Life Beyond the Box: Norman Stanley Fletcher (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Comedy  |  29 December 2003 (UK)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 34 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Spoof documentary on the life of the main protagonist of the television prison comedy "Porridge", Mr. Norman Stanley Fletcher.


0Check in
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Two Ronnies (1971–1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Long running BBC comedy show consisting of sketches and humourous musical routines involving the large Ronnie Barker and the small Ronnie Corbett. Most sketches involved both men, but ... See full summary »

Stars: Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, The Fred Tomlinson Singers
Porridge (1974–1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The prison life of Fletcher, a criminal serving a five-year sentence, as he strives to bide his time, keep his record clean, and refuses to be ground down by the prison system.

Stars: Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Fulton Mackay
Going Straight (TV Series 1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Following his release from Slade prison, Fletcher tries to stick to the straight and narrow, but it isn't easy!

Stars: Ronnie Barker, Patricia Brake, Richard Beckinsale
Doing Time (1979)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: Dick Clement
Stars: Ronnie Barker, Richard Beckinsale, Fulton Mackay
Rising Damp (1974–1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Popular sitcom set in a seedy bedsit lorded over by the mean, vain, boastful, cowardly landlord Rigsby. In each episode, his conceits are debunked by his long suffering tenants.

Stars: Leonard Rossiter, Don Warrington, Frances de la Tour
Still Open All Hours (TV Series 2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Having inherited the shop from his uncle, it's business as usual for Granville at Arkwright's corner shop.

Stars: Lynda Baron, James Baxter, Stephanie Cole
Lawless Heart (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three intersecting stories about people whose lives are affected by the death of a gay restaurateur.

Directors: Tom Hunsinger, Neil Hunter
Stars: Douglas Henshall, Tom Hollander, Bill Nighy
Rising Damp (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Stingy English landlord Rigsby manages to scam his lodgers Cooper, an arts student, and Philip, an African jock, making both pay for a room they must share. However Rigsby's favorite lodger... See full summary »

Director: Joseph McGrath
Stars: Leonard Rossiter, Frances de la Tour, Don Warrington
The Lost Prince (TV Movie 2003)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The true story of the British royal prince locked away because of having epilepsy.

Director: Stephen Poliakoff
Stars: Daniel Williams, Matthew James Thomas, Brock Everitt-Elwick
On the Buses (1969–1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jack-the-lad bus driver and conductor Stan and Jack enjoy the female employees more than their work and Inspector Blake is relentless in his attempts to make their lives a misery.

Stars: Anna Karen, Bob Grant, Stephen Lewis
7 of 1 (TV Series 1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An anthology of one-off episodes starring actor-comedian Ronnie Barker.

Stars: Ronnie Barker, Graham Armitage, Roy Castle
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Del Boy and Rodney meet up with David Beckham while trying to sell his personal line of underpants.

Director: Tony Dow
Stars: David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst, David Beckham


Complete credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Melvyn Bragg ...
Arnold Brooks ...
Suzie Chard ...
Scott Chisholm ...
Roy Evans ...
Ted Prendergast
Gareth Farr ...
Young Fletcher
Alexander Francis ...
Child Dai
Martin Gillespie (as John Francis)
Rex Garner ...
George Fletcher
Nathan Harmer ...
Norman Junior


Spoof documentary on the life of the main protagonist of the television prison comedy "Porridge", Mr. Norman Stanley Fletcher.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 December 2003 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


McLaren: I was my own worst enemy - and there was plenty of competition!
See more »


Follows 7 of 1 (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An interesting back-story to a great character
29 May 2004 | by (Sheffield) – See all my reviews

When I saw this mock-documentary about the nation's favourite convict, I was impressed. Not as much as I was impressed by the original Porridge series, but this was a very interesting insight into the whole life of Fletch - before, during and after his memorable stay at Slade Prison - and to the one person on this site who has given Porridge a negative writeup and called it obvious - get real! Porridge is anything but obvious. Comedy in a prison? Who would expect it at all? Let alone done so well! And I was only 10 when I first saw Porridge, and it was an instant hit with me - so it does appeal to younger people as well as older people. Still, you said you just don't get it. Fair enough, but give it another go, from the very start. Anyway, yes, this mock-documentary - I like it.

It manages to reunite the large majority of the cast, with the exception of Brian Wilde (Barrowclough), and those no longer with us - Richard Beckinsale (Godber), Fulton Mackay (Mackay) and Michael Barrington (Venables). David Jason (Blanco) is also absent, but that was probably a wise choice - much as I love David Jason, the chances are that the character of Blanco would be dead by now anyway.

As for the actors no longer with us, they navigated around the lack of Richard Beckinsale even better than I'd expected. There were a number of options they could have used:

1. Get another actor to play Lennie - which nobody would have wanted 2. Say Lennie had died - possible, but not the best option. After all, Lennie would be 53-54 now, and clearly looked after his health. This would have complicated things. 3. Say Lennie and Ingrid (Fletch's daughter, the two got married at the end of the spin-off series Going Straight) had got divorced. This was what I expected them to do, but they didn't.

What they actually did was have Lennie as unable to make it for an interview - Ingrid got a call from him, he was stuck in Colchester (still working as a lorry driver). Nicely done.

As for the other missing actors, they covered most of the main staff at Slade. It's a shame Brian Wilde couldn't make an appearance (anybody know why?). As such, the only "official" who did was Mr Gillespie, the oft-mentioned but never seen welfare officer.

It was very interesting to see how the other characters had got on after Porridge as well, and we caught up with most of the main ones. Curiously, Lukewarm is given the name Timothy Underwood here, however, in one episode of Porridge, he is addressed as Lewis, and also unofficially has a first name beginning with P. Another inconsistency in this show is that Fletch seemed to go into crime while still a child, while in the pilot of Porridge, his first criminal activity didn't happen until after he left school.

Inconsistencies aside, this is very entertaining - catching up with Lukewarm, Warren, McLaren (here given a first name James), Ives (also given a first name here, Bernard), and of course, Grouty. And, to be honest, it's Grout who steals the show - or should that read embezzles? You can't help but nod and chuckle as the activities of Grout, on the outside, are brought up. Harry Grout is a wonderful character, and is used here to great effect.

Equally impressive is the amount of story the writers have concocted out of so many little details from the show - most notably Fletch's affair with Gloria - "Gloria? I don't know no Gloria . . . oh yeah, there was one once! Well, lots of times actually."

Overall, I was impressed - however, it's not quite in the same league as Porridge itself. Equally, it's probably unwise to watch this if you haven't seen Porridge to begin with (I could be wrong). As such, it's a tough call on which groups to recommend it to. Overall: 7/10

18 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: