Porridge to return for full series
Kevin Bishop's 'Porridge' remake has been commissioned for a full series.
The 36-year-old actor starred in a successful pilot episode of the comedy spin-off - which featured him as Nigel 'Fletch' Fletcher, the grandson of Ronnie Barker's iconic character Norman Stanley Fletcher - and will extend the role in a six-part series.
The BBC1 show will see Fletch behind bars in Wakeley Prison after committing a number of cyber crimes, and though the full cast list has yet to be announced, Mark Bonnar is expected to return from the pilot as Officer Meekie, along with Ralph Ineson and Dave Hill as inmates Richie Weeks and Joe Lotterby respectively.
Original 'Porridge' writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais will be penning the script for the new series.
They said in a statement: "We're in a state of disbelief that Porridge is coming back after all these years but Kevin Bishop is a worthy successor to Ronnie Barker. So even though we feel like recidivists, we're more than happy to go back inside."
Kevin is incredibly proud that the one-off episode has been extended for a full series.
He said: "It was an honour to be asked to play Fletch although I never thought it would go further than just the one off homage. To be welcomed back by Porridge fans and the BBC to make a full series, is one of the proudest moments in my career. Dick and Ian are true sitcom masters and I know they're going to write a brilliant series."
The pilot episode aired as part of BBC's Landmark Sitcom Season, which celebrated 60 years of comedy series on the network, and 'Motherland' - one of the new shows which featured - has also been commissioned for a six-part BBC 2 series.
Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning said: "The Landmark Sitcom Season was a big, celebratory moment for BBC comedy and signaled our unrivalled commitment to the art form.
"With 'Porridge' we have two writing legends putting a modern spin on their masterpiece, proving that their fingers are very much still on the comedy pulse. In 'Motherland' we have the wish list writing powerhouse giving us a painfully accurate yet fresh take on the relentless emotional carnage of child-rearing."