TO THE LIBRARY
INCOMPLETE LIST OF SOME OF THE ERRORS IN
TERRY BOURKE'S "Prisoner: Cell Block H - Behind the scenes"
Thanks to Andrew Williamson (AW), Robert Lindsay (RL), Rachel Mckeon (RM), Mark Cox (MK), Robert Richardson (RR) and to Barbara Kendall for her bumper list (BK)
page 9 - 1979 was the Year of the Disabled (RL)
page 11 - According to a pamphlet issued by Pentridge Prison, the last
judicial hanging was in 1967 (not 1963) and the last flogging took place
in 1957 (not 1958) (RL)
page 16 - Bea's story is somewhat re-written here. Her first murder was
not of "a co-worker caught trafficking drugs", but of a co-worker discovered
by Bea to be having an affair with her husband! And Bea's husband was not
directly involved in supplying drugs to their daughter Debbie - he merely
failed to do anything to help her (BK). It's also hard to see how Bea could have exercised "vigilance and devotion" as the whole point of the storyline was that she was inside at the time (MK).
page 18 - Eddie Cook, not Ward (RL)
page 19 - It seems unlikely that Doreen was meant to be 19 when the series
starts. She tells Judy in (103) that her child was born when she was 16
and would now be 7 years old, which would make her 23 at that point, and
therefore 22 or 21 at the start of the series. (BK)
page 19 - This overstates the case somewhat. Colette Mann did volunteer
work at Pentridge, teaching dance and movement (?!) twice a week for18
months. Through this she gained some insight into what it was like to be
imprisoned, and so spent a bit of time discussing this with producer Ian
page 19 - Monica is described as if she was one of the original prisoners,
but did not appear until episode (15). (BK)
page 19 - "Prisoner file" for Jennifer Bryant. Judy's daughter is always
called (and credited as) Lori and the nearest thing she has to another
name is Laura, which is the name her adoptive parents used. Where "Jennifer"
came from is a mystery.
page 29 - the photocaption claims to show Sheila Florance as Lizzie "out-fitted
in new Wentworth gear in late 1984". The date cannot be right, as Lizzie
is written out of the series just after the start of the 1984 season. Possibly
it is a mistake for 1981, as the prisoners get new uniforms in episode
(244), which was two episodes before the end of the 1981 season.
page 31 - The date must be wrong as 4 August 1978 was a Friday not a Wednesday.
page 32 - Lyn Warner's employer was called Mrs Bentley, not Marlene Beecher (MK)
page 41 - Karen did not "scissor" her unfaithful husband to death, she
used a knife that she picked up from the kitchen drawer downstairs. (BK).
The photocaption on page 54 gets it right, oddly.
page 44 - Camilla Wells not "Camellia Wells"
page 48 - Judy is included by error in the chapter "The first inmates",
so the statement "Beautiful blond Briony Behets was the next major inmate
to check into Wentworth" implies (wrongly) that she appeared later than
Judy. This whole chapter is a complete mess and describes characters at
random and out of sequence, while implying that it is following the order
of the characters' appearances. It is also wrong to say that Judy was caught
with marijuana in a "lock-up" (which would imply at court or in a police
station) - she was actually caught with drugs when visiting Sharon in Wentworth.
page 48 - It is wrong to say that Susan Rice's story was shown "from the traumatic clashes at home through to her arrest and arrival at Wentworth." When Susan is brought into Wentworth, we (and the officers) know very little about her family life and it is only much later in the storyline that we find out the truth - that she is the wife of pop star Jason Richards (RM). Neither does it last six weeks - Susan Rice appears in a total of five episodes, which would have been over in two and half weeks.
page 49 - Mum did not have an "on-screen heart attack" to write her out
of the series for the first time. After moving in with Judith-Anne, Mum
has an attack at the end of episode (62) which Greg diagnoses as pleurisy,
but she is seen after this in hospital and is in fact written out when
she and Judith-Anne are reconciled with Lorraine and they both go back
to live with the family in episode (67) (BK). Ironically, Mum's eventually
does die from a heart attack, but offscreen, and she had already been written
out for the final time well before this.
page 49 - The picture caption also has Doreen's character with the surname
Campbell rather than the possible options Anderson or Burns. The mistake
is repeated in another photcaption on page 56.
page 53 - Bea Smith could hardly be described as the "undisputed boss of
the cells" after Franky's death (BK). This is particularly true at the
point alluded to: when Ken Pearce first appears, Bea had only just seen
off the challenge from Sharon Gilmour.
