control over him.²** Also Ernest Craven is this at Blackmoor, then at Wentworth, thankfully he gets what comes to him [[spoiler:he is murdered by Lorelei after threatening her again and she exposes his corrupt behaviour]]. ²* DontYouDarePityMe: Vera's usual response to any overtures of sympathy or friendship.²* DrivenToSuicide: We see this in the very first episode.²* DrivenToVillainy: Again, a frequent backstory for the women. ²** One notable example is Nola [=McKenzie=], who married young to escape her alcoholic, deadbeat family, only to find herself married to an alcoholic deadbeat who cheated on her and knocked her about. Couple that with a stultifying existence in the sticks, and you have a recipe for disaster.²-->'''Nola:''' Have you ever lived on the Nulabol? There's nothing out there except lousy scrub and the trains going past. I used to stand on the veranda trying to keep the dust out of my eyes, watching the Indian Pacific go past. All those people going somewhere. And me, stuck in the middle of nowhere²-->'''Chrissie:''' So why didn't you hop on a train and clear off?²-->'''Nola:''' What with? He kept me broke. He blew every cent we had on booze²-->'''Bea:''' And so you blasted him?²-->'''Nola:''' Yeah. He was sittin' on the verandah crackin' tins by the dozen. It was stinkin' hot. He told me I stank. He laughed and called me a filthy slag. So I got his rifle, and I just kept firing\.²** Another example (if brief) is Sarah West, the only Aboriginal prisoner, she has grown up with racial abuse despite having a loving foster family, she's in for arson and attacking a cop. She receives abuse from a two prisoners [[spoiler: they painted her white]] so she poisoned the air conditioning, however Rita Conners helps her understand that some of the inmates could have died. Sarah is conceived by Conners to stop being angry at the world and her foster parents reveal they found her real father[[note]] it turns out her maternal grandmother was looking after her, while her White father and Aboriginal mother worked, someone alerted the authorities and despite her parents attempts to find her they never could[[/note]]. After Rita returns from Blackmoor, Sarah says goodbye and promises to be good and also visit her father. ²* DrillSergeantNasty: Officer Fletcher might have had the military background, and initially seemed strict - but let's not pretend - this role belongs to Joan Ferguson.²* TheDitz: Doreen Burns could pass for this, Joyce Pringle can be sometimes and of course the prefect example Pixie.²* DrugsAreBad: Drugs are presented negatively, several characters died and Top Dogs and dealers end up badly:²** Bea Smith [[spoiler:lost Debbie]] to an overdose and would stop at nothing to keep them out of Wentworth. During her first time at Barnhurst, Top Dog Marie Winter has Bea's food doped with Magic Mushrooms, Bea finds the trip terrible and finds the staff willing to turn a blind eye as it stops the inmates misbehaving. She bashes Marie.²** After Joan is given LSD by Lionel Fellows' gang, she has a nightmare of a trip with her crimes forced on her, it ends with Joan stabbing her beloved dog to death. ²** Reb Kean was dealing what she was told was Cocaine it was PCP and after being given a overdose and smashes up her cell. ²** Julie Egbert also had a bad trip, nearly ending in her death in a Garage Truck.²* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the early episodes Lizzie was more Franky's friends and disliked Bea, also in the 16 first episodes Doreen was more of a background character but once the show was extended she was fleshed out.²** Also Barnhurst was described as a Medium Security in early episode but by the time of the final series it's a low security, mixed prison farm that allows couples to be closer.²* EvenEvilHasStandards: Well sometimes the hardest characters had a limit to their nastiness: ²** Joan Ferguson might be a terrible person, but she hated Racism slapped Rodney Adams when she found out he insulted Sarah West and her social worker. Also she hated Child Abuse, she found out about Ruth Ballinger's crimes she confronts her with stream coming out of her ears.²* EtTuBrute: Regularly did they betray each other for their own profit.²* EvilGloating: Joan, frequently.²* TheFaceless: In Blackmoor, Joan Ferguson knows a contact called Cynthia Leach, she helps Joan punish the transfers from Wentworth, however we never see her face when she appears and her voice is the only noticeable feature [[spoiler: this was because her actress had played a very iconic character in her previous appearance]]. ²* FakeAFight: Sometimes the women would pretend to fight in order for someone else to escape the guard's watch.