A University Degree In Three Minutes?
"It's improbable" say's No.6 " But not impossible" according to No.12
Well that's as may be, but did you know, and some of you might, that a number of years ago that the Prisoner has enjoyed a campus, as well as a cult following. No surprise then that once it was used as a model for University degree studies as the subject for countless thesis by students, both here in
and abroad. Great Britain
The first course to embark upon an examination of the series, otherwise than as simple television entertainment, was initiated by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority. Designed, in 1978, for study at secondary, colleges and university levels, the course provided an opportunity for those who wished to explore in greater depth the many themes introduced by the Prisoner.
OECA claimed that the series posed "some of the crucial questions in the survival game humanity is playing; and it poses them in almost flawless film art." Like all great art the Prisoner operates on many levels, the viewer gets as much or as little out of it as he or she chooses. The series was presented by OECA as an allegory, in a setting where a man in unexplained captivity, deprived of his liberty, privacy and name, struggles against all odds to regain his freedom, but he is fighting for freedom in a world that strongly resembles our own world; only he sees it as a prison, while we do not.
In a separate attempt to peer beyond the series' surface level of action, the
provided its own course. An experiment was offered, to examine the series and its 'social - psychological concepts.' Two main factors in appreciating the Prisoner were regarded as significant. Firstly, although ambiguity as a whole required viewers to work hard to make sense of what was occurring, the pace of the programme maintained interest. Secondly, the viewers fascination with the main character Number Six, was not doubted. Indeed, students were often found to be intensely involved with the charismatic individual, imprisoned in the village and the adverse conditions which he faced. Constantly confronting overwhelming odds, the Prisoner maintained, overcame coercion, fought, resisted, and held fast throughout the series, the Prisoner as some might see as being a hero. Arizona State University
Although such analytical framework has been provided by such courses as a way of interpreting the content of the 17 episode series, clearly there are many ways in which the series can be examined on a personal basis by each viewer. Thus the Prisoner and its lead character have provided a means of interaction with viewers unlike any other television programme during the past 44 years.
You of All People!
Roland Walter Dutton was certainly surprised to see that his old colleague, now No.6, is a resident of the village. "You of all people. I'd have never have believed it." Dutton says to his old colleague, upon their meeting at the cave during Dance of the Dead.
Why is Dutton so surprised to see his old colleague in such a position, but prisoner or warder? Perhaps he thought better of his old colleague that he is the last person he would meet in the village. But at the same time he's suspicious, because when No.6 asks Dutton how long he has been in the village, Dutton responds with "You don't know?" Would No.6 ask?
No.6 asks Dutton how London is, but places don't change, only people - "Some people" indicating that No.6 is still the same man now as he always was. But Roland Walter Dutton is not the same man, for he is not as lucky as No.6, Roland Walter Dutton in expendable!
I wonder if Dutton had thought his old colleague had killed the man he was casting adrift that time on the beach?
You Are Free To Go
The President tells Sir during the trials of Fall Out. Why, what has change all of a sudden? Sir may have survived the ultimate test, he may have vindicated the right of the individual to be individual. Over come coercion, held fast, maintained, fought, destroyed and resisted, but what has changed? They still have no idea of why the Prisoner resigned in the first place, a secret which they were so desperate to learn. The Prisoner still has secret information inside his head, and what's more the Prisoner, or Sir as he became known, now knows all about the village! It seems most improbable that 'they' would allow Sir to leave the village, not with the knowledge of the village inside his head. Surely they must recall his intention once he had escaped "I'm going to escape and come back. Come back, wipe this place off the face of the earth, obliterate it and No.2 with it." No, Fall Out is the ultimate manipulation of the Prisoner, and you can see this in the way the Prisoner, even after having been given the title of Sir, that he's edgy, untrusting of the proceedings. No, they could never allow No.6 to go free, and the proof is in that vacant and un-numbered 'Orbit Tube' in the rocket.
Be seeing you