page 53 - The appearance of Ros Coulson is out of sequence. Her first appearance
(63) was long before Caroline Simpson's (89), and she is written out (92)
before Ken Pearce has even arrived (104). While apparently describing Ros
Coulson, Mr Bourke has got the character confused with Janet Dominguez,
referring to "Rosalyn's armed militia" (she's an ex-convent school girl,
for God's sake!) when it is actually Janet who has the links to terrorist
organisations. [And he repeats the misspelling "Rosalyn" several times
more for good measure]
page 53 - Karen Travers gets onto a study release programme to attend University
not a work release programme, and this is before not after her trial as
is implied here.
page 54 - my favourite mistake! In a wild invention that even the Prisoner
storyliners would certainly have rejected as farfetched, Greg is supposed
to have ignored his rather comprehensive lack of qualifications and experience
as a surgeon to save Karen's life by performing delicate surgery on her.
Of course, all he does really is mope around in the hospital waiting room. And as (MK) points out, this is the end of Karen's storyline - she does not appear in the 1980 episodes at all. (She has in fact been "on the outside" since episode (55) over three months before the end of 1979.)
page 56 - Franky's "legendary destruction scene" does not take place in
the prison library. It's the rec room that Franky wrecks.
page 60 - Vera may well have "hands of steel", but the implication that
she used them on the inmates is totally false: Vera plays everything by
the book and strongly disapproves of violence.
page 61 - in the Prisoner File for Sonia Stevens, Jodie Yemm is stated
to have played the character Rosemary Matthews. The character was actually
called Rosemary Kaye.
page 63 - Bill Jackson's profession was social work, so he wasn't the "jail
psychiatrist". Marty Jackson was not their "12-year old son" - in (2) he
says he is 16 years old. And as BK comments, it's untrue that Bill and
Meg "had the knack of being able to leave Wentworth behind when going home"
- they hardly ever went home!
page 64 - Jim Fletcher's younger son is called Nicholas, not David.
page 64 - Gloria Payne not Marshall.
page 65 - Morris is Meg's surname when she remarries, not her maiden name.
Her maiden name is presumably Coppins, as Ettie remembers being in prison
with Meg's mother Bertha Coppins.
page 66 - the paragraph about relative importance of the officers' roles
is misleading. Joyce Barry is not used as a major character until the 1984
season and Colleen is not really featured until shortly before Vera leaves
the series. If Jim was only "a short-term proposition", then so was Vera,
who actually leaves the series before he does.
page 66 and 67 - the sequence of events here is completely garbled. The
male stripper at Bea's party appears in (275) over a year before Pixie
arrives (377), so the success of Pixie's character could hardly have influenced
the decision to include this "humorous" incident. Then the implied sequence
of events leaps back even further back to the work experience in Andrew
page 66 - misleading by omission, the prisoner file on Angela Adams implies
that she was imprisoned for burning her parents' house down and killing
them. In fact, she was inside for benefit fraud, and only her grandmother
ever suspected her of murder. (BK)
page 67 - the photo caption manages to fit three clanging errors into a
very small space. Patsy King is not in the photo - it's Judith McGrath
(Colleen Powell); the character's name is Governor Davidson not Ferguson;
and Patsy King was still in the cast at episode 300, so she wouldn't need
to "renew acquaintance" with anybody!
page 68 - according to the Guinness Book of Hit Singles, "On the inside" eventually reached number three in the charts, not number four (RR).
page 69 - Kate Sheil is supposed to have played a character called Christine
Simmonds. There is no such character in Prisoner - this should read Janet
page 69 - Steve Fawkner was not the "second ... full time male warder"
at Wentworth. That title either goes to Jock Stewart or Terry Harrison.
page 70 - The officer played by Brian Hannan is called Terry Harrison not
page 72 - the photo claims to show four characters dressed up as Boy George
for Bobbie Mitchell's release. As Bobbie was supposed to be a punk, she
would certainly have spat copiously at the very thought. Of course, it
was really for Lexie Patterson's release. (BK)
page 72 and 73 - There is a persistent error throughout of calling Lurch
"Alice Watkins" when her name is Jenkins (the same mistake is made in the
photocaption on the opposite page and later in the book on pages 113-115).
Several of the incidents in the Prisoner File are wrongly ascribed to Lurch.
