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The lives of women behind bars in a female prison.
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Complete series cast summary:
Elspeth Ballantyne Elspeth Ballantyne ...  Meg Morris / ... 669 episodes, 1979-1986
Betty Bobbitt ...  Judy Bryant 430 episodes, 1980-1985
Sheila Florance ...  Lizzie Birdsworth 405 episodes, 1979-1985
Maggie Kirkpatrick Maggie Kirkpatrick ...  Joan "The Freak" Ferguson / ... 389 episodes, 1982-1986
Val Lehman ...  Bea Smith 376 episodes, 1979-1983
Patsy King Patsy King ...  Erica Davidson 354 episodes, 1979-1985
Gerda Nicolson Gerda Nicolson ...  Ann Reynolds / ... 319 episodes, 1981-1986
Colette Mann Colette Mann ...  Doreen Burns / ... 295 episodes, 1979-1985


This Australian series has, after 692 episodes, received cult status all over the world. The series takes place in Wentworth, a prison in Australia. Wentworth is a high-security female prison. The women are there for all sorts of crimes. We get to follow how they got there, their life in the prison and what becomes of them afterwards. We also get to follow the staff, their work in the prison and their personal relationships. Written by Jens Andersson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The cult phenomenon from down under.


Crime | Drama


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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

8 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Caged Women See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(692 episodes)

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Several of the major cast all made minor guest appearances in the show before returning to the series to play long-term characters: Gerda Nicolson (Ann Reynolds), Anne Phelan (Myra Desmond), Louise Siversen (Lou Kelly), Kirsty Child (Willie Beecham), Debra Lawrance (Daphne Graham), Babs McMillan (Cass Parker), Billie Hammerberg (May Collins), Jane Clifton (Margo Gaffney), Belinda Davey (Hazel Kent), Maurie Fields (Len Murphy), Christine Earle (Janet Williams), 'Kevin Summers' (Ben Fulbright), Ernie Bourne (Mervin Pringle), Brian James (Stan Dobson), Paddy Burnet (Ida Brown), Nicki Paull (Lisa Mullins), Sue Jones (Kathy Hall), Anne Charleston (Deirdre Kean), Jennifer Ludlam (Janice Grant), Robyn Gibbes (Sam Greenway), and Marilyn Rodgers (Queenie Marshall). See more »


Once the Wentworth staff adopt khaki uniforms, the woman officers have the option of wearing skirts or trousers. Normally a skirt-wearer, Joan's arrival for work in trousers always signifies that her character will be taking part in an action sequence. See more »


[first lines]
Franky Doyle: She bumped into me.
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Alternate Versions

In the version shown by Channel 5 in the UK, episode 601, there was a cut of around 20 seconds when Wendy is threatening the women. She says, "Same goes for the rest of you scabs. Lou wasn't too rapt when she heard you broke the strike so I hear [from here onward, it was cut] (to Nancy) Oh what are you looking so scared about? You're name on the list is it? Eh? I wouldn't bet my boots on big chief Moron doing anything to help yous lot. He's too full of himself to worry about you lot. You should have known what side your bread was buttered on girls! Oh don't tell me [this is where the cut ended] Bird Brain's got something to say!" See more »


Referenced in Catherine Tate's Nan: Knees Up Wilmott-Brown (2015) See more »


On the Inside
(Prisoner theme)
Written by Allan Caswell
Conducted by William Motzing
Performed by Lynne Hamilton
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the Best Cult Television Shows
28 July 2010 | by NglasSee all my reviews

I began watching Prisoner Cell Block H as a child while living in England. This was during the late 1980's and the show had already ended, but the reruns were extremely popular and people would forget the show had been over for two years. Right away, the show became my favorite. Prisoner was one of the first, if not the first, television show that was centered on and starring a cast of mostly women. It was also one of the first shows to portray an open lesbian in a positive light. Characters such as Bea Smith, Myra Desmond, Sandy Edwards, and Marie Winter made this show addictive. Besides rooting for the good guys to reclaim power in the constant power struggles, there was also the entertaining game of spotting actors who have been with the show before returning as another character and also spotting the wobbling sets. Low budget, starring plain, ordinary women... this show probably wasn't expected to be as huge as it became, but after watching a few episodes, anyone will see just why it became such a hit.

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