Can there be any other UK actors who have taken on so many roles and made them their own? While Ronnie Barker was much appreciated in his heyday it is only just now, after his sad death, that we are really seeing the skill and professionalism of the man who was on our screens for many decades. Open All Hours, The Two Ronnies and Porridge are some of his better known shows but the man was a genius!
While for years many people did not realise that Barker’s sidekick David Jason was part of the cast, heavily made-up as a small time petty thief, life in the “Nick” was never dull with Fletch (played by Ronnie Barker) around. This comical look at life in the UK prison sector was a classic in its time and is still shown on a regular basis to this day. Fun, games, laughter and tears all flowed in equal quantities as the hard faced Fletch tried to get through each day as he could.
Tonight’s episode sees one of the inmates receive the chance of parole, which to Fletch’s horror he turns down! Seeing parole as an admission of guilt the prison mate decides to stay in and complete his time, until Fletch catches him. Determined to see his fellow inmate make the most of what is on offer he sets about trying to find the truth and ensure his friend takes his chance to go home.
While Porridge was centred upon Fletch and Ronnie Barker, the show also saw the likes of Richard Beckinsale, Fulton Mackay and David Jason make their name, not to mention a number of appearances from the inimitable Christopher Biggins. While Richard Beckinsale was an excellent actor in his own right, he spoke very highly of the influence of Ronnie Barker before Beckinsale’s sad death at a very young age. The curse of Porridge?