Christmas special of the classic sitcom from 1975. The festive season falls upon HMP Slade and finds the inmates planning a jailbreak.
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Norman Stanley Fletcher, you pleaded guilty to the charges.
It is now my duty to pass sentence.
You're an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest and imprisonment as occupational hazards.
We therefore commit you to the maximum term allowed.
You will go to prison for five years.
MEN SING: # The holly and the ivy
# When they are both full grown,
# Of all the trees that are in the wood
# The holly bears the crown
# The rising of the sun, And the running of the deer
# The playing of the merry organ... #
SINGING DRIFTS UP
Making a card? Yeah. It's for my brother George.
It's not very seasonal, is it? It IS for George - he's only allowed it once a year.
Can you hear the carols? Yeah, shut the door. Don't you like it?
They only know four carols. And some of the words are a bit suspect.
Shepherds didn't wear socks in them days.
I find it rather moving - all them blokes united in exultation.
Don't be daft. They're drowning the row of Tommy Slocombe's tunnelling!
Tunnelling? Yeah, it's not the coming of our Lord, it's the going of Tommy Slocombe!
Nobody tells me nothing. It was a secret between him, six baritones, 12 tenors and a soprano!
We've got a soprano?! We've got lotsa-pranos here, mate!
Watch out for the baritones, too. DEEP VOICE: "Hello, sonny..."
Where's the tunnel?
Where's the choir? Outside Cell 28. It's three foot under Cell 29, then.
Give us a biscuit. At least it brings an air of festivity into our existence.
There's a carol service and a tree, too. Very useful, that tree.
Yeah, them dingly-danglies hide a multitude of sins, you know.
Even the fairy's got two ounces of tobacco stuffed up her tutu!
No wonder she looks uncomfortable.
Where did it come from?
The Governor's office. It was a present for Mr Mackay. Welsh George did a nifty switch.
What did he leave in its place? He left an identical gift-wrapped parcel.
What's in it? Well, if he uses it for putty, his windows will fall out!
What's Christmas Day like in here, Fletch?
Slightly less 'orrible than the other days. The Governor don't dress up as Santa Claus, you know.
Yeah, but we get turkey, don't we?
They CALL it turkey, but we can't be sure.
If it IS, then last year's turkey must have been a very funny shape -
28 legs and no breast!
Like Lulu and the Young Generation!
Hey, that's really good. Can I use it in my after-dinner speech?
Do we get Christmas pudding with cream?
It's that artificial muck like shaving cream.
And the wheeler-dealers are busy at this time of year. Genial Harry Grout has granted a few franchises.
And young Terry's flogging mistletoe to the poofters.
People forget the real meaning of Christmas. It's so commercial.
What do you expect from Mackay?
Christmas Day'll be OK, though? Not this year -
thanks to that flaming tunnel.
It spells disaster to us all.
Tommy Slocombe has ONLY chosen to make his break on Christmas Eve! He won't get through the traffic.
Only six more digging days left to Christmas, then! It's not funny, Godber.
This escape will implicate us all.
Slocombe's a nurk. Nobody will help HIM.
Slocombe's related to a big villain who's a mate of genial Harry Grout.
Now, Harry's got the word to get the kid out for Christmas.
So, if we are asked to assist, we cannot refuse, can we, eh?
We'd wake up one morning and find two more things hanging on the tree!
I ain't going down no tunnel. I get claustrophobia.
Do you? Yeah, it started when I was stuck in a chimney for two hours. Oh, yeah? What happened?
I was going to turn over this house and the chimney was the only way in.
My victims came home and found my feet sticking out the fireplace. I got away, though.
Did the police get a description?
Yeah, but I was covered in soot. They probably looked for a blue-eyed negro in a black suit!
There was two of you, then? No, I was... Oh, never mind.
So, that's why I'm claustrophobic. Well, it might get you off tunnelling duties,
but I tell you, when Slocombe's out of it, we'll be well IN it.
