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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

I Am Not A Number I Am A Person!

    Aren’t we all! After all we’ve all been pushed, filed, stamped, briefed, debriefed, and numbered at one time or another, and more often than not. Having a number doesn’t stop someone from being a person, number or not you are still you. After all they only took Number 6’s name away {not that he had one in the first place} not his identity, his personality, although they did try that once, but to no avail. Let’s not forget Number 6 wasn’t all that keen on using his own name himself, even when he had the chance to use it he had to think up some pseudonym instead. Peter Smith indeed! And don’t forget the Prisoner was known by a number during his former employment, ZM73, in fact during ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My darling’ when he was given the opportunity to use his name then he preferred to use his code name! And didn’t he sign a message to XO4 D6? As for The Village, basically it’s a prison, and in prisons Prisoners are given numbers, and more often than not they are known more by that number than a name, certainly for official purposes they are. As for Number 6 he’s a troublemaker, Number 12 knew that, and when not attempting to escape Number 6 likes nothing more than going about poking his nose in where it’s not wanted, and generally causing trouble. The man’s a goat!

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A Favourite Scene

   Number 6 returns to his cottage, apparently confused, no longer sure of who he is any more. But he’s Number 12 isn’t he? “Sometimes in my dreams I’m, I’m somebody else.” He doesn’t know who, but sometimes in his dreams he has resigned his job. Now why did he resign his job? “Sometimes I’m here in my dreams, then I come back…I wonder now who am I, why am I here?” Perhaps it might be advantageous to call Number 2 at this point, he might be able to help.
   Curtis he was so gullible, taken in by Number 6’s performance, he wasn’t that much better in defending himself in a fist-fight! The fight scene in ‘The Schizoid Man’ is reminiscent of the time when John Drake was fighting with himself in the ‘Danger Man’ episode ‘The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove.’
   It’s stated that ‘the Prisoner’ is all about the mental struggle within himself, here we see that mental struggle transformed into a physical one for a change, symbolically speaking that is. Looking at it another way, perhaps Number 1 had decided to take a personal hand in this episode, presenting himself as Curtis. Then the whole of ‘The Schizoid Man’ could be physically based on the struggle Number 6 finds within himself. As for Curtis perhaps Number 6 made a mistake when he reported the death to Number 2, that Number 1 was alive and able to retake his place at the summit, perhaps ruing his decision to take part in this episode. Not that he came off any better during that final confrontation. It’s no wonder Number 1 ran away, he had no stomach for another physical beating!

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Falling Out!

    Number 48 was allowed to plead his case before the assembly, and we discover that he had been with them, but at some point he went and gone!
    The “late” Number 2 was allowed to formally address the Assembly, he stated his case quite eloquently. And then it was Number 6’s turn to address the Assembly, to make a speech that could only be his own, but for them. Almost 50 years ago when as a boy of 12, I watched Number 6 take the rostrum and I thought I was about to hear something profound, that I should hear at least some sort of explanation. Because as I understood it ‘Fall Out’ was supposed to have the answers to all those questions I had gathered together over the 16 previous weeks. Only then ‘Fall Out’ left me more confused than ever. There were no answers, but there was action and adventure. The evil Number 1 thwarted and his lair The Village evacuated, and left abandoned. But it didn’t end, there was no escape, no answers forthcoming for Number 6, it was most unsatisfactory. And there it was gone, it would be another 8 years before I would be able to see ‘the Prisoner’ again, and of course ‘Fall Out.’
    Do I like ‘Fall Out’ today? Well it’s never been one of my top five favourite episodes, but I can see it’s the only logical ending to ‘The Prisoner.’ Not only that, fictionally I can see that it’s possibly the episode where it all began, as a falling out amongst friends. Because ‘Fall Out’ fits as well at the beginning of the series as it does at the end.

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Village Life!

    “There’s something different today!”
    “Different, how can something be different, we walk this way everyday to the Town Hall.”
    “Haven’t you noticed it?”
    “Noticed what?”
    “There is a distinct lack of colour in The Village this morning!”
    “Oh that!”
    “How do you account for this strange phenomenon?”
    “If I’ve learned anything while I’ve been in this Village, it’s never to wonder about anything.”
    “It’s not one of Number Two’s crazy schemes is it?”
    “No, it’s far simpler than that.”
    “Has it anything to do with Number Six?”
    “Just for a change it hasn’t, the answer’s pretty simple really.”
    “Do tell.”
    “We’ll be late for the meeting.”
    “What you mean the vote about whether or not to build a new concert hall?”
   “It’s not cut and dried yet.”
   “You mean it’s not black and white, which reminds me.....”
   “Well you see we might be filmed in colour, but there are no colour television sets yet, so we appear in black and white!”
    “You mean we see the colour, but those who are observing us via surveillance only see us in black and white?”
    “That’s about the size of it.”
    “But I can see in black and white, that’s because someone is watching in black and white, the colour is taken away!”
    “When will we see in colour again?”
    “I suppose not until people have colour television sets.”
    “Oh, I wonder what Number Two will say about this?”
    “There’ll probably be a board meeting or committee meeting about it.”
    “And what will that achieve?”
    “You mean like the time it was decided The Village should go green.”
    “Yes and the committee couldn’t decide on the shade!”

