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Series / Porridge

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"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 slang for being imprisoned ("doing porridge"), Porridge is a prison comedy that aired on The BBC between 1973 and 1977 with three seasons, two Christmas specials and a film. It was written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who also wrote The Likely Lads and its sequel Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Set in the fictional Slade Prison, Porridge starred 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 (Fulton Mackay) and the soft Mr Barrowclough (Brian Wilde)), avoid trouble with the Prison Governor (who thinks he runs the place) and avoid the wrath of Harry Grout (Peter Vaughan) (an East End gang boss who really does).

For reference and interest, the prisoners and their crimes are:

  • Fletcher (Barker) - Probably breaking and entering, although a speech that may have been a joke claims it was the theft of a lorry (five years).
  • Godber (Beckinsale) - Breaking and entering (two years).
  • Blanco (David Jason) - 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 (life sentence, tariff 16 years or less, had served 17 years by the time he was pardoned and released).
  • "Genial" Harry Grout (Vaughan) - Crime and sentence unknown but required extradition from Italy.
  • Heslop (Brian Glover) - Robbery (three years).
  • McClaren (Tony Osoba) - Crime unknown (three years).
  • Harris (Ronald Lacey) - 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 (Maurice Denham) - 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" (Christopher Biggins) - Crime and sentence unknown but shown to be able to steal a man's watch off his wrist with a handshake.
  • Bernard "Horrible" Ives (Ken Jones) - Fraud (sentence unknown). Universally loathed.

Came seventh in Britains Best Sitcom. 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 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. A six-episode series followed in 2017.

Tropes used in Porridge include:

  • Accidental Misnaming:
    Governor: What about that comedian chappie - Jimmy Tarbrush?
    Mackay: Buck, sir.
    Governor: Yes, Buck Tarbrush.
  • All for Nothing: Fletcher reveals he once broke into his son's school the night before an exam, stole the exam papers, and went through all the questions with him. Turns out he wasted his time though, as "he still didn't bleedin' pass!"
  • And a Diet Coke: 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.
  • Anti-Hero: Fletcher mostly means well, and isn’t truly a bad man at heart. However, he is a shameless thief and habitual criminal.
  • Anti-Villain: Mackay may be harsh, but he sincerely believes it is in his prisoners' best interests.
  • As You Know: Played With in "Pardon Me", with Barrowclough informing the prison governor of a way they can get out of a huge media event over one of the prisoners' proposed hunger strike. Instead, they can simply pardon said prisoner (his goal). Barrowclough prefaces every statement about the Penal Code with "As I'm sure you know...", but only out of politeness; it's patently obvious that the prison governor does not know:
    Barrowclough: There may be a way out of this, you see, a solution to our problem. As I'm sure you're... well aware, given your deep knowledge of the Penal Code.
    Governor: Yeeeeesss ... Refresh my memory, would you, Mr Barrowclough, please?
    Barrowclough: Well, you see, it's Subsection 23, Part 3, Paragraph D.
    Governor: Yes, D, of course, D... Jog my memory again, would you, Mr Barrowclough?
    Barrowclough: Well, as I'm sure you... know, sir...
  • Batman Gambit: Fletcher once wrote to his wife from prison, advising her to start growing vegetables and to dig up the garden as soon as possible. The next day a dozen policemen showed up at Fletch's house with shovels.
    McLaren: Typical. Did they find the stuff?
    Fletcher: Course they didn’t, it was in the bottom drawer of the wardrobe. Just my way of getting the garden turned over, see. Why let Isobel do it when you’ve got twelve great big nosey coppers with spades?
  • The Bet: In "The Hustler", Fletcher bets Ives that he can run an illegal gambling game without being caught. Ives, of course, snitches on them and wins the bet. But it turns out Fletcher had also bet the entire wing that he'd get moved to a single cell by Monday, and gets his wish when the governor decides that his gambling activities make him a bad influence on his cellmates, while Ives is left to face the usual treatment that prisoners dish out to snitches.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Blanco is one of the gentlest inmates in the entire prison. However it’s revealed in his final appearance that he killed the man who murdered his wife and framed him for the crime years earlier.
  • The Big Guy:
    • In the event anything physical needs to be done, such as dragging Harris to a mock trial or starting a riot, it always falls to McLaren to do it. Not that he complains.
    • There's also Crusher, the huge inmate who serves as Grouty's enforcer.
  • Black Face: In "The Hustler", Mackay arranges for a delivery of coke at the same time and place that Fletcher and his friends are playing Snakes & Ladders. They hastily exit, covered in soot.
    Mackay: Welcome to the Black & White Minstrel Show!
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: Fletcher does this when reading out a letter from Warren's wife.
  • Bottle Episode: "A Night In" may be the ultimate example. It consists almost entirely of two men talking in a darkened room.
  • The Boxing Episode: In "The Harder They Fall" Godber takes up boxing, culminating in a Double Knockout.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: According to Fletcher, the prison football team has a good mix of "youth, experience, flair and brutality".
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "A Storm in a Teacup", when a bottle of pills is found in Fletcher and Godber's cell, they engage in a brief round of Stereo Fibbing around "indigestion" and "nerves" before finally settling on the pills being for Fletch's "nervous indigestion. And sometimes vice versa."
  • British Brevity: 21 episodes. The show came to an end at theheight of its popularity, at Ronnie Barker's request.
