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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Prisoner And Me - Me And The Prisoner



video

    I once followed in the footsteps of Patrick McGoohan, not only acting, writing, editing. Was the Executive Producer, director, and to the point of actually sweeper-upper on set. I bet Patrick McGoohan didn't sweep the floor! That was for my art-house film Village Day which was produced in 1998. By the time the film was finished I certainly knew what Patrick McGoohan must have felt like by the end of producing the Prisoner.
   I never set out to have overall control of the film no not at all. When the idea of producing a film based on the Prisoner was suggested, I saw my involvement as being the guy playing the role of the Prisoner, and nothing more than that. But that's not the way it turned out, the guy whose idea it was bailed out and I was left holding the baby so to speak. And of course once I assumed responsibility for the project, well there was no going back.
    Village Day was a very ambitious film project, and run on a tight shoestring budget. Yet having said that, it is the first film to have a life-size interior set of the Green Dome since the original series was produced, with working steel doors and wall screen.
   We filmed at the same London locations as in the Prisoner series, as well as Portmeirion where we had a week to film. Filming at Portmeirion commenced at 7am on a Saturday morning, and over the following week, and was not completed until the following Friday evening at 5pm.
   The production was not without it's many problems. But then there were a number of great achievements, the construction of the interior of the Green Dome, the music to the film is completely original, composed and produed by Australian musician Bruce Stringer. We even made a successful controlled crash of KAR 120C on a long and deserted highway in the county of Berkshire, or at least it was until we commenced filming. Then the world and his wife came driving along that road, I couldn't believe it! Anyway, after we had crashed the car, I was slumped over the steering wheel with blood flowing from an open wound. Suddenly a white van drew up, the driver asking if everyone was okay, and did we need an ambulance? Well I was both gratified and delighted. Because if we could fool a memeber of the general public, then the car crash was as authentic as we were ever likely to get it.
   For myself, and on a personal level. When we were busy filming at Portmeirion, members of the general public actually thought that Patrick McGoohan had returned to Portmeirion and was making another series. One woman visited the Priosner shop and asked if she paid twenty pounds could she go and stand next to the man himself......meaning me, and meaning me as Patrick McGoohan looks in the Prisoner series, not as he was then in 1998. But I was flattered nonetheless for that. Members of the general public we taking photographs and filming us filming scenes, and some even asked if they could be involved as extras. Well I thought why not, as long as they were dressed in Village costume. Well they were delighted. the only trouble was, that when I called for extras for a scene to be filmed down on the lawn of the hotel {Old people's Home} only two people came forward. I suppose no-one was going to admit they were old enough to actually be in the Village's Old people's Home. But I didn't see why it should have been a problem, as in the Prisoner series there are middle aged citizens sitting at tables on the lawn of the Old People's Home. Anyway, we got round it in the end.....we filmed in another location at Portmeirion!

I'll be seeing you

A Favourite Moment Comes In The Prisoner When......

    The Prisoner, on the morning of his arrival, takes his first tentative steps in the Village. He looks up at the Bell Tower, he thinks he sees a man leaning out from a window looking down at him. He rushes round to the door, climbs the steps in the Bell Tower only to come face to face with a statue! Where the man went we do not know. But he is either light on his feet, becasue the Prisoner would surely have met with the man, or didn't really exist in the first place!
BCNU

The Prisoner's Question Time

   No.6 "This?"
   Doctor-No.10 "Oh I should keep it on, just to remind you."
   "To remind me?"
   "That's right."
   "Of what?"
   "Oh anything you like."
   "To leave a note out for the milkman."
   "Yes perhaps."
   "To take things easy."
   "Why not, you are very lucky my dear fellow."
   "There's something I have to tell Number Two."
   "Well, I'm sure it can wait. Is it important?"
   "He thinks so."
   "Well go home, take it easy. And if it is important I'm sure he'll be in touch."
   "The trouble is, I can't remember what it is I have to tell him!"
   "Well there you are then, that sticking plaster will help you remember."
   "How?"
   "What?"
   "No, not what, how, how will it help me remember?"
   "It will come to you."
   "What will?"
   "Why you resigned."
   "Is that important?"
   "Not to me it isn't, but perhaps to you. I think you have the need to unburden yourself."
   "Do I?"
   "We all have to tell someone."
   "Number Two?"
   "Or me. You would tell me."
   "Why should I tell you?"
   "It might be easier in the end."
   "For who?"
   "For you my dear fellow. Now go home, and remember to take things easy."
   "Why should I want to take things easy?"
   "Well perhaps just for a day or two."
   "If I take this thing off?"
   "You might forget."
   "What?"
   "Why you resigned."
   "I, I, I, re...... resigned becasue for a very long time........."
"Well I must get on. Go home, take it easy, wonderful my dear fellow, wonderful."

BCNU

The Therapy Zone

Playing Second Fiddle

   Strictly speaking it is not clear if No.12 can be classed as an aide to No.2 or not. Certainly he spends a good deal of time in the company of No.2, and at others carries out No.2 instructions.
  What is certain is that No.12 holds a high position within Administration, as he has his own office, but describes himself as "A cog in the machine," but only for No.6's benefit surely. He also has a seat on the education board. Yet he does on occasion obey No.2's instructions, so at least for the duration of Speedlearn I think we can say that No.12 is acting as assistant to No.2.
    His first approach to No.6 is an ambiguous attempt to stimulate No.6's interest in both Speedlearn and the General. And in this regard No.12 will ultimately become a traitor, seeking to destroy  with the aid of No.6. Because presumably holding a position in administration helps No.12 gain access to the file on No.6, and by this he was able to study the man, and make sure he was the man he is after before his initial approach.
    No.12 is a man of high principles, he knows the real meaning behind Speedlearn, he knows it's weakness "I said what, not when!" That Speedlearn is another form of highly sophisticated brainwashing. Yet is comfortable with explaining Speedlearn to his fellow board members, which includes No.2. So as members of the board, this puts No.12 on an equal footing with No.2, surely.
   He is ideally situated in administration to obtain for No.6 the uniform of a 'Top Hat' official as well as the pair of security pass discs. And for the act of sabotage, not to mention the micro lecture hidden inside the ball point pen.
   But for all No.12's acts of conspiracy, sabotage, and thoughts against the Professor. No.12 still finds the courage to sacrifice his life trying to save the Professor, and in doing so becomes a martyr on the conscience of the village.

