Great movie! If you want to be entertained and have a few good laughs, see this movie. The music is also very good,
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The first must-see film of the year.
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It is interesting even when nothing much happens, which is for most of its 3-hour running time. Read full review
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'Porridge' ended its final series in 1977 with 'Final Stretch' in which his cell mate Lennie Godber was released from Slade Prison. In 1978, it was Norman Stanley Fletcher's turn to be released from behind bars when writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais engineered a sequel entitled 'Going Straight'.Norman Stanley Fletcher, now 45 years of age, has decided that upon his release from Slade prison that he will be going straight from now on. However, it becomes clear that life on the outside isn't the bed of roses he thought it would be. In the first episode, on the train home, he meets Mr. MacKay who has retired from Slade Prison as well as an old friend and fellow criminal who tries to involve Fletch in his latest fiddle.As if the temptation of crime is not bad enough, Fletcher is also dismayed to return home and find that not only has his wife left him for another man, but his daughter Ingrid ( once again played by Patricia Brake ) has started a relationship with Lennie Godber, who is now working as a long-distance lorry driver. Adding to Fletcher's problems is the lack of interaction with his gormless teenage son Raymond ( played by Nicolas Lyndhurst ), who only ever really speaks to ask what time it is.Eventually, Fletch manages to put his life of crime behind him and secures himself a job as a night watchman at a hotel and in the final episode Ingrid marries Lennie.'Going Straight' was never going to rival 'Porridge' but as a show itself it was great. It was interesting to see what life would be like on the outside for the lovable ex-lag and it also gave Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement a chance to develop the relationship between Ingrid and Lennie ( which began in the 'Heartbreak Hotel' episode of 'Porridge' ). The show is also notable for having given future 'Only Fools & Horses' and 'Goodnight Sweetheart' star Nicolas Lyndhurst early television exposure.Barker and Beckinsale were as brilliant as ever together and Clement and La Frenais still came up with some razor-sharp lines, such as when Ingrid berated Fletcher for making her party dresses out of parachute material when she was a child. Fletcher retorts: ''Well, you would have been alright if you had ever fallen out of a window, wouldn't you?''. Another witty item, excellently delivered by Barker, had Fletch angrily rounding on his daughter after she questioned his ability to hold down his new job - ''I only took this job to prove a point to my family, but obviously now, the point is pointless, so what's the point, eh?''.Depsite being a ratings success, as well as scoring a BAFTA award, 'Going Straight' came off air after only one series. It was heavily slated at the time by the critics, who felt that it proved to be too tall an order and that it came too hot on the heels of 'Porridge'. The series was also further marred with the untimely death of Richard Beckinsale shortly after finishing production of the show. It is still genuinely entertaining in my opinion and for fans of Barker it can't be missed and is miles funnier than Barker's later sitcom 'The Magnificent Evans', which was written by Roy Clarke.In 1979, Fletcher was back, this time back inside for the feature film of 'Porridge'. No mention was made of his time on the outside, nor of Godber's marriage to Ingrid, so we must assume that it was set some time before 'Going Straight'.
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I thoroughly endorse Liam's well expressed review. Going Straight deals with the same person in very different circumstances and one that has to have non-humorous aspects. The episodes are clever, and funny where they need to be, very funny, with Fletch's repartee as sharp as ever. And his delivery is flawless. I found myself chuckling all the time I wasn't feeling sorry for him or worried about him. It's an excellent supplement to the wonderful Porridge. And Godber was as perfect in his new circumstances as he ever was. Interesting to see some supporting actors who went on to considerable acclaim themselves. If I have any reservations they are only about Ingrid's London accent - though nothing could ever be as bad as Dick Van Dyke's chimney sweep.
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Having just seen Going Straight for the first time on DVD, I'd have to say it's terribly underrated. A sequel to Porridge that was so different (being set "On the outside" and with most of the Slade prison supporting cast gone) was always going to divide audiences. There are some brilliant episodes and moments though- including Fletch bumping into Mr. MacKay on the train home (in one of their best ever scenes together they part company getting drunk together and even shake hands). A pr Only Fools And Horses Nicholas Lyndhurst is excellent as Fletch's vague son, Raymond too. Most interestingly though, along with the Porridge film, Going Straight represents a kind of missing link between the gentler '70's writing of Clement and La Frenais with series like The Likely Lads and the earthier, more realistic style of Auf Wiedersehen Pet and The Commitments.The main attraction for most people though, should be to find out what became of Fletcher in the end (although it was made later the Porridge film is obviously set before this).Whilst it's still mainly broad, old school sitcom humour, Going Straight has several more serious moments as Fletch and his family struggle to make their way without him having to return to crime. The episode in which he helps a cynical teenage thief to change her ways is particularly poignant. The looming threat of Thatcherism hangs over this series like some huge dark shadow about to turn the British working class into the underclass and unscrupulous, upwardly mobile "Greed is good" types- as the writers would go on to explore with Auf Wiedersehen in the '80's.Clement and La Frenais have done an incredible job, not just with their almost unbeatable comedy writing (only John Sullivan comes close as far as I'm concerned), they have also left us these brilliant documents of British social history over the past forty years. Going Straight is just as much a valid part of this as Porridge, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen.
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'Going Straight' is often thought of as a failed sequel to 'Porridge.' However, it would help to think of the show as an epilogue to 'Porridge.' If both shows were called 'Fletcher' then I very much doubt that any distinction would be made between the two.By the time the show was written Ian La Frenais, Dick Clement and Ronnie Barker had the mind of Fletcher down to a tee. This in itself made the series superb - with some of the finest writing and acting to adorn our T.V. screens. But there is a more important point to 'Going Straight.' Although 'Porridge' tried to relate the daily grind of prison life it was, by it's very nature, a comedy programme. Fletcher's spirit, intelligence, humour and status inside 'Slade' almost made you want to commit a felony and go and join him. However, once outside he became a 'nobody.' The writers cleverly showed that outside a prison Fletcher was on life's bottom rung - on course for a life of menial work, low status and even lower pay. Fletcher finds himself very frustrated at the lack of opportunities for ex-cons, especially at his age, and this comes through in the series quite strongly. Personally, I admired him in 'Porridge' and pitied him in 'Going Straight.' In 'Porridge' it was often referred to that the system can't be beaten. 'Going Straight' showed that even after having served time for crimes the system still controls your destiny. A lesson for us all.