  • Bungled Suicide: Reg Urwin reveals that while stealing in a supermarket, he decided to commit suicide and charged the glass doors. However, the doors were automatic and opened before he hit them, so instead he just crashed into a policeman, who arrested him for attempted theft.
  • The Butcher: In The Movie, Fletch points out an inmate known as "The Mad Butcher of Eastgate".
    Rudge: (nervously) "So what did he do?"
    Fletch: "Fiddled the V.A.T on his sausages."
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Ives often suffers from this, for example getting badly stung by a rare insect while out on a working party, and he almost always brings it on himself.
    • Generally Harris' unpleasant deeds come back to bite him. He was even arrested when he tried to mug a little old lady, only for it to turn out she had a brick in her handbag.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: When Harry Grout is forced into organizing the digging of an escape tunnel for another prisoner, the noise of the tunneling is covered up by a choir singing Christmas carols.
  • Canon Foreigner: Warder Mr Beale and cons Oakes and Rudge only appear in the movie.
  • Character Tics:
    • Fletcher has a habit of looking to the ceiling when someone enters his cell.
    • Mr Mackay's neck twitch and very lopsided smile. He also clicks his heels before marching off.
  • Christmas Special: Two of 'em:
    • In 1975's "No Way Out", a planned escape causes all kinds of trouble just before Christmas, and Fletch attempts to spend some valuable time in the infirmary.
    • In 1976's "The Desperate Hours", Fletcher, Godber, Barrowclough and the governor's secretary are held hostage by a mad prisoner with a homemade gun attempting to escape.
  • Chronic Villainy: 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".
  • Circular Reasoning: In "Rough Justice", Judge Stephen Rawley, convicted of corruption, gets out on appeal. Fletcher notes that Mackay is now calling him Mister Rawley (he only refers to prisoners by their surname).
    Mackay: Certainly. If the appeal court judges say his nose is clean, that's good enough for me. They are men of the highest integrity in the land.
    Fletcher: What're you talking about? He's one of them!
    Mackay: Precisely. And he's innocent, which proves my point.
  • Comedic Work, Serious Scene: Godber gets into an argument with another prisoner and intends to fight him. Fletcher is dead set against it as it will put time on his sentence. And we realise despite his flippancy Fletcher regrets the life choices he has made and doesn't want Godber to repeat them.
    Fletcher: "And that girl you think is waiting for you, she won't be waiting anymore. She'll have taken up with some other fella. And he won't be you but he drinks with his boss and he plays for the right cricket team and he ain't ever been in any FLAMING NICK!"
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: In the film episode, Fletcher and Godber accidentally get caught up in Oakes's escape plot, and unwillingly end up going with him. Oakes thinks he is doing them a favour, but Fletcher firmly tells him this is not true, because they have less than a year to go on their sentences. He persuades Oakes to abandon them in the road, leaving them to find their way back to the prison, and to break back in.
  • Cool Old Guy: Blanco is friendly, cheerful and in many ways a cunning man. He used his prison allotment to secretly make alcohol and he is quite well liked by most of the inmates.
  • Criminal Procedural: Of the convict variety.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Episodes 3 and 4 are "A Night In" and "A Day Out".
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Double Subverted. Fletcher strongly disapproves of his daughter Ingrid dating and becoming engaged to Godber. However, Fletch doesn't hate Godber, he actually likes him a lot, but he's also painfully aware that he was a poor husband and father due to being in and out of prison his whole life, and fears the same thing happening again.
  • "Dear John" Letter: The storyline of "Heartbreak Hotel" is Godber getting a letter from his girlfriend Denise.
    Fletcher: A "Dear John" letter?
    Godber: No, a "Dear Lenny" letter.
  • Decision Darts: Fletcher mentions that in his previous prison they used to run a roulette game 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. It came to an end when the croupier got careless one night: "now the screw turns a blind eye to everything".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Mackay tells the new officer Beale about his pride and joy, the Prison Officers' club.
    Mackay: The prison officers have a club. It's called the Prison Officers' Club.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Urwin's escape plan. As Fletcher points out, there is very little chance his demand for a "copter and ten grand in used notes" will be granted, and nor will he end up in Acapulco.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Grouty mentions an inmate who put four prison guards in hospital because someone knocked over his jigsaw puzzle.
  • Disregard That Statement: In "Rough Justice" former judge Stephen Rawley keeps saying this in his futile attempt to stop the ad hoc trial of Harris being a Kangaroo Court. No-one pays any attention.
  • The Ditz:
    • Heslop.
    • Warren too, to a lesser extent.
    Warren: Objection!
    Rawley: ...Well go on, Warren. What is your objection?
    Warren: ...I don't know.
    • Blanco also has his moments:
    Blanco: There was me and two brothers. There was Jack Barrett, and Harry... er...
    Fletcher: Barrett, was it?
    Blanco: That's right! Did you know him?
    Fletcher: Well only through his brother, like.
  • Double Entendre: In "New Faces, Old Hands", while going through the daily schedule:
    Mackay: Twelve o'clock - midday bang up. (Godber looks startled.) Not what you think, laddie.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Amongst the Prison guards, Mackay holds this reputation, as he is easily the harshest and toughest of them all.
    • Harry Grout is feared throughout the prison, simply because everyone knows displeasing him will end with him sending one of his many heavies after you, or worse. Even Fletcher is terrified of him.
    • Mr Wainwright, Mackay's temporary replacement, also has this reputation.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mackay, who was a sergeant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment, before he was a prison officer. He likewise still acts like he is.
