I have spent 168 hours of 2007 watching the first 14 volumes of "Prisoner (Cell Block H)". That equates to spending an entire week in the company of Wentworth's finest and I've enjoyed every single second. In my opinion, "Prisoner (Cell Block H)" is the greatest show in the history of television. Running from 1979 to 1986, "Prisoner" revolutionised Australian drama and set new benchmarks in quality and originality. I'm constantly in awe of the brilliant writing and fully fleshed characters. The latest installment (above) deals with Vera "Vinegar Tits" Bennett's departure from the show and I doubt we'll ever see a character as small, petty and painfully human as Vera ever again. I can't remember squirming as much as I did during Vera's farewell. The episode should be sent every soapie writer around the globe as a "how to" guide for quality television. I could write an essay about the show's amazing characters, groundbreaking storylines and enduring cult appeal but the "Prisoner" phenomenon is something you have to experience for yourself. Instead, I'm devoting this post to the show's much loved theme song, "On The Inside".
Is there anything more achingly depressing than hearing Lynne Hamilton's morose ballad juxtaposed against the slamming of prison gates at the end of each episode of "Prisoner"? Despite its gloomy tone, "On The Inside" immediately struck a chord with viewers and became a #4 hit for Lynne in Australia in 1979. The song found a whole new audience ten years later when "Prisoner" became a cult hit in Britain. "On The Inside" was an even bigger hit in the UK, reaching #3 in 1989. Make sure you check out this amusing clip of Jason Donovan introducing the song on Top Of The Pops! Amazingly, Lynne's depressive signature tune was revived for the third time in the 1990s when it remixed and released as a tragic dance anthem. I love all of the appalling remixes but I've decided to share the unbelievably camp "Breakout Mix".
You can purchase all 14 volumes of "Prisoner" from Chaos. Volumes 15 and 16 are scheduled for released on Monday. Fanatics can pick up the entire boxset if you have a spare $1,500. I would do some bad things to get my hands on that shit!