Prisoner: Cell Block H - looking back at the show




Remember Queen Bea, the Freak, and, er 'Vinegar Tits'? We revisit the joys of Aussie women’s prison drama, Prisoner: Cell Block H

Britain, you sent Australia your convicts. In return, we sent you a TV show celebrating them.

Strap on your nostalgia goggles, it’s time to revisit one of the most bizarre, violent, lesbian-fetishy-heart-warming dramas ever created.

Prisoner: Cell Block H (known simply as Prisoner in Australia) was a daring, one-hour show set in Wentworth Detention Centre, a fictional women’s prison that provides the one-word title of the original show's modern-day revival. It ran for 692 episodes from February 1979 until December 1986. It hitched a ride on the coat-tails of the successful British show Within These Walls, with a notable difference. The focus of Prisoner was mostly on the inmates, not the wardens.

The opening was short and punchy - a quick recap of the previous
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'Mad Max': 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Mel Gibson Classic

"It's that rat circus out there, I'm beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I'm one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I've got this bronze badge that says that I'm one of the good guys."

And so we were introduced to the ticking time bomb of fury that is Mel Gibson, at least on screen, in "Mad Max."

Released 35 years ago this week (on April 12, 1979), George Miller's film about a near-future cop who turns vigilante when a biker gang kills his partner and his family, made an international star out of Gibson, made Miller an A-list director, and helped put the new wave of Australian cinema on the world map. It also launched a franchise that continues to this day; next year, Miller will finally release the long-gestating "Mad Max: Fury Road," with Tom Hardy taking over as Max.

While the original
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New Prisoner series, Wentworth, begins shoot next week as cast revealed

Wentworth, the new drama based on iconic Australian TV series Prisoner, starts production in Melbourne next week.

The 10-part series will be filmed on a purpose-built women.s prison, the Wentworth Detention Centre, where inmates and corrections staff will be forced to forge unlikely friendships to survive on the inside.

The cast includes Danielle Cormack (Underbelly Razor, Rake) as Wentworth.s latest arrival, suburban wife and mum Bea Smith; Nicole Da Silva (Rush, East West 101) as Gen Y lesbian Franky Doyle; Celia Ireland (Laid, All Saints) as earthy Liz Birdsworth; and Shareena Clanton as young Aboriginal woman Doreen Anderson.

Catherine McClements (Rush, Water Rats) and Kate Atkinson (Offspring, Rush) play Governor Meg Jackson and her deputy Vera Bennett. Aaron Jeffery (Underbelly Badness, McLeod.s Daughters) and Robbie Magasiva (Shortland Street) are corrections officers Matthew .Fletch. Fletcher and Will Jackson. Leeanna Walsman (Underbelly Badness) plays progressive and crusading lawyer Erica Davidson.
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