  • Double Knockout: During their boxing match, Godber and Nesbitt knock each other out with the first punch, having both been intimidated to lose. It works out well for Fletcher, though, as he was the only person in the prison to bet on a draw.
  • Exact Words: An exchange between Mackay and Fletcher:
    Mackay: Alright Fletcher, just don't let me catch you thieving!
    Fletcher: I won't.
    Mackay: You won't what?
    Fletcher: I won't let you catch me Mr Mackay!
  • Expy: Harry Grout bears something of a resemblance to a certain Mr. Bridger, and is apparently doing time for some sort of job in Italy...
  • Extreme Omnivore: Evans, one of Fletcher's early cellmates, likes to eat light bulbs and even eats Fletcher's shaving mirror.
  • Fakeout Escape: This is the resolution of "No Way Out", where boss-prisoner Grouty is strong-armed by contacts outside the prison into organising an escape tunnel for a stupid but well-connected inmate. The tunnel progresses and the noise is masked by a choir singing Christmas carols. Grouty is pessimistic about pulling it off, while crafty convict Fletch frets that if a prisoner escapes so close to Christmas, privileges will be withdrawn to everyone and Dec 25th will become just another grim, grey, day inside. Fletch eventually comes up with a face-saving solution allowing Grouty to keep his cred with the London gangs who are pressuring him; allow the warders to discover the tunnel. They will be so pleased at finding it that they will not be looking for the escapee being smuggled out by other means, ie hidden in a garbage truck.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: In the movie, McKay's false teeth fall into a vat of curry. Fletcher seizes them and frightens Godber with them. McKay sends Mr Barrowclough to bargain with Fletcher to get them back.
  • Faux Affably Evil: 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 if 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.
    Fletcher: That's Harry Grout, he runs this nick.
    Rudge: I thought that was the governor's job.
    Fletcher: Only officially. Next time you meet him, bow, curtsy, or lick his boots if that's what he wants, all right?
  • Framing the Guilty Party: As nice as Blanco is, there is still the fact his wife's lover killed her, he killed the lover and then he got sent down for the murder of his wife.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: Each episode played the closing credits over a still of the final shot. Only the 1975 Christmas special added a brief continuation.
  • Freudian Excuse: McLaren is aggressive and resorts to violence far too quickly. However, his life hasn't been a happy one, growing up in Scotland as a mixed race illegitimate orphan. Fletcher even acknowledges he's had it "harder than most".
  • From the Latin "Intro Ducere": Fletch averts it for humorous effect in this exchange with Warden Barrowclough:
    Fletcher: If you want to do something for us, give us more freedom, better grub, conjugal visits.
    Mr. Barrowclough: What?
    Fletcher: Conjugals. From the Latin "conjugari", meaning "to have it away".
  • Fun with Acronyms: In "Pardon Me", Fletcher forms CROW, the Campaign for the Release of Old Webb. They were going to call it the the Campaign for the Release And Pardon of Old Webb, but...
  • Gambit Roulette: Fletcher's plan to get moved to a single cell involves: 1, Ives betting him that he won't be able to set up an illegal betting game without being caught. 2, Ives informing on him to the guards. 3, The guards catching them while the game is in progress. 4, The prison governor deciding that Fletcher is a bad influence on his cellmates and moving him to a single cell. It works.
  • Gargle Blaster: Fletcher and Godber's prison moonshine in "The Desperate Hours":
    Fletcher: Now I warn you gentlemen, this one isn't quite so smooth, alright? So go very carefully, otherwise not only will you lose the flavour and the bouquet, you'll probably lose your powers of speech as well!
  • Gentle Giant: At 6ft 3, Barrowclough is the tallest prison officer, and easily towers over the rest of the cast. Nevertheless he is an all-around gentle and friendly man.
  • Glad I Thought of It: In "Pardon Me", when Barrowclough suggests that the Governor pardons Blanco:
    Governor: Yes, of course! It would certainly put paid to any idea of a hunger strike being splashed across the newspapers!
    Barrowclough: Yes, well, you know, taking it by and large, and all round I did think it was a good idea.
    Governor: Yes, yes indeed! Well, I'm paid to come up with good ideas in situations like these.
  • Going in Circles: Fletcher does this in the pilot episode. After getting Barrowclough drunk in the abandoned cottage they've taken shelter in, Fletcher sees a chance to escape. He spends the night running across the moors until he comes across another cottage. It's the very same cottage.
    Barrowclough: Fletcher what are you doing here?
    Fletcher: That's what I'd like to know!
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Barrowclough and Mackay, respectively. The former is more sympathetic and believes in rehabilitating the prisoners whilst the latter is far stricter and prefers to hand out punishments.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The writers came up with the word 'Naff/Naffing' for the inmates to use as an expletive. It made front-page headlines when Princess Anne told a troublesome photographer to "Naff off!" Naff is apparently also a mild swear word in South Africa. It appears to predate Porridge. But the British Royal Family (including a juvenile Anne) used to regularly visit until it was advised it might be better if they stayed away.
  • Great Escape: "No Way Out" centres around an attempt by an inmate to tunnel out of the prison. The movie features a more successful escape that includes an unwilling Fletcher and Godber, who then have to break back in to Slade.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: McLaren will get aggressive at the slightest provocation. It's especially bad in his first appearance, where he even grabs Fletcher by the collar for simply knocking into him. Deconstructed, as this trait effectively ruined his life, and is the reason he's in prison in the first place. Fletcher outright spells out to him how if he turned the other cheek a few more times he wouldn't be in his present situation, and it isn't worth sacrificing so much just for his pride. As such he mellows out in later appearances, but it never completely goes away.
