PRISONER (CELL BLOCK H)
Australia / O-10 Network-Grundy / 692×60 minute episodes / 1979-87
Creator: Reg Watson / Theme Music: Allan Caswell / Executive Producers: Reg Watson, Godfrey Philip / Producers: Ian Bradley, John McRae, Philip East, Sue Masters, Marie Trevor
Often outlandish drama series. Prisoner is a much derided but nevertheless still very popular show (re-runs still being seen in many countries) that told stories of the all female inmates of Wentworth Detention Centre. The show had its roots in the similar UK drama series Within These Walls but this was a much tougher cookie altogether with the women dealing with lesbianism, murder, drugs and the like.
Key characters included tough inmate Bea Smith who ruled the roost at Wentworth (Queen Bea as she was known), prison officers Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson and Vera ‘Vinegar Tits’ Bennett. Other inmates included the elderly Lizzie Birdsworth, lesbian Franky Doyle. Towards the end of the shows run many of the original cast had departed with new prisoners coming and going at a steady rate.
Outside of Australia the show is known as Prisoner: Cell Block H because of the Patrick McGoohan cult 1960′s series that also went by the the name of The Prisoner.
Foxtel also recently announced that they are to re-imagine the show for a modern audience, this time it is to be called Wentworth and promises to be just as gritty as the original.
Important cast members included:-
PETA TOPPANO as Karen Travers
VAL LEHMAN as Bea Smith
KERRY ARMSTRONG as Lynnette Warner
CAROL BURNS as Freida ‘Franky’ Doyle
MARGARET LAURENCE as Marilyn Anne Mason
SHEILA FLORANCE as Lizzie Birdsworth
COLETTE MANN as Doreen Anderson
MARY WARD as Jeannie ‘Mum’ Brooks
AMANDA MUGGLETON as Chrissie Latham
KRISTY CHILD as Anne Yates
JUDE KURING as Noelene Burke
SALLY CAHILL as Barbara Davidson
MARGOT KNIGHT as Sharon Gilmour
JUDY McBURNEY as Pixie Mason
GLENDA LINSCOTT as Rita Connors
PATSY KING as Erica Davidson
ELSPETH BALLANTYNE as Meg Jackson
FIONA SPENCE as Vera Bennett
MAGGIE KIRKPATRICK as Joan Ferguson
GERDA NICHOLSON as Anne Reynolds
BARRY QUINN as Doctor Greg Miller
CHRISTINE AMOR as Jean Vernon
GERARD MAGUIRE as Jim Fletcher
JIM SMILLIE as Steve Wilson
RICHARD MOIR as Eddie Cook