Rehabilitation through education is a favourite theme of the Prisoner writers, though it often seems to used simply as a handy way of introducing temporary male characters for the inmates (or even staff) to lust after. The syllabus is fairly restricted:
  • David Andrews runs classes in the widest range of subjects, but including that old evening class standby pottery.
  • Pippa Reynolds (565) and Wally Wallace (371) give screen printing and pottery classes.
  • Tom Lucas is hired as a teacher but mainly helps Merle.
  • Phil Cleary does typing classes (486), as Vera had before him in (72).
  • More practical are Greg Miller's lessons in first aid (49), Ian Mahoney's printing classes (257) and Len Murphy's basic electrical repairs (495).
  • Prisoners who pitch in as teachers are Helen Masters who gives beauty classes (9), Clara Goddard who gives cookery classes (35), Kerry Vincent, who gives an art class in (116), Petra Roberts tries English and History (385)
  • Minnie gives masterclasses in pickpocketing techniques (408).
  • The self help approach is followed by Karen Travers, who does a sociology degree and Geoff Macrae who does a correspondence course in law. And of course Bea tries to teach herself to use a braille typewriter.


    I think there are only 59 escapes or attempts during the series:-

    (6) - Lizzie, Doreen - when Lizzie is too drunk to go
    (12) - Lizzie Franky & Doreen - when Lizzie left behind and has to go back
    (31) - Bea - from hospital by drugging a policewoman
    (72) - Ros Coulson - gets out through the gates in the back of van driven by typewriter repair man
    (82) - Ros, Janet Dominguez - Terrorists under Janet's control break into Wentworth while staff are drugged
    (130) - Judy - From hospital, knocking out a policewoman
    (139) - Doreen with Judy - Plans to escape to see Kevin, but doesn't go ahead with it
    (165) - Judy Doreen Mouse Irene Lizzie & Bea - Through the storm drains using the pantomime as cover
    (178) - Sandra Hamilton - Tries to run past food delivery truck during quarantine
    (186) - Lizzie - Walks out of front gate with stolen visitor's pass when refused day release to see Sid
    (199) - Bea - When the van bringing her back from Barnhurst crashes
    (229) - Andrea Hennessy - During exercise period using rifle shot as a distraction, stopped by Bea
    (229) - Doreen - From the attendance centre to follow Peter Richards
    (247) - Sandy and others - Mass escape attempt during riot
    (249) - Marie - Disguised as an officer, during riot, stopped by Erica
    (258) - Doreen - Tames guard dogs and cuts through fence, has to come back to prevent dogs being shot
    (263) - Susie Driscoll - Tries to walk out with a group of visitors in Joyce's glasses, stopped by Colleen
    (266) - Susie - In a garbage container in emulation of Sandy Edwrads, but found in time
    (267) - Susie - Through ventilation shafts, but gets stuck
    (270) - Susie - From hospital after being overcome by chemicals in her previous attempt
    (273) - Susie - Hides in barbecue box in the grounds, but stops when she sees Jo Slater who she mistakes for her mother
    (289) - Hannah Simpson - From court by two gunmen, foiled by Joan
    (294) - Chrissie - On top of the laundry van taking place of Hannah Simpson
    (315) - Chrissie - Kidnapped from hospital by Neil Murray
    (322) - Margo - From Woodridge, taking Chrissie's place, trapped climbing over the fence
    (352) - Bea - Walks out of the main gate after a group of trainees disguised in Joan's spare uniform
    (389) - Maxine & Lucy Ferguson - In laundry van, arranged by Joan
    (396) - Sonia - In laundry van, arranged by Joan then stopped by her
    (416) - Bobbie - Runs away from police escort when going to court
    (426) - Reb - In ambulance driven by her associates, taking Joan hostage
    (427) - Pixie - Fails to return from day trip with boyfriend Ralph Cranton
    (434) - Reb Phyllis & unwillingly Judy Bobbie Cass Minnie - On Glee Club trip, drugging the officers and kidnapping coach driver's daughter
    (441) - Sonia Bobbie - Kidnapped during transfer to Barnhurst
    (459) - Myra - Walks out of the gate during fete in the grounds, disguised and with stolen visitor's pass
    (467) - Marie Winter - During riot through the kitchen, stopped by Judy
    (471) - Marie Winter - Over the fence and into the air hanging from a waiting helicopter.
    (472) - Bobbie - Under garbage truck, stopped by Myra
    (473) - Bobbie - Over fence
    (477) - Reb - From hospital, helped by her mother, who knocks out a policewoman
    (490) - Lou Kelly - During baseball game using bat as weapon, stopped by Marlene
    (491) - Lou Kelly - Taking Joyce Barry hostage and forcing her to drive her out in her car
    (516) - Sam Greenway - Hides inside "robot" teaching aid delivered to deaf school
    (518) - Frank Burke - Climbing gate after attempt to kindap male prisoners, stopped by Dennis
    (523) - Frank Burke - Taking Dennis hostage and trying to force Ann to drive him out, stopped by Joyce and Dennis
    (550) - Ruth Ballinger - Terrorists raid Wentworth to free her
    (561) - Lexie - Blackmails Mervin to help her escape but he stands up to her?
    (582) - May Willie - From the van during transfer to Barnhurst
    (591) - Nora Flynn - Through air conditioning ducts
    (598) - Lexie - Through air conditioning ducts and knocking Pat Slattery out in reception
    (607) - Lou Kelly - From hospital after fake suicide attempt by knocking out policeman
    (617) - Rita - Bongo tries to break her out on motorbike hidden in the back of a van
    (618) - Jessie - From hospital in wheelchair in disguise, arranged by Tom Harley
    (643) - Roach - On boat used for work experience
    (651) - Kath - Against her will, kidnapped by two visitors, then hides out in a hotel
    (670) - Merle - Fails to return after shopping trip with Kath and Rodney
    (675) - Rita Brumby Alice - Over the fence at night, Brumby and Alice stopped by a guard
    (678) - Brumby - Through the gate, disguised as Joyce, stopped by Marty
    (684) - Kath Merle - In laundry truck, Merle falls and twists her ankle
    (691) - Rita - By cutting through fence, helped by Joan


