Search This Blog


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Voyage of Discovery

     The Prisoner spent 25 days at sea on an open raft. He mostly had fair winds, and travelled on a north-easterly course averaging some three and a half knots. There was no allowance for tides, seeing as the Prisoner had no charts and no way of assessing them. He slept 4 hours out of each 24. So, the Prisoner in his 25 days at sea had proceeded at an average of three and a half knots, for 20 hours out of each 24 on a north-easterly course which would put him..... four hours sleep, twenty hours under fair sail maximum travel on a true course 1,750 miles. Minimum would be, 400 to allow for differential, calling it 500 to allow for drift and tide. Due to the fact that the Prisoner set sail not knowing where he was sailing to, because he didn't know where he was sailing from, I think he was extremely lucky!
    I read of the fearless explorer and science writer Anthony Smith, who died recently, who since his teenage years he had been haunted by a wartime story of survival. It happened that in 1940 two merchant seamen, their ship having been torpedoed off the coast of Africa, drifted for seventy days across the Atlantic in an open boat. The two men were driven half-mad by thirst and hunger, and finally reached land when washed ashore on Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
   Anthony Smith, in 1990, tracked down the lifeboat and arranged for it to be presented to the Imperial War Museum. In 2011, when Smith was already into his eighties, he set about finally fulfilling his ambition of re-creating the voyage. He fashioned from plastic gas pipes, a raft measuring some forty feet by eighteen feet, and surmounted by a small cabin, and used a telegraph pole for a mast. The name he gave to the raft was 'Antiki,' this in homage to both his age and Thor Heyerdahl's similar vessel the 'Kon-Tiki.'
   Anthony Smith recruited a crew of three, and set sail from the Canaries in January 2011. Having drifted for 2,700 miles across the ocean at an average speed of 2 knots, the raft two months later, landed in the Leeward Islands, but 700 miles from its intended destination of Eleuthera. A year later Anthony Smith set off on the final stretch with four new companions. After three weeks at sea, the raft was blown ashore at night by a ferocious gale, to find that they had actually landed on the very same beach as had the two seamen 72 years earlier.
   What has Anthony Smith and his intrepid adventure to do with the Prisoner and his voyage of discovery? Nothing directly. And yet indirectly, Smith had a crew of three men to man his raft, the Prisoner was alone aboard an open raft with no cabin. Smith's raft drifted for 2,700 miles, and made land some 700 miles off course. The same could easily have happened to the Prisoner's raft, which could have been blown hundreds of miles off course far out into the into the Atlantic. On the other hand, he could have made land in France and not on the south coast of England! The Naval Commander suggested that the average speed of the Prisoner's raft was three and a half knots, if it had only been two knots, like Smiths, then the Prisoner would have been 500 miles short of being washed up at Beachy Head.
   Now I do realise it's not always a good idea to mix fiction with fact, and that the Prisoner's sea voyage has to be taken at face value because its what happened in the episode 'Many Happy Returns.' Nevertheless, I was struck by Anthony Smith's seafaring adventure, and because of it I turned my mind to The Prisoner all at sea aboard his open raft. Because at the very least Smith's story does demonstrate how easily it could have gone so badly wrong for the Prisoner, had the gun-runners not turned up when they did. By which time they were in the English Channel, and when the Prisoner jumped overboard he had 9.2 miles to swim at most, in order to be washed up on the beach at Beachy Head. The Beachy Head lighthouse proves this point, because its light has a maximum range of 8 nautical miles, which equates to 9.2 miles. To swim that distance in itself is quite an achievement, seeing as how tired, hungry, and exhausted the Prisoner would have been!

Be seeing you

All Our Prisoner Convention Yesterdays

   Another dip into the memories of bygone Prisoner conventions. The above was taken during a scene from 'Dance of the Dead, which was one of numerous re-enactments during the Touring Theatre which always took place in the early evening on the Sunday.
    Missed the chess match?
   Don't worry, we'll be back on the chessboard again tomorrow!
     The outset of the Election Parade.
  "We want Six, Six is the one. We want Six, Six is the one!"  Oops! Wrong series, sorry!
And finally, touche!
   It was good agricultural stuff, that everyone enjoyed watching. When I look at these old photographs, and see so many people taking photographs and actually filming the re-enactments, it makes me realise that there must have been hundreds and hundreds of photographs, and hours of film taken. Perhaps some of those photographs and films are still in existence today, put away forgotten in a drawer or a box in the attic.

Be seeing you

What is The Village Guardian?

   Perhaps a 'thing' from another world! Or a creature made from genetically engineered membrane? Perhaps, but smart money is on 'it' being a meteorological weather balloon! Although I do favour the genetically engineered membrane, which possibly started life in a Petri dish in some laboratory somewhere.


Caught On Camera

There's the raft that No.6 built in the episode ‘Many Happy Returns,’ but that's not No.6 {Patrick McGoohan}, It's No.6 Frank Maher, McGoohan's stunt double!

Assassination Relace With Execution!

