Prisoner told stories of the inmates of Wentworth Detention Centre, a women's prison. The show had its roots in the similar UK drama series Within These Walls, but presented storylines with a much harder and sometimes controversial edge, including themes such as lesbianism, murder, and drugs.
Key characters in the series included Bea Smith (aka Queen Bea), who ran things from the prisoners' side, and prison guards Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson and Vera 'Vinegar Tits' Bennett. Other inmates included the elderly Lizzie Birdsworth and lesbian Franky Doyle.
The series is known as Prisoner: Cell Block H outside Australia, due to the similarity of the title to that of Patrick McGoohan's television series The Prisoner.
Award-winning and individually published episodes in this series will be included on AustLit.Content indexing in process.
'In early March, the ABC issued a press release announcing that the “multi-award-winning Australian drama Wentworth” would make its free to air television debut on April 12. “This ground-breaking and much acclaimed Foxtel drama”, it went on, has not only been enormously popular “worldwide”, but also garnered a swag of nominations and awards, including one from the Monte Carlo TV festival. Somehow overseas recognition still seems to count for so much more when it comes to assessing the value and impact of Australian screen productions.'
The definitive history of Australian TV soaps, Super Aussie Soaps examines Australian television serials, in chronological order from 1958 to the early 2000s. Among the series presented are Bellbird, Number 96, The Sullivans, Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, Neighbours and Home and Away.
Alan McKee examines some key moments in Australian television history, drawing on extensive contemporary evidence as well as presenting detailed analysis of the programs themselves.