During these days of the COVID 19 pandemic; the government agency has closed the government building to the public and has allowed me and my fellow gov’t bureaucrats to perform our gov’t bureaucratic duties from the comfort of our homes.

Doing gov’t bureaucratic work from home has its pros and cons. One of the pros is that there is opportunity to turn on the T.V and watch something, binge watching entire series while you work.

This program “Wentworth” caught my eye; I recognize the name from an old program that I used to watch a few years ago. That program was “Prisoner of Cell Block H.” The series was somewhat of a soap opera about inmates in an Australian prison. Wentworth was the name of the prison.

I was curious to see if “Wentworth” was a remake of “Prisoner of Cell Block H,” whether the stories and characters would be the same. So, I decided to check it out.

Yeah, the basics of the “Wentworth” was similar to “Prisoner of Cell Block H,” however there were some variations to the characters.

For example, the characters of the married couple, Will and Meg Jackson. In “Prisoner of Cell Block H,” Meg Jackson was a Guard and Will was a Social Worker. That Will was murdered during a prison riot. In Wentworth Will is a Guard and Meg is the Prison’s Governor (Warden); and that it was Meg that was murdered in the prison riot. But it was interesting that there was mention that the “Wentworth” Will used to be a Prison Social Worker before becoming a Guard. One would think that the career ladder would have been the other way round.      

Then there is the character Doreen; in the original character was a bit mentally challenged with an almost child like personality. The Character’s personality is a complete 180 degrees, and even argues with the Top Dog. However, there was an additional character, “Boomer,” that would fit the bill of being close to the original Doreen character.

Another Major Character, the Deputy Governor Vera, aka, “Vinegar Tits” also had a personality change. Compared to the original character personality on “Prisoner of Cell Block H” the “Wentworth” character is timid, easily manipulated and was overlooked for promotion to the Governor’s position, due to a lack of assertiveness, and leadership qualities and a lack of self-confident.

But later on the character evolved to becoming psychological stronger; thanks to being mentored by the psychotic Governor Joan “the freak” Ferguson, who was a curse and blessing in disguise. The blessing being mentored into become more assertive and acting like a leader. Even though Ferguson had an ulterior motive for mentoring Vera.

I don’t remember too much about the Ferguson character on Prisoner of Cell Block H; that character was introduced much later after I stopped watching the series; because at that point in time; the TV channel was just showing repeats, they never did show the entire season.

For the first three seasons on Wentworth, the main focus was on the character Bea Smith, which was also a main character on the Prisoner of Cell Block H. However, in Wentworth’s Bea Smith was in prison for the assault of her Husband. Wentworth’s Bea was combined with the main character in Prisoner of Cell Block H. Like the hated of drugs because the Daughter died of an overdose.

Where they separated was that the Wentworth’s Bea escaped from prison and killed the person who gave her Daughter the fatal shot of Drugs. While the original Bea killed her Husband when she was on parole. Either way, both committed murders. Wentworth killed Bea off in the fourth season, while Prisoner of Cell Block H killed Bea off on the last episode of the last season.  

Then there is the popular character Franky Doyle. Wentworth’s Franky turned out to be a bit smarter and less brawn then the original Franky. Wentworth’s Franky even escaped from the prison and got herself off from being convicted of a double murder. The original Franky on Prisoner of Cell Block H was a tough, ruff collar character, who is like a booty warrior coercing lesbian relationships from other inmates.

The original Franky even escaped from prison with the original Doreen; they were on the run for a while, until Franky was shot and killed by a Police Officer. Wentworth’s Franky faired better and had a happy ending to her saga.

Many of Wentworth’s story lines were reminiscent to that of the Prisoner of Cell Block H; the writers done a great job of putting in twists and suspense. So just because there are similar themes to the character’s saga, what happens to them turns out to be totally different then what happened to the original characters.    

There is a lot of emphasis on the mental health of the characters. The plotting and scheming and seeking revenge, and power struggles. It shows the psychotic tendencies that put the characters in the position that they find themselves in.

Then there is light on the blatant corruption of the officials. The prison Guards are corrupt, the Prison administration officials are corrupt, elements of the Police are corrupt, even gov’t officials. I wonder if the show mirrors what is going on in Australia. If it does, it makes the corrupt officials of a third world nation look like choir boys.

Overall, I put Wentworth up there with “Oz” and “Orange is the New Black.”         


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