Lock yourself in for a pair of potent prison dramas

Women's prison dramas are back in fashion

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The Independent Culture

Seven years after ITV's Bad Girls came to a suitably over-the-top end, women's prison dramas are back in fashion.

In addition to Prisoners' Wives, the BBC's compelling take on life for those left on the outside, this year sees the arrival of two shows focusing on the women inside: the caustic and clever Orange Is the New Black, and the dark-hued Australian drama Wentworth, a re-imagining of the camp women's prison classic Prisoner Cell Block H.

The latter has been hailed by the Sydney Morning Herald as “a triumph… a hard-edged, cold-eyed descent into a brutal world filled with brutal women”, while Orange Is the New Black, which draws inspiration from Piper Kerman's bestselling jail memoir, has received superlative reviews in the US. “I think the appeal of prison dramas is that this is a place where diverse groups of people are forced to interact,” says Jenji Kohan, Orange Is the New Black's creator. 'Orange Is the New Black' is available on Netflix; 'Wentworth' comes to Channel 5 later this year