It Could Be Imprisonment – It Could Be A Fine

   So No.6 opted for the fine! this happens during evening of the Madi-Gras, when the good citizens of the community are celebrating the joys of Speedlearn. An act of sabotage in '6 private' causes the lights to go out! The blame of course is put on No.6 by administrator-No.12. "Deliberate destruction of official property is a most serious offence. I recommend the full penalty." "Which Is?" No.6 asks. "It could be imprisonment, it could be a fine" No.14 snaps back in reply.
   Well let us pause and consider for a moment. What kind of imprisonment could be implemented in the village? House arrest perhaps, not being able to go outside, which could also be seen as solitary confinement. And the fine, how much might that be? However much the fine, it would be worthless and therefore quite meaningless as a punishment! Well the village monetary system is worthless isn't it? You will recall how No.6 was fined for speeding. He was driving at great speed, for which the Prisoner was fined 20 units by the High Court Judge. But No.6 pleaded with the Judge that he couldn't pay! "20 units" the Judge shouted "Nothing!"
   So the fine was nothing, and even if it was....... And as for imprionment, being put under possible 'house arrest' or solitary confinement would be no hardship for No.6, I'm sure he would look forward to it. After all it wouldn’t it be for too long. Besides didn't No.6 keep much to himself in A Change of Mind, and possibly for some little time before then. After all No.6 did tell those two thugs, who set upon him in the woods at his private gymnasium, that he preferred privacy.
   Some full punishment it was, that No.12 was recommending....my foot!

Be seeing you

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Game Of The Name

    I was going through some issues of Number Six and in The Village magazines the other day, and this item will be of interest to those fans of the Prisoner who have been curious about, or have thoughts and have ideas of their own as to the name of the Prisoner. In fact it was a comment from Anthony Rooney about Peter Smith being the Prisoner's name, that reminded my wife of three letters in Number Six which deal with this very subject. I shall quote the three letters

Number Six magazine issue 36 1993, B.G writes "No.6's name is NOT Peter Smith, as mentioned in Many Happy Returns. I doubt that No.6 would give his real name to anyone until he's sure he can trust them. Smith is a very common name and No.6 uses "Peter" hesitatingly - perhaps John Smith would have sounded too obviously fake. It doesn't matter about mail or the lease of the house or car logbook - the Village would surely have taken care of all that, judging by Mrs Butterworth driving KAR 120C. Here's another joke - Mrs Butterworth = Baker of cakes."

Number Six magazine issue 36 1993 K.I writes "Being a new member, I don't feel qualified to join in the "higher critisism" in your pages. I'll confine myself to the perennial question of "Was No.6 John Drake?"
   This is really quite simple! In Many Happy Returns, our hero has to think quick, alas for Mrs Butterworth. He says "Smith...Peter Smith." Now in this situation, the obvious response would have been "John Smith."
   No.6 clearly shied away from using his real first name. Case Proven!"
{Case proven, I wonder? Bit arrogant to have said that I feel}

In The Village magazine 1uue 2 1994 P.G replies to both the above letters "The contributions of K.I and B.G in issue 36 {Nujmber Six} prompted me to do a little research on the derivation of the name "Peter Smith."
    "Peter", originally from the Aramaic "Kepa", is the name given by Jesus to his disciple Simon "Peter" was a nick-name meaning "stone" - Peter was the rock on whom the Church was founded. But "Peter" is also a slang word for a prison cell, and a "Peter-man" is a safe-breaker.
   According to the Guiness Record Book Of Names, "Gowan" or "McGowan" is the Gaelic equivolent of "Smith." Given that "McGoohan" is a version of "McGowan," it is perhaps not surprising that Number 6 told Mrs Butterworth his name was Peter Smith.
    What's in a name? In this case a little more than meets the eye."

   Well I trust you find that of interest, no I'm not trying to prove anything either way, it is just out of interest, although readers of this piece may have interesting views of their own they wish to comment. In a way Peter Smtih equals Patrick McGoohan, yes, I like that, it's clever. But whether Patrick McGoohan, or indeed the script writer Anthony Skene, was aware of that at the time, we shall never know. But if they were, it was very clever of them.

I'll be seeing you

Thought For The Day

   The Prisoner may have told the Labour Exchange Manager that he is afraid of nothing. But perhaps he's afraid of himself!