  • Hates Everyone Equally:
    • Mackay:
    Mackay: I want you to know that I treat you all with equal contempt.
    • And his (temporary) successor, Mr Wainwright:
    Wainwright: I hate liberals, longhairs, pill-heads, winos, queens, slags, squealers, pikeys and greaseballs. (to Godber) Are you in there son?
    Fletcher: Isn't everybody?
  • Hellhole Prison: Averted here. As prisons go, Slade isn't that bad.
  • Henpecked Husband: There are many hints that Mr Barrowclough is one of these.
  • Holier Than Thou: Mr Banyard, a former dentist who was arrested over a possibly lethal accident involving some patients and some laughing gas, takes this attitude when Fletcher is investigating the theft of a tin of pineapple chunks from his cell, making the point that he's not a career criminal like everyone else and is therefore above suspicion. Fletch calls him out on this, pointing out that one way or another he's still a convict, and that regardless of what he thinks of his own crime, "for the ladies in question it was no laughing matter, was it?"
  • How Many Fingers?:
    (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.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Fletcher lectures Godber for making personal remarks about other people:
    Fletcher: I was saying to Jackie, too many youngsters poke fun at people 'cos they've got short legs or long legs or bow legs.
    Godber: Who's Jackie?
    Fletcher: Jackie. Him in the hobby shop. Little fat poof with ears like jug handles.
    • Fletcher steals McLaren's orange in "Ways and Means", then is outraged when he thinks a fellow prisoner has stolen his pineapple chunks in "Just Desserts". He even steals Warren's polos whilst hectoring the others about it. There is also the fact that Fletcher himself stole the pineapple chunks from the prison kitchen. He is equally indignant when he discovers that it was actually Barrowclough who took them back during a random sweep of his cell.
    • Fletcher is also outraged when he discovers why he can't persuade Godber to lose his upcoming boxing match (he has already been persuaded by someone else).
  • I Drank WHAT?!: Warren's reaction when he learns that Fletcher and Godber put anti-freeze in their prison moonshine.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: 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!
  • I Won't Say I'm Guilty: A variation: Long-time convict Blanco is granted parole but bitterly refuses to accept it, insisting that he was wrongly convicted all along and wants a pardon instead.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: In "Pardon Me":
    Godber: Come on, Fletch. Nothing you could say about the old bloke would set me against him. He's one of the nicest blokes in here. He's kind and gentle, it doesn't matter to me what he's done.
    Fletcher: Done his wife... done her in. Locked her in the deep-freeze.
    Godber: What, and we knock around with a despicable old scrote like that?
  • Insane Troll Logic: 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 questions than it settles...
    Q: What became of the soil that was excavated from the tunnel?
    A: They dug another tunnel and put it all down there.
  • It Tastes Like Feet:
    • Fletcher often describes Godber's cooking in these terms.
    Godber: He's been sitting in his cell since chow, just staring at the wall.
    Fletcher: Well, he's just had his first experience of your cottage pie. Best not to move about too much after that.
    • Fletcher and Godber's prison moonshine, stored in a disinfectant bottle, has this effect on Warren, McClaren and Tulip.
  • Jerkass:
    • Ives is a lazy, cowardly, snivelling cheat and snitch; as such, he is despised by most of the prison. Even Mackay calls him "Horrible Ives".
    • Norris and Harris also qualify.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fletch is a morally bankrupt career criminal who's prone to being demanding, manipulative, and rude, and views his own arrest and imprisonment as an occupational hazard in a career of housebreaking, but he takes first-timer Godber under his wing and gives him useful advice to get him through his two-year sentence, and while he does admit to having been unfaithful to his wife at one point, he does seem to care about his family.
    "My youngest has just got into grammar school... It's nice, but it costs a lot - you know, books, equipment, all that sort of thing. When my son started there, he didn't want for nothing - rugby boots, blazer, the lot. He wouldn't have had them if his dad was just a clerk. He had them because his father had just robbed a school outfitter's."
  • Kangaroo Court: 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 they're right, and he returns the watch when MacLaren threatens to "extract" a confession.
  • The Killer in Me: Blanco is in prison for murdering his wife years ago but repeatedly protests his innocence. After eventually being granted a full pardon, he reveals he knows exactly what happened to the actual murderer: Blanco killed him before being arrested for the wrong murder.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Harry Grout. Peter Vaughan 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 Black Comedy.
  • Last-Name Basis: Nearly every inmate is exclusively referred to by their last name.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": "Bunny" Warren is severely dyslexic, and indeed illiterate. He blames his condition for his incarceration.
    Fletcher: Oh, here it comes, the sob story.
    Warren: No, Fletch, it's true. I couldn't read the sign.
    Fletcher: What sign?
    Warren: The one saying "Warning, Burglar alarm".
  • Likes Older Women: While Godber's main relationships are with young women, in "The Desperate Hours," he talks about liking mature women when admiring the governor's middle-aged secretary. He also talks at length about his crush on his Auntie Pauline.
  • London Gangster: 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.
  • Lovable Coward: Mr. Barrowclough is much more timid than Mr. Mackay, and lets his fear slip out during situations he believes to be tense. He is noticeably worried when Mackay leaves him alone to supervise the prison work party, and he spends his entire encounter with the unstable Reg Urwin trembling. However, he is such a nice and friendly guy that it's hard to dislike him.
