Did we like it?
We’ll probably always love this programme – especially if it keeps up the quality of this series eight opener.
What was good about it?
• The exposure of prejudice against Muslims – much more effective than a dozen dry discussion shows – as Emira Al Jahani (really a Scouser called Emily) arrived in Larkhall, nabbed by a battalion of armed police while her ‘terrorist’ husband legged it out of the only window they’d failed to cover. Sylvia Hollamby – the voice of the Daily Mail as ever – stormed in with: “Get that contraption off your head” and “Get your dishcloth off!”, while the other cons were soon screaming about ricin, Osama Bin Laden and “your sort”.
• Amanda Donohoe as new deputy governor Louise Stoke, who arrived at work straight from a lap-dancing club where she seemed to be enjoying the gyrations of a busty blonde. She’s not going to rub along well with the Guv’ning Guv’nor Joyless Joy Masterston (we loved it when she made a w**ker sign behind the old bat’s back).
• Sylvia and the screws making a run for it when they thought poison was in the air, tramping Joy underfoot as they raced for the exits.
• Sid Owen as new screw Donny (a slightly grown-up version of gormless Ricky from EastEnders).
• Natalie Buxton remains as nasty as ever, cooking up a plan to make crystal meth to liven up Larkhall life.
• Pat’s The Clash T-shirt
What was bad about it?
• We did miss Bastard Jim Fenner and Dotty Di.
• The disappointment that Emira hadn’t caused the deaths of our favourite gay governor Neil and Nasty Natalie’s hard-faced henchwoman Ash. It was boring old Legionnaire’s Disease instead.
• While Phyl’s vomiting scene was good, her lousy collapse isn’t going to get actress Amanda Barrie much stuntwoman work.
• The Two Julies didn’t feature very much.