BcNu

The Cult Of The Individual

    If there is one topic continually running throughout the Prisonerr, then it must surely be the individual against the establishment, the individual against bureaucracy, that's two!
    To number an individual is seen to be dehumanising that individual, by that very number. Today they would say it goes against an individuals human rights.
    During the human chess match of Checkmate No.8-the white Queen  informs No.6 "Its not allowed, the cult of the individual," this after an illegal move on the chessboard by the Rook-No.53.
   No.6 is an individual who will not be pushed, filed, stamped, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. His life is his own. "I am not a number, I am a free man, or person" depending on the line at the time. This then is the more subtle protest against "them," because it all boils down to "us and them" in the end.
    As part of his maiden electoral speech No.6 informs the electorate that he intends to discover who the warders and who the prisoners, "Whose standing beside you now?" Yet it is not until the episode of Checkmate, that No.6 does actually try and discover who the prisoners and who the warders. And when he does it ultimately backfires on him, as the Rook-No.53 puts to No.6 his own tests. Judging No.6 by his attitude, just as No.6 had learned to distinguish between the blacks and the whites on the chessboard, the prisoners and the warders, judging by attitudes. Just the way it is in life, you soon find out who's for or against you.
    But No.6 is simply a pawn, the individual as prisoner and number. During A Change of Mind, No.6 is ostracised as being a "reactionary rebel." during the Dance of the Dead, No.6 is put on trial for the possession of a radio, which breaks the rules, and his defender is No.2 herself, and a witness for the prosecution! Where can the individual win in such a "Kangaroo Court" as this? However in the defenders opening speech, No.2 does her best to defend the Prisoner "The Prisoner is a human being, with the weakness of his kind. The fact that he had a radio, and has broken rule after rule cannot be denied." And then pleads with their Lordships for clemency. "He is guilty only of folly. We can treat folly with kindness, knowing that soon his wild spirit will quieten and the foolishness will fall and reveal a model citizen." No.6 responds with "That day you will never see!"
   No.6 is an individual, and they are always trying. But the community must live, and so must he. Yet the community will not suffer him for long. To the village and the committee, he is simply citizen No.6, who has to be tolerated, and if necessary shaped to fit!
   Yet by the time of Fall Out, the President and Delegates of the Assembly, are both pleased and justified by the fact that Sir, as he has now become to be known, has vindicated the right of the individual to be individual. They applaud his private war, and no beg him to lead them or go. Go anywhere! Was this another ploy in the village game in the manipulation of No.6? Well your guess is as good as mine. Because before we can find out any further information or explanation, a violent and bloody revolution breaks out, and so to do our four intrepid escapees, along with the majority of the citizens of the village in a mass evacuation of the village.
   Perhaps next time, around more will become clear about the "Cult of the Individual."

I'll be seeing you.

The Therapy Zone

Six Into one Won’t Go!

Six Into One: The Prisoner File of 1984, screened by Channel 4 after their screening of the Prisoner series didn't work! It was merely the tip of the iceberg, and didn't satisfactorily answer anything. There are too many avenues to travel, and too much information to assimilate in 50 minutes of programme time. I should know, I've carried out a  4 year in-depth research into the Prisoner and all related material for my manuscript The Butler Speaks, and I've learned a lot along the way. Not just about the fresh discoveries regarding the Prisoner, but also in the related material I have researched in the process.
    Six Into One: The Prisoner File tried to be far too clever for its own good, no sooner were you being taken in one direction, then something else came along, making nonsense of what you had just seen and heard, and you found yourself rushing headlong down another avenue which took you away from your original thought! 
   There were interviews, of course there were interviews with Script Editor George Markstein, Sir Lew Grade, Producer David Tomblin to name three. They could of course give answers and information on how the Prisoner came about, pre-production, and during production of the series. Possibly giving some incite into the mind of Patrick McGoohan, and what the series was about. The social comments, McGoohan's take on society and what it had become. Infringing on the rights of the individual, and the taking away of one's identity. But then that's only the tip of the iceberg, wouldn't you say?
   At the end of the day, Six into One: The Prisoner File tried to give the answers, and interpretations, but which in the end failed miserably! Leaving individuals such as you and I to form our own opinions, interpretations, and to find the answers for ourselves. For all their trouble, the people behind Six Into One: The Prisoner File, they might have saved themselves the trouble After all, when the end came, they simply wiped the tape, and began again!
    And me? Well I've thought to draw a line under my researches, but as I’ve found out, there is always a fresh way of looking at things within the Prisoner series.


Have You Ever Noticed

    How it is that the Prisoner quickly eats his way through that plate of sandwiches at Mrs. Butterworth's home? Yes I know he's hungry, mind you those triangular sandwiches of Martha's are quite dainty, with the crusts cut off, and little filling. Its no wonder the Prisoner quickly polished them off, the fruit cake as well. The best fruitcake he had ever tasted, well I bet his fiancĂ©, Janet Portland, wasn't much of a cook, or at baking cakes!
   And that's another curious thing. Once the Prisoner had arrived back in London in Many Happy Returns, he went straight back to his home. A house to which he had no key, so presumably he was going to break in. But thankfully Mrs. Butterworth arrived just in time to invite him in! But then, after a wash and shave, the borrowing of some of dear Arthur's clothes, Arthur being Mrs. Butterworth's late husband. The Prisoner then has the lend of his own kar, as he has two calls to make, one in town, and the other in the country. But what of his fiancĂ© Janet Portland, and her farther Sir Charles Portland for whom the Prisoner had previously worked, before he resigned? The Prisoner never went to see them did he, why not? had he done so, the Prisoner just might have played a safer bet! Well possibly because of his single-mindedness, in wanting answer, answers to his questions, as to where the village is, which side runs the village, and would he be able to find it again?
   Well he did, and now he's No,6 once more!
    Just one more thing brought to mind by my wife a moment ago, in the episode of It’s Your Funeral, the heir presumptive-No.2 ordered that a daily prognosis report be carried out on No.6. Well is it possible that a likewise prognosis was carried out on No.6 before they allowed the events of Many Happy Returns to unfold? In this way the actions of No.6 would be, to some extent predicted, and in that "they" would have a reasonable estimation of the action to be taken by No.6 at any given time, as in the daily prognosis report of Its Your Funeral. This together with No.6's predictability of course.

Be seeing you

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Village Library




     For the simple basics of the Prisoner I have found no better booklet, this revised edition of 1989, and a very well thumbd copy I have to say. In fact, this was my first purchase, in 1988, when it comes to information on the production of the Prisoner, although I believe it has been out of print these many years. However copies of this bookelt, and the two that follow below, do appear on ebay from time to time.