  • Loveable Rogue: Fletcher has been in prison for much of his life, is described as a habitual criminal and is quite immoral. However, he is constantly supportive to the other newer inmates: he helps Godber adapt to his incarceration, makes McLaren realise that his temper is causing him most of his problems, and writes several of their letters to their lovers (including Lukewarm's boyfriend) due to the others were worrying that their imprisonment could wreck their relationships. Likewise, his quick wit provides a lot of the show's humour.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: We see Harry Grout only three times (four if you count The Movie), 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.
    Grouty: It was a little treat for him, he'd never been south of Worthing before.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Fletcher is something of a master at manipulation, adapting his tactics depending on his target. He plays on Mr Barrowclough's gentle nature and sympathy towards the inmates to get him to agree to things he shouldn't, such as letting him run off to town while out on a workday on a supposed mercy mission, when instead he sneaks off to the pub, or getting him extra blankets for his cell. With the Governor, he uses charm, and carefully pays attention to every piece of information he finds out about him. He finds him the perfect sized book to fix his wobbly cabinet, distracting him long enough to steal several items off his desk. When it comes to the other inmates, Fletcher just convincingly lies, knowing most of them are too stupid to realize until it's too late. For example, he convinces Ives that Little Women is an erotic classic about a tribe of sex-starved female pygmies in Malaysia, so Ives eagerly pays to borrow the book.
  • Master Forger:
    • Whilst never seen, "Inky" Stevens, described by Harry Grout as "the finest forger in the country", is serving a term in Slade prison. He's so good that when Grouty needs to arrange an inmate's escape, he has a blank passport smuggled into Slade for Stevens to forge, rather than trust his contacts on the outside.
    • Fletcher can forge Barrowclough's signature so well that even Barrowclough is fooled by it.
  • Master Poisoner: Riggs, who now works in the prison kitchens.
    Fletcher: He's a cause celebre in his home town of Newcastle-under-Lyme. Come to think of it, most of his relatives are under lime now.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Fletcher is adept at this:
    Mr Beale: Long to do?
    Fletcher: Long enough.
    Mr Beale: What are you in for?
    Fletcher: Got caught.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: "Genial" Harry Grout isn't necessarily shown to be running any business outside the prison, but he's certainly more in control of the prison itself than the governor is.
  • Military Moonshiner: Not military, but still a strictly regimented, all-male institution. "The Desperate Hours" features one of the prisoners distilling hooch in one of the shower blocks. Served in a disinfectant bottle, its taste causes Fletch to comment that they should have taken the disinfectant out first.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Subverted. Lifer Blanco Webb was wrongly convicted in 1957 of killing his wife. Fletch manages to get him pardoned and he's released, but it turns out he is guilty of murder, just not the murder he was convicted of.
    Fletch: Listen, we all know that you didn't kill your old lady, see. Which means that some other bloke did. And you've paid the penance for it, right? But I don't want you going out there harbouring any thoughts of revenge, alright?
    Blanco: No. I know 'im wot did it. It were the wife's lover. But don't worry, I shan't go round searching for him, 'e died years ago.
    Fletch: Well, that's alright then...
    Blanco: That I do know. It were me that killed him!
  • The Movie: 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.
  • Mugging the Monster: Fletcher claims that Harris is in prison for attempting to mug an old lady, but unfortunately for Harris she had a brick in her handbag and kept him pinned down until the police arrived.
  • My Nayme Is: Reg Urwin repeatedly mentions that his surname is spelt with a "U". Justified, as the homophonous name Irwin is much more common so Reg has probably spent his whole life doing this.
  • Mystery Meat:
    • In the feature-length episode, the prison food is sometimes unknown, coming from a tin which says "tinned meat". This also happens with a tin labelled "fruit pie filling".
    McKay: What's on the menu today, Godber?
    Godber: Meat, sir.
    McKay: What sort of meat?
    Godber: I don't know, it just says "tinned meat", sir. On the tin, like.
    • Fletcher also queries the turkey served at Christmas.
    Fletcher: They call it turkey, but we can't be sure. If it is, then last year's turkey must have been a very funny shape - 28 legs and no breast!
  • Naïve Newcomer: Porridge:
    • First-time offender Godber qualifies as this, and shares a cell with serial offender Fletcher.
    • The movie introduces the new screw Mr Beale, who tries to be stern and tough with Fletcher. Fletcher sings about him when he first sees Mr Beale, with his newly polished boots.
      Fletcher: Do you see yon screw with his look so vain,
      With his brand new keys on his brand new chain,
      With a face like a ferret and a pea for a brain,
      And his hand on his whistle in the morning.
  • Neverending Terror: In the movie, Fletcher explains that escaping from prison is not glamorous at all, because of the constant fear of being discovered, which is why he has not tried to escape himself.
  • Never Learned to Read: "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. In 'Rough Justice' Bunny says he's actually dyslexic.
  • Noodle Incident: Mr Baynard, the ex-dentist, is in prison for an incident involving laughing gas, "which was no laughing matter for the ladies involved". We never find out exactly what he did.
  • No Theme Tune: The opening is the top-of-the-page quote (voiced by Ronnie Barker as the judge) over a locking-the-prisoners-up montage. There is a closing theme tune though.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Often. Fletcher delivers lines like:
    Godber: I mean, we're all here for different reasons, aren't we?
    Fletcher: With respect, Godber, we are all here for the same reason... we got caught.
  • Odd Couple: 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.)
