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Norman Stanley Fletcher is sentenced to 5 years at her Majesty's pleasure at HM prison Slade in darkest Cumbria. His naive cell mate Lenny Godber needs to learn the ropes, skives and scams and evil prison officer Mr.Mackay tries to run the prison his own way. And then there's Mr.Barroclough who is just too weak willed to have his good nature exploited.
The script allowed the prisoners to swear without offending viewers by using the word "naff" in place of ruder words ("Naff off!", "Darn your own naffing socks", "Doing next to naff all"), thereby popularizing a word that had been recorded at least as early as 1966. Ronnie Barker did not claim to have invented it. In a television interview in 2003 it was explained to him on camera what the word meant, as he said he hadn't a clue. The word was actually a piece of slang for heterosexual men which was popular among homosexual men. It was an acronym for "Not Available For F******". See more »
[over opening title sequence]
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.
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The opening titles consist of outside shots of Slade prison and of several doors and gates being closed and locked. See more »
This is easily the funniest comedy ever made.The characters are very strong
Mackay the harsh scottish guard with his neck 'twitch', Barrowclough the
well-meaning and gullible guard, bumbling around pathetically, Godber the innocent and naive prisoner, and of course Norman Stanley Fletcher. Ronnie Barker's acting is superb - his expressions and timing are perfect.
The script by Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais is one of the wittiest and sharpest ever written. For example:
(A prison inspector has just entered Fletcher's cell, and Fletcher has just made spoken to him.) Inspector: He's very articulate Mackay: Yes, like a lorry
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