      It is what it says on the cover, containing numerous production call sheets, and attempts to put the Prisoner in order, at the time it was called the 'Great Debate' as fans tried to find the definative screening order of the series. But all the 'Great Debate' did, was to give up numerous screening orders as fans thought the series should be screened, and no two were ever identical.










    And finally the third booklet in this trilogy, sees the world of the Prisoner explained. From film locations outside of portmeirion, to how to tell the four seasons of  the Village in the Prisoner. From the Mini-Moke to putting the Village on the map, to bringing the Prisoner to book {the novelisation of the Prisoner}.


BCNU

Patrick McGoohan 'is' The Prisoner

  In my mind, in my mind the Prisoner has always been John Drake, because on a personal level that works for me. However I have to say that despite that, the identity of the Prisoner maybe as simple as that of Patrick McGoohan. After all Patrick McGoohan once played the role of a secret agent who goes by the name of John Drake. It is Patrick McGoohan's own date of birth, March 19th 1928, which is used for the Prisoner, as are some details of Patrick McGoohan's life in Once Upon A Time, that of his childhood, and having grown up going to work in a Bank.
   I like to think that John Drake is the Prisoner, but really he's Patrick McGoohan.

BCNU

Arts And Crafts

    It's What I call the 'Andy Warhol effect,' my 'Negativity' of the Prisoner.



BCNU

The Prisoner In Modern Times

    There have been many articles written on the subject of the Prisoner, and here is another one I here you remark. But don't worry, as I'm sure it will not be the last.
2020 sees the 50th anniversary of the 1960's television series "the Prisoner" starring Patrick McGoohan. A series which possibly remains the most enigmatic television series of modern times. A series which was seen to be ahead of it's time, the village with cordless telephones, a credit card system, surveillance cameras, complete with a public address system and hidden microphones, that has now been equalled no more than here in Great Britain. Great Britain, the most observed nation on the face of the world, and now through loudspeakers observers can now tell us when we are doing something anti-social and then ask us politely to stop that which we are doing. They'll be telling us the ice-cream flavour of the day next!
In the Prisoner episode The Chimes of Bog Ben No.2 tells No.6 that the village is a blueprint for world order, an International community. "The whole earth as the village," as No.2 puts it. Well Europe at the very least, is the International community of today as I believe to have been predicted by "the Prisoner" or should that be Patrick McGoohan? That which Europe has become today.
It has also been said of "the Prisoner" that certain pieces of literature and films have influenced the production of the series. Literature such as Kafka's "The Trial" and Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death Films such as The Prisoner of Zenda The Manchurian Candidate.  But in recent years the Prisoner has been on the other foot, having influenced to some little degree films as Cube, and The Trueman Show. Television series as "Twin peaks" and more recently "Jekyll" and "Cape Wrath." Although really with Jekyll it is not so much as "the Prisoner" having played an influential part, that Jeyyll having Prisoneresque touches about it. For example, in one episode of Jekyll we see Hyde coming for the first time, Hyde has different fingerprints to that of Doctor Jackman. And this is demonstrated on a screen in much the same way as the fingerprints of No.6 and No.12 during the Prisoner episode of The Schizoid Man.
Also there is something which Mr. Hyde says about "Not being able to put Humpty together again." Doctor Jackman having gone forever, to leave only Mr. Hyde. And that is something No.6 said during Once Upon A Time "All the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again." And there is a physical confrontation between Doctor Jackman and Mr. Hyde, "Who are you? What are you?" Just as there is the physical confrontation between No.6 and his alter ego of No.1 during the final episode of Fall Out No.1 being the evil side of No.6' character who he was trying to beat. Just as Hyde is the evil side of Jekyll’s character, or in the case of this new series, Doctor Jackman. The fact that in both cases, Jekyll {Jackman} and Hyde, No.6 and No.1, that there is a "physical" confrontation" between them, no longer being alter egos, but physical, and the use of "Being unable to put Humpty together again," all goes to demonstrate a "physical" parting of those alter egos, the good and evil that resides in all of us, in both cases.
So the Prisoner has played an influence on Jeykll not an in your face influence, but something rather subtle and delightful, hardly noticable to the majority of people watching. And Jekyll isn't the only recent series to enjoy a touch of the Prisoneresque, there's Cape Wrath.
    Cape Wrath enjoys a rather less subtle "Prisoneresque" influence, in the fact that instead of the village, there is Meadowlands, where the Brogan family are taken blindfold under the "Witness protection Program." Meadowlands, a curious community where everyone has a secret. People having been given new names, fresh identities, but still remain the people they were. Because you can change your names, change your identity, but you still carry who you are inside your head!
Meadowlands is a cross between "the prisoner" and "Twin peaks." Meadowlands looks a typical New England town, but there is no leaving, no way out, you are there for life! Once Mrs. Brogan and her daughter decided to go shopping in the next town. I watched and wondered just what was going to stop Mrs. Brogan and her daughter from leaving Meadowlands? The white membranic village guardian Rover was obviously out of the question. Then something else from "the Prisoner popped into my mind, the words of the Supervisor "Attention post 14, attention post14. Now approaching Outer Zone in out vehicle. Number 6, I repeat Number 6." And that is just what happened to Mrs, Brogan and her daughter, well of a kind. At a petrol station, as Mrs. Brogan was paying for her petrol, a young girl approached her daughter pretending to be a friend of hers. She upset Mrs. Brogan's daughter so much, that Mrs. Brogan turned the car around and drove her home! Later I observed the very same young girl leaving what I think as being the Supervisors office in an administration building of the Motel. A female Supervisor with a large wall screen in her office, as the Supervisor and wall screen in the control room of the village in "the Prisoner!" There was also what I can only described as an in-joke during the " football match" of the first episode, when Mr. Brogan was given the yellow tabbard of No.6!
Just as the citizens of the village have been abducted to the village for the information inside their heads, being of value to one side or the other. Those taken to Meadowlands having been taken there for their own protection, don't know where they are, just as those citizens in the village don't know where they are, and there is no escape for any of them. And each have secrets of their own. Secrets that they would prefer no one else to know.
    The Prisoner is still as relevant to day, if not more so, than ever it was back in the 1960's. And is enjoying subtle influences upon other films and television series. Or am I reading too much into it. Seeing things that are never there, nor ever were intended to be? The cause perhaps in hankering, as I am, after a modern-day Prisoner series, which of course I can now enjoy with THEPRIS6NER09 which is of it’s time.

