Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bring back Porridge!

Somewhere in the dying years of the 20th Century, the prison service was assaulted by modernity. One side effect was that they stopped giving us porridge for breakfast. Cereal became the order of the day.

We didn't complain too much, prison porridge was not to be anticipated as a good start to any day. The only real impact was that this deprived us of our glue. Porridge was a very good substance to stick pin-ups to the wall. Now we have to use toothpaste. That aside, porridge can rot in history.

The Porridge that we should bring back is the TV series. It must be the best part of 30 years since it was made but both cons and screws will tell you that it was the most realistic portrayal of prison ever made.

The walls may have been painted, cell furniture updated, and striped shirts hard to get hold of, but for all the altered ephemera, that programme still captures the social milieu. And wouldn't most cons like to think that they have a touch of the Fletcher about them, able to out-wit the system at the smallest opportunity?

I've just realised that younger readers, or non-UK readers, won't have a bloody clue what I'm talking about. Sorry! If only "Fawlty Towers" had been a prison...


  1. I start my day with porridge - the new super food and much better that sugar filled cereals. I have learnt something as I did not realise it was an adhesive!!

    The TV series was wonderful and if I remember it was first screened on a Sunday evening. Those were the days. I did not know it was a realistic portrayal of prison life!!! I would have looked at it differently. Perhaps I now see too much on the Crime and Investigation Channel which protrays prison life in the US.

    The last programme on prison life screened related to Holloway which I must assume is a much different regime? It was very sad seeing some very disturbed young woman being in prison when they should have been a psychiatric unit. The staff were impressive, kind and supportive and very tolerant. I suppose women's prisons need to have a different philisophy? Somehow Porridge seemed much simpler but perhaps this series is of a different era when drugs, mentally ill, and foreign national prisoners were the exception?

  2. 'Fawlty Towers' was a prison, well it was for the mind of Basil Fawlty! I can understand why 'Porridge' went down so well in prison. As you hint, it has humour, irony, sadness and depth. You shall find none of those in the Palace of Westminster, or the Ministry of Justice. Sorry to say it, but very few in, or out of prison have any idea of what real justice is. Dodgy-handshaking lawyers, politicians and police can't have anything to do with what True Justice is all about. They belong to a secret society, so that has nothing to do with Democracy, or True Justice. What a bum-hole world this is!


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