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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A Favourite Scene In Free For All

    I wonder what was going through Number 6’s mind when he left his cottage that morning to assess the madding crowd. What exactly would be wanted of him? How does the election process in The Village work? It must have been difficult for him, in that Mini-Moke listening to the cheers of Number 2’s supporters, which at that time meant everyone. It looked like Number 6 would have an uphill struggle in this election!
   Number 2’s speech, it wasn’t an election speech which one might expect from him, his speech is in Number 6’s favour. He talks about a lack of opposition in the matter of free elections, and this isn’t good for the community, reflecting an acceptance of things as they are. Number 2 knows what they must do, and so do the citizens, because the
Butler tells them, progress, progress, progress! And then Number 2 goes on to introduce a recent recruit to the electorate whose outlook is particularly militant and individualistic. Now why should Number 2 suggest such a man should stand for election against him? Number 6 has a duty to the community and it is hoped he will not deny his duty to the community by refusing to take up the challenge. It is Number 2’s pleasure to introduce to the citizens the one and only Number 6. That “One and only” makes Number 6 unique, possibly designating him a celebrity! Number 6 then goes on to make his own speech…… “I am not a number, I am a person,” ha, ha, ha, ha, laughs the crowd. Number 6 goes on to say he intends to discover who are the prisoners and who the warders {he won’t find that out until much later in the series} and states that he will be running for office in this election. So may the better man win and a big hand  for Number 6……….he wasn’t ready for that was he, when the large ‘Vote for No.6’ was revealed! They knew all the time, that Number 6 would not be able to resist taking this chance afforded to him, in fact they knew it before he did! But by that time it was all too late, and Number 6 is swept along by the electorate’s sudden enthusiasm for him. He must have been wondering what was going on, when he is showered in confetti, and all of a sudden his supporters are chanting “Six, Six, Six, Six, Six, Six,” and they are already wearing black rosettes, when only moments before everybody was wearing white rosettes! The election is rigged, and in Number 6’s favour although he’ll never be allowed to take up the office even if he wins. So what does all this prove? That Number 6 is no less being manipulated than anyone else in The Village!

Be seeing you

60 Second Interview No.46

    No.46 “Can you hear anything?”
    “Hear anything?”
    “Yes, can you hear anything?”
    “What are you listening for?”
    “I don’t know, I can’t hear anything.”
    “This man’s next to an idiot!”
    “How do you do, I’m Number Forty-Six,”
    “I’m Number One, one three, and this is my photographic colleague Number one, one three b, we contribute to The Tally Ho.”
    No.113b “Smile!” Click goes the camera.
    “Why were you standing there with your ear pressed up against that loudspeaker?”
    “Trying to hear something.”
    “Because when I was posted disharmonious, life became difficult. Then once I had been declared unmutual…….the whole community turned against me! Certain privileges which are the right of every citizen were suddenly withdrawn. My telephone was cut off, my weekly credit allowance dried up, I couldn’t buy a cup of coffee for love nor money, and no more taxis, I had to walk everywhere. And now it seems I’m no longer allowed to listen to public information announcements, not even to the local weather” forecast!”
    “So you’re an unmutual?”
    “No, not now I was saved, I’m one of the lucky ones!”
    “One of the lucky ones, yes I’m sure you are.”
    “Yes, but I still can’t hear anything!”
    “That’s lucky for you believe me!”
    “Oh well must be going. See you soon.”
    No.113b “Smile.” Click goes the camera
    “See you soon? That sounds like a salute One one-three b.”
    “It’s not the same as be seeing you is it!”
    “No, it’s another way of saying it though.”
    “There’s a story there I shouldn’t wonder.”
    “Yes, how do they filter public address announcements, including the weather forecast so that Unmutals can’t hear them?”

    “See you soon.”

Dance of The Dead

    The Prisoner is put on trial, as though what he has already been put through has not been a trial for him! His crime is the possession of a radio, although the Prisoner had no radio of his own, there being no radio he could have borrowed, so when acquiring one he made a positive effort against the community. But the one question the prosecutor did not ask the Prisoner is, where did he get the radio in the first place? Because no matter what Number 240 thought, someone in The Village had a radio, and that person was Number 34! Unless of course both the body and the radio were planted so Number 6 would wake up on the beach that morning to discover the body, and find the radio. But why? Was it simply part of an elaborate plan to put the Prisoner-Number 6 on trial, to what final purpose? It seems such an elaborate plan to go to. But then that’s Number 2 for you, he/she goes to such lengths just for very little gain!