It'll upset the equilibrium of prison life. Equilibrium?
It'll tilt the balance of power between the law and the villain.
It'll push the system a bit too far.
Well, there's nothing WE can do, is there?
I know what I'M doing. I'm gonna be well out of it. How? I'm going away for Christmas.
Where to? Majorca (?)
Nah, everyone goes to Majorca, don't they?
I thought the prison hospital, for a change.
It's the only holiday you get here, and it gets me away from retaliation by the screws over this escape.
You'll never get past the doctor.
What's wrong with you? It's my knee.
I never knew you had a bad knee. That's because I've kept it up my sleeve!
Or, to be precise, up my trouser leg.
What's wrong with it? Cartilage.
What are you laughing at? I've lived with the pain for years.
Lately, due to the damp weather, the pain has become unbearable.
Which knee is it? Eh? Which knee?
..Or is it that one?
Ooh! Am I hurting you?
Yeah, but you've got your job to do.
It's a bad burn. I know!
What are you so pleased about?
It's no use getting hurt here if it's trivial.
I can't work with this hand. I must reluctantly agree.
But I think I could make it to the infirmary...
You're confined to your cell for three days.
I can't manage in a cell alone, with my hand tied up.
It may not look much, but...
You are NOT going to the sick bay. Understood?
You don't like having us in your infirmary. No, the sheets get dirty. Next!
Hold this dressing in place. I'll bandage you up shortly. Give me your card.
Out of here, Fletcher! I've got my card.
Out, out, out! I'm sick. OUT!
I can tell at a glance if a man is sick or not. YOU'RE a perfect specimen of manhood.
I haven't come about THAT - it's my knee.
What's wrong with your knee?
Ask me to stand on one leg. What?!
Ask me to stand on one leg. Go on, ask!
All right. Stand on one leg!
And you call yourself a doctor!
Get up, Fletcher. I don't think I can. Sit in the chair.
What is it? I'll show you.
There it is. There is what? There's my KNEE.
I know it's a knee, Fletcher. I learnt that at medical school.
You didn't learn about this kind of knee. It's the old trouble again.
What trouble? Laziness? Cartilage!
It's all in my records. I have an official history of knee trouble.
I don't believe you. So, check it out.
Why am I doing this?
Because there's just a chance that I'm telling the truth.
What's that? A Christmas cake - I get one every year.
Who for? The infirmary patients. There aren't any!
True. I give it to the wife.
That's good for a prison, eh? What?
A file with a cake in it! Get it?
Oh, yeah! Very witty, Fletch. I know.
Hey, were you ever in the Masons?
My God, it's true! Maidstone jail, 1967, cartilage.
Footballers get that, and groin strain. Little chance of THAT in here!
OK, you had surgery on your left knee, but it was YEARS ago.
And I've been in pain ever since. I don't complain, do I? No, never.
Even when he's crawling along like a wounded bloodhound.
All right, all right! I'm not after sympathy.
What ARE you after?
Well, when the pain gets unbearable, I have to lie down for a week or so.
You mean, a week in the infirmary? Yeah, maybe.
Ah, I see. Well, let me tell you something.
Of all the prisons in the north, my infirmary has the lowest record of admissions.
Donaldson, who's serving five years for embezzlement,
will get a Barclaycard before you get into my infirmary! OUT!
Well...on your head be it, doctor.
Fletcher, I KNOW you. I know you're going to make an issue of this.
So, what I'll do is cut it out before it goes any further.
That'll get you in the infirmary!
I'm sending you to a civilian hospital for X-ray and examination.
You'll be back in a day, and then the matter will be closed!
Why waste the taxpayers' money? I just need to lie down, that's all.
Out, Fletcher. You're a liar and a malingerer.
Harsh words, doctor, in this season of goodwill to all men.
I hope your conscience pricks you!
You can say a prayer for me on Christmas Day. Next!
I will, but I'll have to pray standing up because of my bad knee!
