Following a one off special the BBC have confirmed that popular 1970s show Porridge will be making a comeback for a full series. Porridge first hit our screens in 1973 and ran for 4 years. The popular sitcom starred Ronnie Barker who played an old lag, Norman, who spent more than half his life in jail, and Richard Beckinsale who played his cellmate, Lennie Godber. The new series will be centred around Fletcher’s grandson who has also ended up in jail for a succession of cyber-crimes.
Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, the show’s original writers, will write the new series which will come out next year
It is not the one BBC TV show that was revived this year. New episodes of twentieth century sitcoms were remade for a ‘landmark sitcom season’ marking the 50th anniversary of Hancock’s Half Hour first appearing on our screens. Hancock’s Half Hour was a series that was largely broadcast live, running from July 1956 to 1961, having made the leap from radio to TV. An episode entitled ‘The New Neighbour’ was recreated for BBC Four as part of a ‘Lost Sitcoms’ series featuring re-recordings of classic sitcom episodes for which the original footage has been lost, but the scripts survive. The other episodes were Steptoe and Son’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’ and Till Death Us Do Part’s ‘A Woman’s Place is in the Home’. Each episode was recorded by a brand new cast in front of a live studio audience.
Fast Show star Simon Day played Till Death Us Do Part’s Alf Garnett, a role originally made famous by Warren Mitchell, whilst Call the Midwife’s Lizzie Roper took on the part of Else, originally played by Dandy Nichols. Steptoe and Son’s Albert and Ed was played by Jeff Rawle and Ed Coleman, whilst Hancock’s Half Hour featured Kevin McNally as Hancock, accompanied by Jon Culshaw as Sid, Katy Wix as Hattie Jacques and Kevin Eldon as John Vere.
Other classic comedies that returned to our screens in a series of one-off specials included Porridge, Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served?, Goodnight Sweetheart, Up Pompeii! and The Good Life. Him and Her actress Kerry Howard, who played a younger version of ruthless social climber Hyacinth Bucket in the Keeping Up Appearances revival, took tips from her 87-year-old predecessor, Patricia Routledge, who she says showed her ‘how your body embodies a gag’.
Benidorm actress and ‘Loose Woman’ Sherrie Hewson took on the role
of Mrs Slocombe in the latest instalment of Are You Being Served?, which was
set in 1988, picking up three years after the original series ended.
Nicholas Lyndhurst, has reprised his role as time traveller Gary
Sparrow, left stranded in 1945 back in June 1999, when Goodnight
Sweetheart left our screens. It’s thought that further episodes of the rebooted shows may be forthcoming if the one-off specials are well-received.