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Friday, 27 March 2020

Watching The Prisoner - Hammer Into Anvil

    It has been 8 days since the Prisoner was unceremoniously returned to the village. Seasonally it is another episode which takes place during the spring simply on the grounds of the daffodils in 73’s hospital room, and later the bunch of daffs left on her grave by No.6. Well who else could it have been?

   It’s impossible to say how long this No.2 has been in the village by the time of this episode, although the article in The Tally Ho would suggest he has been in 
office long enough to question the “security of the community.” And we must question how this man attained the position of No.2 in the first place, because he’s clearly not up to the mark!
     Apparently there are “enemies,” “conspirators” in their midst, those who look the other way and do not report their suspicions. He doesn’t necessarily know who they might be. But it is the duty of everyone to be constantly on the look out against the traitors.
    It would be easy to say life in the village has not necessarily suited this No.2 at all, that it turned him into a paranoid sadist. Or did it? Basically No.2 is a bully, and in all probability no-one has stood up to No.2 before. Stand up to a bully, like No.6 did, and No.2 was turned into a picked balloon!
    Not sure what he was getting himself into, it’s no wonder he smuggled that sword shooting stick into the village, he has a strong sense of self-preservation.
No.6 accused No.2 of murdering No.73, but did he…..did he? No.73 had attempted suicide before by slashing her wrists because she didn’t like being in the village. Mind you she was only there because they couldn’t find her husband who had some work to finish somewhere over there, presumably behind the Iron Curtain. No.73 didn’t leap to her death through the open hospital window until No.6 forced himself into the room!
    At one point No.6 attempts to send a coded massage by pigeon, or at least that’s what it looks like to the new Supervisor-No.60. He ordered the deployment of the beam, set at hellfire strength, which would have roasted the pigeon alive! But really, how far would that bird have flown, probably only circled The Village and then flown back, where No.6 caught it in the first place! But the Supervisor couldn’t take that risk. Lucky for the pigeon that No.2 intervened just in time, so the bird was only stunned and not fried to a crisp! And a team was despatched to find the bird, I wonder how long that search took? Later No.6 sent a vital message by visual signal. He was being observed down on the beach by No.2 in the control room, the Supervisor, and the Observers. Then Number 6 began sending a message by heliograph, who could he have been signalling to? There was nothing on the radar, no plane or helicopter. Nothing at sea, and certainly no submarine, as nothing was coming through on the sonar. Who was No.6 heliographing to? Well it’s as plain as the nose on your face, it was No.2.
    All of No.2’s colleagues deserted him, he could trust anyone. So No.6 thought to pay No.2 a call and keep him company. All that power at No.2’s disposal and yet he’s alone, no longer the hammer, but the anvil! No.6 went to talk to No.2, to listen, but No.2 has nothing to say, well that’s not like the old Number 2 at all, where is the strong man, the hammer?
   Number 2 claims to know who No.6 is, he’s D6, sent to the village by their masters to spy on them, No.2 had been on No.6 right from the beginning. All those messages Number 6 sent, people he recruited, he knew No.6 was a plant sent to the village by XO4…..”XO4” oh very well,” to check on village security, to check up on No.2 the trouble is No.2 didn’t know he was actually talking to ZM73!
    “Who are you working for Number Two?”
    “For us, for us!”
    “That’s not how it’s going to sound to XO4.”
    “I swear to you…..”
    “You could be working for the enemy, or you could be a blunderer who’s lost his head. Either way you’ve failed, and they do not like failure here!”
    This hurts Number 2, you can see the mental pain on his face.
    “You’ve destroyed me!”
    “No, you’ve destroyed yourself, a character flaw. You were afraid of your masters, a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken.”
    “Don’t tell them, don’t report me” is Number 2’s plead.
    “I don’t intend to, you are going to report yourself.”
    Number 6 hands Number 2 that curved, red, over-sized telephone, and from the relative comfort of his chair, Number 2 reports to Number 1 that there has been a breakdown in control, that Number 2 needs to be replaced.
    I think there was no need for No.2 to have reported himself, I feel sure No.1 was all too aware of what had been taking place between No.2 and No.6. So why didn’t No.1 intervene at some point? Probably No.1 was happy just to let the both of them get on with it simply to see which one would emerge the victor. And it was probably payback for No.2’s show of arrogance towards Number 1 when he refused the offer of help.
    When I watched ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ for the first time in 1967, I did think No.2 had got it right, that No.6 was actually a plant sent to the village. But then I was also fooled into thinking No. 6 had actually escaped the village during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben!’
   ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ has a connection to ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ in the way both episodes contain the same format of code names D6 and XO4 are akin to ZM73, PR12, and XB4. If XO4 was a real person that person might be Sir Charles Portland, who sent ZM73 on a secret mission to the village, to check on security, to check on No.2. Had No.6 been sent to the village to check on security his failed escape attempts were proof that security was 100 percent. And had that actually been the case, they could have done a whole lot worse, and they did, with this No.2, than to promote ZM73 to the position of No.2. Perhaps XO4 could fix it for him!
    Fictionally it makes sense for ‘Hammer into Anvil’ to follow after ‘Many Happy Returns,’ as I can imagine Thorpe taking to the idea of being recruited as No.2. It would have afforded the opportunity for him to hammer him! Yes I realize No.2 doesn’t have the character of Thorpe, but clearly life in the village has not suited this No.2 at all, judging by his paranoia!


