Location Details

Gatehouse of St Albans Prison (2005)
Slade Prison

The BBC production team had planned to film Porridge in a real prison however before filming began the Home Office (a Government Department) refused permission for any UK prison to be used in the programme. The reason for decision this is believed to be that the Home Office thought the programme would cast prisons in a negative light.

The BBC improvised very well. They used the Main Gate House, of former St Albans Prison, Victoria Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire (pictures before and after left) as the main gate of "Slade Prison".

Slade Prison's metal walkways and communal area were filmed in a large metal tank at Elstree Studios. The huge tank was previously used for underwater filming however the BBC converted it into the two floor 'prison' seen in the programme. External scenes at 'Slade' (e.g. the rooftop strike, exercise ground) were filmed at various London psychiatric hospitals.

Most other interior scenes (e.g. Fletcher's cell) were filmed at BBC Studios.

The 1979 film was shot in Chelmsford Prison (Essex, UK). The prison had just undergone a refurbishment following a fire and the film crew managed to get in there before the establishment was returned to service.

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