Monday, 5 July 2010

Episode 20

Prisoner's most eligble bachelor, slightly-built Steve Wilson is a foxy barrister with a full head of (grey) hair and a television announcer voice. Somehow he ingratiates himself into the storylines of Karen Travers, Lynne Warner and Catherine Roberts (one wonders how he kept himself busy before Pris began). There is also implausible sexual chemistry with do-gooding social-worker type Jean Vernon. As he is clearly gay and in love with me.

Episode 19

Catherine Roberts and her daughter Sarah. She's sublimating her rage into this salad (ice-berg lettuce and discount mayonnaise feature heavily). This storyline builds up out of nowhere and before you know it, the Roberts family have practically taken over the whole show. It's a compelling and horrific story of a teenage girl who is raped by one of her father's business colleagues. When Mum realises that the case will probably never go to trial, she metes out her own form of vigilante justice by running him down outside a convenience store, and then backing over him - FOUR times just to make sure. Mumsy Catherine, with her bourgeois values and comfortable cardigans is much easier for audiences to identify with, and back in 1988 when this was first shown in my tv region, I quickly became engrossed in her life and was obsessed with her getting freed. Imagine how disappointed I was when THE WHOLE STORYLINE was abruptly cut in episode 24 and none of the characters were ever heard of again. It took my quite a long time to forgive Pris for making me invest like that with zero payback.

Episode 18

No, it's not Henry VII, fresh from the Battle of Bosworth Field, it's new prisoner Monica Ferguson (she's a bit "common" but is quickly established as a good sort and one of Bea's allies). Old Monnie really suits those dunagrees. In a "humorous" scene, it's established that she's "in" for beating up her husband. Now Prisoner, just because it's a woman beating up a man, rather than the other way round, it doesn't make it funny or OK.

Episode 17

Sneaky Barbara Davidson is convinced she'll have an easy time inside because "Aunty" Erica (the governor) will look after her. Doesn't Australia have any other prisons it can send relatives of the governer to? Barbara doesn't have a very good grip on reality and seems to view prison as a bit like boarding school, which might explain those unfortunate pig-tails. It's difficult to work out if she's a cretin or a manipulative schemer, but there's a coldly manic glint in her eyes that screams sociopath. This is going to turn out bad.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Episode 16

Look at new character - do-gooder Jean Vernon who is some sort of prison rehabilitation/welfare officer (we never really know). I don't like her which is why I've chosen this unflattering picture. Jean is a little miss sunshine and wants to put all the prisoners out on day-release schemes or else get an expensive and handsome barrister to have their sentences commuted. Being far more glamorous than poor Vera and dowdy Meg - who have to wear the same boring prison uniform day in, day out, Jean gets to wear her own clothes - which have clearly been designed by Melbourne's answer to Edith Head. I bet her frequent costume changes (in every scene she's in a different fashion monstrosity) took up the entire year's clothing budget, along with the budget for lighting (for some reason in the last few episodes many of the interior scenes have taken place in practical darkness!)

Episode 15

Did this episode inspire the "hilarious" 1990 Robbie Coltrane film Nuns on The Run? The story of Doreen and Frankie's escape has it all. One minute you feel their fear as they try to avoid the police (who seem to be EVERYWHERE). Another minute, you're laughing along with them as they squabble and play dress up. And then you're touched as they inveigle their way into the life of a lonely pensioner lady, who protects them, but must ultimately be abandoned. And last of all - you'll be sobbing your eyes out when Frankie is shot down in a hail of bullets. Oh Prisoner - you'll feel more things in a single episode than you will in a decade of normal living.

Episode 14

Here's the first of a double-feature - Doreen and Frankie on the run. Having broken into a working-class garden belonging to a normal heterosexual couple, they steal their clothes from the washing line. Do you think these women look like escaped prisoners? Do not approach. They are dangerous and violent - and Doreen's frock may give you a migraine.

Episode 13

"Mum" - a character surrounded in mystery. Why was she so posh, while her "bourgeois" daughter Louise (played by Anne Charleston better known as Madge in Neighbours) had such a "rough" accent? And why did everyone claim she was so loved, while she seemed so distant and at times rather cold. This homely-looking blanket was made for her as a "leaving present" in episode 2. I bet it smelled bad. All of the prisoners clubbed together and did a square. I'm not convinced. Mum rarely interacted with anyone, instead spending most of her time in the prison garden. I'd be more likely to believe that each of the flowers had made a square each.