Him and Her Actress Kerry Howard will play Hyacinth in a brand new one-off special called Young Hyacinth, a prequel to the popular 1990s classic sitcom Keeping Up Appearances while comedian Kevin Bishop will play Nigel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher – the grandson of Ronnie Barker’s iconic character Norman Stanley Fletcher – in a brand new episode of Porridge.
Keeping Up Appearances is currently the BBC’s most popular telly export around the world and the new special will be written by the original creator Roy Clarke, as Young Hyacinth tells the story of Hyacinth’s early adulthood.
“Often, even during the elder Hyacinth’s reign, I would wonder what this formidable mature lady would have been like as a young woman. Would the Hyacinth powers already be there? Well, to my delight, I’ve been given the chance to find out. I’ve been allowed to wander into her background and investigate, almost a piece of archaeology really, until there she was – Young Hyacinth in early blossom. I hope those who knew her in her prime will find as much pleasure in this re-creation of her as I have.” – Roy Clarke
Set in the late 1950s in a crowded canal cottage, Hyacinth’s desperate attempts to transform her sisters and her Dad (Mark Addy) into an altogether better class of family are not always appreciated. The sisters have their own dreams and ambitions, Violet (Tamla Kari) dreams of wealth, Daisy (Katherine Pearce) dreams of the great outdoors and Rose (Katie Redford) dreams of film stars and boys; whilst Hyacinth dreams of the day she’ll have matching china. Oh and how she wishes that her darling Daddy, currently scraping by as a part-time brush salesman with a tricycle and a drink problem, could be more like ex-Squadron Leader Cooper-Smith, for whom she works as a maid.
“It is such a privilege to get this opportunity to play the part that turned Patricia Routledge into a comedy legend. I grew up watching her and never dreamed that the original writer Roy Clarke would revisit Hyacinth in her early years and explain why she is the way she is. The script is incredible and he is such a sharp writer. This is a gift of a part and I’m very humbled that the BBC have entrusted it to me. I can’t wait to play her!” – Kerry Howard
Young Hyacinth will also feature Tony Gardner, Debra Stephenson, Tim Downie and James Wrighton.
Kevin Bishop will play Nigel ‘Fletch’ Fletcher – the grandson of Ronnie Barker’s original character Norman Stanley Fletcher in a new edition of Porridge which has been written by the original series creators, Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Joining Bishop behind bars will be Mark Bonnar as Officer Meekie, Ralph Ineson as prison bad boy Richie Weeks, and Dave Hill as cellmate Joe Lotterby.
Nearly 40 years after his grandfather served his time, Nigel – ‘Fletch’ to his friends – has landed himself in a spot of bother. Imprisoned for a series of cyber-crimes, Fletch finds himself beholden to Richie Weeks and forced to use his hacking skills to get Weeks off the hook. The problem being that wily Officer Meekie has got his beady eye on Fletch – he knows a wrong ’un when he sees one.
“Dick and Ian have brought Porridge back to life again with a brilliant script and it is a genuine honour to be involved in a show that is iconic in so many ways. Ronnie Barker’s character was one of the most loved in BBC history and the thought of stepping into his grandson’s shoes fills me with both thrills and paralytic fear!” – Kevin Bishop
Also joining the cast of Porridge are Dominic Coleman as Officer Braithwaite; Harman Singh as Aziz; Jason Barnett as Shel; and Ricky Grover as Scudds.
The one-off specials will air this summer on BBC One as part of a landmark sitcom season.