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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Quote For The Day

   Mark Gatiss is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter and novelist. His work includes writing for and acting in the TV series Doctor Who, Sherlock, and The Crooked House. He is the guest editor of the Radio Times July 22nd – 28th 2017. In an articles edited by Andrew Collins, Mark said of Colin Gordon “I simply adore him. He was No.2 in the Prisoner twice and spent his career playing weak-willed establishment men who always looked like they had ulcers.”

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6 of The Best!

   To select 6 favourite scenes in ‘the Prisoner’ for me proved to be an easy task. From having written about my favourite scenes on my blog all I had to do was select 6 of my best.

1, Hammer Into Anvil.’
   In ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ after Number 2 and Number 14 have retrieved the large white envelope from the main cabin of the Stone Boat, left there by Number 6 only a few minutes before.
   Upon returning to his office Number 2 is already beginning to tear open the envelope, even before he’s hardly put a foot into his office. Number 14 is present at this time, and is probably as eager to learn what the envelope contains as Number 2 is. However………
    “I shan’t need you any more Fourteen, you can go.”
    “But I thought…”
    “Don’t……..just obey orders.
    “Yes sir.”
    Number 2 puts his hand into the envelope. But he pauses, there is an expression of expectation, perhaps anticipation on his face, as he is about to discover what the envelope contains………blank sheets of paper! In fact four blank sheets of foolscap paper. He telephones the laboratory, Number 253 answers the telephone and is summoned to Number 2’s office. Upon his arrival Number 2 hands Number 253 the blank sheets of paper. He wants them tested immediately. The laboratory technician looks puzzled.     
    “For what?”
    “Anything. Words, figures, whatever’s written on them.”
    There doesn’t appear to be anything written on them, but Number 2 is not a man to be argued with! He tells Number 253 that there is, a message of some kind.
   “Try everything. X-ray, infra-red, what are you staring at?”
   “Then get on with it!” Number 2 barks out.
   Two laboratory technicians work together in order to establish what is written on the four sheets of foolscap paper. They try everything, but to no avail, the result of all the tests is negative. Number 242 suggests that they put the sheets of paper through the tests again. But there’s no point, they have tried everything, Number 2 isn’t going to like this.
   Back in Number’s office.
   “I’m sorry sir, but there’s nothing” Number 253 reports.
   “Nothing, nothing at all?”
   “No sir. They’re just blank sheets of paper.”
   Number 2 snatches the sheets of paper out of 253’s hands “They can’t be! Why should he hide blank sheets of paper in the Stone Boat, or are you hiding something?”
   “What do you mean sir?”
   “I mean was there a message here and you’re not telling me.”
   “Why should I do that sir?”
   “Perhaps you’re in with him!”
   “In with whom?”
   “Six, Number Six.”
   Number 253 looks puzzled.
   “Oh you don’t know what I’m talking about, get out!”

2, ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’
    Number 6 pays a call on Number 2, after he had received a visit from Number 14 telling him that he’s finished, and accusing Number 6 of putting the poison in.
   Number 2 asks Number 6 what he’s doing there, he’s come to keep him company. He’s heard that all of Number 2’s friends have deserted him {not that he had many friends to begin with} that he can’t trust anyone any more {well he never did} pity. All that power at Number 2’s disposal, and yet there he is all alone. In fact Number 2 has never felt so alone as he grips hard onto the Penny Farthing seemingly for comfort.
   Number 2 asks what Number 6 wants? He’s come to talk, to listen. But Number 2 has nothing to say. But that’s not like the old Number 2, where is the strong man, the hammer. You have to be hammer or anvil, Number 2 saw himself as the hammer, but hammers break more than anvils. Number 2 claimed to know who the Prisoner is, who freely admits that he’s Number 6 {he can’t be feeling well} but not in Number 2’s eyes, he’s D6, who was sent to The Village by their masters to spy on Number 2. He had been onto him right from the very beginning, he knew what D6 had been doing, so he can stop acting now. All those messages he sent, all the people he recruited, Number 2 knew Number 6 was a plant, he didn’t fool him. {Number 2 fooled me almost 50 years ago, because I thought he had got it right, that Number 6 had been a plant} the only trouble was, Number 2 fooled himself! Supposing for a moment that Number 2 had been right, that Number 6 had been planted in The Village by XO4, in order to check on Village security, to check on Number 2. But then Number 2’s first duty as a loyal citizen should have been not to interfere, but he did interfere, he admitted that much himself. There’s a name for that, sabotage! Who is Number 2 working for? For the power behind The Village, he protests. But he could be working for the enemy, or he could simply be a blunderer who has lost his head, either way Number 2 had failed! And they do not like failure here {that’s funny, I thought they never failed}. Number 2 saw it as Number 6 having destroyed him, but no, Number 2 destroyed himself, it was a character flaw, a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken. And any chain of command is only as strong as its weakest link. Number 2 begs Number 6 not to report him {I should imagine that Number 1 knows already considering that first scene in Number 2’s office} but Number 2 is to report himself. Had Number 6 picked up that oversized curved red telephone and reported Number 2 himself that game he had been playing would have been up for Number 6. Hence Number 2 having to report a breakdown in control to Number 1, breakdown being the optimum word.

3, ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’
There he is, Number 14 dozing in an armchair in the foyer of the Green Dome. As soon as he hears the pair of steel doors slide open he jumps to his feet, and comes to the attention position as he straightens his jacket, giving Number 2 the impression that he’s been standing like that all the time!

4, ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’
   In 'Hammer Into Anvil' when Number 6 goes to the General Store to buy a small notebook, seeing as I have a fascination with all things stationary myself.
    “Good day sir.”
    “I'd err like a small notebook.”
    “Very good sir.”
    “There's a nice little selection there sir.”
    “That's a nice one, I think I'll have that.”
    “Will that be all sir?”
    “No. I think I'd like of these” Number says walking over to the cuckoo clocks.
    “Ah yes sir. Yes sir very good value, special import. What about this type?”
    “No. I'll have this one.”
    Number 6 has dallied with the Shopkeeper-Number 112 before, and now does so again when he buys a cuckoo clock. He doesn't want the one the Shopkeeper suggested, who told Number 2 that he was looking for a specific one. Not so much a specific one, but a specific box!
   Having paid for his purchases Number 6 leaves the General Store and it doesn't take the Shopkeeper long before he's on the telephone to Number 2 in order to report Number 6's unusual activity again. He wasted Number 2's time the first time he reported Number 6's unusual activity, and now he was about to do it again. But then Number 2 only had himself to blame, asking for any unusual activity on the part of Number 6, to him personally. He was just asking for trouble!
   Finally I like the way one of the cuckoo clocks is "cuckooing" as Number 6 enters the General Store, in a way it seems suggestive.

5, ‘Arrival.’
  When the Prisoner on the morning of his arrival in The Village emerges from his cottage and looks up to see a figure leaning out of one for the windows of the Bell Tower. He quickly rushes round to the door of said tower and runs up the steps inside, eventually to come face to face with a statue!
  Now who would put a statue inside the
Bell Tower, and right at the very top? Perhaps the Prisoner arrived in The Village during “Rag Week!” That some of the students of Speedlearn had become somewhat over zealous, and hauled that statue up to the top of the Bell Tower for a joke! Well the joke appears to be on the Prisoner, because there never was any sign of that man who had been leaning out of the window. If he be a natural thing, where did he come from, where did he go?

6, ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’
    Thankfully for him the chimes of Big Ben are an hour out! He leaves what he thought was the Colonel's office in London, but he has been in The Village all the time. He steps outside and walks towards the Recreation Hall, where Number 2 and Fotheringay are talking together. Number 2 congratulates him and tells Fotheringay to get back to London before any embarrassing questions are asked. Fotheringay asks what’s him next assignment? The Colonel will give him his order when he returns. Nadia then appears, Number 6 stands looking up at her, shoe looking down at him…. “Be seeing you.”
   As Number 6 walks back to his cottage there’s an announcement “Good evening citizens, your local Council wishes to announce another exciting competition. The subject this time… seascapes.” To me that sound like rubbing salt into the wound!
  The fact that 4 of these scenes come from ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ is just the way it turned out. I could so easily have simply just selected 6 scenes from my favourite episode ‘Arrival,’ or my second favourite episode ‘Checkmate,’ but that would have been too easy. If you the reader had to choose your own favourite episodes, I wonder which they might be?

Be seeing you

Exhibition of Arts And Crafts

                             “The Arrival”


Thought For The Day

    50 years of ‘the Prisoner,’ who would have thought it? And during this year the series actually screened on television by ‘True Entertainment.’ Perhaps they will screen it again before the year is out, I hope so. Mind you I’ve my own screening later in the year, commencing on October 6th, that’s when I first watched ‘Arrival,’ a few days after it was first screened on September 29th 1967 on ATV Midlands and Grampian being part of ITV regional network at the time. But I shall watch the series in black and white, and leaving a two week gap in January 1968, just as it was with the original transmission due to the fact the screening had caught up with production.
    I worked out the other day that I’ve been writing about ‘the Prisoner’ for 28 years, that’s an awfully long time. But I’ve enjoyed it, and I’m still enjoying it. What’s more from time to time the Prisoner does manage to give up one or two of its secrets even after 50 years which is most pleasing when it does. It would be nice to see ‘the Prisoner’ Mini-Moke
HLT 709C fully restored this year. But no-one appears to know where the Mini-Moke is, nor who now owns her, but hope she is in good and caring hands after her hard toil as a farm runabout, and eventual abandonment in the back of an old barn on a farm in the Netherlands back in the late 1960’s.

