Australian producer, director and writer Reg Watson has given Prisoner: Cell Block H reboot Wentworth his seal of approval.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper have published a letter from Watson to Wentworth executive producer Jo Porter.
”If I’d been casting [Wentworth] I’m sure each one would be perfect for my characters. I was lucky when I devised Prisoner to meet up with women who had spent years in prison and were happy to give me details of real life on the inside.
“I had to tone some of their stories down for TV as it was then, but the network still thought the first episode was too raw for Australian viewers and wanted to cancel it.” – Reg Watson
Prisoner, known as Prisoner: Cell Block H in the UK, made its Australian debut in 1979 running for nearly 700 episodes until 1986. Reg Watson began his career as a radio actor in Australia before relocating to England in 1954, where he joined the BBC. In 1955 he joined soon to launch ITV who sent him to America to study broadcasting styles. On his return he mentioned how impressed he was by the daily daytime soap operas – however it wasn’t until 1964 that Reg, with Midland production company ATV Network, launched the UK’s only American styled serial, Crossroads. Returning to Australia in 1974 he took the format with him, creating many other shows to use the style and format including The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters and currently still running Neighbours.
The contemporary reinterpretation of Prisoner: Cell Block H returns to SoHo in Australia later this month. Wentworth airs on Channel 5 in the UK.
[Pictured: Reg Watson at ATV in 1972]