She does not try to commit suicide after the death of her mother and brother
- it was Lou Kelly who faked a suicide to escape shortly before
the deaths of Lurch's mother and brother. Lurch does not smuggle in cocaine,
nor does she knock out Steve Ryan when he finds it - both of these were
Rita's doing. Also, the actress who plays Lurch's mother is called Monica
Claux, not Moira Clau.
page 73 - It is wrong to imply that Lois Collinder was an unnamed background
prisoner for 19 months. She first appears around episode (420) and gets
her first credit in (448) - which is approximately seven months - and she
is certainly called "Alice" well before her first credit. (RL)
page 75 - Prisoner file for Reb Kean misspells her name as Keane throughout.
It is misleading to refer to the coke in a biscuit incident as if it happened
soon after Reb's arrival, nor does Reb's letter to the authorities result
in the Freak's dismissal, even temporarily.
page 77 - It's not clear when he's counting from, but it couldn't have
been "nearly nine years before England would be the next success story
for the Wentworth girls" - the earliest Bourke can possibly mean would
be 1988, but most UK regions started to show the program between 1984 and
1987. The statement that "Prisoner" was shown on UK TV after "Neighbours"
and "Home and Away" is certainly wrong as far as "Home and Away" is concerned,
since "Prisoner" was first shown long before "Home and Away" was even made.(BK)
page 79 - the beginning of the chapter "Enter the Freak" is both pointless
and confused. The incident of Lizzie's brew in a fire extinguisher exploding
and injuring Steve Fawkner did not take place after the 1982 Christmas/New
Year break, but the year before that, so its relevance to Joan's arrival
is hard to see.
page 80 - implies that it is is Chrissie (rather than Maxine) who knows
of Joan's past in Queensland. And Joan's affair was with a prisoner, not
with a guard, and she was transferred to Wentworth after beating up the
prisoners who killed her lover Audrey. (RL) comments: "She's a lesbian.
Apart from that she's rather prim where it comes to sex. Surely that's
not what would be described as "offbeat".
page 81 - the picture caption implies Rita has been in the prison a while,
but the scene shown in the photo looks like her induction.
page 84 - Justine Saunders not Sanders. (BK)
page 85 - Photocaption: the work release boat did not "founder at sea"
- Rita had deliberately fixed the engine and radio so they didn't work.
page 90 - if this is so, then Melbourne viewers would also have been equally
fed up, as new characters and plotlines were leaked 6 months before screening
in Melbourne too. (RL)
page 90 - Marlene was throwing stones at cars - it is implied from a road
bridge. It's hard to see how you could hit a car with a stone thrown "from
a train" (RL)
page 91 - Leigh Templar does not use the name "Shirlene Chapel" when she
first comes to Wentworth: she is always called Leigh Templar. Virginia
Hey played Warrior Woman in "Mad Max 2" - not "Mad Max 3" (BK). ["Mad Max
3" doesn't even exist as a film title anyway - the proper title is "Mad
Max Beyond Thunderdome"]
page 93 - After the fire at Wentworth the prisoners are moved to Woodridge
not Barnhurst. The following description is nonsense whether it refers
to Woodridge or Barnhurst - "the top-security institution where many Wentworth
uncontrollables had been sent". Though some women were sent to Barnhurst,
it was supposed to be a lower security prison than Wentworth.
page 93 - Barbara Fields hid Joan's diary in Erica's office. We have no
means of knowing whether this is "near the centre of the fire" or not,
due to the Tardis-like topography of Wentworth. (BK)
page 94 - in the photocaption, the exploding warehouse episode is described
as "the fiery cliffhanger for season 1983". In fact, although this episode
was a landmark in the series as episode (500) it did not come at the end
of the year - the 1983 cliffhanger was episode (505).
pages 96 and 97 - Psychotic officer "Barry Cummings" was actually David
Bridges and played by David Waters not Peter Bannister. He kills three
of the inmates (not two) and it is also stated that Cass "axes" this officer
to death, which is a bit difficult to do with a spade.
pages 96 and 97 - the account of the end of 1983 - episode (416) - and
the start of 1984 is a mess, mixing in some events from the end of the
following year. It's hard to see what is meant by "Governor Ann Reynolds
... had little time to exhale the smoke and clean up her singed locks before
she was weepy over breast cancer fears". The smoke reference can only be
to the exploding warehouse plot, but that ends in (500) - over a year after
the breast cancer plot which starts in (416). Bobbie Mitchell's suicide
attempts don't belong here either - she's on the run at this point in the
series, and is only brought back to Wentworth in (417). Her suicide attempts
follow her miscarriage nearly a year later and include attempts to overdose
and threatening to slit her wrists in the dining room (500). The one method
she doesn't try is "suicide by hanging". (BK)
page 98 - In the photo caption of the male prisoners in Wentworth, Terry
seems to be claiming Frank Burke as a relation by spelling his name Bourke.
