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Going Straight (BBC TV Series, Ronnie Barker, Richard Beckinsale)

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Going Straight BBC Ronnie Barker Richard Beckinsale

In sitcom Going Straight, after three years, eight months and four days of residing at her majesty’s pleasure at HMP Slade Norman Stanley Fletcher (Ronnie Barker) is out on parole. Determined to go straight (well mostly) and hoping to get to know his family again Fletch is none too pleased to discover his old cellmate Lenny Godber (Richard Beckinsale) is engaged to his daughter Ingrid (Patricia Brake) and that life on the outside is not as rosy as he envisioned.

Coming off the back of one of the greatest TV sitcoms ever Going Straight continues the story of Norman Stanley Fletcher from Porridge, that series, over the course of 3 series,2 specials and a movie had some of the sharpest dialogue and funniest situations of the era. Now obviously not wanting to give the show up even though the writers were ready to move on the BBC persuaded Clement and La Frenais (and Barker) that life on the outside was worth pursuing.

Whilst Going Straight is not quite in the same league as Porridge it is still head and shoulders above most other sitcoms. The opening episode is easily the stand out as Fletcher ends up sharing a train carriage with the hated McKay (Fulton MacKay) and Fletcher’s realisation that the money he had buried away was irretrievable is pure joy in the second episode.

More your typical sitcom set up this time out Going Straight features an early performance from Nicholas Lyndhurst that has Rodney Trotter written all over him. Richard Beckinsale is also very good as laid back Godber now a long distance lorry driver and determined to make sure that Fletch stays on the straight and narrow.

More than just for Porridge completists Going Straight is a beautifully entertaining series in its own right. Sadly there were only six half hour episodes broadcast on BBC One between Friday 24 February to Friday 7 April 1978. The excellent theme song was sung by Ronnie Barker and the producer was Sydney Lotterby.

THE EPISODES
1. GOING HOME
2. GOING TO BE ALRIGHT
3. GOING SOUR
4. GOING TO WORK
5. GOING GOING GONE
6. GOING OFF THE RAILS