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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Prisoner

   You can just tell it's going to be one of those days, when you wake up and suddenly something feels different. Then as you make a search of The Village you discover that everyone's left the place except yourself! Imagine, everyone escaping The Village but Number 6. What else should he do but take advantage of the situation and escape. But the task is harder and more difficult for him. But Number 6 is a skilful man, fit, energetic and strong. Felling tress, building his own transportation and makes a voyage into the unknown, putting his navigational skills to the test seeing as he has no idea where he’s sailing to having no idea where he is sailing from! In fact Number 6 is put to so much trouble, his endurance put to the test during a long sea voyage, to then face his own doubts when back in London, that he might have saved himself the trouble. And in the end simply to end up back where he started! He could have simply remained in The Village, and waited for someone to eventually put in an appearance, as presumably someone would have to have done at some point. But that wouldn’t have been the way for Number 6, who as a man of action isn’t one to just sit about simply to and wait and see, never able as he is, to pass up on any given opportunity!

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Exhibition of Arts And Crafts




    Number 6 once said, in his opening election speech, that he was going to discover who the prisoners and who the warders. In ‘Checkmate’ Number 6 learns how to distinguish between the black and the whites, in other words the prisoners and the guardians. This is explained to him by Number 14 the chess champion.
   Number 8 volunteered to help Number 8, who saw he was going to escape, because in her understanding everyone tries to escape when their spirit’s broken. But Number 6’s spirit didn’t appear to be broken! However Number 6 eventually gets his “reliable” men, starting with the Rook, then Number 42, Number 14, amongst others. Number 8 is not amongst their number, well Number 6 was looking for “reliable men,” and besides he doesn’t trust her. You will recall that Number 6 doesn’t trust women, and as it happens with good reason. Mind you he’s also been betrayed by male ex-colleagues too. After Number 8 makes Number 6 his nightcap of hot chocolate he might have changed his opinion of her. Except the next day the reaction transmitter is discovered in the locket she wore. After that we do not see Number 8 again, except on the wall screen in the Control Room. Perhaps that was because she had lost the locket containing the reaction transmitter, and therefore was responsible for the failure of the doctor’s latest experiment. However the original script has Number 8 going aboard M.S. Polotska with Number 6, their having had a narrow escape! That means Number 6 must have taken Number 8 with him on the pair of rubber lilos {which seems strange seeing as he doesn’t trust her} while transmitting the automatic distress signal himself in order to make contact with M. S. Polotska, having left the Rook behind with the rest of his reliable men. However they are confronted by Number 2 sitting in a chair actually aboard M.S. Polotska! Of course that doesn’t happen in the episode, as Number 2 is tied up in his office. But who is later released by Number 6’s reliable men, the Rook having put to Number 6 his own test. But it does make for fascinating thought, as to what might have happened to make Number 6 change his mind about Number 8 and to take her with him on that dangerous and fateful sea voyage.

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Monday, 6 July 2015

To Be The First Man On The Moon!

   Number 6 once said he’d like to be the first man on the Moon, and that’s fine, because when Number 6 spoke those words to Number 2 during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ man had not yet set foot upon the Moon. However that one line “I’d like to be the first man on the Moon” does date ‘the Prisoner.’ Because of that, this particular episode cannot take place after July 20th 1969 when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the Moon.
   I understand why Number 6 should want to be the first man on the Moon, but it seems to be a bit extreme. But with the whole Earth as The Village, perhaps he saw no other alternative for himself. But of course it would be impossible for Number 6 to attain his dream on his own. He would need a rocket, rocket scientists, a huge support team, a way to launch a rocket, and a site to launch it from, all of which Number 1 already had under The Village space programme. And seeing as Number 1 and Number 6 are the alter ego of each other, perhaps Number 6 did make it to the Moon, but through his alter ego. Mixing fiction with fact, there was no sign of anyone having landed on the moon when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were there. However it’s always possible that Number 1 managed to land on the far side of the Moon, or perhaps the dark side would be more appropriate in Number 1’s case!
     Then again, looking at it from another angle..... with Number 6 having once come face to face his doppelganger in Curtis, perhaps Curtis was resuscitated like Number 2, then dressed up as Number 1 in readiness to face Number 6 with the awful truth that he is responsible, and can only blame himself for his incarceration in The Village. It was no wonder Curtis was in a state of unsteady mind! But Number 6 having been faced with himself once more, managed to turn the tables again. What must have been going through Curtis’ mind after Number 6 had sealed him in the nose cone of the rocket. Then the sudden pull of G-force as the rocket blasted off out of the underground silo. What must have been going through his mind? If things had not been bad enough for Curtis in The Village, there he was sealed in a rocket with a one-way ticket destined to, to God knows where, and being powerless to do anything about it. And nothing to look forward to but a quick death! Oh how Curtis must have panicked in that rocket as it blasted off, but he might have felt noting, he may have lapsed into unconsciousness unable to stand the G-force. Perhaps Curtis’ last thought was about those who had used him so badly in the name of their own cause against a man who looked the very image of himself, and having brought him to such an end. And in those final few seconds, to see the last human face he was ever likely to see staring up at him, his own face, just before he dropped the hatch, must have been a nightmare for him. Such a terrible fate for either Number 1 or Curtis. It must have seemed as though either had sealed their own fate themselves!

