|Directed by||Dick Clement|
|Produced by||Ian La Frenais|
|Written by||Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
|Music by||Joe Brown|
Porridge is a film released in 1979 and based on the television series Porridge. It was released under the title Doing Time in the United States.
In the film, which is set a year before the final episode of the TV series, Fletcher and Godber are forced by another inmate to escape from prison, and then have to try to break back in before they are found by the police.
Three characters not seen in the TV series make an impact in the film. Rudge, played by Daniel Peacock, is a young, timid prisoner in the Godber mould, seen arriving for his three-year stretch for shoplifting at the beginning of the film. He comes into his own when he shows his outstanding football skills during the game that leads to the breakout. Oakes, played by Barrie Rutter, is a violent armed robber who arrives in the same van as Rudge and is sprung for the breakout, reluctantly taking Fletcher and Godber with him. Beale, played by Christopher Godwin, is a new prison officer who subscribes to Mackay's firm approach to the job, but proves easy to manipulate into recommending a celebrity football match.
Unlike the television episodes, the film is not a BBC production and there are no references to the corporation on the DVD release (2003).
The budget for the film was 250,000 pounds and it was backed by Lew Grade's company ITC Entertainment. It was shot mainly on location at Chelmsford Prison, Essex, which was unoccupied at the time because it was being refurbished after a fire in one of the wings. The escape sequence was filmed in Buckinghamshire, and Boxley Kent. There is also a brief shot of the gates of Maidstone Prison. Sets were constructed for some cell and kitchen scenes.
Most of the filming took place in freezing conditions in January 1979. The resulting delays to the filming schedule meant that the part written for Tony Osoba had to be reduced because he had a commitment to appear in Charles Endell Esquire and his lines were given to other actors.
When Fletcher unwillingly becomes trainer of the prison team he comments that a lifetime of supporting Leyton Orient (Football Club) has made him disillusioned with the game. In the BBC Television series Fletcher periodically refers to supporting Tottenham Hotspur.
It was the sad death of the much loved Richard Beckinsale just two weeks after the end of shooting that brought an end to any further Porridge projects.
The opening credits of the film feature the hit "Without You" by Nilsson and "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" by Ian Dury and The Blockheads. The closing credits contain a more upbeat song by Joe Brown, entitled "Free Inside".
- Ronnie Barker as Norman Stanley Fletcher
- Richard Beckinsale as Lennie Godber
- Fulton Mackay as Mackay
- Brian Wilde as Barrowclough
- Peter Vaughan as Grouty
- Geoffrey Bayldon as Treadaway - Governor
- Christopher Godwin as Beal
- Barrie Rutter as Oakes
- Daniel Peacock as Rudge
- Sam Kelly as Warren
- Julian Holloway as Bainbridge
- Ken Jones as Ives
- Philip Locke as Banyard
- Gorden Kaye as Dines (coach driver)
- Karl Howman as Urquhart
- Derek Deadman as Cooper
- Tony Osoba as McClaren
- Oliver Smith as McMillan
- Zoot Money as Lotterby