Porridge for Britain's Best Sitcom!
Well it was a slightly problematic start to put the case for Porridge as Britain's best sitcom. Firstly the BBC have made a complete mess of all the dates of transmission of the programmes for each sitcom. The Porridge programme was advertised as being transmitted on 6 March but actually went out on 21 February. Secondly, all the other sitcoms so far have been accompanied by a memorable episode of that sitcom to remind you how good it was. For some strange reason this was not done for Porridge.
Well I sincerely hope it does not do too much harm to our case. Johnny Vaughan put forward his 20 reasons that you should vote for Porridge. Here are what I consider to be the 3 most important:
So many sitcoms over the years and expecially now rely on exaggerated characters to get their laughs. Ever-more outrageous characters finding themselves in ever-more outrageous situations trying their best to squeeze out any laughs in an increasingly desperate manner. Not so with Porridge. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais went withe the "Less is More" philosophy and it worked superbly
The episode Just Desserts revolved around a stolen tin of pineapples and in the process came up with one of the funniest episodes of all 3 series. Watch one of the funniest lines being delivered in this episode (MPEG 192kb).
Ronnie Barker is indisputably one of Britain's greatest comic actors of all time. Johnny's case also made the point that this is because he is also one of Britain's greatest character actors. Peter Vaughan said on the programme that he played his character straight and that was one of his strengths. Surely this was also Ronnie Barker's greatest strength as well. It all goes back to the subtle treatment talked about above.
The character of Leonard Arthur Godber played by Richard Beckinsale was important to Porridge for so many reasons. We needed someone for Fletch to explain prison life to so that we the audience could understand a world that thankfully most of us never see. Godber's innocent and gentle character also brought out the best in Fletch who might not have been so lovable character without him. Perhaps Richard Beckinsale's role was also the most subtle of all.
So what more reason do you need? Pop over to the BBC's Best Sitcom site now and vote for Porridge!
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