page 99 - Phyllis Hunt not Kirk.
page 101 - in the Prisoner File for Eve Wilder, her solicitor's suicide
comes before the attack on Joyce Barry, but they happen the other way round
in the series. None of the characters who supposedly try to stop Eve's
hanging are even in the room at the time. (BK) There is also a reference
to "Officer Steve Martin (Billy Guyatt)". This neatly compresses three
mistakes together. The character is called Steve Ryan, played by Peter
Hayes, and he is the prison handyman, not an officer.
page 103 - Bob Moran takes over when Ann takes leave of absence (591) after
Lou Kelly organises a hunger strike: it has nothing to do with her health.
The three trainee officers are mentioned before Bob Moran but in fact they
arrive in (630) - after he has left (620). (BK)
page 105 - the photo caption claims Val Lehman's daughter Cassie appeared
in early 1979 episodes as a teenage drug addict. In fact, both daughters
appeared in "Prisoner" and according to the usual left- to-right convention
the caption has them listed the wrong way round: Cassandra (who played
Bea's daughter Debbie) is on the right and Joanne (who played Yvonne) is
on the left. And "teen drug addict" is a strange (but I suppose technically
accurate) way to describe Debbie Smith
page 106 - "heroine habits" are well known to Prisoner fans, though I think
Mr Bourke meant to write "heroin"...
page 106 - during the siege, Det Grace is consistently undermined by the
two Federal Police officers who were assigned to get information from Ruth
Ballinger. In no sense does he "lead" the operation.
page 108 - it is Margo who tries to escape during the Woodridge concert,
page 109 - Colette Mann did not return for four episodes "to resolve her
Doreen Anderson story in the halfway house and settle her parole violations
and marriage to Kevin Burns". This is possibly a garbled reference to her
return for three episodes (359)-(361) when Bea seeks refuge with
her in Sydney after her escape. How this would be relevant to the issue
of Val Lehman eventually leaving the series, as is implied, is unclear
to me. If this is the occasion that is meant, then all three other "facts"
are wrong too. The halfway house is not involved (this time at least, as
Doreen had been previously released twice to the halfway house run by Karen,
then later to the first Driscoll House); there is no mention of parole
violations; and Doreen was divorced from Kevin while still inside Wentworth.
page 110 - Myra belongs to the "Prison Reform Group" not the "Prisoner
Action Group" (BK). She dies from a single bullet through the head, not
"a stomach and chest full of fatal bullets" (AW). Joan does not need "life
saving brain surgery" after a bashing from Myra - this really follows the
incident when Frank Burke pushes a bookcase on top of her. In fact, I don't
recall Myra ever fighting with the Freak in any serious way.
page 111 - Bea is not "carried away on a stretcher" to Barnhurst - she
walks carrying her possessions in a cardboard box.
page 112 - Nikki Lennox is a petty thief and mugger not a tart. None of
the other three characters mentioned know her or each other before they
join the program, so they are not Nikki's "gang". Two out of the three
actors' names are misspelt - Robyn (not Roby) Frank and Liza (not Liz)
page 113 and 114 - the point of the work experience was not "sailing around
the bay" but restoring the boat. Delia and Marty were not "tricked" into
leaving the boat: Delia is pushed overboard and Marty jumps in after her.
page 115 - Rick Warner not Mick
page 116 - Nancy McCormack was on remand for her whole time in Wentworth.
She was never tried and therefore never "found guilty" of murder. (BK)
page 116 - Lisa Mullins was not "obviously frightened" on her arrival at
Wentworth. She didn't become suspicious until Wendy Glover starts to ask
her awkward questions. (BK)
page 116 - Pat Evison played Jessie Windom not Martyn
page 117 - Robert Lindsay queries this figure: ""The Restless Years" did
have fleeting popularity but certainly did not last this long. It ran only
four years, 6 December 1977 to the end of 1981. To check the actual number
of episodes I consulted "Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series" (by Albert
Moran) at the local library only to find that it listed 781 one-hour episodes
as well! Seems likely 781 *half-hour* episodes is the actual figure. Like
most other Australian soaps, TRY was produced at a rate of two-hours a
page 122 - The picture against the Prisoner file for Nora Flynn is of Jackie
Woodburne, who played Julie Egbert. It is also misleading to say that Nora
Flynn's career as top dog is "cut short by vicious Reb Keane (sic)", since
she is still top dog when she escapes and her career is "cut short" in
quite another way by Harry Bassinger.
Updated ~ 21 November 2012