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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could possibly want to know about 'Porridge'... and then some, 23 Aug 2013
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This review is from: "Porridge": The Complete Scripts and Series Guide (Paperback)
I've become quite philosophical about one or two things in life of late and I have come to the conclusion that, at any given time, I am probably only ever a whisker away from having to put my Amazon reviewing activities on hold for however long some judge decides is reasonable. All it would take is one moment of madness, or one error in judgement (or for someone to come looking for that book I lifted from Brentwood Library in 1983) and I might well be serving a bit of jail time of my own. It's a sobering thought is that.

It goes some way to explaining the 'Porridge' obsession I have developed just recently, but it was this book that fanned those fanatical flames. It may have hurtled down the time tunnel in my direction direct from 2005 but that does nothing to diminish its appeal as the ultimate guide to 'Porridge'. This was a show which managed to combine a whole host of examples of individual brilliance and, in so doing, to create what is arguably the finest British comedy of all time. Apart from that remake of 'Married... with Children' starring Russ Abbot of course. Don't worry - I'm just having a laugh. Which is one more than Russ and Co managed to rustle up between them in that show, if I remember rightly.

This book is an absolute treasure trove of trivia relating to the original pilot ('Prisoner and Escort'), the three series of 'Porridge' (plus the two Christmas specials), 'Going Straight' and even the film. It features the scripts from every television episode plus a multitude of anecdotes and little snippets of information from what appears to be anyone and everyone who ever went near the set of any of those productions, all skilfully linked together by the wise words of Richard Webber. The only thing missing from here is a photo of (and maybe an in-depth interview with) a Slade Prison kitchen sink, it is that comprehensive.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who already owns, or is thinking of owning, any of Norman Stanley Fletcher's video adventures. In some cases, the words as written differ a little from the ones that Ronnie Barker et al ultimately made famous but, personally, I think that adds to its value. I mean to say, you're probably not going to be sitting in your living room reading along with the cast from this book and taking issue with Mr Barker forty years down the line because he just said 'You know what I mean?' and it's not in this script, now are you? It's much more likely you'll be sitting on the loo in a moment of quiet contemplation, appreciating these words for the pure genius they represent and chuckling away rather happily to yourself. All you need then is a bottle of Babycham and a box of Celebrations and you're away! No? Oh well, that must just be me then.

This is called 'Porridge - The Complete Scripts and Series Guide', which implies that the scripts will form the lion's share of things. This is not the case. The book is divided into two parts, with those scripts being found in the second of those. Before you get anywhere near them though, you have the chance to learn pretty much everything about the scenery, the casting, the actors, the writers, the views of people with experience of prison life from both sides of cell doors and so on and so on and so on. Did you know that the movie was actually filmed inside Chelmsford Prison, and that they were only able to film inside a real jail because there had been a fire and the prisoners had been temporarily rehoused? Do you happen to know, off the top of your head, the formula for the dye that the make-up ladies used to put on top of Ronnie Barker's head to make him look so very much younger? The first half of this book is literally crammed full of little factoids like that.

Which is why it is utterly invaluable for any fan of 'Porridge'; Which must be EVERYONE, surely...?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and enjoyable, 10 Dec 2011
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This review is from: "Porridge": The Complete Scripts and Series Guide (Paperback)
Since currently I see no "look inside" feature on Amazon's site, I'll give a short description.

The book is divided in two:

First half (about 220 pages) contains a series guide with lots of information about the inside story.
The second half contains the full scripts of the series and the Christmas special. Each series has a short "Memories" section at the end with contributions from actors that participated in the series. The episodes don't have any foreword and there are also no footnotes, which makes the scripts section appear very minimal. A much better example can be seen in, for example, Father Ted: The Complete Scripts.

Anyone that has gone that far as to read my review, probably won't be disappointed with the purchase, since it's a very informative and readable book and one could hardly expect for more.

If you're after the full scripts, than you also arrived at the right place, however you must accept that there are at least 3 different versions:
1. The spoken one - as heard on TV.
2. The subtitles track that comes with the DVD set.
3. The scripts as they appear on the reviewed guide.

One can't be sure if the official scripts are any of the above.

These differences are abundant, and sometimes quite annoying. I think that the issue of the differences between the versions should have been addressed better in the book, as it was very nicely done in, again, Father Ted: The Complete Scripts

You must be aware that almost no text line in the scripts is an accurate transcript of the spoken equivalent!

Don't try to read the scripts from the book while listening to the DVD, because you'll soon "get out of sync".

In the introduction to the scripts part of the book, an american version is mentioned, and also the fact that they "ran out of the original scripts", therefore there may be even a fourth version, and that may explain some of the whole mess.

All in all, this is a very nice book, and I would certainly recommend it for any fan of the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Post, New One dispatched, 5 Jan 2013
This review is from: "Porridge": The Complete Scripts and Series Guide (Paperback)
Sadly the GPO managed to lose the first one, so the replacement came too late for Christmas, so I have it instead! Oh well!
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"Porridge": The Complete Scripts and Series Guide
"Porridge": The Complete Scripts and Series Guide by Ian La Frenais (Paperback - 7 Nov 2005)
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