Porridge: No Way Out (1975) – 9/10 classic prison comedy TV review

Cast / crew
Norman Stanley “Fletch” Fletcher: Ronnie Barker
Writer: Dick Clement
Writer: Ian La Frenais
Mr. Barrowclough: Brian Wilde
Mr. MacKay: Fulton Mackay
Leonard Arthur “Lennie” Godber: Richard Beckinsale
Harry Grout: Peter Vaughan
Graham Crowden: Prison Doctor
Director and Producer: Sydney Lotterby

Porridge No Way Out (1975)

Fletch pretends that an old knee injury has flared up in the hopes that he’ll get to spend Christmas in the prison hospital with all the comfort that implies. However, the obligatory checkup at the local civilian hospital comes to the attention of Harry Grout and Fletch is pressed upon to assist with the escape of a fellow inmate.

9/10

This 1975 Christmas Special is another classic from Clement and La Frenais with Ronnie Barker on outstanding form as Fletch consistently delivering his lines as brilliantly as is humanly possible. It all builds to one of my favourite punchlines of any comedy ever (SPOILER "they dug another tunnel and put the earth down there"). The Christmas theme is woven in perfectly (the prisoners are covering the sound of a tunnel being dug with carol singing) and it has a clever (I had to look up perspicacity?), utterly joyous ending.

This Porridge episode contains Mild adult dialogue and references to homosexuality

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Advertisements

Doctor Who 32.02 The Beast Below (2010, Science Fiction Adventure) – 9/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Peter Bennett
Director: Andrew Gunn
Sophie Okonedo: Liz 10
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Doctor Who 32.02 Beast Below, The (2010)

Over 1,000 years in the future, the entire UK has had to construct and board a giant spaceship to leave Earth and find a new home. The Doctor and Amy Pond visit but the Doctor is intrigued by a silently crying child and something that isn’t happening when he puts a glass of water on the floor.

9/10

This is a thrilling, imaginative, visually striking and, critically, tremendously fun adventure for The Doctor. Writer Steven Moffat continually subverts the audience in a way that is enticing and delightful (with the exception of a maguffin video message from Amy Pond) and Matt Smith absolutely knocks the Doctor out of the park. So far, he is managing, better than David Tennant before him, to balance the jolly adventuring with the heavy emotional baggage ("Just me now. Bad day.") and resigned almost-rage at having to always make tremendously difficult decisions. Tennant always flipped a switch between the two and his jolly Doctor and action Doctor always felt like two separate people. Matt Smith is successfully keeping both in the same character. Director Andrew Gunn also does a good job and supplies a striking visual of The Doctor holding Amy Pond by the foot floating outside the TARDIS.

This Doctor Who episode contains mild unpleasant and scary scenes.

Links

T.J. Hooker 2.16 Vengeance is Mine (1983, Police Drama) – 9/10 TV review

William Shatner: T.J. Hooker
Adrian Zmed: Officer Vince Romano
Heather Locklear: Officer Stacy Sheridan
Richard Herd: Captain Sheridan
Randolph Powell: Larry Foster
Michele Tobin: Valerie McGuire
Carmen Argenziano: Chuck Taylor
Leonard Nimoy: Lieutenant Paul Maguire
Supervising Producer: Rick Husky
Producer: Jeffrey Hayes
Writer (Series’ Creator): Rick Husky
Writer: Allison Hock
Director: Phil Bondelli

T.J. Hooker 2.16 Vengeance is Mine (1983)

A rapist attacks the daughter of one of Hooker’s ex-partners, Paul Maguire. Despite identifying the rapist as a local lawyer and Maguire’s status as a Lieutenant of Detectives, a conviction proves difficult to obtain and causes severe strain on Maguire, who decides to take matters into his own hands. Meanwhile, Hooker’s also having banking trouble.

9/10

It’s nice to see Shatner with old Star Trek sparring partner Leonard Nimoy who brings a touch of class to the proceedings and matches The Shat for intensity. The script is also better than most episodes though, fortunately, we still get Shatner spitting out delicious lines such as "This time, maggot, you stay inside." The episode does a terrific job of highlighting the difficulties in prosecuting such a personal crime in the Eighties (no DNA evidence then) and the impotence felt by those who feel responsible for letting it happen. There’s a good foot chase which ends with Hooker leaping about twenty feet from a first-floor parapet onto a suspect and it climaxes with a great scene between Shatner and Nimoy. Top Hooker.

This T.J. Hooker episode contains adult dialogue and violence.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links