I'll be seeing you.

The Therapy Zone

Fall Out

    And something came to me, something which I had never really given much thought to, because I've never been keen on that No.48, never very keen on Alexis Kanner if it comes to that.
    However, if one leaves all No.8's singing of "Dem Bones" and athletic dancing about out of it, he does actually get to plead his case before the assembly, which is more than Sir, as he became known, did.
   No.48 tells it like it is in asking the President if he got the message? No.48 has been with the village, but then he went and gone, he's gone, gone far away. "Give it to me baby!" the President shouts.
"That's it, all you want is give."
"And take" says the President.
"That's it, take! Takes all they want, take, take, take, take!" is No.48's response, but he will not confess!
    Simple term maybe, but those simple words of No.48, they do just about sum up both the village and its administration. The village takes and takes, and gives nothing back to the individual, except perhaps in welfare, which is the villages biggest consumer item.
   Then there is the "late No.2." Even he gets to address the members of the assembly "My Lords, ladies and gentlemen, a most extraordinary thing happened to me on my way... here, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,." "It has been my lot, in the past, to wield a not inconsiderable power. Nay I have had the ear of statesmen, Kings and Princes of many lands. Governments have been swayed, policies defined and revolution nipped in the bud at a word from me in the right place and at the propitious time...... Not surprising therefore, that this community should find a use for me. Not altogether by accident, that one day I should be abducted and wake up here amongst you....  What is so deplorable , is that I resisted for so short a time. A fine tribute to your methods. I wish to thank you for recognition of my talents, which placed me in a position of power second only to one."
    That of course is only part of this "late No.2's" address to the assembly, but he was able to say the things that needed to be said. Not So Sir as he became known. For all the President's praise set upon him, being a man of steel, who is magnificently equipped to lead us. A man who has gloriously vindicated the right of the individual to be individual and who should now no longer be known as No.6, or indeed as any number at all. A man who has survived the ultimate test, overcome coercion, fought, maintained, revolted, held fast, maintained, destroyed resistance. And yet, when given the opportunity to address the assembly "they" shout him down at every attempt! The members of the assembly will not hear what sir has to say. But why? After all they sat and listened to No.48, in his rebellious youth, and then an ex-No.2 who has bitten the hand that fed! So why not sir? What did they expect him to say that would be so disagreeable to them? Sir surely had something to say for himself, as he tried to make himself heard over the chanting of the members of the assembly "Hip, hip, hooray!"
   It is a pity sir could not make himself heard, as it would have been interesting to hear what he was raving on about. However, despite the devaluation of the pound, nevertheless it did save Patrick McGoohan having to write a speech for himself. Although he was "Pissed off" at the time, just read his lips.

Fall Out – Whoever You Are – Whatever You are

    Because during his trial, the ex-No.2 said that if he was going to die, then he would die with his own mind. And said of No.1 "Look me in the eye, whoever you are, whatever you are." That "Whatever you are" is suggestive of something which might be alien and possibly quite terrifying. And that indicates that even this ex-No.2 didn’t know who or what No.1 was. He had never met No.1, and found sir’s question laughable, when asked if he had ever met No.1.
   Well No.1 wasn’t alien, or at all terrifying. But someone we had got to know rather well, over those 17 weeks, someone in the end who turned out to be as mad as a Hatter - No.6!
    "Would you say No.6 was mad?" No.2 asks the psychiatrist.
    "Not according to our records!" is the reply.
   Well I think they’d better take another look at those records of theirs!

Be seeing you

Friday, 27 January 2012

Arts And Crafts

    I gave this the title of "The Dome and Fountain"

BcNu

Thought For The Day

   
     Why isn't the picture of No.6 who speaks his mind in an article for The Tally Ho in the episode of Free for All, and on the vote for No.6 placard, and all the smaller placards, not pictured wearing his piped blazer? I mean to say, No.113's photographic colleague, No.113b, took enough photographs of No.6 wearing his piped blazer at the time.
   And the same here with No.2 who has called for an increase in vigilance!


  I could understand it if we were speaking of newspapers in the outside world. But this is the Village, so surely to have had No.6 and No.2 photographed in Village attire would surely have been more in keeping.
    Or was the photographer No.113b, when snapping photographs of No.6 during the election of Free For All, simply wasting good film? Then again on the other hand, was there any film in his camera in the first place?

