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I’d already had porridge, but nonetheless I went to prison today. HM Prison SLADE in St Albans. I shivered as I walked my daughter through the forbidding gates. Today was registration, but I wondered if we would ever get out again. On the stairs I saw pictures of the notorious Norman Stanley Fletcher, or ‘Fletch’ as he was known by the other inmates. I thought he had passed his cell-by date, but clearly his reputation was very much alive and well.

The head warder led my daughter away. She escaped later with a copy of little Lily’s birth certificate.

9 comments add one below

  • avatar

    Drew Martyn 3 months ago

    Almost spat my cup of tea over the laptop at "cell by date" couldn't stop giggling! - terrific drabble :)

  • avatar

    Neville Hunt 3 months ago

    Thanks Drew 😁

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    Christopher 3 months ago

    Loved the cell-by line too.

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    Neville Hunt 3 months ago

    Thanks Christopher; did you ever watch Porridge? The opening credits were shot outside a former prison near here, now a protected building and registry office for births, marriages and deaths. Porridge (aside from being a breakfast cereal) is slang for a prison sentence.

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    Christopher 3 months ago

    I haven't actually ever watched that one but I knew what it was. Before the age of streaming services I was pretty much reliant on whatever British shows our local PBS station got. When the internet first came out it made it easier to find out a lot of info about British shows without actually being able to watch them. So there are a lot more shows I know about but haven't actually seen them. Hopefully BritBox will be able to change that.

  • avatar

    Neville Hunt 3 months ago

    There will be loads of episodes on YouTube already I imagine.

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    Christopher 3 months ago

    Yeah, I can check that. I tried to get the more recent episodes of Benidorm on YouTube that they don't have on BritBox and they had a tiny picture and was playing at 2x the speed to get around the copyright algorithms, I guess. So they were basically unwatchable.

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    Neville Hunt 3 months ago

    Porridge is a classic. Fletch, played brilliantly by the wonderful and wonderfully funny Ronnie Barker, shared a room with beautiful filmstar Kate Beckinsale’s dad, Richard Beckinsale, who died tragically young.

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    Drew Martyn 3 months ago

    I heartily recommend Porridge - not quite up there with Fawlty Towers (what is?) but it stayed funny throughout its three or four series. There was also a series, made a couple of years ago, about Fletcher's grandson - essentially the same character but less worldly wise. I haven't seen any of that series, so no idea if it's as good or not.

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