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Doing Time, A New Helping Of TV Classic 'Porridge'!

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MamasDoin'Fine
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joined:9/28/08
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Doing Time, A New Helping Of TV Classic  'Porridge'!
Starting an 8 week UK tour in September is a new stage adaption of the classic BBC TV comedy form the 1970s, 'Porridge'.
The series ran from 1973 to 1977 but is constanty on reruns over 30 years later. The TV show starred the amazing Ronnie Barker as Fletcher with a great cast that included Fulton MacKay, the late Richard Beckinsale and Christopher Biggins.
The tour has yet to be cast and will be a new story written by the original writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.
Venues include Wimbledon, Newcastle and Cardiff.
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tommyslim
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its also playing the christmas season at the lowry... however i don't know how well it will sell with white xmas and the sound of music also fitting into the audience demographic all showing at the same time.
"Lateness is a choice" - Sir Trevor Nunn
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MamasDoin'Fine
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Shaun williamson has just been announced to play Fletcher.
re: Doing Time, A New Helping Of TV Classic  'Porridge'!
'The former 'Eastenders' star shaun Williamson is to step into the shoes of of Britain's top comedy greats, the late Ronnie Barker, in a new stage production of the TV classic 'Porridge'.
Williamson will play Norman Stanley Fletcher- career criminal and lovable rouge- in the revival of the Seventies TV sitcom this coming autumn.
Barker won critical acclaim for his on screen relationship with cellmate Lennie Godber, a first time offender whom Fletcher took under his wing at HMP Slade in Cumberland.
The BBC sitcom ran for 3 seasons from 1974 to 1977 and was voted 7th in a 2004 poll of the 100 top British comedies. There were 2 Christmas specials and a cinema movie plus a sequel series called 'Going Straight'.
Williamson won the role after Peter Katy turnded own the part. That decision came as a big surprise to his many fans as Kay has in the past publicly credited ¡Porridge' and Ronnie Barker as his comedy inspirations. But perhaps Kay was unwilling to take on what will no doubt be a difficult role in a difficult theatre production.
Adapting well know TV shows for the stage is tricky at the best of times, but even more so with a show like 'Porridge', which is largely devoid of any visual humor, and relies instead on the relationships with the characters.
Williamson is reported to be both 'terrified and excited' at the prospect of playing one of the British comedy's greatest anti-heroes. Williamson has more recently been seen on TV in Ricky Gervais's 'Extras' and on stage in the latest production of 'Saturday Night Fever'.
Fans of the TV seres will delighted that the original writers, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, are penning the stage play, and will hope the show brings back some of the perfectly crafted dialogue between Fletcher, Godber and prison wardens Mackay and Barrowclough.
The two writers whose other TV shows include 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' and 'The Likely Lads', enjoy one of the most acclaimed partnerships in British television. They have also written a number of screenplays, including an adaption of Roddy Doyle's 1991 movie 'The Commitments'.
The show is being staged by Calibre Productions, which recently finished touring 'Dad's Army'
The UK tour of 'Poriidge' opens on August the 28th and tours for 12 weeks.'


Ronnie Barker famously turned down a huge wage packet to put Fletcher on stage at the London Palladium in 1981.
He had an immense fear of performing live on stage.
He did however appear with Ronnie Corbett in a stage version of their TV variety show 'The Two Ronnies' at the London Palladium for 12 sell out weeks in 1983 and that was indeed his last stage appearance.
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hotjohn
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Porridge has to be one of THE best written sitcoms of all time (the tag 'sitcom' hardly does it justice). The fact that Clement and Le Frenais managed to get so much drama, let alone comedy, out of a few people in cramped cells could only be matched by the writing genius of Pinter or Galton and Simpson (or maybe Samuel Beckett).

Not unlike 'Fawlty Towers' and its 12 episodes, it still amazes me to think that 'Porridge' only ran to a total of 20 episodes including Christmas specials; although, unlike 'Fawlty', it employed a far softer, sentimental style of humour.

As such a huge fan of the TV series, I shall reserve judgement and wait for the first night reviews. If it wasn't for the involvement of the original writers I would be horrified - not that that made any difference to the abomination which is the revival of 'Reggie Perrin'.
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lovepigeon
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You only have to look at that hideous casting to know what kind of budget this show is going to have. Williamson was a regular at the chronically cheap Marlowe of all places (*shudder*).