Prison

Prison

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Porridge... Attack of the Drones (2016)

The following parody on the much-loved BBC classic Porridge has been contributed by Jonathan Robinson, author of In It and On It, two books about his own experiences in prison and after. No infringement of any copyright is intended.





Porridge: Attack of the Drones (2016)

A parody by
Jonathan Robinson

(with love, respect, admiration and apologies to Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais)


(Prison Interior Cell. Evening. The Door is unlocked. 
Godber enters. 
Fletcher is sat at the table reading the paper)

GODBER
Watcha Fletch!

FLETCHER
Hmmm...

GODBER
Not the normal bonhomie then... What’s bothering you? What you looking at?

FLETCHER
Catching up on the news on the outside my son. One’s got to keep abreast of the situation, innit?

GODBER
Oh, page three.

FLETCHER
You mind your insolence you nerk. I’m reading the news. This is important. That Justice Minister who was making a stink about prison education has been booted out.

GODBER
Gove’s gone goodbye?

FLETCHER
Gove’s gone goodbye Godber.

GODBER
Great. That’s my level three qualification out the window then.

FLETCHER
Maybe not.... I’ve had an idea... Have it come through the window.

GODBER
(sitting down – enthusiastic)
Yeah? How?

FLETCHER
Drones.

GODBER
Drains?

FLETCHER
Drones, you nerk. In the old days we’d get stuff in and out through drains. Now they use drones.

GODBER
Drains – like in Shawshank?

FLETCHER
Yes, but them days have gone down the drain. Now it’s drones. We’re gonna use our noddle – or rather my noddle – and get Grouty’s Flying Corps to airlift in your level three paperwork.

GODBER
Grouty’s Flying Corps?

FLETCHER
Grouty’s got more drones flying in and out of here than you can shake a stick at. The skies over this nick are busier than Heathrow Airport. He’s even selling landing slots now. D wing has been earmarked as Terminal 5. Richard Branson’s terrified.

GODBER
What do they bring in?

FLETCHER
Spice my son. Grouty’s got more spice than David Beckham’s record collection.

GODBER
Oh, the old spice.

FLETCHER
Old spice? That was Henry Cooper and Barry Sheene mate. This stuff is what the youngsters crave these days. Splash it all over. Then they go berserk. Evil stuff.

GODBER
What about the screws?

FLETCHER
What screws? Haven’t you noticed there aren’t any – or hardly any left? And those that are herearen’t
interested – apart from Mackay and Barrowclough.

GODBER
Suppose not.

FLETCHER
I’ll have a word with Grouty...

(Fade out on Fletcher looking thoughtful)
(Prison Interior. The Landings. Evening. Fletcher is walking to the end cell. Prisoners stand about talking. Lukewarm taps Fletcher on the arm)

LUKEWARM
Ooooh. Hello Fletch. Are you going to come along to my evening class? Lots of lovely men have signed up.

FLETCHER
Not now, thanks Lukewarm – but I’m glad it’s going well. Nice one, my old son.

LUKEWARM
The prisoners love it, the little dears. My Graham says he’s very proud of me.

FLETCHER
Yeah, that’s great Lukewarm, but I’ve got to trot along – I’m in a hurry see? I’ve got to go and see
Grouty.

(Snap-cut to Mackay who has been observing this conversation)

MACKAY
FLETCHAAAAAAAAR! Don’t moooooooooooove.

FLETCHER
Oh, gawd.

MACKAY
What are you two undesirables plotting? What hideous devious criminality are you discussing during
your overlong undeserved association time?

LUKEWARM
We were discussing my evening class Mr Mackay. That’s all.

FLETCHER
Yes, Mr Mackay. We were discussing Lukewarm’s evening class. You should go. All prison officers
should go. You’re perfect for it.

MACKAY
(Real sceptical Mackay look and flinch)
What class is that? Knitting lessons?

FLETCHER
No, it’s Turning Pages. Teaches illiterates how to read. Like I said – perfect for prison officers.