Hey, Fletch. Shut the door. You're blowing my chains about.
Harry Grout's coming to see you.
What?! Yeah, he's on his way. Oh, Gawd.
He wants some favour pertaining to the Slocombe escape.
Hello, Harry. Hello, Fletcher.
What a rare privilege. You don't usually drop in on people. They usually have to drop in on YOU.
And if they don't, you drop things on THEM!
You always WERE a joker, Fletcher.
Yeah, yeah, I was...up to now.
What brings you to our humble abode?
Wanted to get out of my cell for a while.
Change of air? No, the warders are putting up my decorations.
There you are, sonny. Go to the pictures or something.
Oh, yeah. Thank you.
Shut the door.
Sit down, Fletch.
Oh, thanks very much.
I like the smell of a nice cigar(!)
I can't offer you anything festive, Grouty.
I'm not in a festive mood, Fletch.
A tunnel's being dug. Have you heard?
When they stop singing, yeah.
Slocombe's a relative of friends of mine outside. They want him sprung.
Oh, yeah. His dad was Billy the Ponce Slocombe. Got out of Brixton in 1972? Where did he end up, then?
He emerged on some Caribbean island where the authorities took advantage of his criminal experience. How?
They made him Chief of Police! He certainly had style, the old man.
Trouble is, I have to arrange the disappearance of his idiot offspring.
Ah, delicate, Grouty. Extremely.
If only I could help you...
You CAN, my son. Oh, Gawd.
You're going out tomorrow. For an X-ray!
Still, you'll be on the outside. Our friends can take advantage of that.
But how?! There'll be a package.
Someone, somewhere, sometime. No sweat.
Look, I'll be under constant escort. I'm not going Christmas shopping, you know!
It's only a SMALL package.
A blank passport. Inky Stevens needs one to give Slocombe a new identity.
Wouldn't it be more sensible to get a passport when he's outside?
Normally, yes. But Inky Stevens is the finest forger in England. And he's INSIDE.
I won't be ungrateful, Fletch. Good.
There'll be something extra in your Christmas stocking.
Besides your bad knee, that is!
Oh, I like this one.
# ..Great tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy,
BOTH: # Great tidings of comfort and joy. #
Haven't you forgotten something?
What? Your limp!
All right, mock the afflicted.
You're not sick, as your X-rays will prove.
Let's call it off, then. I can live with the pain. Ho, ho.
No, the hospitals are busy enough. I'll just hobble back to my cell.
Mr Barrowclough has to finish his Christmas shopping.
OK, doc, I can take it. Give it to me straight.
I'm afraid I have bad news, Mr Fletcher. You have?
Yes, you have a perfectly healthy knee.
It's an attractive knee, Mr Fletcher.
Not as attractive as yours, nurse.
I bet THEY have a happy Christmas!
Enough! You're old enough to be her father!
Impossible. I'm not from round here! It's also a HEALTHY knee.
Yeah, but you can't photograph pain.
- When does the pain start? - When he wants a spell in hospital!
That's not true, Mr Barrowclough.
It's like Piccadilly Circus in here.
Can I get you some coffee? No, just get us back home, please.
I'D like some. It's all milk. I only get half and half at home.
Half and half? Half milk, half water.
Well, if it's not too much trouble, miss. It's very sweet of you to ask.
Sure you don't fancy some?
Er, not COFFEE, no.
Oh, what a charming girl.
Look at you. Chapel hat pegs!
You're more sex-starved than what I am, ain't yer? Oh, dear.
How long do we have to sit here?
What IS the matter with you, Fletcher? You're very ill at ease.
Now, enjoy yourself. Have another biscuit.
It's your attitude. All this bonhommie just 'cos it's Christmas.
Mr Mackay'll be tucking us up at night soon!
Now, Fletcher, Mr Mackay is no different from anyone else.
Outside, you'll find he's quite amiable.
Amiable?! On Tuesday, he patted a dog.
It was the Governor's boxer.