BcNu

Interrogation Techniques

The Comfy Chair

   This is one interrogation technique not used against No.6 in order to obtain the required information - why did he resign?
   So how does the comfy chair work? Well basically you sit the subject down in a low comfy or easy chair with a light in his eyes. Your seat at the desk has its back to the window. Why the low comfy chair? Well if you have been to speaker’s corner in Hyde Park, you will have noticed that the speakers stand on a soap box that is to get the people to take notice of him. And the same can be said of a parson who speaks from the pulpit, people look up and take notice, and the light? Briefly one of the tricks is for inducing the state of hypnosis is for the operator to stand in front of his seated subject and revolve or swing a small bright object in front of his eyes. Some have used revolving mirrors. The French murderer Sarret used to appear to play absent mindedly with a gold half hunter watch. Its case brightly polished on both sides, and he swung it on its chain, and as his victims stared at it, they became dazzled, and came under his influence. the next best thing is to tire the subject's eyes by making him face bright light.
   Ah, I can tell you are about to ask a question. If the idea is to wear down the subject resistance by tiring him or her, why sit him in a comfy chair? Well there's the "treat em rough" method. Make the subject stand for several hours at a time. And so then eager to end the ordeal the subject comes clean so to end the ordeal. You may recall the Earl of Essex after he had been involved in armed insurrection against Queen Elizabeth the First. No? Well the Earl of Essex was forced to stand upright for hour upon hour. After several hours he was allowed to lean against a table. After even more hours he nearly collapsed and was allowed to kneel. That went on for eleven hours. He was noble so he couldn't be tortured.
  The "treat em smooth" method is where the comfy chair is employed on the principle that a relaxed subject is more ready to talk than one who is physically tense.

Ah come in No.6, do take a chair.... nice and relaxed are you? So tell me, why did you resign?
No.6: It was a matter of conscience. I resigned for peace of mind. Because too many people know too much.
   Blimey, the comfy chair technique works. Now we know!


Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

Prognosis Report On No.6

   A daily walk around the village at 6.30 in the morning might be one thing. No.6 then climbs the Bell Tower, well perhaps he does just like the view! The subject is eccentric, certainly watching, waiting, constantly aggressive. sees No.6 having a physical workout with the subjects home made apparatus. 8.15 am No.6 cools off water skiing. it's coffee at the cafe. chess on the lawn of the Old People's Home with an elderly opponent, the game ending in an 11 move checkmate win for No.6.  He then humours another eccentric citizen by having his portrait painted.
    According to the prognosis No.6 will at 10.19 exactly, take a stroll around the village. At precisely 10.20 he will go to the kiosk where he will buy a copy of the newspaper, The tally Ho, a bar of soap, and a bag of sweets.
   Well this is all fine and dandy for a daily prognosis report on No.6, the emphasis being on daily. So just how many days of the weeks does No.6 buy a bar of soap?

The Prisoner – Nerve Gassed

    A friend's son, has come up with something which has never occurred to me in all my 40 years and more of Prisoner appreciation. During the opening sequence, as the Prisoner is busy gathering up his passport, visa papers, photographs, and two suitcases, an undertaker pumps nerve gas into the study, the Prisoner, standing at the window looks up confused. My friend's son noted that the show would have been a very different show, had the Prisoner not jerked his head up looking confused, but instead had opened the window.
    What is it they say "Out of the mouths of babes and suckling’s....." And this above only goes to confirm that which I have thought to be the case for many a year, that the Prisoner is better viewed through the eyes of a child rather than those of an adult. There is something about the logical mind of a child, their reasoning to behold. As Oscar Wilde once said "I wish I had thought of that!"

The Prisoner Reality  - Or Just A Dream?

   Well I suppose it all depends upon what the Prisoner means to you. The village, and indeed the whole series is open to interpretation. On the surface it's an exciting action adventure, visually stimulating, which you can simply sit back and enjoy without thinking about it at all, as watched as pure entertainment.
    On the next level there's the allegorical, I don't care for this too much, as it leaves nothing solid that you can pin down about the Prisoner, as being allegorical you can make something mean anything at all, and that means that there is no logical progression of incidents throughout the series. That there is no need for a credible solution, well that's right for sure!
   Then there is the symbolism, the social comment of it's time, the questions, all of which means that there is an enormous pool of thought, ideas and theories to dive into beneath the surface of the Prisoner.
   So, if the village is not reality, then the alternative is a dream. And if a dream, then possibly you’re worst nightmare and a recurring one at that, which makes the reality of the village just that bit more attractive.

Be seeing you

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Caught On Camera

   
   No.42 Roland Walter Dutton, a man who was openly experimented on, and used in an experiment on No.6 in order to get him to give a breakdown on everything he knows, all the files he'd seen, the projects he knows about, just headings not details.
    The doctor-No.40 saw Dutton has being rather difficult, that he'd given the doctor rather a lot of information, but that he is reluctant to go further. Well Dutton couldn't go further, as he didn't know any more, not having had access to the "vital stuff."
    Roland Walter Dutton is a man No.6 thinks he once knew.
Well No.6 got that about right. They met in the Village during that episode of Dance of the Dead, outside a cave down on the beach. Later they would meet at No.6's trial during the Ball in the town Hall, when No.6 called Roland Walter Dutton as a character witness. A man who was scheduled to die, and therefore better fitted to say the things that need to be said.
   A man that No.6 thinks he once knew? Yes, but his name wasn't Dutton then, it was Edwards.



   John Drake and Edwards pictured together in the Danger Man episode The Hunting Party.

   No.6 had previosuly met up with Fotheringay in the Village, formally Mister Hardy in Danger Man, and even the Supervsor in Checkmate  was a contact man for Drake in the Danger Man Episode Say It With flowers.
   I could go on to list a whole lot of people that No.6 had formally known, but that would simply get boring. suffice to say, fictionally, No.6 had met a good many people he had previously known, ex-colleagues who like No.6 are embroiled in the Village!

I'll be seeing you

Thought For The Day

   You would have thought someone would have noticed the pair of Six's walking through the Village on their way from '6 Private' to the Recreation Hall. Indeed, after their shooting and fencing competitions, why weren't the pair of Six's noticed fighting on the steps of the Recreation Hall? I don't expect any citizen would want to intervene in attempting to break up the fight, but you would have expected someone to see something, to see that there were two Number Six's now in the Village, news like that would surely have spread through the citizens. After all, there were plenty of passers by, pedestrians, cyclists, not to mention taxis being driven passed!

