Entertainment & Arts

Porridge and Motherland earn full series on BBC

Kevin Bishop in Porridge
Image caption Kevin Bishop stars in the remake of Porridge

The BBC has commissioned full series of the revival of Porridge and new parenting comedy Motherland.

Six new episodes of Porridge, starring Kevin Bishop, will be made after a pilot episode received warm reviews.

The remake of the 1970s show, which saw Bishop play the grandson of Ronnie Barker's inmate Fletch, was part of the BBC's sitcom season.

Motherland was part of "New on Two", which saw several new sitcoms piloted on BBC Two.

'Happy to go back inside'

Porridge creators Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who will write the new BBC One series, said: "We're in a state of disbelief that Porridge is coming back after all these years, but Kevin Bishop is a worthy successor to Ronnie Barker.

"So even though we feel like recidivists, we're more than happy to go back inside."

Bishop said: "It was an honour to be asked to play Fletch although I never thought it would go further than just the one-off homage.

"To be welcomed back by Porridge fans and the BBC to make a full series, is one of the proudest moments in my career."

Last month, 4.4 million viewers tuned in to the new episode of Porridge, which received broadly positive reviews.

The Telegraph's Michael Hogan said Porridge "left me with an indulgent grin on my face", while The Daily Mail described it as "an affectionate tribute to a magnificent series, by the men who created it".

The original series of Porridge, which saw Barker and Richard Beckinsale appear as two inmates at the fictional HMP Slade prison in Cumberland, ran from 1974 to 1977.

Image caption Diane Morgan and Anna Maxwell Martin star in Motherland

More than two million viewers watched the pilot episode of Motherland across all platforms and the comedy - starring Anna Maxwell Martin as a harassed parent - was praised by critics.

The Guardian described Motherland as "terrific" while The Independent called it "a magnificent half-hour of fresh comedy".

The pilot episode was written by Graham Linehan, Helen Linehan, Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh.

As the full BBC Two series was announced, Catastrophe star Horgan said: "I am thrilled and relieved to have finally found a good use for my 13 years of mothering.

"Apologies in advance to the brave women and men of the school run."

Six 30-minute episodes will be made both of Motherland and Porridge.

Broadcast dates for both shows are yet to be announced, but Porridge will go into production in January.

Image caption Four new episodes of A Brief History of Tim have been commissioned

The BBC also announced that a series of A Brief History of Tim, written by and starring Tim Renkow, had been commissioned.

Renkow, who has cerebral palsy, plays the lead role in the comedy which sees his character use his condition to get away with saying whatever he wants.

Four 22-minute episodes of A Brief History of Tim will be made for BBC Three, which moved online earlier this year.

Renkow said: "I'm very excited to be working with the BBC. I just hope I can beat my old employment record of two days."

Damian Kavanagh, controller of BBC Three, said: "We are all about the best new British comedy at BBC Three and are very happy to give A Brief History of Tim a home."

Shane Allen, the BBC's controller of comedy commissioning, said: "These three exciting new commissions reinforce our mission to keep nurturing the very best of new talent and to cherish the great talents we've championed over the years."

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