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Monday, 20 December 2010

Prismatic Reflection

    Over the years there has often been the question of 'continuity' within and between episodes of the Prisoner, and looking as though there isn't any. I mean one moment during Free For All No.6 is wearing a piped blazer with continuous piping around the lapels, and the next it's broken piping. Or in Hammer Into Anvil No.6's copy of The Tally Ho newspaper is folded long ways in one scene, and in another its folded squarely! And it's no better between the episodes, and here is a prime example. Both episodes of Many Happy Returns and Dance of the Dead were written by the same scriptwriter Anthony Skene, so at least there should be some continuity here. At the end of Many Happy Returns a scene at the end of the episode was changed after No.6 had been so unceremoniously returned to the village. When No.2-Mrs Butterworth comes into No.6's cottage bearing a birthday cake, instead she gives him a copy of The Tally Ho, the headline reads Plane Lost At Sea. No Hope Of Survivors. "Give in and enjoy being dead" No.2 tells him. No.6 screws up the newspaper and replys "I'll die first!"
    The fact that No.6 was ejected out of the Gloster Meteor jet, demonstrates his untimely return to the village. However, what of the plane and the pilot? Originally the plane would have been ditched in the sea, becasue the pilot was quite obviously an agent working for the village. And so being he could hardly return to England without the navigator, hence No.6 having died in an accident at sea. But then why was this reported in the village newspaper, why didn't No.2 show No.6 a copy of The Times, or Daily Mirror, a newspaper from the outside world?
    But seeing as how that part of the final scene of Many Happy Returns was altered, Anthony Scene was able to fit it into a scene in Dance of the Dead. A scene between No.2 and No.6 in the mortuary in the Town Hall whilst discussing the body in one of the long drawers.
No.6 "In his pocket."
No.2 "The wallet? It's still there, amended slightly. We'll amend him slightly. It's you who's dead, in an accident at sea."
"So to the outside world....."
"Which you only dream about."
"I'll be dead" No.6 condedes.
"A small confirmation of a known fact" No.2 concludes.
    This is by some way making up for the altered final scene of the previous episode Many Happy Returns, or confirming that which was written in the script, but didn't happen in the episode! But either way, because of a different scriptwriter for the episode Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, the fact that the Prisoner's reported death to the outside world, in an earlier episode appears to have been forgotten! Certainly Sir Chales Portland and his daughter Janet in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling were completely unaware of such a reported death. After all the Prisoner was Janet Portland's fiance, and an ex-colleague of Sir Charles Portland.
I'll be seeing you


  1. Hi David,
    Another WOW moment, as I had never seen that the ending of Many Happy Returns was different than what we see.
    The original ending would have been awesome if she had brought both the birthday cake AND the news article about the plane going it was quite jarring to see her stroll in with the birthday cake....but for her to give him a newspaper and say those lines....WOW!!!
    However, without the newspaper and the explanation about the plane going down ...we are left with the mystery of what REALLY happened with the pilot....did he really knock out or kill the original pilot? OR was HE the original pilot and able to go back and land?


    1. Dear Karen,
      I think the plane was either ditched in the sea, the pilot having been picked up by the crew of M. S. Polotska {The Village vessel} or it landed somewhere. Certainly it could not have returned to R.A.F Gibraltar, not without the navigator {Number 6} and it wouldn’t have had enough fuel to return to England without refuelling first.
      As for Number 6 being presented with a copy of The Tally Ho bearing the headline “Plane Lost Over Sea. No Hope of Survivors,” should have been presented to him on the front page of a newspaper to be distributed in the outside world. Because what did it matter to the citizens about a plane lost at sea, with no hope of survivors? They could see for themselves that Number 6 wasn’t dead!

      Best regards
      Be seeing you

  2. Hi David . .
    Yes..the villagers wouldn't have cared a wit about seeing a newspaper article on the "death" of Number 6.
    However , I think it would have been a great psychological bit to show how the NEWS can be manipulated too....what we read may have been adulterated.
    However , Patrick McGoohan may have thought that it would have been TOO explanatory...that the mystery of what happened to the pilot was a better idea .
    Also...since the "trade" of the pilots was not can we be sure that it was not a pre-planned event?
    The newspaper article would have answered the questions about the pilots...and if the pilot was on a SUICIDE mission !