Oh, yeah? What happened? It bit him.
Oh, dear. He had to have a rabies injection.
The dog, you mean! It's not funny, Fletcher.
I'm like the Governor's dog - conditioned to mistrust in an atmosphere of mutual contempt.
I shall relax when...
(..when I'm locked up and you're insulting me again.)
You're spoiling my day out. Oh, forgive me.
I get fed up, just like you do. This has been a break for me.
What would you normally be doing? I was off duty. I volunteered today.
What?! You could have been with your lady wife.
Yes...that's why I volunteered. Oh!
Let me help you, miss.
I brought one extra, in case. Oh...
Please excuse our friend. He's a bit morose today.
Can I say something to him? Oh, by all means, my dear.
Fletcher, the young lady wishes to address you. Oh, yeah?
We know who you are and know this must be a sad time for you.
So, the radiologists and I want to give you something.
Not much, but it's the thought that counts.
It's a very nice thought, isn't it, Fletcher?
Yes...it is. Very nice, indeed.
I can't say I'm not...touched.
In fact, I'm...er...
..I'm deeply moved. Thank you. Can I open it now?
No! Not before Christmas Day!
Oh! Oh, yeah, I see!
Oh, no, oh, no. Spoil the surprise, wouldn't it? Oh, yeah.
Oh, yeah. Oh, Christ...yeah...
Well done, my son.
It gave me palpitations, Grouty. Right under Barrowclough's nose!
He was put off by the day out, her legs and two Johnnie Walkers!
Smart bird, Sandra. Yeah.
Does she work there? Nah. All it took was some nerve and a white coat.
Oh, I see. MY nerve nearly went.
Oh, not you, Fletch. You're a dab hand.
I'm sorry your knee got a clean bill of health. Eh?
Perhaps I could do you a favour.
..How do you mean, Harry? A couple of my lads could have a go at it.
Damage it beyond dispute.
Oh, no, no. I think I'll pass that one up, if you don't mind, Grouty.
Please yourself. Just thought I'd mention it.
Because I would like a bit more help. Oh, Harry, haven't I done my bit?
You see, it's the tunnel. Oh, no. Look, the lad gets claustrophobia, and look at me - a ferret I ain't!
It's nothing physical. I just want you in the choir.
They've come up against a noisy bit. We need as much fortissimo as possible.
Oh, I enjoy a good sing.
We sang a lot at Maidstone jail, working on the farm.
Hymns, mostly. One of our favourites was "We Plough the Fields and Scatter"!
Lots of 'em DID, too!
Right, is that it, then? NOT quite. Just one tiny thing.
What now, Grouty? It's essential to the success of our venture. Well?
Oh, certainly(!) What colour?
# The first Noel, The angel did say,
# Was to certain poor shepherds In fields as they lay,
# In fields they lay there Keeping their sheep,
# On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
# Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel... #
What's this, Mr Barrowclough? I want to ask you three something serious.
Why us three? Because you were in the yard when I arrived for work.
You engaged me in a silly discussion about the '62 Cup Final. So, I want to ask you this.
Where is my bike?
What bike is this, Mr Barrowclough?
The one I cycle on. You have a bike?
Yes, the doctor advised me to take more exercise.
- I had a bike once. - So did I!
I want to know what's become of it.
So, you're saying that prior to our chat, you were the owner of a bike?
And now you're the former owner of a bike? That's what I'm saying.
So, you're saying that you came to work as a cyclist and will leave as a pedestrian?
You're linking our discussion with the theft of your alleged bicycle?
It's NOT alleged. When did you last see your bike? When I got off it!
Are you sure you had it on you?
Why would I wear these? To stop things falling out of your trousers!
If we were talking, how could we palm your bike? Diverting tactics.
This sounds dodgy to me. Dodgy?
It's got all the classic elements of an insurance swindle, this has. How dare you?!
You said we were bicycle thieves.
I saw that film - an early example of Italian neo-realism.