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Bureau of Visual Records

    ‘A B & C’ is a primary example of surrealism in ‘the Prisoner,’ as much of the episode takes place in Number 6's dream. And towards the end, with Number 6 only partially drugged, and now manipulating his own dream, Numbers 2 and 14 watch closely his projected visions unfold on the wall screen. Finally through a pair of large wooden doors, Number 6 emerges from a street somewhere in Paris to an area on the fringe of The Village. He then makes his way through the woods to the secret laboratory. The steel doors open automatically and he walks along a corridor slapping a thigh with an envelope he carries. And all the time Numbers 2 and 14 watch his progress on the wall screen. Then the pair of steel doors open and Number 6 walks into the laboratory. 

  However that is on the wall screen, the actual door to the laboratory remains closed.

 For both Numbers 2 and 14 it must have been a very surreal moment to see the pair of steel doors of the laboratory slide open and Number 6 come walking into the laboratory, but for the actual doors to remain closed. Then to watch Number 6 give Number 2 an envelope, with Number 2 urging himself then to open the envelope, “Open it you fool, open it!”
   But thinking on a deep subconscious level, its would have been even more surreal had Numbers 2 and 14 {looking at the closed steel doors in the above picture} had actually seen Number 6 come walking into the laboratory, with himself still lying on the operating table!

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Busy Potter?

   Potter was John Drake's, however you may prefer, Mr. X, otherwise known as ZM73’S  contact man in the episode ‘The Girl Who Was Death.’ Before that, Potter was the Colonel’s back-up who was on the trail of the Girl. So Potter should have been looking out for Colonel Hawke-Englishe, instead of training his binoculars on a pretty girl with long slender legs! Mind you, what the Colonel was doing working in the field in the first place I don’t know. Not when there were field agents like ZM73, who was then ordered by the Chief to take over from where the Colonel left off, in standard disguise of course. But then if Potter had paid closer attention to the Girl, to what she was doing, then the Colonel might still be alive. As it is, for this error Potter was sent to their form of Siberia, out in the cold cleaning shoes!  
    Potter the shoe-shine boy, a job which he is even less suited to as he cleans Mr. X's suede shoes with a black brush! And worse, how the devil did a chap get such muddy shoes walking along a town's high street.... ridiculous as Potter might say. A touch of humour, but putting a real downer on the job in hand for Potter!
   Potter was previously Drake's contact man in the ‘Danger Man’ episode ‘Koroshi,’ in which they met in a record shop in
Tokyo. And it was Potter who sent Mr. X to the Magnum Record shop in ‘The Girl Who Was Death.’ Christopher Benjamin who played both Potters, is on record as saying that as far as he was concerned, both Potters he played, were not the same character. That would make the use of the name merely coincidental. And yet there is another Potter in ‘the Prisoner,’ Potter {played by Fredrick Abbott} who in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ is assigned to follow ZM73. What are we to make of that, perhaps nothing, but another coincidental use of the name perhaps!

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

Sir, Do You Play Chess Sir?

   Sometimes, when I hear Number 14, the chess champion, utter those words, I want Number 6 to say no!
   Number 14 “Well you’re no good to us then, clear off!”
   And that would be right, because although there are two chess players, however each person on the chessboard would have to know how to play chess in order to make the moves called out. That’s why Number 14 asked Number 6 if he plays chess. And they would have to listen and concentrate whilst on the chessboard, otherwise a chess piece may become confused and make a move for the wrong side. Because unlike the human chess match at the Prisoner Conventions held in Portmeirion, the moves in the chess match in the episode are not pre-arranged {well production-wise they were, but not fictionally} if they were, each chess pole would have the move or moves for each piece set on a card and attached to each chess pole, as they are in the game at Conventions.

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