  • Office Romance: Mr Barrowclough has apparently been having an affair with the governor's secretary.
  • The Old Convict: 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.)
  • Opening Narration: See the top of the page.
  • Ordered to Cheat: In "The Harder They Fall", Fletcher is forced to tell Godber that Grouty wants him to take a dive in the fifth round of the prison boxing championship. Godber says he can't do it; before proving he has become more prison-smart by revealing that's because he's already promised a rival gangster to go down in the third.
  • Overt Rendezvous: When Grouty wants to discuss secret plans, he often has his meeting in a communal area, such as the doctor's waiting room, or the toilets, using his henchmen to bully the other prisoners out of the area first.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "Naff". Fletcher has also referred to Warden Mackay as a "charmless Celtic nerk" at least once.
  • Pet Homosexual: "Lukewarm".
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Mackay is sometimes supportive of Godber due to his willingness to study and take part in physical activity, unlike Fletcher.
    • Despite claiming to hate all inmates, Mackay is shown to be softer on the more well-behaved ones. For instance he's encouraging toward Kegan, even making him a trustee and giving him the job of serving the Governors coffee, despite him murdering his wife.
    • Following Fletcher revealing the existence of an escape tunnel to him and defusing a very tense situation between the inmates and the guards, Mackay gave Fletcher a bottle of Scottish Whiskey as a Christmas present.
    • A literal example is discussed where Mackay stroked the Governor's dog, but hilariously the dog bit Mackay.
  • Pilot: Porridge was one of seven pilot episodes commissioned by the BBC as a star vehicle for Ronnie Barker. Entitled "Prisoner and Escort", it saw the newly-convicted Fletcher being escorted to Slade prison by Mackay and Barrowclough. Another of the pilots, Open All Hours, was also made into a full series.
  • Prison: The setting, though unlike most examples it's a comedy, so there's 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.
  • Prisoner's Work: In "A Day Out", Fletcher and Godber are part of a small work party digging ditches outside the prison (though to Mr Mackay's chagrin, it's not actually a chain gang). In another episode, they have to make fishing nets.
  • Prison Rape: Averted. While sexual tensions and possible assaults are touched upon, they are not dwelt upon, and the main homosexual character, Lukewarm, is a harmless Pet Homosexual. Prison Rape is much rarer in the UK penal system — that's not to say it doesn't happen, but there's a lot less of it about. This is at least partially because the gang culture in UK prisons is less pronounced.
  • Properly Paranoid: Mackay's suspicions about the inmates are so extreme, that he can’'t watch a man tie his shoes without suspecting he's hiding something in his sock. However, when it comes to Fletcher, he's nearly always right.
  • Queer People Are Funny: Done occasionally with Lukewarm. For example, when Fletcher has composed letters to a number of prisoners' wives, he hands them back to the men, "To Mary, my dear Sharon, (handing letter to Lukewarm) my darling Trevor..." (Huge audience laugh.) Later in the same episode, the wives are seen on the bus comparing their suspiciously identical letters and there is another huge laugh when the camera shows a man reading another such letter.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Barrowclough is a fair and reasonable man, he even tells a new prison guard not to ask what a new inmate is in for, as that would lead to judging prisoners for what they've done instead of as people.
  • Rule #1: According to Mr. Mackay, there are only two rules in Slade Prison. Rule number 1: Do not write on the walls. Rule number 2: Obey all the rules. In the same scene he also mentions a rule against more than three prisoners congregating in a cell.
  • Scary Black Man: Jock McLaren (though he's more of a scary Scot who happens to be black).
  • Scary Minority Suspect: Ditto.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Godber, and all other prisoners except Fletcher himself, do not appear in the pilot.
  • Second-Face Smoke: Grouty blows cigar smoke in Fletcher's face, during a meeting with him, in the film episode. Fletcher responds by coughing.
  • Series Continuity Error: In "Poetic Justice", Fletcher complains that Rawley could have rejected the jury's verdict. This goes against the Opening Narration, which states that Fletcher pleaded guilty.
  • Shadow Government: Played with in The Movie. In Slade Prison, the experienced prisoner Fletcher casually comments that the prison is not run by the Governor, but by the gangster criminal Harry Grout, who has hardened allies and minions throughout the prison, and always gets his own way.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Harry Grout only appears in three episodes (and the movie), but became one of the show's most memorable characters.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: Hilariously played with at the end of The Movie episode. After Fletcher and Godber have managed to sneak back into prison after accidentally escaping, McKay tells them he does not believe their alibi at all, mentioning that a farmer saw two thieves running from his apple store. Just as McKay tells them that he'll prove it one day, Fletcher and Godber glance at each other, and simultaneously bite into their stolen apples.
  • Sparse List of Rules: According to Mackay, there are only two rules in Slade Prison. The first is that you do not write on the walls. The second is that you obey all the rules.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted. Fletch is sentenced to five years; as the original series ran for four, the sequel Going Straight focuses on Fletch's release back into society.
  • Stealth Insult: In the movie, Fletcher tells new officer Mr Beale that is probably a legend.
    Fletcher: Afternoon, Mr Beale.
    Mr Beale: How do you know my name?!
    Fletcher: Word gets around, it doesn't take long. I expect you're already a legend on some bog walls.
  • Stereo Fibbing: In "A Storm in a Teacup", the cellmates have to explain a bottle of pills found in their cell.
    Godber: They're Fletch's. They're for his...
    Fletcher/Godber: ...nerves/...indigestion.