(Snap-cut to Mackay’s Looks-Could-Kill reaction. Fletcher makes his escape. 
Lukewarm grins) 

(Fade)

(Prison Interior. Cell. Evening. The Door is unlocked. A heavy stands guard. Fletcher knocks)

GROUT
(off camera)
Enter.

FLETCHER
(entering)
Evening Grouty.

GROUT
Oh, Fletch. How very nice it is to see you. What a pleasure. For you, of course.

(Grouty’s cell is decked-out with luxuries – as per the 70’s series – but up to date items: flat Screen TV, DVD player, iPlayer stereo etc. A poster of Prime Minister Theresa May has pride of place above the (four-poster) single bed. On the back of the cell door is a poster of Jeremy Corbyn – it has a dart board covering the middle of his face. By the desk, adjacent to some books, is a framed picture of Michael Gove, the glass in the frame has recently been cracked. 
Above the lavatory is a photograph of Chris Grayling)

FLETCHER
Yes, well, I just thought I’d pop along and have a chat... you know...

GROUT
Fletch, in all the years I’ve known you, whenever you ‘pop along’ to see me, it’s because you want
something...

FLETCHER
Oh, dearie me. Am I that fickle? Apologies, Grouty. I’ll try and make my appearances more regular. Like the food in this place does to us.

GROUT
Wouldn’t know. I have a hamper delivered each week from Harrods.

FLETCHER
Oh nice. Very nice.

GROUT
What do you want Fletcher? I’m very busy. I’m about to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones.

FLETCHER
Oh, right. It’s amazing who crops up in that, innit? Can I sit down?

GROUT
No.

FLETCHER
Right then... well, it’s about your dro.... (checks himself – doesn’t want to incriminate himself – or cause aggravation) ...about your... er... aerial delivery services...

GROUT
(closing up a file on his desk which says DRONE DELIVERIES on the front)
Nothing to do with me Fletch.

FLETCHER
No. No, of course not Grouty, of course not. But you being the main man in this nick, you know – the
kingpin – apart from the governor of course...
(Snap cut to evil look from Grout)

FLETCHER (Continued)
...well of course he looks up to you too, don’t he? So yeah, that does make you this prison’s kingpin don’t it? Yeah.
(Snap cut to delighted look from Grout)

FLETCHER (Continued)
...so you being numero uno – and all that – I wondered if you could use your influence – and get something in for me, via your dro... via your aerial serv... via the aerial services that someone else is running in this nick.

GROUT
(smugly – butter wouldn’t melt)
Aerial services? Is that how stuff is getting in these days? There’s a notion.

FLETCHER
Yeah. Drones.

GROUT
Really? Drones? What will they think of next?

FLETCHER
Yeah, hundreds of them. I hear there’s so many coming and going that plane-spotters have started
hanging around outside this prison.

GROUT
Oh Fletch, you’re always so witty...

FLETCHER
So I wondered if you could arrange... if it could be arranged... for something to be brought in?

GROUT
(highly suspicious)
What exactly?

FLETCHER
Paperwork.

GROUT
(leching)
Smutty paperwork?

FLETCHER
Oh no – NO – we get that from the screws. And Channel Five. This is educational material – for the lad – you know, young Godber. He wants to do his level three qualification – and as you know; no way is that happening in this nick – or any other nick, come to that.

GROUT
Yes, our education in prison is a disgrace.

FLETCHER
There’s no hope for the youngsters in clink – even the ones who want to engage with the system. The head of education here goes about banning stuff – even the good ideas – and I want to help give young Lennie Godber a leg-up. He’s got potential that lad. Naffing system does naff all to encourage it.

GROUT
You know Fletch, I wonder if we’d been educated properly on our first stretch – whether or not we’d have kept coming back...

FLETCHER
Yeah, good point Grouty.

GROUT
How many stretches you done Fletch?

FLETCHER
Dunno. Lost count. More stretches than a yoga instructor.

GROUT
Very droll Fletch. Very droll. Leave your request with me and I’ll see what I can do.

(Fade)

(Prison Interior. The Landings. Evening. Fletcher is walking back to his cell. Prisoners stand about talking. Prison officer Barrowclough is standing mid-landing with (new) prison officer Selous. Fletcher spots them, rolls his eyes and approaches...)