    For various reasons, we don't see the faces of the following characters:

    Cynthia Leach, Mrs Cleary or Mrs Daniels (Mark III).


    An alarmingly large number of accidents occur in the home, and an innocent piece of furniture or decor can spell doom if you fall across it awkwardly, perhaps catching your head against it in a glancing blow in those last moments before your face hits the carpet. It certainly did for Joe McCormack and Bill Desmond.


    The most serious fire within Wentworth itself is the one which ends up burning most of it down and killing Mouse and Barbara Fields (327), but there are lesser fires - Leanne Bourke sets a bed on fire (120); Evelyn Randall is burnt by a booby trap set up by the women (179); various small fires are started during the riot in (197); Sandy drops a lit cigarette into an officer's locker (245); Doreen sets fire to bed to get sent to solitary (278); Doreen again sets a bed alight, and Steve Fawkner is injured using an extinguisher filled with Lizzie's grog (284); Reb starts a fire in one of the cells as part of the riot in (466); Angela Adams sets fire to Bobbie and Marlene's beds (486); Spider lights a fire under the shop (661).

    Important fires outside the prison are: Sid's house, started by Lizzie to stop his son Gordon getting his hands on it (239); at the shoe factory where Barbara Fields works (302); in Joan's kitchen (553); the Conquerors' bikes set on fire by Joan (597); Blackmoor set on fire by Rita (667).


    Attempting to represent the multi-cultural mix of modern Australia are:-

    Irene Zervos, Hannah Geldschmidt and Yemil Bakarta.


    Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, no-one has yet been able to find the time to write anything on it. But I understand that someone is working on it and an entry will appear in due course.


    Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, no-one has yet been able to find the time to write anything on it. But I understand that someone is working on it and an entry will appear in due course.


    Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, no-one has yet been able to find the time to write anything on it. But I understand that someone is working on it and an entry will appear in due course.


    The winners of the awards for worst performance in a supporting role are:-

    Winner, Second place, Third place.

    Also nominated: Runner-up


    Suicide or attempted suicide by hanging is a scriptwriter's favourite to indicate a character at the end of her tether. Usually, the person concerned is saved in time, but at least four characters manage to go through with it: Sally Lee, Carol Coulson, Kerryn Davies and Linda Golman (or possibly Gorman as Michael C points out).


    Fortunately, Prisoner rarely attempts to force its "message" plotlines down our throat, though there are some clumsy and unnatural speeches from the following minor characters: Doctor, Teacher and Alan Lockely. Their only function seems to be to get across the information required so they speak as stiffly and woodenly as possible to make them look even more "real".


    The most obvious Hitchcock allusion (or steal?) in Prisoner is the flashback to Karen's murder of her husband in the shower in episode (1): just like in "Psycho". Another possible allusion is Petra's flashback recollection of her father's murder (390), which is shot in black and white but with the blood showing red, much like the crucial single red frame in the otherwise black and white film "Spellbound". Finally, Ian Smith's brief appearance in the last episode may be a version of Hitchcock's appearance in his own films: although Ian Smith didn't direct, he was involved in Prisoner for most of its run as actor, writer and script editor, and in fact co-wrote the last episode.


    Not quite as bedridden as they seem are Mrs Bennett and Mrs Hartley. Possibly Erica's mother Florence (played by the same actress as Mrs Hartley) also comes into the same category and with the same message as with Vera's mother: don't cry wolf too often, or when you are really ill no-one will take any notice. A more serious condition afflicts Tracey Belman, but Joan's attempt to prove that she is faking ironically leads to her "cure".