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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Its A Question Of Continuity!

    I like to see continuity between the episodes of the Prisoner, such as the Labour Exchange Manager in Arrival having gained promotion to assistant to No.2 during The Chimes of Big Ben, who was of course Potter in The Girl Who Was Death. It would also have been nice to have seen Chistopher Benjamin playing the role of Potter in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, just to keep up the continuity. Because whether or not you believe Potter to be the same character in both Arrival and The Chimes of Big Ben doesn't matter, because from the fictional aspect of the Prisoner it works. Also the fact that both No.2 of A B & C was brought back for The General, to oversee the educational experiment of Speedlearn. This No.2 given a second term of office perhaps beacause the defeat of A B & C was not all his fault, and the same can be said of No.2 during The Chimes of Big Ben.
    In A B & C a former No.2 appears in No.6's dream and gives him a key, Mrs Butterworth, who knows that Number 6 is his lucky number! Now I know what you are going to say, how could No.6 place someone he has yet to meet in his dream, seeing as how A B & C is screened before Many Happy Returns? Well in the production order, Many Happy Returns appears before A B & C, and that would make it possible that No.6 had met the woman in his dream before, and explain how she knew that his Number is 6!
     There is another piece of continuity concerning Many Happy Returns, but this time with A Change of Mind, that of Martha, Mrs Butterworth's house maid, and No.36 who cannot go a whole day without her sweets, but whose weekly credit allowance had been all used up. Now you could argue that it is a simple case of actress Grace Arnold playing two diffent roles in two different episodes. But from a fictional point of view my idea works. Because why shouldn't Mrs Butterworth bring her house maid to the Village, someone she is used to having about her? But then on leaving the Village, could No.2 trust her house maid not to talk to anyone about the Village? Before I should have said yes, but after the event I shouldn't think so. Only those working for the Village, and those of absolute trust are permitted to leave the Village. So Mrs Butterworth departed the Village, and left poor Martha to live out the rest of her life in the Village, working as a maid no doubt, which was her trade in the outside world.
     Now the Prisoner does suffer from the lack of one important piece of continuity set up in the episode Dance of the Dead, when the body of the dead man lying in that long box in the Village Morturay, would be amended, and the wallet in his pocket amended, so that it is No.6 who has died in an accident at sea. And so to the outside world No.6 would be dead. Of course this part of the plot of Dance of the Dead had originally been intended for the end of Many Happy Returns, when No.2-Mrs Butterworth enters No.6's cottage at the final scene of the episode, she has a copy of the latest edition of The Tally Ho which reports No.6 has died in an accident at sea. Why The Tally Ho newspaper, when it would have made better sense to have had The Times or Telegraph, or the Daily Mirror reporting the death of the Prisoner I don't know. After all what good would it do to have the citizens of the Village to read of No.6's death at sea, when it was to the outside world No.6 had died in an accident at sea, and the Villagers would have seen No.6 out and about the Village the next day!  
    So the amended body, with the amended wallet in the dead man's pocket is set adrift somewhere out at sea. Always supposing that such a body is picked up by a passing ship, the news of the Prisoner-No.6's death would surely have reached the ears of his ex-colleagues. Remember that The Prisoner was last seen by the Colonel and Thorpe, setting off in a Gloster Meteor jet aircraft on a search for the Village, but was never heard of again. What happened to the pilot, and the aircraft is simply explained. The pilot could not fly the aircraft back to Gibraltar, nor back to England, he would have too much to explain as to the disappearence of his navigator. No, the pilot would have simply flown the Gloster Meteor to the Village landing strip, as previosuly mentioned by No.2 in The Schizoid Man, thus rendering both the pilot, naviagtor {the Prisoner} and the Gloster Meteor jet, being lost somewhere at sea. Perhaps the Colonel of Many Happy Returns had instigated a search for the plane and crew, and that search could still be on-going at the time of Dance of the Dead, and it might have been then when the body of the amended dead man was found! {The idea that No.6 had died in an accident at sea was dropped from Many Happy Returns, but seeing as how Anthony Skene was the scriptwriter of that episode, and that of the following episode Dance of the Dead Skene was able to fit the idea into that episode instead} but the trouble is the idea of the Prisoner having died in an accident at sea was completely forgotten by the time of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, and the Colonel together with Thorpe have gone, to be replaced by Sir Charles Portland, and his daughter Janet Portland. Because neither Sir Charles nor his daughter Janet - the Prisoner's fiance, seem to heard about the Prisoner having died in an accident at sea. Because the Colonel tells Janet Portland that he might have a message for her, Janet who still lives in hope of hearing from her fiance, and asks her father where her fiance is, but even Sir Charles doesn't know where the Prisoner is, or so he says - he might be aware that he's somewhere in the Village, but that is never made clear. Such is the way the Prisoner having too many different scripwriters!
    But we will end on one other piece of fictional continuity, and one I used to think was the case, but having watched Many Happy Returns recently, I was sure that it was not possible. However it was recently pointed out to me in a comment that fictionally it is possible, for Thorpe of Many Happy Returns to have been recruited to the Village as No.2 in Hammer Into Anvil. Thorpe treats his former colleague with disdain and sceptisism, having little belief in his ex-colleagues report. So perhaps Thorpe would relish being recruited to the Village he first heard about from a former colleague. Thorpe would relish hammering No.6, a former colleague who he had little liking for.
    And finally, the strongest piece of continuity between episodes, that of Once Upon A Time, and Fall Out. There can be no question of the continuity between these two episodes, as there is a reprisal of the events of Once Upon A Time at the beginning of Fall Out. But even then it is contrived continuity, the means to an end. Becasue originally Once Upon A Time was never meant as a precursor to Fall Out, but as a 'stand alone' episode as all of it's preceding episodes.
    There may be more instances of fictional continuity between episodes, the challenge being to find them. I'll be seeing you.

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