²* GetIntoJailFree: Judy Bryant does this in order to keep her relationship going with Sharon Gilmour²* GirlsBehindBars: Probably the best-known example, excluding [[Series/OrangeisTheNewBlack Orange Is The New Black]]²* GreatEscape: One of the great plots had the women digging a tunnel to escape Wentworth.²* GuileHero: In the final few episodes [[spoiler:Rita Conners]] has Cancer and has [[spoiler:Joan]] to escort her for treatment, while chatting she reveals that she planned to rob a Finance Company with the idea that she fools the cops [[spoiler:by pretending to throw the money to someone, but instead hide it in the toilets for someone to get later]]. The offer of [[spoiler:$250,000]] tempts [[spoiler:Joan]] and they commit it, however [[spoiler:Joan is arrested with the money]] and it's revealed that [[spoiler:Rita]] double crossed her and thus ends [[spoiler:Joan's time in Wentworth]]. ²* HellholePrison: While Wentworth was a harsh place compared to Blackmoor it was a palace. ²* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Lots of these among the women. Two examples are: Chrissie Latham (if we overlook that one murder) and Marilyn Mason.²** Also Jessie Windom and Mabel Morgan who clearly dot on Lexie Patterson with Mabel caring for Lexie's dog while she's inside and Jessie going into to jail to protect her [[spoiler:the reason is because she is Lexie's biological mother]].²* HollywoodHeartAttack: Lizzie does have a heart problem and has suffered a few heart attacks but also uses it to cover up prison dealings.²* HollywoodPsych: Laura Gardiner has Dissociative identity disorder [[spoiler:formally known as multiple personality disorder]] her other is Brandy a foul mouthed prostitute, upon realising it Dr. Weissman cures her with hypnosis in a short time which is impossible.²* ImprovisedWeapon: Regularly the women used their jug kettles as such, there was also the stream press to punish people. Also there's [[spoiler:Bea's]] zip gun.²* InstitutionalApparel: Wentworth inmates wear checked shirts and denim outfits.²* LuxuryPrisonSuite: The women fake this in order to try and convince the other officers that Ferguson is plying Hannah Simpson with luxuries in exchange for sexual favours.²** Also Ruth had a nice cell.²** But also there was the Reward Cell which was part of Ann Reynolds' reform plan to encourage good behaviour. ²* MarkOfShame: Carried out by two Top Dogs. Bea brands 'K' for killer on [[spoiler: Nola's]] breast with a soldering iron as revenge for [[spoiler: Paddy's murder.]] Myra brands an 'R' for rapist on Frank's forehead as revenge for [[spoiler: Pixie's rape.]]²** Also after Lexie Patterson insults Joan Ferguson's recently dead Father, Joan cuts her hair in anger leaving her with a boyish bob.²* MarketBasedTitle: The original Australian title was simply ''Prisoner'', but in other markets the title was expanded to avoid confusion with ''Series/{{The Prisoner|1967}}''.²* MugshotMontage: Played out in the intro.²* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: After the missing Anne Yates is found dead in a Tumble Dryer, [[spoiler:Vera Bennett]] realised she closed the door and suffocated Yates but goes with the agreement that it was a accident.²** Reb Kean after realising she has given [[spoiler:Phyllis brain damage]]. ²** Lou Kelly's face after she hits [[spoiler:Nora Flynn]] in the stomach causing her a miscarriage. ²* NeverGoingBackToPrison: Several of the inmates vow never to return, after they are released:²** Pat O'Connell, manages to go straight once her original case is overthrown and she is rewarded her two younger children²** Sheila Brady is released and becomes a pop star but she considers Judy Bryant deserving of the loyalties [[spoiler:the song was written by Judy for Pixie]] once Judy is released Shelia picks her up.²** Lexie Patterson also leaves never to return partly because of The Freak but also her baby.²** Bobbie Mitchell, a girl with anger issues, learnt a skill and fell in love while working on day release, she returns for a wedding and shows her old friends her engagement ring.²* NeverMyFault: Ros Coulson, believes she shouldn't be in jail, but she still murdered Toni Mcnally for murdering her mother, she tries to escape but in the end accepts it and focuses on her studies.²** Kay White refused to accept blame, she was a secretary at a factory where the women were working as a scheme and she was a gambler with the factory's funds, she ends up inside and some of the women want her to pay up, she ends up gambling bets she can't afford and is willing to blame anyone other than herself for it. ²* NoThemeTune: The show always opens with a brief recap, and then mugshots of a couple of the prisoners, with only the sound of a camera clicking. The theme tune used at the end, 'On the Inside', got to number 3 in the UK charts in 1989.