Be seeing you

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Page 9

    The only time I turn up in ‘the Prisoner’ is in ‘Arrival,’ a woman who trails the cort├Ęge of Cobb’s funeral. But I wasn’t permitted to attend Cobb’s funeral, even though we did know each other, we even planned to escape together. I was terribly sad at Cobb’s funeral, I cried. But the funeral was necessary you see, it was a tool to bring Number 6 and I together in mutual mourning for a lost friend.
    I work for Number 2. I was of course assigned to Cobb, and then to Number 6, to be used as a pawn in Number 2’s game. I never meant to betray Cobb, it was that they came for him before he was ready, not that he was expecting them, it’s just that in The Village you only have so long to give them what they want before they take it. I gave Number 6 the
Electro Pass and told him to go before it was too late. He went, but it was no good there is no escape only time for one final game of chess...... And that was the end of Number 9, and never to be seen again, nor be an involved number. After my day Number 8 became the popular number for females who were to betray Number 6, except when 8 was a man. On the face of it Number 14 looks to have betrayed him, and yet did she really? Did she not tell Number 2 that Number 6 had opened his eyes and saw her, her image projected onto the screen? Might she not have known she was being followed when she left her cottage, and therefore led Number 6 through The Village, the woods to the laboratory so to make the discovery he made? Alison did betray Number 6, but in the end she was sorry she had done so, her number was 24, 2 times 6, 4 times 6 equals 24. And finally Monique, the only woman to seek Number 6’s help, and not betray him at the same time!

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Number 7 He’s The Boss!

    In Agatha Chritie’s “The Seven Dials Mystery,’ the Seven Dials is a group of criminal-catchers and people who do secret service work for their country. Each member of the group is known by a number, however Number 7 is always missing at meetings. It is not until an emergency meeting of the Seven Dials is called, which Number 7 attends, is the identity of Number 7 is revealed.
   One might expect that Number 1 of the Seven Dials is the boss, but that is not that case, Number 7 turns out to be the boss! And that got me thinking. On the basis of the Seven Dials, the fact that Number 7 never attends their meetings, and the fact that Number 7 is always vacant in The Village, I came up with the idea that somewhere the mysterious Number 7 is the boss behind The Village not Number 1!

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Rover And Out!

    Control here Number Two, I have to report that Rover has gone berserk!
    What do you mean by berserk?
    It doesn’t respond to deactivation.
    What’s the Guardian done..................Well?
    Its the Control Room.
    How did it get in there?
    Through the steel doors.
    I mean into the building
    Through the air conditioning I should think.
    But the air conditioning conduits are narrow.
    Big enough if it reduced itself in size.
    It’s not supposed to do that.
    Try telling it that!
    What’s it doing?
    Nothing now, but before, it attacked and suffocated two Observers.    
    It seems to be interested in the astral map.
    How can you tell?
    I think it’s looking for something.
    Looking for something....don’t be ridiculous man.
    I think it’s looking to go home!
    You mean its extraterrestrial?
    ET for short.
    You think ET wants to go home?
    It seems to be studying the chart.
    How does it expect to get home?
    I don’t know sir. Perhaps if we sent a signal......
    What da da da de da, don’t be ridiculous man, and have the Earth   
invaded with these things!
    They may come anyway, after all we have kept it prisoner here.
    Suppose this should be a small one of its kind?
    What’s it doing now?
    Its beginning to pulsate, its white light, blinding brilliant white light.
    Supervisor, Supervisor tell me what’s happening, go on reporting, Supervisor....... what’s that roaring sound, what’s it doing?
    When a group of armed security guards gained entry to the Control room they found it deserted. There was no sign of the Supervisor, or any of the Observers, they had physically disappeared, or had been absorbed by the creature known as the Guardian or Rover. But of it there was no sign. A search was made, no nook or cranny was missed. The air conditioning was switched off and the conduits filled with a nerve agent. But nothing. Of the Guardian there was no trace. The only anomaly was a round charred area on the floor, slightly concaved.

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