Porridge Series 1, Episode 1 (Summary)

New Faces, Old HandsFletcher (Ronnie Barker) and Godber (Richard Beckinsale) in a scene from Porridge (70s TV Series)

First Aired: 05-09-1974

Written by: Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais


Following the success of Prisoner and Escort, which became the Porridge Pilot episode, the BBC decided to move forward with the character Norman Stanley Fletcher (Ronnie Barker), and make him the focus of a TV series.

New Faces, Old Hands, is the first episode of the Porridge TV series.

The story is set on New Years Day and, for Norman Stanley Fletcher, Leonard Arthur Godber, and Cyril Heslop it is the first day of a long stretch in Slade Prison and they are being processed.

Fletch is an old lag. He knows the score by now and is more than willing to share some tips with the prison newbie Lenny Godber.

Richard Beckinsale and Ronnie Barker in a scene from New Faces, Old Hands (Porridge Season 1, Episode 1)It all goes wrong for Fletch though and he is forced to accept a pair of Her Majesty’s uncomfortable prison boots when he fails to convince the prison’s medical officer that he has flat feet.

Lenny fairs better, however, and gets to keep his comfy loafers because he took Fletch’s advice and found that the prison medics found greater credibility to his claim about having flat feet.

The two other things that Fletch is keen to bag  are a room to himself and a cushy job in the kitchen. Lenny gets the cushy job in the kitchen though and Fletch’s efforts to convince the governor that he has a love of animals have landed him a job mucking out the pigs at the prison farm.

Fletcher doesn’t manage to get the privacy he craves either and you might be surprised to learn that his original bunk mate is not Lenny Godber.

Lenny is given a room of his own and Fletch has the miserable task of sharing a room with Heslop, a man who has the mental capacity of a very slow tortoise, and Evans who has a nasty habit of eating the light bulbs in the hopes of securing a move to a psychiatric hospital.


Norman Stanley Fletcher ~~~ Ronnie Barker
Mr. Barrowclough ~~~ Brian Wilde
Mr. Mackay ~~~ Fulton Mackay
Lennie Godber ~~~ Richard Beckinsale
Heslop ~~~ Brian Glover
Medical Officer ~~~ John Bennett
Governor Venables ~~~ Michael Barringron

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