Porridge Series 1, Episode 5 (Summary)

Ways and MeansFletcher (Ronnie Barker) and Godber (Richard Beckinsale) in a scene from Porridge (70s TV Series)

First Aired: 03-10-1974

Written by: Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais


Ways and Means (Porridge season 1, episode 5) introduces the character of McLaren, who has a nasty attitude and violent tendencies. He is a tough guy who has had a hard life, which was not made any easier by the fact that he is a black Scotsman.

McLaren turns up in the very first scene. He is sewing a fishing net, a job that appears to be given out as a punishment. Fletch is also knitting for the British fish industry and we learn that he has lost his cushy job on the farm because he has upset the governor.

Fletch needs to find a way to get back into the governors good books so that he can talk himself into another cushy job. Hopefully, at the library.

Tony Osoba (McLaren) and Ronnie Barker (Fletcher), in a rooftop scene from "Ways and Means" (Porridge, series 1, episode 5)So when McLaren stages a rooftop protest, Fletch goes up to try and talk the Scotsman down. Unfortunately, Fletch’s head for heights is nowhere near as good as McLaren’s and the Scotsman ends up having to carry Fletcher down on his back. It’s an embarrassing situation, but Fletch gets into the library so his moment of terror served a useful purpose.

It is worth noting the fifth episode and sixth episodes of porridge (Men Without Women) would appear to have been transmitted out of sequence.

In episode 3 A Night In Lennie Godber was temporarily moved into Fletch’s cell and, as any Porridge fan will know, the arrangement became permanent. In Episode 4 Godber is still in residence. This remains the case in the first episode of the second series, but he is nowhere to be seen in the final two episodes of series one.


Norman Stanley Fletcher ~~~ Ronnie Barker
Mr. Barrowclough ~~~ Brian Wilde
Mr. Mackay ~~~ Fulton Mackay
Ives ~~~ Ken Jones
McLaren ~~~ Tony Osoba
Governor Venables ~~~ Michael Barrington

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