Porridge writers feared making Ronnie Barker classic funny would be "tricky"

Porridge original

Porridge writers Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais have revealed that they were initially put off penning the Ronnie Barker classic

Porridge writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais have revealed that they were initially put off penning the Ronnie Barker classic because they feared creating funny stories about prison life would be "tricky".

The writers – who’ve penned a full series of the modern reboot starring Kevin Bishop as Fletch’s grandson – revealed that they were at first keener on another comedy they’d penned for Ronnie.

"The original pilot was one of separate comedies in a 1973 Ronnie Barker series called 7 of One," explained Dick. "It was one of two stories we wrote and I think we preferred the other one, as we thought writing plots about prison would be tricky, but in the end we went with Porridge!"

Porridge new series

(Image credit: BBC Studios)

Kevin Bishop and Mark Bonnar star in the modern Porridge spin ogg

Meanwhile, Kevin Bishop has said he was delighted by the response he got the last year’s modern day spin-off, in which he starred as Nigel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, the descendant of Ronnie Barker’s character from the classic 1970s sitcom. And is thrilled to return this week with a new full six-part series.

"I loved the original and initially I was nervous about filling Ronnie Barker’s shoes," he explained. "So it was a big relief when they told me we were doing a new version set in the modern day and not a straight remake. I had nothing but positive feedback from the public after the pilot, which was quite overwhelming. I think the fans of the original were just as relieved as me!"

Porridge begins on Friday 9 October on BBC1

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.