OUR population is ageing, we’re constantly told, and that’ll mean we need to work longer, pay more taxes, be more open to immigration and make sure the nice old lady across the road opens her curtains each morning. But there’s another consequence of an ageing population which is rarely mentioned and that’s the increasing amount of pensioners in prison.

Naturally, if we’re all living longer, there will be more old folk in jail. Whilst this might seem like a great premise for a comedy, it’s actually a serious matter because, until now, the consequences of having a large elderly population in jail, with all their complex health needs, hasn’t been considered.

The over-60s are now the fastest growing segment of the prison population but they’re living in jails designed around the needs and demands of younger men, but what’s the solution? Do we release criminals just because they start sooking on a Werther’s Original? Do we build special wings, or special prisons, just for the old folk? Hardly likely when there’s little money for anything but airstrikes.

This programme looks at why there are so many old folk in jail and whether keeping them behind bars is the right approach.


JULIA Davis’s sitcom returns to Sky for a special two-part episode and picks up where Series 1 left off.

It’s a black comedy, set in the 1830s, loosely based on du Maurier’s Rebecca, and is spoken in mock-Victorian language which allows it to conceal dark, rude jokes under the pretty silken cloak of genteel words.

The main character is Helene who was washed ashore after a shipwreck off the coast of England. She married a nice local vicar and had to keep her dark past hidden from him, but his sinister housekeeper, Dorothy, was always suspicious of her.

At the end of the last series, Helene had found love with Dr Foggerty and finally told Hunderby she was leaving him. If he wants a new wife then creepy Dorothy is on hand and would be more than happy to comply, but Hunderby just won’t take the hint despite her constant schemes to win his affection.

As Helene and Dr Foggerty try to love one another, his wife, Crippled Hesther, promises to get in the way.