I Confess: George Melly - Prisoner of Cell Block H

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The Independent Culture
I watch Prisoner, the Australian soap set in a women's prison. Well, it's my right to like rubbish.

It's not just the quivering sets. I love the characters. They are more real, more grubby, more human than the squeaky-clean characters of other soaps. They have the faint smell of old sweat and cabbage about them.

There's Val Lehmann's Bea (a great performance), the large redhead who runs the prison, fighting off the other inmates who dare to challenge her. Then there's tough-as-leather Lizzie (a rather refined lady in real life).

I do miss the ex-governor, Mrs Davidson, and all her liberal endeavours. She reminded me of a humane Margaret Thatcher. I was also very sad when we lost 'vinegar-tits' Vera, the nastiest of the screws.

Naturally, I fall in love with the prettiest, like the one who ended up being killed in the showers.

Best of all, each episode ends with the wonderful contrast between the gloriously dramatic cliffhanger and the blonde-sounding voice crooning 'He used to bring me roses' . . .

Writer / musician George Melly was in the confessional with David Benedict

(Photograph omitted)