    Fletcher/Godber ...indigestion/...nerves.
    Fletcher: I get this nervous indigestion. And sometimes vice versa.
  • Stolen Credit Backfire: In the movie, everyone gladly takes the praise for thinking up the inmate/celebrity football match, but quickly pass the buck when they realise it has resulted in a breakout.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: When a suicidal prisoner climbs on to the prison roof, threatening to jump, Fletcher is asked to talk him down. Fletcher says that it is no good asking McKay to do this, as McKay loathes all prisoners, and would simply tell him to jump.
  • That Was Objectionable: In "Rough Justice", Stephen Rawley (a judge convicted of corruption) finds his watch has gone missing, and Fletcher decides Harris stole it, and arranges a trial with himself prosecuting, Warren defending and —Rawley (against his better judgement) on the bench. It starts well:
    Rawley: How do you plead?
    Harris: Not guilty!
    Fletch: Oh, a liar as well as a thief!
    Warren: I object!
    Rawley: What is your objection?
    Warren ...I dunno.
    Harris: You was objecting to the fact that I was called a liar and a thief!
    Warren: No I wasn't, we all know you're a liar and a thief.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Football hooligan Jarvis, who tells a derogatory, sexual joke to prison heavy Crusher about the latter's wife. Needless to say, Crusher is not amused and reacts violently.
  • Tragic Villain: Reg Urwin from the Christmas Special "Desperate Hours". He takes Fletcher, Godber, Mr Barrowclough and the Governor's secretary hostage and threatens to kill them. However, he turns out to be quite a pathetic figure with psychiatric issues, for which he never received treatment despite being repeatedly recommended. After Fletcher disarms Reg, he and Godber even decide to Throw the Dog a Bone and let him surrender on his own terms rather than take credit for stopping him.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: ABC's short lived On The Rocks.
  • Treasure Map: Blanco has a map showing where his ill-gotten gains are buried, though it turns out to be a fake cooked up by Fletcher to trade for Blanco's stolen effects. The thief, Norris, gets caught trying to dig the fake stash up in the middle of a football pitch.
  • Trojan Horse: In the film episode, Fletcher and Godber unwillingly escape from the prison, having been caught up in Oakes's escape plot. They are made to hide in the luggage compartment of the bus belonging to a visiting football team. Later, they use the same method to break back into the prison. Godber even comments on how this is like a Trojan horse.
    Godber: It's like the Greeks invading Troy.
    Fletcher: Would you mind sparing me the history lesson until we get back into our flowery dell?
  • Twofer Token Minority: McLaren, a man with anger management issues, is both Scottish and black. He is universally known among inmates as Black Jock.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: In "Disturbing the Peace", Mackay is sent away, only to be replaced by the sadistic Napper Wainwright.
  • Unishment: Fletcher spends "No Peace for the Wicked" just wanting some peace and quiet alone in his cell but being constantly bothered by visitors, including other prisoners, warders and a fact-finding team from the Home Office. When the prison chaplain comes to see him he finally snaps and attacks him. He is brought before the prison Governor... who punishes him with three days' solitary confinement, causing Fletcher to ask if it can be extended to a fortnight.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Retasked the existing word 'naff' as an expletive, as in "naff off". Also created 'nerk' (presumably in place of 'berk') and possibly 'scrote'.
  • Vapor Wear: Played for Laughs in "Heartbreak Hotel". When Fletcher's daughter, Ingrid, pays him a visit (in the open-plan visiting room), he is outraged that she's not wearing a bra and all the other prisoners can see it. Next time she visits, she puts a bra on, and just to make sure he knows it, she lifts up her t-shirt to demonstrate.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In the pilot episode, Fletcher urinates in the prison van's fuel tank. The van breaks down soon afterwards. It doesn't go unnoticed by Mackay:
    Mackay: It appears the petrol tank had more in it after our journey than before. Only what was in the tank was certainly not five star!
  • Vetinari Job Security: When Mr Mackay is promoted, a stricter and crueler screw from a prison Fletcher was in earlier in his life replaces him and bullies both the criminals and Mr Barrowclough. The prisoners get rid of him by orchestrating an achievement for Mr Barrowclough and welcome back Mackay with a rendition of "For he's a jolly good fellow".
  • Violent Glaswegian: Jock McLaren, again (though he's actually from Greenock, 27 miles from Glasgow).
  • Wardens Are Evil: Averted. Barrowclaugh 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 nevertheless strikes up a reasonably friendly relationship with Fletcher.
  • We Meet Again: Fletcher and Mr Wainwright. Fletcher and Judge Rawley.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: As mentioned under Vetinari Job Security, Mr Mackay's overly-cruel replacement has the prisoners getting nostalgic.
  • What Are You in For?:
    Fletcher: Got caught.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Heslop, Fletcher's original cellmate, disappears after the first series. Evans, another of Fletcher's early cellmates, also disappears after a few episodes.
  • Wicked Cultured: Grouty listens to opera and has expensive tastes in food and clothes.
  • Will Talk for a Price: Warren getting Spraggon's help in "A Test Of Character":
    Spraggon: They might be screws, but they're okay. Before I met them, I didn't know an apostrophe from a semi-colon, man. When my book is published, I might dedicate it to old Barra - 'cos he trusts me. And you're expecting me to betray that trust, eh? Well, naff off!
    Warren: Listen - tell us where the keys are and there's an ounce of snout in it for you.
    Spraggon: They're in that drawer.
