Documentary series marks 40th anniversary of programme
Three hour-long specials to contain rare footage
Super fan club to be established to look at impact of Porridge on British comedy
To mark the 40th anniversary of Porridge, Gold, part of UKTV's award-winning portfolio of channels, has announced it will team up with Phil McIntyre Television to create three special hour-long documentaries about the much-loved series.
Porridge: The Inside Story (working title) will tell the real story behind the iconic programme, from the pilot episode, through to the Christmas specials and the spin-off follow up. It has been commissioned by UKTV Commissioning Editor, Iain Coyle, and ordered by Gold's General Manager Steve North. The Executive Producer for Phil McIntyre is Lucy Ansbro and the Series Producer is Lindsay Jex.
In a TV exclusive, viewers will be taken on a tour of the pivotal places Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais visited during the creation and development of the series, including the pub where they first met, the prisons they researched, and the little known filming locations they used.
Specially commissioned graphics and 3D animation will help bring alive the corridors and cells of Slade prison, providing a unique glimpse of life on the inside.
Each episode will contain classic sketches alongside rare and unseen material from the archives of the writers and the BBC, as well as forgotten treasures and anecdotes from the remaining cast, crew, advisors, friends, family and genuine Porridge fans.
UKTV's Iain Coyle said
'Porridge is the sitcom that left an indelible mark on British comedy, and brought together the comic genius of Ronnie Barker, Richard Beckinsale and Sir David Jason. We're delighted to bring this series to Gold, and to have exclusive access to both Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.'
Steve North added
'This series is a real treat both for Porridge aficionados but also those discovering it for the first time and will reveal never been seen before footage. It also complements the channel's bold commissioning strategy of investing in fresh and unique content and will celebrate one of Britain's best-loved sitcoms of all time.'
Phil McIntyre's Lucy Ansbro commented
'We're delighted and privileged to be working with Tarquin Gotch (Serious Comedy), the other Executive Producer, as well as Dick and Ian. We're excited to be bringing this three part series to Gold, so that viewers can have a chance to be immersed in the world of Porridge, as never before.'
As part of the series, a handful of contemporary comedians will join together to create a celebrity fan club, where they will assess and analyse the impact that Porridge has had on British comedy. And in a series finale, Gold viewers will also be able to vote for their favourite moment, which will be exclusively revealed to both Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.
In 2013, Gold has gone from strength to strength with commissions including The Two Ronnies Spectacle peaking with an average audience of 373,000, and new sitcom You, Me & Them, increasing the weekday slot average. New titles including Mrs Browns Boys peaked with 849,000, which was up 534% and series one of Miranda attracted an average of 459,000.
For more information, please contact:
For interviews: Nicola Rowley, UKTV Group Publicity Manager
Notes to Editors
About Gold (goldtvchannel.co.uk )
Dedicated to celebrating the best of British comedy, Gold is the nation's favourite comedy channel. Much-loved comedy series such as Only Fools and Horses, Vicar of Dibley and Outnumbered sit alongside successful commissions including Fry and Laurie: Reunited, Royle Family Behind the Sofa, the highly anticipated return of Yes, Prime Minister and the successful commission The Comic Presents Five Go To Rehab, plus new acquisitions such as Gavin and Stacy, Getting On, Miranda and Mrs Brown's Boys. The perfect tonic to make you laugh whatever the time of day, Gold shows universally funny content that everyone can enjoy.
Where to find Gold: Sky channel 110 and Virgin TV channel 126.
About UKTV (uktv.co.uk)
About UKTV (pressoffice.uktv.co.uk / @UKTV_Press / corporate.uktv.co.uk)
UKTV is the multi-award winning media company that reaches over 42 million viewers per month.
UKTV's ten imaginative channel brands - Watch, Dave, Gold, Alibi, Eden, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home and Good Food - include the most watched non-PSB channel, the most watched channel in the Factual genre and the most watched channels in the Lifestyle genre (Pay and Free). The company's most recent financial results showed a record-breaking year-end revenue of £262m, and operating profit at £71m.
UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC and Channel 4 content, and embracing technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, TalkTalk, YouView, plus direct On Demand digital services. The network distributes its highly valued programmes to 200 territories around the world and supplies Sky with more hours of HD content than anyone else.
Now celebrating its 21st year at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British broadcaster to be recognised by Best Companies.
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