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A Change of Mind

   In ‘Free For all’ we learn that The Village has a Town Council, Council being another word for Committee, and the leader of the Council is the Chairman Number 2. On the face of it, it appears that the Council or Committee members have no voice when Number 6 is afforded the opportunity to put questions to them. The only voice being that of the Chairman. Whether or not this Town Council actually administers The Village administration is unclear. Yes there is an administration of which Number 2 is the Chief administer, but he is answerable to Number 1. Whether or not Number 1 has absolute control or if he is answerable to a Committee or those “masters” we hear so much about is unknown. Chairman Mao Tse-Tung in his little red book wrote of the Party Committee system being an important Party Institution. There is a further Committee within The Village administration which fights disharmony within the society of The Village. And like the Town Council and its Chairman, only the Chairman, Number 18, of the Committee has a voice, while the rest of the members remain silent. Anyone with a disharmonious tendency is put up for further investigation, and should there be any further complaints against the individual he or she is pronounced as being unmutual!
   It would appear that despite there being a Town Council, and Committee for disharmonious unmutualism, it falls upon one person or individual, to monopolize and conduct affairs and decide upon important problems within The Village administration. And that does not take into consideration the Board of Education supposedly responsible for both Speed Learn and that of the Professor’s lectures. For as the Projectionist asked Number 2 if the latest lecture had been approved by the Board, Number 2 said “It will be.” Because the members of the Board of Education have no more say in how Speed Learn is administered than the members of the Town Council or of the Committee!

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There’s Just One Thing I Don’t Understand

    If Mister X is told to use a standard disguise by the Chief, what kind of disguise is it that makes a man stand out from the crowd? Perhaps dressed as Mister X, that makes him an eccentric, and no-one takes any notice of eccentrics. And yet it was in the 1960’s when everything was “way out,” or should that be “far out?” It was a time when it was fashionable for trendy young things to go about wearing army tunics from the Napoleonic wars for example. Number 48 wore such a tunic, he also wore Mister X’s frilly shirt. I have such a shirt myself, handmade, and I’ve worn it about town. But it’s the second of such shirts that I’ve owned, the first was for a Prisoner convention for a re-enactment of the boxing scene from ‘The Girl Who Was Death.’ I also own a deerstalker which I also wear about town, but not as part of a disguise as Mister X, but with either a long coat, or tweed jacket. When I wore the deer stalker with a long coat once, I was approached by a little old lady who congratulated me upon my appearance, because I looked so like Sherlock Holmes. Not that I was trying to, it’s just that I have a collection of different hats that’s all. Plus three piped jackets, a couple of black polo shirts, the jacket from my ‘Arrival’ suit, and now Number 2’s scarf. I’ve only ever played the role of Number 2 once, that was for the part in a pop video. But then I don’t always associate that scarf worn by Number 2 with ‘the Prisoner,’ the self same coloured scarf was worn by “The Mole” in an episode of ‘Campion’ called ‘The Case of The Late Pig.’

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Saturday, 13 January 2018

50th Anniversary Screening of the Prisoner

    Currently it’s the two week break in the screening, as in 1968 allowing production to catch up with the broadcasting of the series. Two ‘Danger Man’ episodes were inserted and tonight it is ‘Koroshi.’ Special agent John Drake is sent to Tokyo in order to investigate the death of a young Japanese woman who dies after sending information on a number of planned assassinations to M9. Posing as a reporter Drake comes up against an ancient murder cult brought very much up to date….beware the blow of oblivion!
   To be perfectly honest my wife is not at all keen to watch the episode tonight, and I have to agree it’s far from being one of the best episodes of the ‘Danger Man’ series. In one scene Drake goes to visit an old man, and crosses the floor in his stocking feet, but some fool has added the sound effect of shoed footfall! Knowing how my wife feels about the episode I did volunteer to not watch ‘Koroshi,’ but she said I must watch it, she doesn’t want to stop me from my personal enjoyment as I am probably unique as no other enthusiast for ‘the Prisoner’ would bother to watch ‘Koroshi’ as part of a screening of ‘the Prisoner.’ When I told a good friend of mine what I had planned he said to do so it is a sign of a true enthusiast, which was nice of him to say.
   Perhaps ‘Koroshi’ will appear better in black and white.

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