Be seeing you

Monday, 19 March 2018

March 19th

     Monday March 19th 1967, Number 6 is unceremoniously returned to The Village back where he started, in ‘Many Happy Returns,’ almost one month since his escape. But suddenly life begins to return to The Village. The electricity and water are turned on, and Mrs. Butterworth appears in the cottage and presents Number 6 with a cake she promised to bake. He looks out of the window and sees the sudden activity down in the Piazza. The Brass Band playing as they are driven round in Mini-Mokes, the citizens parading around the pool and fountain with the Butler looking on from an Outlook. And because this self same scene takes place in the following episode ‘Dance of The Dead,’ albeit 8 minutes into the episode, I’ve tended to assume, rightly or wrongly and ignoring those first 8 minutes, that Number 6 has arrived back in The Village on the morning of ‘Dance of The Dead.’ However that assumption of mine couldn’t work had ‘Dance of The Dead’ been screened in its original intended place of second in the series. Besides the scene in question was filmed for ‘Dance of The Dead’ and not ‘Many Happy Returns’ where it’s used as stock film footage!
    Another episode which would have fitted in nicely after ‘Many Happy Returns’ is ‘The General. There’s Number 6 sitting quietly at a table at the café drinking a cup of coffee. A helicopter is flying overhead. Suddenly there’s a public information announcement from the General’s department and concerning the students who are taking the three year history course. The café is to close, and Number 6 doesn’t appear to know about the Professor as he’s not one of his students. Nor does he seem to know about the General! Why? Perhaps because he’s recently returned from a long sea voyage! The educational experiment of Speedlearn having commenced during the time Number 6 was away from The Village! Its all circumstantial evidence, guess work, and most likely misinterpretation! But nevertheless Number 6 returned home 50 years ago today!
   All that time and effort spent escaping The Village. Putting himself in a life threatening situation. To find out that someone else is living in want he thought to be his home, the lease of the house still having 6 months to run. What’s more the car he built with his own hands is no longer his! Having to allay his suspicions about his whereabouts in establishing that he really was where he thought himself to be. Then having to prove himself, and his report to ex-colleagues, only to be unceremoniously returned to The Village! Number 6 let his guard down you see, he was under the impression that he was amongst friends, and even if he was………. what marvels me is the way Number 6 takes it all in his stride. All that time and effort made, and he ends up where he began. It seems as though they will let you go as far as you like, just as long as you end up back in The Village in the end!
    But did the events of ‘Many Happy Returns really happen, might they not simply have been all a dream? There are a number of devotees of ‘the Prisoner’ who will tell you it was. Number 6 waking up to find The Village deserted, his building a sea-going raft, spending 25 days at sea, sleeping only 4 out of each 24 hours. Fighting off gun runners, jumping ship and swimming for it, being washed up at Beachy Head on the south coast of England, arriving back in London to his home in Buckingham Place, and being made to feel at home by Mrs Butterworth, who then kindly lends him his own car! He then makes two calls, one in town, the other in the country, and is assisted by his ex-colleagues in proving his report, and is then unceremoniously returned back where he started….in The Village! Some enthusiasts for ‘the Prisoner’ are under the impression that it was all a dream.
   Unlike ‘Living In Harmony’ for example, when Number 6 finds himself in an American frontier town in the 1880’s, the situation is induced, fabricated by use of hallucinogenic drugs, and is spoken to, and communicates by way of microphones. The whole thing is simulated, role played, a form of early virtual reality. In the case of ‘Many Happy Returns’ there is no visible signs of fabrication as it was during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ No indication that any hallucinogenic drug has been administered as the water supply had been turned off. I think we have to take it that the events of ‘Many Happy Returns,’ however remarkable they are, have to be real to life for Number 6. And not something dreamt up in his subconscious!

Be seeing you

Caught On Camera!

  No point looking up there Number 6, the plane has long since departed on its way to………well there’s going to be an accident somewhere at sea. I can see the headline now, ‘Plane Lost Over Sea. No Hope of Survivors.’ So to the rest of the world you’ll be dead, so live with it! But why your death should have been reported in The Tally Ho I’ve no idea, seems a bit ridiculous when you think about it. Well that’s the way of it originally, Mrs. Butterworth handing you a present wrapped up in a copy of The Tally Ho with the headline ‘Plane Lost Over Sea. No Hope of Survivors.’
    It is unknown if the headline would have been accompanied by a photograph of Number 6 along with an article. But anyone in The Village having read that would see you out and about The Village the next day, and so know you are not dead! So what would be the point in The Tally Ho printing the story?
    In that final scene, which was cut from ‘Many Happy Returns,’ it would have been better for Number 2 to have presented you with a copy of the Sunday Mirror as suggested by the following MOCK front page.
      A curious thing, the picture of the Gloster Meteor jet used in the mock front page, is of one having been refuelled at RAF Gibraltar in the 1960’s. A case of life imitating art one might say, it’s the same type of Meteor as seen in ‘the Prisoner,’ including canopy, but with the addition of long range fuel tanks!
   The story about the Torrey Canyon disaster is right for the time, March 18th 1967, when she ran aground off the coast of Cornwall that morning. Which means the English channel would have been even busier than usual when Number 6 swam part of it! In fact he was lucky not to have swum through an oil slick as it was blown by wind and carried along by currents towards France!

Be seeing you

Exhibition of Arts And Crafts

                                The Arrival!


Many Happy Returns No.6!

   “You see, I kept my promise, many happy returns Number Six!”
   “There are only six candles.”
   “Well what do you expect, a birthday cake?”
   “You know what you can do with that!”
   “Don’t be like that. You only have yourself to blame.”
   “How do you make that out?”
   “You manage to escape. You even manage to return to
England, London, and your home. And what do you do almost as soon as you arrived? You couldn’t wait to leave London behind and make your way back here to Shangri-la!”
    “It’s all been a complete waste of time!”
    “Blow out the candles, and I’ll cut us both a slice of cake to celebrate your happy return, and my first day in The Village.….oh and you won’t forget you owe the General Store nine hundred and sixty-four Credit Units will you?”

Be seeing you