May and Willie escape whilst on their way to Barnhurst. Julie is triumphant. Reb appears to have committed suicide following suggestions from Joan.

First broadcast ... 1985 (Melbourne)
Broadcast on Channel 5 Saturday 22 January 2000 04:10
DVD release: volume 36 disc 2 (AUS), volume 18 disc 8 [UK]
Duration: 0:44:41

Meg ~ Elspeth Ballantyne
Joan ~ Maggie Kirkpartick
Ann ~ Gerda Nicholson
Joyce ~ Joy Westmore
Nora ~ Sonja Tallis
May ~ Billie Hammerberg
Willie ~ Kirsty Child
Daphne ~ Debra Lawrence
Eve ~ Lynda Stoner
Reb ~ Janet Andrewartha
Julie ~ Jackie Woodburne
Jenny ~ Jenny Lovell
Lexie ~ Pepe Trevor
Lou ~ Louise Siversen
Mervin ~ Ernie Bourne
Alice ~ Lois Collinder
Ben ~ Kevin Summers
Pippa ~ Christine Harris
Dr. Weissman ~ Bryon Williams
Tom Harley ~ Vince Gill
Pat Slattery ~ Dorothy Cutts
Roddy ~ John Larking
Cynthia ~ Beverley Dunn

  • Written by Ian Coughlan & Gail Meillon
  • Directed by Tony Osicka
  • Thanks to Tim Coward for transcribing the credits from the Carlton broadcast.

    Lexie's face is red raw from the stuff Lou put in her powder, but she refuses Julie's help and tells her to get ready for the concert herself. The end of the rec room has been transformed with a mini stage with Eve fussing around getting the contestants ready, Willie and May discuss the main improbability with the police's plan: all their potential rivals will have to be arrested so the art thief has no option but to choose them for the job. May insists that Wilie sticks to their agreement with the police and doesn't tell anyone about the escape. The contest begins: Willie performs a Laughing Aria to rival Florence Foster Jenkins , and bursts into tears saying she will miss them all so much. No-one has any idea what she means. Eve announces the next act as Jacko playing "Flight of the bumble bee" on comb and paper, but we are unfortunately denied sight or sound of that. The contest continues with Nora singing a doleful and tuneless folky song ("Got a little girl she's three, but she doesn't know me. Magdalena"), Julie reading a poem about her life in prison, Daphne playing the Moonlight Sonata, but by far the most amusing is Alice's Carmen Miranda impersonation . Lou is annoyed that they will lose money to the people who bet on Alice, as there might be a danger of her actually winning. The fashion parade follows with Daphne in pink corduroy (it doesn't look like it) but Alice has to rely on "simple unadorned look". Julie surprises everyone with how pretty she looks. Pippa's prospective employer in London agrees to wait for three weeks until after the wedding so she doesn't have to choose between them after all. Ann announces the judges' decision: Alice wins the talent section, Jenny wins the beauty contest, but Julie wins overall. Lexie claims her hundred dollars winnings from Lou, but she won't pay up. Reb hears voices in her sleep and remembers more of her ill treatment at Cynthia's hands. Lexie repeats the demands for her winnings. Joan announces to the women in the laundry that May and Willie are to be sent back to Barnhurst. Reb is told her case will be investigated and she is to see a psychiatrist. Ann tells Meg she wants Dr Weissman to recommend her release. After Norm's funeral, Mervin has a surprise for Joyce: he has used his prize money as deposit on a house which is to be their new home. Joyce refuses to let Mervin buy the house and tells him to get his money back. When they hear that Reb has seen Dr Weissman, they are worried this is before moving her back to a mental hospital. Officer Slattery accompanies May and Willie but doesn't know about the escape. The driver pretends the van has broken down and Willie and May exchange a significant glance. Reb tells Joan what she remembers of Cynthia: Joan gives her a razor blade to slash her wrists and suggests it's the only alternative to spending the rest of her life behind bars. Pat Slattery lets May and Willie out of the van : they bundle her into the back, lock her in and make their escape on foot. Julie tells Nora she's found Reb covered in blood and she thinks she's dead.


    Thanks to Chris W in the Digest for pointing out the following unusual extra credits:-

  • Lynda Stoner exclusively dressed by: Trent Nathan
  • Alice's Song composed by: Peter Pinne and Don Battye
  • Julie's Poem written by: Jackie Woodburne
  • Nora's Song "Magdelene" composed by: Charles Marawood

    Alice's song must therefore be a pastiche Carmen Miranda song rather than a mix of real ones badly performed. According to the Internet Movie Database the only collaboration between Pinne (composer) and Battye (writer) is the 1971 Australian film "A city's child" which is about a middle-aged woman (played by Monica Maughan) escaping into a fantasy world. However, it was not written for film or TV. Mark Caffrey points out that "On the DVD commentary, Lois Collinder reveals that the song was composed especially for It happened in Tanjablanca - 'they "didn't have to worry about rights" by using it again for PRISONER." Thanks also to Noel Baxendale for pointing out in Digest 1102 that they also co-wrote the theme for "Sons and Daughters".

    Charles Marawood is also listed in the IMDb as the composer of the scores for two Australian films: Weekend of Shadows (1978) and The Irishman (1978)

    Story Editor: Coral Drouyn
    Script Editor: Alister Webb & Ian Smith (581); Kit Oldfield (582); Alister Webb (583); Kit Oldfield (584); Alister Webb (585)
    Storyliners: Coral Drouyn, Tony McDonald, John Coulter, Kelly Bermingham

    ITV regional broadcast dates:-
    Broadcast on Carlton/LWT Thursday 16 April 23:40; Meridian Monday 14 June 1999 23:25