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Here is the unforgettable ‘Fletch’, everyone’s favourite criminal, making the most of his enforced stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
Never a man to shrink from a challenge, even from behind bars, Fletch could manage anything from organising a win on the horses to buying a council flat in Mayfair. Amazing his cellmates and infuriating officialdom, Fletch, the Arthur Daley of penal servitude, always comes out on top.
Starring Ronnie Barker with Brian Wilde, Richard Beckinsale and Fulton Mackay, here are 12 prize shows from the original television series:
‘Prisoner and Escort’ (1 April 1973)
Norman Stanley Fletcher, a career criminal, and his escorts – soft-hearted Mr Barrowclough and authoritarian Mr Mackay – make the journey on New Year’s Eve from London up to Slade Prison in Cumberland.
‘A Night In’ (19 September 1974)
Godber is moved into Fletch’s cell and confides that he finds it tough each time the door bangs shut. Fletch advises him to think of it as ‘a quiet night in’: but the trouble is, Godber has 698 more nights to get through.
‘Heartbreak Hotel’ (31 October 1975)
Godber has an uncharacteristically violent episode after receiving a ‘Dear John’ letter from his fiancée, Denise. Fletcher tries to help him, but Fletch’s daughter Ingrid proves more of a consolation.
‘Disturbing the Peace’ (7 November 1975)
With Mackay away on a course, the prisoners plan to have some fun, but it turns out his replacement, Wainwright, is even worse. His excessive discipline causes a riot, and it’s left to Fletcher to sort out the situation.
‘No Peace for the Wicked’ (14 November 1975)
With everyone watching a football match, Fletch attempts to snatch a few precious minutes of peace and quiet, only to suffer constant interruptions, among whom are Mackay and visiting members of the Home Office, who then insist on questioning Fletch about his views on the penal system.
‘The Harder They Fall’ (21 November 1975)
Godber’s been chosen for the boxing team, so naturally everybody wants a bit of a flutter. When rivals Grouty and Billy Moffatt both want to fix the fight different ways, only Fletch looks like coming out the winner.
‘No Way Out’ (24 December 1975)
A planned escape causes all kinds of trouble just before Christmas, and Fletch attempts to spend some valuable time in the infirmary.
‘The Desperate Hours’ (24 December 1976)
Fletcher, Godber, Barrowclough and the governor’s secretary are held hostage by a mad prisoner with a homemade gun attempting to escape.
‘Poetic Justice’ (25 February 1977)
Fletch is incensed to discover that he is getting a new cellmate. To make matters worse, it turns out that the cellmate is the judge that sentenced him.
‘Rough Justice’ (4 March 1977)
After the judge’s watch is stolen, everyone is convinced that Harris is the culprit, and so a kangaroo court is set up in an effort to convict him of the crime.
‘Pardon Me’ (11 March 1977)
Blanco refuses parole after serving a life sentence for a murder he’s always claimed he never committed, so Fletch sets up an appeal committee to get him pardoned.
‘A Test of Character’ (18 March 1977)
Fletch is determined to help Godber pass his History O-level, so he has Warren steal the papers, only to discover that Godber doesn’t want them. Meanwhile, a debate flares up over a claim of Warren’s that, at a certain scale, the nearest star from the sun would be in Johannesburg.
- 01 – Prisoner and Escort
- 02 – A Night In
- 03 – Heartbreak Hotel
- 04 – Disturbing the Peace
- 05 – No Peace For The Wicked
- 06 – The Harder They Fall
- 07 – No Way Out
- 08 – The Desperate Hours
- 09 – Poetic Justice
- 10 – Rough Justice
- 11 – Pardon Me
- 12 – A Test of Character