BCNU

The Supervisor's Report

 Being a supervisor in the control room is a huge responsibility, sometimes we get it wrong but mostly the Control Room staff are on the ball. True we do get it wrong occasionally, likeNo.6's birthday, but there was no such conspiracy as suspected by No.2.
    Most of the work carried out in the control room is routine, the observers observe through their monitors, even the two sat upon the metal see-saw device, helps keep their attention focused, so I'm informed.  Then there is the occasional 'yellow alert' and then 'orange alert,' because someone is trying to escape, probably that No.6. But there is no given situation that we cannot deal with, our efficiency is second to none.
    However the occasional anomaly is thrown up, like the time No. 2 suspected No.6 of planting a bomb, a bomb housed in a blessed Cuckoo Clock! Well of course there wasn't and for many here in the village there was only one Cuckoo..... yes well mustn't speak ill of the mentally sick and paranoid!
    'Visual Records' is where all the surveillance tapes are stored. There technicians and archivists go through the surveillance tapes, in case the observers have missed anything. And then one day the report came through that we did, or I suppose it could have been an error...... I suppose it could!
    "What do you make of it? No. 2 asked sternly.
    I recall looking at the two images on the wall screen, I studied them carefully.
    "Surveillance stills from, I would have to check, but isn't that No. 8 walking behind No.6, and there just behind his right shoulder" I found myself replying, and yet seeing nothing strange.
   "So?" said No.2 from the comfort of his chair.
    "The surveillance photographs are from Checkmate” I replied with confidence.
    "Ordinarily you would be correct. But in this particular instance you are wrong!" said No.2 rising out of his chair.
    "I was stunned I can tell you!"
    "So" said No.2 drawing up close "where do you think the surveillance footage for these actual stills came from?"
    I thought for a moment, but had no idea "I've no idea No.2."
   "Then you will be as surprised as I was to discover that the actual surveillance footage, came from The Chimes of Big Ben!" No. 2 said with assured certainty.
    "The Chimes of Big Ben" I responded in startled confusion "but that's impossible, there must have been a mix up with the tapes!"
    "I am assured not. What you are looking at are frames of surveillance footage taken directly after No.6 had had breakfast. " retorted No. 2 "Bring No.6 in for questioning, and that blessed No.8 I want to know what the game is!" barked No.2.
    "Game No.2?" I questioned.
    "Yes, they've concocted something up between them, probably something to do with those blessed Jammers!" stormed No.2 back into the comfort and security of his chair.
    "Perhaps time travel is in it as well!" I quipped in return.
    "Oh don't be stupid! Get out and bring in No's 6 and 8 for questioning."
    "Yes No.2, at once."
    Well we never did find out what the anomaly was, perhaps it was a simple mix up of the tapes by the technicians in Visual Records, though they never owned up to it if it was. Who knows perhaps time travel is in it as well as No.6 himself said!

  I don't expect you to take my word for it. Just take a look at the surviellance film footage during The Chimes of Big Ben for yourself, just after No.6 had had his breakfast near the beginning of the episode.
Supervisor-No.28

The Therapy Zone

The Prisoner - Where Did It All Begin?

    What if Patrick McGoohan was right, what if the Prisoner-No.6 was never intended to be Danger Man John Drake, what then? I mean such a thing would see the Prisoner through a whole new perspective, wouldn't you say?
   With the Quinn Martain production of the Invaders, we know where it began, it began with architect David Vincent too tired to drive. An empty road, and a lonely closed and deserted diner........ And that could be said of the Prisoner, but the Prisoner is different somehow, and I can't believe that it all began somewhere along that long deserted runway, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
   We know where the Prisoner was going, London and to hand in his letter of resignation. But we don't know from where he was coming, unless of course we are to believe that after returning to London the Prisoner, for that is what he remained, drove out of London, simply to drive back as we see during the opening sequence of Arrival. I suppose the question is, where had the Prisoner driven to after leaving, driving away having just returned to London after escaping the village in Fall Out? And I don't really expect to find the answer to that one!
   But if the Prisoner isn't Danger Man John Drake, then it must be that he, like No.2-Leo McKern before him, had been abducted to the village because he could be of use to them. The village's administration having recognised qualities in the Prisoner that would see him in having a future in the village. Yet the Prisoner rejected the village, rejected the offer of ultimate power, launched the rocket and escaped the confines of the village, and having done so, as soon as he returned to London, went to an office and handed in his letter of resignation to a man who was possibly an exterior agent working for the village.
   This would explain where the Prisoner had come from, which would mean that it is the episode of Fall Out where the Prisoner actually all begins, with his rejection of the offer of ultimate power. And not simply with a clap of thunder and a long deserted runway somewhere in the middle of nowhere!

BCNU

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Prictorial PRIS6NER

  Here's Ian McKellen as Two, I wonder what he has to say for himself.
                          "Waiting to see the Producer is worse than waiting for Godot!"