You're as impossible as ever.
I thought that at this time of year you might have...
It's just my naive, trusting nature. Serves me right.
Come on, Warren. Where to?
To your cell, for a thorough search.
If I find anything resembling a pump in your trousers, you're for it!
Pull yourself together, Mr Barrowclough. It's your fault.
Never turn your back on them! I feel you encourage trust by showing trust.
They're criminals! They're also human beings.
Right, but CRIMINAL human beings.
They take advantage of you. You lack discipline, you're gullible.
I sometimes try to trust them.
Whenever a prisoner makes a request, a warder must ask himself, "What is he up to?"
Treat even the simplest request with suspicion.
A prisoner ties his shoelace. Question: what is he hiding in his sock?
I know that. But they can't hide a bicycle in a sock!
Come on, man. Did we ever find any trace of our billiard table?
We found the red ball.
They'll have dismantled your bike in an instant.
If it's anything like the billiard table, you'll get your rear light back! It just seems so pointless.
Oh, no. There's always a point.
My antennae tell me something's afoot.
Think, man. Have they asked you any seemingly innocent favour?
No, no. Oh, they did ask one thing, but...
What was it? They asked me to help at the carol service.
And you trusted them?! Once you turn your back on them, you're finished.
But I WON'T - I'm conducting.
I think I'll conduct a little enquiry. Who's running this club?
# ..last looked out, On the feast of Stephen.
# When the snow lay round about, Deep and crisp and even,
# Brightly shone the moon that... #
# When a Scotsman came in sight... # That'll do, Fletcher!
Stay still! Don't breathe.
What is that noise?
Central heating, sir.
I didn't know you was a plumber, Mr Mackay.
I think you've fixed it.
Back to your cells, the lot of you!
We need more rehearsal. There won't be any more!
It's Christmas, innit? You have forfeited the right to Christmas.
How? Through a series of events culminating in the disappearance of Mr Barrowclough's bicycle.
Now, I can't prove anything,
but that technicality will not affect my judgment in the least.
Stand still, Fletcher.
You've been put here to keep crime off the streets, and I'm not having you bringing it into my prison.
Remember that we have a solitary confinement area, with which... you will become only too familiar,
if you continue to practise the contemptible habits that landed you here in the first place. Clear?!
All right, the lot of you! Back to your cells! Move!
You've just stifled what could have been the start of a religious revival in here.
In spite of everything, sir, a very merry Christmas.
Oh, and a merry Christmas to Mrs Barrowclough, too.
Oh, come on, move it along...
Oh, yes. That's the only attitude they respect.
The only attitude that'll wipe out this wave of insubordination.
I suppose you're right. Oh! Could you countersign my report?
I seem to have mislaid my pen.
Where's my wallet?
Mr Barrowclough...I've been mugged!
That's impossible, sir. We've only been here a minute. We came in at...
Where's my watch?
It's on the noticeboard. It's official.
What is? Christmas is cancelled.
It says, "There will be no Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
"Just 24th, 25th, 26th December."
No point in these, then. I TOLD you.
About disturbing the equilibrium? It's been turned upside down. Innit marvellous, eh?
You go right through the year, keeping your nose clean.
Then suddenly, sheer intimidation drops us right in the Yuletide clarts!
And as for Lukewarm's robbery...
Grouty told him to. They needed Mackay's wallet for the getaway car.
They didn't need Barrowclough's Timex, though!
Force of flamin' habit, that was.
Grouty's really messed this up.
He's badly organised it, he's badly timed it, he's... Hello, Harry!
I was just saying what a pity your brilliant strategy came to naught.
Well, you know... Best laid plans...
Should I go to the pictures?
No, son, sit down. No secrets now.
It's a bad business.
My friends will bear malice. They wouldn't be that heartless.
Why not? I would.
Excuse me, Mr Grouty. Couldn't you reactivate the tunnel later? Nah.
He was off course, anyway!
That Slocombe's an idiot. He nearly came up in the laundry last week.