BARROWCLOUGH
And this, Mr Selous, is our notorious long-time resident Mr Fletcher.

FLETCHER
Evening Mr Barrowclough. Showing the new-boy the ropes?

BARROWCLOUGH
Yes, Fletcher, this is officer Selous. He unfortunately lost his old job, so he decided to become a prison officer. Isn’t that nice of him?

FLETCHER
Oh, very charitable. Well, Mr Selous, welcome to our world.

SELOUS
Really impressed by the vision and dedication of officers and staff.

FLETCHER
Pardon?

SELOUS
Really impressed. Very high standard of furnishing and a great lifestyle for all the residents here.

FLETCHER
I’m sorry?

SELOUS
Pleased to see the improved regime.

FLETCHER
(to Barrowclough)
Does he always talk like that?

BARROWCLOUGH
He’s only just been trained.

FLETCHER
How long is the training for our new officers now Mr Barrowclough?

BARROWCLOUGH
Still only a number of weeks – but some minister or other increased it by 14 days.

FLETCHER
Oh, that’ll make all the difference then, won’t it.

(Fade)

(Fletcher makes his leave and we track him walking to the prisoner phones. 
He looks around to make sure he is not being watched or listened to and picks a phone up. 
He put the receiver to his ear and begins to dial in a number...)

(Prison Interior Cell. Evening. The Door is unlocked. Fletcher enters. 
Godber is sat at the table) 

FLETCHER
Well I think – think – young Godber, that I may have cracked it for you to get your level three qualification sorted.

GODBER
Oh, thanks Fletch. I don’t know what I’d do without you.
(Fletcher climbs up to his bunk – but doesn’t answer. Godber realises something is on Fletcher’s mind so continues his enthusiastic thanks)

GODBER (Continued)
...I mean I’m just a lad from Smethwick. Mucked up. Ended up in nick. I want to improve myself. I don’t want to come back here... but the system doesn’t want to help... it’s only because of your help that I might be OK. Thanks Fletch...

(No response from Fletcher)

GODBER (Continued)
...Did you hear me Fletch?

(No response from Fletcher)

GODBER (Continued)
Fletch, are you alright?

(Fletcher sits up on his bunk. Makes a heavy sigh)
FLETCHER
Yeah, I’m alright... it’s just something Grouty said has made me realise something.

GODBER
What did he say?

FLETCHER
He said he wondered if us old cons had been educated properly when we first came to stir – whether that would have straightened us out – and stopped us coming back.

GODBER What did you say?

FLETCHER
Nothing. But I think he might be right. If I’d got my head down when I was in nick when I was your age... if the system had let me get my head down... I wonder whether I’d be here now... what a waste...

(Tap on door. Fletcher and Godber look up. 
Bunny Warren (the illiterate prisoner) is at the door – grinning)

WARREN
Evening lads.

GODBER
Hi Warren.

WARREN
(entering)
I’ve got a message for you Fletch. From Grouty. I memorised it from his note.

FLETCHER
Memorised it? You can’t read you nerk.

WARREN
Wrong, Fletch.

FLETCHER
What?

WARREN
(grinning)
You are wrong. Incorrect.

GODBER
What do you mean Warren?

WARREN
(proudly)
I’ve learnt to read. With Lukewarm. And Turning Pages. I’m intellectual now.

FLETCHER
God preserve us.

GODBER
Well done Warren!

FLETCHER
What did the note say?

WARREN
I dunno – I couldn’t read his handwriting. So he just told me to tell you to be at your cell window – making sure it’s open – tonight at 1030. Make yourselves very obvious – wave or something and flash your telly on and off...

(Fade)
The next day...
(Interior governor’s office. Hasn’t changed much since the 70’s series – but a new bar graph has appeared on the wall behind his desk headed Self Harmers – it shows a huge increase in numbers over the last 12 months.
The governor is sitting at his desk. He is ticking some boxes.
Off Camera we hear Mackay’s voice (loud) and he, Fletcher and Godber enter shot...)