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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Tales From The Village

    “Did you just plant these?”
    “Yes sir, Delphiniums.”
    “They’re new aren’t they, who told you to plant them?”
    “The head gardener sir, if they’re not right.”
    “Yes?”
    “I’ll dig them up and plant them again.”
    “I don’t think there’s any call for that 42. What about roses?”
    “Roses sir, what about them?”
    “I can see there’s mildew on that Betty Uprichard over there.”
    The gardener rose to his feet and walked over to the rose garden.
    “Just there” the man said pointing.
    “That’s a shame” the gardener said “It won first prize in the gardening competition last year.”
    “Oi what are you doing with those roses, have you got the Lobelia in?”
    “We were just discussing the roses, this Betty Uprichard has got a touch of mildew.”
    “Well what are we going to do about it?”   
    “Well a one to one thousand sulphuric wash should put it right in no time.”
    “Who told you that?”
    “This gentleman here.”
    “And what’s this got to do with you, are you a gardener?”
    “No sir.”
    “Well clear off out of it!”
    No.50 turned and walked away, leaving the gardeners to their gardening. He met No.119 by the pool and fountain in the Piazza.
    “Did you see what I did there?”
    “No.”   
    While their attention was diverted I stole one of their trowels.
    “And where does that get us?”
    “A step closer to digging the escape tunnel!”
    “I’m a bit worried about this tunnel, it’s a long way to dig out under the estuary.”
    “Yes but only to the Island in the middle, once on the other side we are effectively screened from the village by the Island itself.”
    “Yes but where do we put all the sand dug out of the tunnel?”
    “We back fill as we go.”
    “Say again?”
    “As we dig the tunnel we back fill, that way there’s no danger of the tunnel collapsing.”
    “But won’t we suffocate to death that way?”
    “No, because I have a series of steel tubes which we push through the top of the tunnel as we go and they provide us with breathable air!”
   In the Control Room both the Supervisor and his assistant No.20 were watching No.2’s 50 and 119 on the wall screen.
    “You see what he did there” said the Supervisor.
    “He distracted the gardeners and stole a trowel.”
    “Yes.”
    “And we are going to let him get away with that?”
    “I shall of course inform Number 2” the Supervisor said picking up the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom.
   “Really, well I think we can allow Number 50 to keep the trowel” said No.2,    
“After all while he and 119 are busy digging their tunnel, they’re not doing anything else. I mean how long will it take two men with only one trowel to dig an escape tunnel, and where will they put the sand?!”


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Saturday, 21 March 2020

Free To Go!

