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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Village Observation

   No.6 wakes up to find the Village deserted. There's no-one about, no-one to be seen, and everywhere is locked up, save the Green Dome. But No.2 is not at home!
    On first impressions it could appear that the good citizens of the Village have escaped, everyone that is, except No.6. No, wouldn't that have been a novelty!
    I used to think that Thorpe of Many Happy Returns is the No.2 of Hammer Into Anvil, but now I know that is impossible. Why? Because when No.6 goes into the Green Dome, into No.2's offcie, there is an oversized red curved telephone on the desk, and only two No.2's ever used that particular telephone, Colin Gordon of A B & C and The General, and Patrick Cargill of Hammer Into Anvil. Why couldn't it have been Colin Gordon who was last in the position of No.2? Well I would suggest that while Patrick Cargill was filming as Thorpe, he was also there at MGM Studios to film the set scenes of Hammer Into Anvil, which the set of No.2's office in Many Happy Returns would have been  set up for, because of the oversized, curved, red telephone.   BCNU


  1. What is most curious about the Thorpe character is that there is no reason within the fiction that determines that the paranoid #2 could NOT be Thorpe. Even the smallest plot quirk could have made it clear that this was impossible but I have never found such a block. #6's immediate antipathyto the new #2 could even be more understandable if #6 knew him to be a *traitor*. His anger at the death of the girl far exceeds his anger at the fates of one or two other villagers in earlier episodes. I suspect McGoohan was happy to at least leave the possibility open. There are lots of touches like this in the show.

    What you know about the production method is irrelevant in a way because McGoohan may well have chosen to allow this *embroidery*, as he assembled the episodes in the cutting rooms. The show's story arc was largely created by him it seems, post-datal of the scripts being written and finalised - hence the constant fan-boy arguments about the *order* of episodes with some ambiguities being available to discuss.

    There is a similar possibility I feel, about the woman #6 dreamed of at his ABC party, and the Mrs. Butterworth character later on.

    I wouldn't suggest that these were *pre- planned* but I have a feeling McGoohan may have seen their *possibilities* later on. The link between the Labour Exchange manager and one of the two later *Potters* is similarly intriguing.

    The biggest debate would then surround the two Colin Gordon #2's of course, but I have never seen any reason why the *failed* #2 of ABC could not have been brought back into position to oversee "Speedlearn". It would explain why that latter #2 seemed to try to give #6 a wide berth for most of the episode about The General and certainly wasn't trying to *attack* #6 in any way. In fact, it is #6 who goes after Speedlearn.

  2. Hello Moor Larkin,
    I liked what you had to say regarding the possibility that within the fiction, there is no reason that Thorpe was No.2 in 'Hammer Into Anvil, and you are quite right. I look at 'the Prisoner' from so many different angles. Years ago there was no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Thorpe was No.2 in 'Hammer Into Anvil,' Thorpe would seem the ideal candidate. In fact I'm sure, because of the animosity he shows towards his ex-colleague, that Thopre would enjoy 'Hammering' No.6, to break him. Although Thorpe need not be a traitor, not if it is the Prisoners own side which is behind the Village, but that's another story, as to which side runs the Village.
    I like to see some continuity between the episodes, as between 'Many Happy Returns' and 'A B & C. I have never been one of those fans who has been so concerned with the screening order of 'the Prisoner,' but Tony Sloman {film librarian} on 'the Prisoner' said that in the production order of the series, 'Many Happy Returns' appears before 'A B & C,' which then helps the idea make perfect sense that No.6 has put Mrs Butterworth in his dream at one of Engadine's parties.

    As you said in your comment, that the link between the Labour Exchange Manager and Potter in 'The Girl Who Was Death' is an intruiging one, and indeed it is. But of course the Labour Exchange Manager in 'Arrival,' gained promotion to No.2's assistant during 'The Chimes of Big Ben.' And it is a shame that Christopher Benjamin did not play the role of Potter in 'Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling' to keep up the link. But perhaps that would have been a step too far, and help confirm that it was the Prisoner's own side who are behind the Village.

    As I see it Colin Gordon-No.2 of 'A B & C,' was given a second chance in 'The General' because the defeat he suffered in 'A B & C' was not entirely his fault. Had No.14 told No.2 that No.6 had opened his eyes and seen her, then the outcome of 'A B & C' would have been very different. So he was brought back to oversee the educational experiment of Speedlearn, and was to have had no direct contact with No.6, well not until No.6 decided to poke his nose in where it was not wanted, and make Speedlearn his business.

    It would appear that in some respects we are on the same wavelength regarding 'the Prisoner.' Looking at the series the way I do, it's not always easy to keep to one idea or theory. There are too mnay avenues to explore, and that is what keeps 'the Prisoner' interesting.