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Channel 5 to screen Prisoner Cell Block H remake

Australian prison drama Prisoner Cell Block H is being revamped and remade to screen on Channel 5.

The classic soap opera about a women's prison has been renamed Wentworth and will screen as a 10-part series on the channel later this year.

Prisoner Cell Block H ran from 1979 to 1986, but the new version looks to be a gritty take on the show and Channel 5 have described it as a 'graphic, edgy reboot' of the original series.

It will star Danielle Cormack (opens in new tab) (pictured) and Nicole da Silva as lead inmates Bea Smith and Franky Doyle.

Bea Smith was originally played by Val Lehman and Carol Burns was Franky Doyle.

Channel 5's head of acquisitions Katie Keenan said: "Wentworth will be a great addition to Channel 5's drama output this autumn.

"This compelling cast of female characters packs an emotional punch and will appeal to the Channel 5 viewers who love our range of crime output from dramas to factual series."

Prisoner Cell Block H was created as a 16-part mini-series, but ended up running for 692 episodes.

In 1981 a male version of the show, called Punishment, was commissioned, but despite starring Mel Gibson as one of the prisoners it was not a success and folded after just 39 episodes.


Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.