    In ‘Free For All’ No.6 attempts to incite the citizens into a mass breakout by telling the citizens they are “Free to go” over the public address system. What did No.6 expect to gain by organizing a mass breakout? Perhaps he expected to slip away in the confusion! But as it is not one citizen takes the slightest notice of No.6 as his words boom out across the village. Instead the pair of steel doors slide open and a medical trolley rolls down the ramp, and the two motor mechanics rise up through holes in the floor on platforms. They attempt to take No.6 by force, but he breaks free of them and dashes up the ramp. The wall of No.2’s office revolves, revealing a single steel door. The door slides open and No.6 stumbles into a cave. Where exactly is the cave situated in terms of the Green Dome? Perhaps it’s an allegorical cave!
 

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Tales From The Village

    “Good morning.”
    “What’s good about it?”
    “You are in a grumpy mood this morning!”
    “I have good reason.”
    “Why?”
    “I bet my breakfast’s cold!”
    “Why should you think that?”
    “Because my breakfast was cold yesterday!”
    “It’s a privilege you know, I don’t do this for everyone!”
    “It’s a privilege I can well do without!”
    “Well you know what you can do don’t you.”
    “No, what can I do?”
    “Make your own breakfast from now on!”
    “What is for breakfast?”
    “Tea, toast, butter, and a glass of orange juice.”
    “Your predecessor once brought me some International cuisine, egg on a piece of quiche.”
    “Do I look like the cook?”
    “I wouldn’t like to say what you look like!”
    “I’ve a good mind to report you!”
    “I’d best eat my toast, drink my tea before they get warm!”
    “I shall report you!”
    “And while you’re about it, tell them the prisoner ate a hearty breakfast!”


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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Citizen No.66 The ex-Admiral

    In ‘Arrival’ there two ex-Admirals, why? In one scene when No.6 is on his way to the Labour Exchange there’s No.66 the ex-Admiral sailing plastic boats in the Free Sea who goes unaccredited. And then in a later scene set on the lawn of the Old People’s Home there’s the ex-Admiral also No.66 played by Fredrick Piper who is playing chess with No.6.
    “Come along young man, we haven’t got all day!”
    During a later scene, when No.6 it trying to escape the village in a helicopter, Frederick Piper appears with Virginia Maskell No.9.
    “Game of chess me’ dear?”
    “I don’t play.”
    “You should learn……….we’re all pawns me’ dear…..your move.”
    My question would be, if the two ex-Admirals No.66 are supposed to be the same person, why isn’t it Frederick Piper sat by the Free Sea sailing plastic boats? It seems to me to be ridiculous to have such an actor of Fredrick Piper’s experience spanning over 40 years, having appeared in more then 80 films and many television series, not be used in the scene by the Free Sea? But perhaps Fredrick’s appearance in ‘Arrival’ was confined to the Old People’s Home as an habitual chess player for a reason. One might think that the Ex-Admiral was going a bit senile when he suggested to No.6 to try the boat, telling him that the Stone Boat is great in any weather, that he has sailed her many a time. But there’s a hidden meaning in that {see my book The Prisoner Dusted Down}, and he certainly gave No.9 something to think about.  
    

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They Tried To Kill Six Off…Twice!

    This is one of those, what I am pleased to call, imponderables, when it comes to ‘Do Not forsake Me Oh My Darling.’ Why is it that Sir Charles Portland and his daughter Janet were unaware that ZM73 was supposed to have died in an accident at sea a number of months ago. Remember how Janet became excited when she saw his car parked out his house.
    “His car” nodding in the direction of the pavement “is he back?” And she goes running upstairs looking for her fiancĂ©.
    No mention of ZM73 being dead is made at all in the episode, but then perhaps scriptwriter Vincent Tilsley wasn’t made aware of this fact, and yet Patrick McGoohan and David Tomblin should have remembered. Scriptwriter Anthony Skene knew, he tried to have No.6 killed off twice, the first attempt was in the final scene at the end of ‘Many Happy Returns’ when the original script called for the front page of The Tally Ho the headline to read “Plane Lost Over Sea No Hope of Survivors,” so to the rest of the World No.6 would be dead, however as we know this was not used in the actual episode. But Anthony Skene was not a man to be put off from a good idea, and when he wrote the script for ‘Dance of The Dead’ he had a body lying in the morgue, a corpse which was to have been amended slightly, along with the amended wallet in his pocket. Then taken out and dumped in the sea for anyone who might find it. Presumably the body was never found, if it was actually amended and put in the sea in the first place that is!


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