Thirty years ago, on 11 December 1986, one of Australia’s most addictive soap operas came to an end after 692 episodes.
Millions tuned in to Prisoner to see whether Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson would finally get her comeuppance. Ferguson was the corrupt officer who unofficially ruled Wentworth Detention Centre with an iron fist (or should we say, leather glove?) on the show produced by the Grundy Organisation and broadcast on Network Ten.
Prisoner also had great success in many territories, particularly the UK (where it was known as Prisoner Cell Block H and even inspired a musical stage show). It generated a short-lived spin-off set in a male prison (Punishment, featuring a young Mel Gibson), a US remake (Dangerous Women) and an award-winning re-imagining (Wentworth, recently renewed for a fifth season on Foxtel).