No Way Out (Porridge)

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"No Way Out"
Porridge episode
Episode no. Episode Christmas Special 1
Directed by Sydney Lotterby
Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
Original air date 24 December 1975
Episode chronology
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"The Harder they Fall"
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"The Desperate Hours"
List of Porridge episodes

"No Way Out" was the first Christmas special of the BBC sitcom Porridge. It first aired on 24 December 1975.[1] In this episode, prisoner Tommy Slocombe makes an escape attempt in the lead-up to Christmas.


Christmas time has come to Slade Prison. Godber with his innocent nature likes the idea of Christmas, but Fletcher tells him that Christmas in prison is not much different from any other day. Godber points out that there are carol singers, but Fletcher remarks that they are used to drown out the sound of Tommy Slocombe's tunneling.

Fletcher attempts to visit the prison's infirmary with his bad knee, but the prison doctor refuses to admit him. Instead, he gives Fletcher an appointment at a civilian hospital, Carlisle General. With this information, Harry Grout requests that Fletcher picks up an important object from a nurse at the Hospital.

Mr Barrowclough is given the job of escorting Fletcher to hospital, although he finds the very edgy Fletcher's grumbling a dampener on his day. At the hospital, a pretty young nurse gives Fletcher a "Christmas card", which turns out to be a fake passport for Tommy Slocombe. Grouty also requests that Fletcher and Godber help out with the choir.

Unfortunately, Barrowclough's bicycle is stolen as part of the escape plan. Mr Mackay berates Barrowclough for being too trusting with prisoners. To make matters worse, Mackay discovers what is going on with the tunnelling, and orders the men back to their cells. Lukewarm, a skilled pickpocket, manages to steal Barrowclough's wristwatch under the pretence of wishing him a Merry Christmas. Also, Mackay's wallet is stolen.

Due to these events, Christmas is cancelled in Slade Prison. Fletcher realises that things have gone too far, and arranges to have a word with Mackay. His plan is for Mackay to fall into the tunnel, but Fletcher miscalculates and ends up falling into the tunnel himself.

With this discovery, Christmas is reinstated, and Fletcher is in the infirmary. As Fletcher is eating Christmas lunch, Mackay attempts to bribe him with an almost full small bottle of whiskey, if he tells him where the earth from the tunnel went to. Fletcher tells Mackay that they dug another tunnel and hid the earth there. The episode ends with a triumphant Fletcher drinking his whiskey and wishing the viewers a Merry Christmas.

Episode cast[edit]

Actor Role
Ronnie Barker Norman Stanley Fletcher
Brian Wilde Mr Barrowclough
Fulton Mackay Mr Mackay
Richard Beckinsale Lennie Godber
Peter Vaughan Harry Grout
Graham Crowden Prison Doctor
Sam Kelly Warren
Christopher Biggins Lukewarm
Carol Hawkins Sandra
Elisabeth Day Nurse


  • It has been established that Warren cannot read. However, he is seen reading from his hymn sheet in the choir.
  • Mackay mentions that he went to the Governor's sherry party. However, it is revealed in the following years Christmas special that the Governor is teetotal.


  1. ^ "Original Air Date (No Way Out)". IMDB. Retrieved 15 July 2013.