MACKAY
Two prisoners for adjudication to see the governor! MOOOOOVE YOURSELVES. One-two, one- two, one-two.

(Fletcher and Godber march up to, and halt, in front of the governor’s desk. 
Fletcher panting, Godber looking highly agitated)

MACKAY (continued)
One, two! HALT!!!!!! Face the FRONT!!!! Stand STILL! Prisoners Fletcher and Godber on adjudication SAH! Charged with operating DRONES in and out of the prison SAH!

GOVERNOR
This is very serious. Very serious indeed. What happened Mr Mackay?

MACKAY
Six – SIX – robotic aerial drones, or the remains thereof, were discovered outside these two prisoners’ cell window. Crashed – and smashed to SMITHEREENS. It’s a downright liberty and I’ve got you bang to rights Fletcher. Copious quantities of spice packets have been found STREWN across the courtyard.

GOVERNOR
Where outside their cell window?

MACKAY
In the IMB carpark sir. Four Volvos have been irretrievably damaged – they are beyond repair.

FLETCHER
It’s nothing to do with me or the lad, sir.

(Snap cut to Godber: wide-eyed and terrified)

MACKAY
NONSENSE! Don’t come it with me Fletcher. It’s been like the Battle of Britain around here recently. Your aerial blitz is OVER!

FLETCHER
If they were ours Mr Mackay, why was our window not open when you came blasting into our cell?

GOVERNOR
Their window wasn’t open?

MACKAY
(realising his case has just collapsed).
Er... No... No sir, it wasn’t.

FLETCHER
(to Mackay)
And where were we both when you came crashing in to our humble abode?

MACKAY
(to governor – woefully – the battle is lost).
They were both standing by their television sir, Godber was changing the channels. Repeatedly.
Fletcher was jumping up and down.

FLETCHER
It’s called channel hopping.

GOVERNOR
If their window wasn’t open – they don’t have a case to answer to Mr Mackay. The good news is that the awful drones won’t be bothering us anymore. Fletcher and Godber, you are dismissed. Thank you Mr Mackay.
MACKAY
(Livid)
SAH! Right you two, ABOOOOOOT turn! QUICK MARCH! One two, one two, one two...

(Fade)

(Prison Interior. Corridor outside the governor’s office. Morning. 
Mackay (furious), Fletcher and Godber (who can’t believe they’ve got away scot-free) stop. 
Mackay spins on his heel and confronts Fletcher)

MACKAY
Fletcher, we both know that you’ve been up to something. You may have got away with it – again – but I’m going to stick like glue to you now.

FLETCHER
I don’t know what you’re talking about Mr Mackay.

MACKAY
Yes, YOU DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

FLETCHER
Mr Mackay. Instead of berating me and the boy, you should be happy that there’s no more drones
droning around your prison.

MACKAY
(with the Mackay flinch)
I – without any doubt whatsoever – KNOW you were something to do with this. I’m now going to
(Mackay exits)
inspect the wings...

MACKAY
(Off camera)
IVES... GET YOUR HAIR CUT!!!!
GODBER
I don’t believe this. You set Grouty up so his drones would crash into our window – to stop spice coming in.

FLETCHER
(smugly)

Might have...

GODBER
You’re a flippin’ marvel Fletch. Didn’t get my naffing level three paperwork though. FLETCHER
Yes, you did.

GODBER
Eh?

FLETCHER
I made a phone call yesterday.
(Fletcher removes envelope from inside his jacket)

FLETCHER (continued)
I arranged for your naffing paperwork to be posted in. Arrived this morning. Barrowclough just gave it to me. With all the drone palaver, no one could be bothered to check what was in it.
(Fletcher passes envelope)

FLETCHER (continued)
You’re up and running, lad. Level three here we go. The skies the limit for you... but not for Grouty no more...

GODBER
Fletch. You haven’t changed a bit.

FLETCHER
It’s still us and them, lad. Us and them. And buck the system...

(Fade. Titles)

2 comments:

  1. I chuckled a LOT reading this. Spot on Mr Robinson.

    ReplyDelete
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