²* NotUsedToFreedom: Lizzie Birdsworth was in jail for 40 years, however she was freed after the real murderer confesses on their deathbed, however she is unable to live a normal life and ends up back in again several times [[spoiler:she ends up released into her family after the parole agrees]]. ²** Also there was poor Mum who was released and clearly didn't want to leave. She is greeted by her daughter, who promises to give her a home just not with her, it turns out she told everybody including Mum's grandchildren that she was dead. Mum ends up back in Wentworth after deliberately shoplifting. ²* TheOldConvict: Lizzie Birdsworth.²* PrisonRiot: Almost too many to mention. The most notable takes place in an early episode, when Bea and Franky's rivalry reaches boiling point.²* PutOnABus: Many times characters would either be transferred to either Barnhust (or any of the other prisons) or they are released, with their bus being them leaving through the main entrance. Sometimes they would reappear or were spoken about but most disappear from the series. ²** The best examples include [[spoiler:Bea Smith, Noeline Burke and Joan Ferguson (in the last episode)]]. ²* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Doreen confronts Vera in her own home, Doreen was working in a hospital and after Vera went with [[spoiler:Chrissie to see Elizabeth]] Vera had remarked about Doreen's term in prison, resulting in Doreen being moved to another ward, Doreen upset dresses down Vera that if she died tomorrow nobody would mourn, when Doreen leaves Vera is really hurt by her words.[[note]] It doesn't helped that Erica has warned, in fact promises Vera that if Doreen loses her job, Vera would be reported and if she displays similar behaviour again she would be fired.[[/note]]²** Shelia gives Lexie one after she refuses to be a runner. ²* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Meg Jackson/Morris, without a doubt. Even her anger towards the women after her husband's murder only lasted a couple of episodes. Also Joyce Barry, despite her clumsy behaviour.²* ReunionRevenge: When [[spoiler:Joan Ferguson]] briefly left Wentworth and tried to get a job in security the boss seems to want to employ her for a speical job. The job has [[spoiler:Joan]] forced to type on an broken typewriter and made to do the tea round. She confronts the boss it's [[spoiler:Willie Beecham]] a ex-inmate who has gone straight, using her imprisonment to promote the business, she is now very powerful, she promises [[spoiler:Joan]] that her friends will make sure she'll never get a job anywhere other than the prison and there's nothing [[spoiler:Joan]] can do or say.²* TomboynessUpgrade: Bea Smith went through one near the end of her time at Wentworth.²* SerialKiller: Bev 'The Butcher' Baker.²* SympatheticMurderer: Karen Travers, who killed her adulterous husband in a sort of fugue-like state. Hard to feel very sorry for Bea Smith's husband, too. There's also 'Mum', who helped her terminally ill husband commit suicide.²* SituationalSexuality: Franky Doyle introduces herself to Karen Travers by telling her that she [Karen] will learn to enjoy prison.²* SlowMotionFall: [[spoiler:Nola]] after she is killed by [[spoiler:Bea]] with her zip gun.²* TheVietnamVet: Reb Keane's friend Gary served in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar. He doesn't take kindly to being lectured by Major Ferguson (a WWII veteran).²* WhateverHappenedToTheMouse: Regularly characters were written into the show only to disappear, however there is a solution to them but these are the ones that don't:²** One example where we really don't know is Sandy Edwards, she drove Kate Peterson mad and was going to finish her off behind the bins but she disappears. The character's disappearance was [[spoiler: due to the actress being pregnant]], however it's up in the air if she was murdered by Peterson or she escaped in the truck.²** Sonia Stevens, was a policeman's wife who replaced Bea Smith as Top Dog after she left for good, she began playing the prisoners and The Freak, she ends up being kidnapped by a gangster to get her husband out of hiding [[spoiler:he faked his death and is killed afterwards]], she escapes and is on the run when the police catch up with her... and the storyline ends there, fans still question what happened to Stevens.²** The final episode ends with the fates of several character still unknown like [[spoiler:Kath Maxwell or Rodney Adams]] it has been noticed that they are missing in the final scene. ²----

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