So, is this tunnel now defunct?
Yes, except for the contraband store. I've just had an idea. Oh, yeah?
If the screws were to find that tunnel, it would do two things.
It'd restore equilibrium 'cos they'd be so pleased with themselves,
AND it'd look like the escape route.
Yeah, but it WAS.
Not now. It's a red herring, see?
While they're still congratulating themselves, you can get Tommy away in a dustcart or something.
'Ere, you HAVE had a thought, Fletch.
It'll save yer face, Grouty. That it would.
A perfect plan. You're not wrong, son. Tip the Governor off, then.
No. I think MACKAY should find it.
Give me the plan of the tunnel, and I might arrange that he drops right in it!
I'm told you want a word with me.
Yes, just a seemingly innocent stroll away from prying ears. Know what I mean? Ah, yes.
I know you see me as an adversary, Mr Mackay, but we're old hands at this game, eh?
There's you and there's us, and we don't push each other too far. True.
We maintain a tolerable rhythm, seasoning our mutual contempt with mutual respect.
What are you getting at, Fletcher? Can we get away from these eavesdroppers?
You were saying?
I was about to say...
..I hate to see your authority undermined.
Oh, I just wanted to articulate those views. Can we move on a bit?
If there's any point.
I think it would be a step in the right direction.
I wish you would be more specific, Fletcher.
I think I've gone far enough.
HE CONTINUES STAMPING
It's a bit parky, innit?
Look, I haven't come out here to discuss the weather! Nor have I.
This is pointless. Hang on. You might learn something to your advantage.
You're trying to distract me. I'm not falling for it.
No, you're not, are you(!)
Mr Mackay, I'm trying to explain my position. Argh!
Morning, Fletch. Morning, my son.
Christmas is reinstated. Yes, I'm eating it!
Cuban cigars? They're from Grouty. Where did he get them?
I dunno. Where did B-Block get their goose?
That's from me. A bit mundane after cigars, but I knitted them myself.
Ah...did yer? Ain't that nice? They're lovely.
I'll wear that one when the bandage is off.
They're mittens! Eh?
Oh, yeah. Look at that.
Grouty apologises for being 18 inches out in his directions. He blames it on Slocombe.
He should have knitted them for you!
Well, it all worked out, didn't it? Yeah, you're in hospital.
The screws are chuffed about the tunnel.
Compliments of the season, Fletcher. See?
Pardon? Nothing. Cut along, Godber. You'll miss your Christmas lunch.
See you later, Fletch. Yes, my son.
I'll get you a Get-Well-Slowly card!
Well, Mr Mackay, you look flushed.
Been to the Governor's sherry party. Everyone's jolly, except the doctor - he's lost his cake!
Look! What? A present from the Governor. Pipe tobacco, I imagine.
I should open it when you get home.
I will. I look forward to that(!)
Fletcher, I just want to say that I appreciate what you did in the yard.
Oh? Oh, yes. Just between you and me, Fletcher.
I don't understand. Of course not. But, as you say, we're old hands.
There IS one question I'd like to ask.
Where's the soil that was excavated?
Ah, now, however you see our relationship, do not presume I'm an informer.
It's still them and us, and I'm on the US side.
A harmless question, for future reference.
I just want to know how they disposed of the soil. I can't help.
With a couple of nips gone, I see.
It's still a treat. Bribes, is it?
Come along, just between you and me.
Is the door shut? Oh, yes. And there's nobody outside.
Christmas present? Christmas present.
You wanna know where the soil is? Quite simply.
I'll tell you. Yes?
They dug another tunnel and put the earth down there.
Tonight, our subject is the entire universe,
which we'll be covering in one hour.
As a musical.
Christmas special of the classic sitcom from 1975. Fletcher doesn't want to spend Christmas in his cell, and through a convoluted series of events involving the building of a tunnel, he ends up in hospital for Christmas with his feet up in a quiet, comfortable private room.