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Doing Time (1979)
"Porridge" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Crime  -  12 August 1979 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,209 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 2 critic

This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Wilde ...
Geoffrey Bayldon ...
Christopher Godwin ...
Barrie Rutter ...
Daniel Peacock ...
Ken Jones ...
Philip Locke ...
Dines (as Gordon Kaye)
Oliver Smith ...


This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the prisoners and an all-star celebrity team. Fletcher is unaware that the match is only a diversion so that an escape can take place. When Fletcher and his cell mate Lennie stumble on the escape, they are taken along, and find themselves having to break back into prison to avoid getting into trouble. Written by measham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fletcher's inside story - even funnier as a film.


Comedy | Crime


See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 August 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Doing Time  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Slade inmate Lotterby is an homage to Sydney Lotterby, the BBC producer who oversaw Porridge (1974) and its' sequel Going Straight (1978) on television. See more »


During the football game, all shots of the game itself are in heavy overcast weather. Shots of Fletcher, the Governor and the substitute bench, however, occur with a clear blue sky behind them and the sun in their eyes. See more »


[At lunch, Godber and Lotterby are serving cottage pie and baked beans]
Fletcher: Hello, Len.
Godber: All right, Fletch?
Fletcher: Listen, it's the laddo's first day in 'ere. Do 'im a favour, will you? Give 'im a small portion.
See more »


References Samson and Delilah (1949) See more »


Study in A Major
Music by Brian Whitehouse
Bruton Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Porridge; A good healthy diet of wit and intelligence, leaving you full and satisfied.
20 October 2006 | by (An English Shire.) – See all my reviews

England was writhe with crime, in the cinematic sense, toward the end of the decade that had brought us Glitter Rock and Punk Rock. Toward the end of the Seventies and with the crossover into the Eighties, prison movies were to include the brutal Scum (1979), the Houdini exploits of McVicar (1980), and not forgetting the vicious ladies known as Scrubbers (1983), these Made In Britain misfits are amongst the serious and uncompromising hardcore collection of the riffraff prison underclass of that time.

This era's theme of imprisonment had also been the subject of light relief and comic substance, to the happy go lucky tune of life's misplaced souls that were doing Porridge, (as the movies American title suggests Doing Time): the English term for being imprisoned, you were "Banged to Rights" you were "Doing Time" and "Doing Porridge".

Nineteen seventy-four saw the release of British comedy sitcom Porridge; written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, this later turned into the spin-off movie of the same name. Fundamentally an extension of the early seventies comedy show, we have the enduring and ever wistful Norman Stanley Fletcher, with his unforgiving contempt for authority and the establishment alike. The two writers here have not deviated from his original persona; a charm and charisma that transcends from television play and onto the movie screen, with his wise old owl intellect that knows best and never throws caution to the wind. Though the script is the classic all-round family entertainment variety, the actual storyline is somewhat basic and considering the genre here, apt.

Richard Beckinsale (1947 - 1979), as Lennie Godber, father to the beautiful Kate Beckinsale, born 1973, of Underworld (2003) and Van Helsing (2004), fame sadly passed away shortly after the making of Porridge, of a heart attack. While too young, his legacy has been passed on through his daughter, he would have been extremely proud to have seen her accomplishments. The world of light entertainment would never be quite what it was without him. Porridge is awash with the best of British, such as Fulton Mackay (1922 - 1987), Brian Wilde, Derek Deadman, Ken Jones and of course the greatest modern English comedy writer and actor the late Ronnie Barker (1929 - 2005).

This extension of the small screen had to have direction that was capable of retaining the attention span of an audience used to only the weekly half hour shows. The big screen adaptation is classic British cinema; the titters and chuckles among the theatregoers is only contagious. Humour abound, with its pessimistic and anti-establishment overtones that, while nonconformist, only reminds these prisoners of their individual plight. Here we see the pecking order of the hierarchy that are the building blocks of any modern day society. With its top dog Grouty, with his bodyguards Samson and Delilah, then there are the gofers, the go for this and go for that, the illiterates and we have the young and naive first offender Rudge, played here by Daniel Peacock, for example. In between this, we have the officers, just as misfit and imprisoned, though physiologically, as their jailbird counterparts. All bound together by a very wonderfully sharp and intelligent script, bringing about the adage sarcasm is the lowest from of wit, well this is not sarcastic humour, nor is this toilet humour, this is well written and thought out superlative comical fun. Any wonder then that during 1980 Porridge had won the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Comedy.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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