    They're Not Going To Shoot You. They're Going To Blow You Up! And part of that plan to assassinate/execute the retiring No.2, was to get No.6 involved. It was a question of credibility, without which the plan might backfire......well it did, didn't it?
    But No.6 is a cautious man, even if caution in a man like No.6 seems so wrong. But why pick No.6 in the first place? I would have thought that any plan which involves No.6 would be tantamount to failure. No.1, along with the blond interim No.2, the heir presumptive, must have been of the opinion that No.6's word, and reputation, counts for something in The Village. However we all know what No.6 is like. He doesn't settle down, and definitely doesn't get involved, unless it suits him. So why this sudden care about what happens to the innocent citizens of The Village? He's never cared about them before!
   But it can also be said, that No.6 is never one to pass up on an opportunity, whatever that opportunity might be. So he turns his attention to the imminent assassination/execution of the retiring No.2. This must be prevented for the sake of No.51's father, for all the citizens' sake. But what of No.2, who has just returned to The Village from a spell of leave - I mean what No.2 has ever left The Village to go on holiday before? But the point is, that when No.6 goes to pay No.2 a call to inform him of an assassination plot against him.
    "Number Six isn't it? I've been expecting you" No.2 informs his visitor.
    "I want to see Number Two" No.6 informs the man sat in the chair.
    "I am Number Two. You've come to tell me that there's a plot against my life, haven't you."
    And of course the conversation between the two men continues. But the fact of the matter is, that for a man like No.2, who has enjoyed such a long term of office in the village, has been such an active and energetic No.2, so much so that he's allowed to take a spell of leave, No.6 doesn't recognise who No.2 is! No.6 is confused {and he's not the only one} because he's reported one assassination plot to No.2, but not to this one. To No.2, No.6 is a man who has "cried Wolf" too many times - he's a Jammer!
    But to have No.6 involved in such an assassination/execution plot, must have been something of a calculated risk. For No.6 does not assign his loyalties to anyone, other than that for his own self-preservation. What does No.6 care for the little watchmaker he's never met him before! As for the mass reprisals against the innocent citizens of The Village for the false assassination of No.2, how did No.6 know what The Village's administration would do? The trouble is, No.6 can never refuse a damsel in distress, and the interim No.2, the heir presumptive knows, and plays on that chink in No.6's armour.
    Escape is not the game in ‘It's Your Funeral, more in the way of self-preservation, of both No.6 and that of the citizens, to be saved from a Village purge of its malcontents! Yes No.6 does get the detonator of the bomb in the Great Seal of Office which hangs about the head and shoulders of No.2, and then about the shoulders of the new No.2. Eventually No.6 hands the retiring No.2 the detonator, as it's his passport out of The Village, no-one would challenge it. So why didn't No.6 use the detonator as his passport out of The Village? Because who was there No.6 could trust to stop the new No.2 from removing the Great Seal of Office from his shoulders, as No.6 does, while the retiring No.2 departs in the helicopter.
   So mark this, and mark it well. If you have any plan, any plan of any kind, and you want that plan to succeed. Don't, under any circumstances, involve No.6 in any way!

Be seeing you

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Village Life!

   We all know the rules to Kosho, the first to dunk his opponent into the tank of water is the winner. Number 6 in one of his electoral speeches in 'Free For All,' told the good citizens of The Village that they can partake in the most hazardous sports, and they will. Well I shouldn't think you can get much more hazardous than Kosho. All that bouncing up and down from one trampoline to another, and over a tank of water. Then you jump up to the top of the wall, which is sloped, and scamper this way and that in trying to avoid your opponent. Its no wonder that athletes wear crash helmets. Just think of the danger when one is hurled into that tank of water. If one caught one's head on the side of that'd easily be dead!
   It was hoped that Kosho would be accepted for the Commonwealth Games, but then The Village isn't in the Commonwealth!
    And there's always been one thing I've never understood.
   Number 6 got the better of his opponent Number 14, he had him dangling over the tank of water. I was waiting for Number 6 to dunk 14 into the tank of water, but then two other Kosho athletes appeared. Number 6 saw them, then released his hold on Number 14. I have never understood why Number 6 didn't simply let 14 fall into the tank of water!

Be seeing you

Bureau of Visual Records

   Above is the scene that the Prisoner sees when he looks out of his cottage window upon his return to The Village in 'Many Happy Returns.' It always seems to me that the Prisoner arrives back in The Village on the morning of 'Dance of the Dead, seeing as how that's the Carnival parade taking place down in the square. But unfortunately there is a piece that doesn't fit that idea, Mrs. Butterworth as Number 2, which is a pity, because there's Number 2-Peter Pan to take into account. Also what needs taking into account, is the fact that this isn't the scene the Prisoner would have seen when he looked out of his cottage window, it should have been a different angle altogether.
  Such as this angle, seen from the window of the cottage '6 Private' on the day of the prisoner's arrival in The Village. Such is the extent of the manipulation in The Village, that even when one looks out of the window one cannot be sure of the view!

Be seeing you