  • Worthy Opponent: Fletcher and Mackay, make no mistake both of them will never miss a chance to get one over on or humiliate the other, but there 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:

  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Performed by Fletch himself, Ronnie Barker.
  • Expository Theme Song: "I'm going straight, along the straight and narrow, and I don't mean straight back to crime..."
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episodes begin "Going..."
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Fletcher is released from Slade in the first episode. He spends the rest of the series trying to adjust to life on the outside and avoid going back to prison.
  • Left the Background Music On: As Fletcher finally steels himself to start an honest job for the first time in his life, the suitably dramatic overture to The Yeomen of the Guard accompanies his determined walk to his new workplace. Cut to the workplace in question, where the radio is playing the same piece.
  • Noodle Incident: The hotelier who gives Fletch a job has never regretted giving prisoners a second chance "except on... two unfortunate occasions".
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Fletcher is sincere in his efforts to "go straight", but no one really believes him. Additionally, as a middle-aged ex-convict, he is doomed to a life of low-paid menial work and finds the temptation to commit another crime pervasive. Ultimately averted as at the end of Going Straight, he rejects an offer to take part in a robbery. According to Norman Stanley Fletcher: Life Beyond the Box, he stayed out of prison thereafter and ended up running a pub with his childhood sweetheart, before earning a £250,000 reward for helping the police recover some stolen jewellery.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Mr Kirby, only seen in the first episode, but Fletcher speaks as if he's known him throughout his stay.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: In the first episode Fletcher says goodbye to McLaren (the only one of his friends from Porridge still in Slade) before he gets out and catches the train to London. Then Mr Mackay turns out to be on the same train.

Tropes used in Norman Stanley Fletcher: Life Beyond The Box include:

  • As Himself: Peter Stringfellow and Melvyn Bragg appear as themselves.
  • Call-Back:
    • In a Porridge episode, Grouty mentioned his ambition to appear on Desert Island Discs. He got his wish.
    • Fletcher ended up marrying Gloria, an old flame he spoke about in "A Night In".
  • Distant Finale: Quite literally.
  • Fake Charity: "Horrible" Ives, the most despicable and untrustworthy character in Slade Prison, is now supposedly collecting for "Help The Blind Doggies".
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: McLaren still has his. The end credits mention that he is currently suspended from the Scottish parliament for nutting a Labour member during a debate.
  • Mockumentary: The episode takes the form of a BBC documentary about Fletcher's life.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Featuring McLaren, Warren, Lukewarm, Ives, Grouty and (right at the end) Fletcher himself.

Tropes used in the 2016 Porridge special include:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Fletch's reaction to having to share his cell with Joe Lotterby.
    Fletch: Can you confirm that you're none of the following: a) a hypochondriac, b) a religious freak, c) a homicidal psycho, or d) a Millwall supporter.
  • Brick Joke: 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.
  • Call-Back: 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.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character:
    • Nigel Fletcher, compared to his grandfather Norman Fletcher. While inheriting his quick wit and a good portion of his savvy, Nigel is young and still learning about being incarcerated, compared to his grandfather (a habitual criminal and Experienced Protagonist). Likewise, unlike his grandfather (who was Book Dumb but very Street Smart and a cunning manipulator), Nigel is highly intelligent, being an accomplished cybercriminal, managing to build a device to remotely hack into the system from inside his cell and even quoting The Other Wiki from memory. He is nevertheless a fast learner though.
    • Joe Lotterby, compared to Leonard Godber, who was young, idealistic and naive, having never been to prison before. Lotterby is a cynical (but cheerful and harmless) The Old Convict, who knows several tricks about being imprisoned, but is still quite Book Dumb, especially compared to the more academically interested Godber.
  • Continuity Nod: Ingrid and Godber are still married, and he made the arrangements for Fletcher to run a "real pub, you know for geezers".
  • Dead Guy Junior: Fletch's middle name is Norman, after his grandfather.
  • Generation Xerox: Nigel Norman Fletcher, or Fletch, as he prefers 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 give the V-sign to Meekie, just like his granddad did with Mackay.
  • Hollywood Hacking: 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 is still being run in Windows XP.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Fletch easily bonds with his new elderly cellmate Lotterby, especially since he knew his grandfather. He then reveals to Lotterby that while he was snooping in the prison records, he gave him an Age Lift so that he'll be released three years sooner.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: While working the graveyard shift, Braithwaite is about to click on a pinup site when Fletch triggers the fire alarms from Meekie's computer.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Wakeley Prison is a high tech 21st century minimum security prison, with foosball and pool tables 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 as to 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.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Governor Hallwood's password is Porridge. The look on her face when Fletch realizes it indicates that she's a bit embarrassed by this.
  • Playful Hacker: What Fletch sees himself as, arguing (unconvincingly) that everything he has done amounts to a series of victimless crimes and that he's donated a lot of money to charity (just not his own money). The law however sees him as a dangerous cybercriminal.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Mr Meekie to Mr MacKay, both being overly suspicious, harsh Scottish prison officers who have their eyes fixed upon Fletcher. Although Meekie isn't as sharp or as experienced as MacKay.
    • Mr Braithwaite to Mr Barraclough, fitting the softer, more caring prison officer dynamic in contrast to MacKay and Meekie's harsher one. Although Braithwaite is noticeably less naive and more cunning than Barraclough ever was.
  • What Are You in For?:
    • 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 was convicted of drug possession, despite him claiming that he bought the drugs for his wife. He does sleep through the fire alarms because he 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 The Other Wiki.