BCNU

The Prisoner's Question Time

    "Tell me Number Six, why did you resign?"
    "Not that old one again! Haven't you asked that question enough, how long has it been now?"
    "Almost Forty-five years Number Six."
    "Blimey!"
    "Well we have to make sure you know."
   "Sure of what?"
   "The facts Number Six, the facts. Now for the very last time, why did you resign?"
   "It's difficult to remember."
   "Well you must try to remember, it cannot be that difficult."
    "Forty-five years is a long time."
    "Well take your time Number Six, but please try and remember. It hadn't got anything to do with Professor Seltzman had it?"
    "What?"
   "Your resignation, to do with Professor Jacob Seltzman."
   "Why should it have?"
   "Well you were the last person to see him."
   "No I wasn't, the helicopter pilot was!"
   "The helicopter pilot? Oh I see what you mean. Well possibly Seltzman was your last case. Why did you shield him?"
    "I didn't."
    "Perhaps it was because you see that science can be perverted, that it is possible that should anyone gain a Seltzman machine that they might pervert it."
   "Are we talking about Professor Seltzman, or the reason why I resigned?"
   "Possibly both, if the two are connected. Tell me, Seltzman escaped the Village in the guise of the Colonel."
   "I thought that was very lax of you. Why didn't you bring the helicopter back by remote control as you did when I once tried to escape by helicopter?"
    "Oh you remember that do you."
    "Like it was yesterday."
    "So where do you think Professor Seltzman is today?"
    "You don't know?"
    "Woud I ask?"
    "You expect me to know! He could be anywhere, or look like anyone."
    "You see the Professor as being still alive....how old would he be now?"
    "As long as his brain is still active, and there is a supply of donar bodies........"
    "Immortality!"
    "If you like."
    "It might please you to know that we have a Seltzman machine here in the Village, oh but you know that, you once went through the mind transferance process. So Number Six, how do you feel about immortality?"
    "Let me die in peace."
    "Certainly Number Six, after you've told me why you resigned."
    "I.......I.....resigned be....because............oh I can't remember!"
    No.10 "It's been too long Number Two."
    "I know. Look he once told a predecessor of mine that he resigned for peace of mind, because too many people know too much."
    "You can't use that!"
    "Why not? It's as near the truth as we're ever likely to get after all these years."
    "He  won't like it."
    "I can't help what he  won't like. This simply cannot go on forever. He'll just have to accept it!"
   {Suddenly the over-sized red telephone begins to bleep impatiently much to Number Two's shock!}

"It's Fussy About Who It Lets In........

.........This Is The Town Hall."

    In the episode Dance of the Dead, No.6 actually follows his observer No.240 to the Town Hall, and even tries to follow her inside. But to his shock, there is an electrical force field at the Town Hall steps preventing his entrance into the building.
   The gardener working in a nearby flower border, and who sees this asks No.6 if he’s alright. "You tried to go in. By mistake? It’s fussy about who it lets in - this is the Town Hall."
   So this begs the question "How does the Town Hall know who to let in and who not? Can the Town Hall building think for itself, or do those who work in the Town Hall, or someone such as the observer who would be passing through to the underground control room, have some kind of recognition device upon their person, which a sensor picks up and lets them through. Something like the Electro-Pass, which synchronises with the alarm system and lets you through, this device was once given to No.6 by No.9 in Arrival, which he then used to gain access to the helicopter. In this way, it would seem to some people who never go in, that the Town Hall is actually fussy about who it lets in!
   But I wonder why No.6 needed to be told by the gardener that this is the Town Hall? I mean No.6 didn’t seem to know, judging by the expression on his face {if it wasn't the shock of the electric force field}. After all, hadn’t No.6 been previously to the Town Hall during Free For All? This to witness the dissolution of the out-going Council. Unless of course the episode of Free for All was actually meant to follow Dance of the Dead at some point. Ah, but then No.6 had to consult the electronic "Free Information" board to find the location of the Town Hall in Free For All.
   I put it down to too many script writers who worked on the Prisoner, together with the almost complete lack of continuity between the episodes! Less script writers would have meant more continuity between the episodes I feel.

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone

 The Prisoner Appreciation

    Over the years the appreciation for the 1960's television series the Prisoner, has made fans want to communicate with other like-minded fans. To discuss, to openly debate amongst themselves the series.
   Such contact used to be carried out by letter, over the telephone, which does still happen today, as indeed I did myself only yesterday afternoon. Then there were the occasional get-togethers, and in news letters and Prisoner based magazines.
   Today there is the internet and places such as here on Blog-spot, where fans of that enigmatic series of the Prisoner can get in touch, discuss, and become firm friends with fellow fans all around the world, and from the relative comfort of the executive leather chair!
   Such is the ever changing possibilities for fans of the Prisoner, who can clearly remember the very early days of Prisoner appreciation. A scattered few fans, with a newsletter printed on foolscap paper of varying colours and print not always black, that being the newsletter Alert of the late 1970's to early 80's. A far cry from today’s technology you will agree.
    But as years went by, there was, and still is today, Six of One along with what were termed as "local Groups" which have all but disappeared, with possibly the exception of the Birmingham Group. Another indication of how Prisoner Appreciation has changed. Societies such as Six of One, the Unmutuals although they would argue they are not a club or society, but a group of individuals were once good for information on the subject of the Prisoner. But today there are numerous websites on the internet which supply all the basic information any fan could wish for.
    I used to write numerous letters and articles for prisoner based fan magazines, but today I do this here in my Prisoner-Blog-Articles, same difference really. Although they do reach a greater readership of fans of the series around the world.

The Six candles

   No.6 returned to the village, and was confronted by Mrs. Butterworth, now in the position of No.2, carrying a birthday cake. The cake has but 6 lighted candles upon it, so nothing to do with the fact that it was No.6's birthday then March 19th. Simply a celebration birthday cake for his many happy returns..... to the village as No.6.
   He took it rather well don't you think. When he found some woman he had never met before, happily living in, what had once been, and technically was for the next six months, still his home. And then to be forcibly returned to the village must have been bad enough, but there again is this woman, Mrs. Butterworth who turns out to be No.2 with some smarmy look on her face! No.6 took that even better. Had No.2 been a man, No.6 might have hit out. But being the gentleman that he is..... he took it all really very well. I'm not so sure I would have done. But No.6 is also a practical man, and any such aggressive outburst would have availed him nothing.

Be seeing you

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Arts and Crafts

  Portmeirion's Campanile

BCNU

Caught On Camera

   Over the years I have been to Portmeirion many times, for holidays, Prisoner Conventions, and even day visits when the urge has been too strong to resist. I have seen three types of flag flying at the Italiante Village, the Welsh flag, at times the European Union flag, even the Village flag {white with a black Penny Farthing}. But recently while watching some amateur film footage taken at Portmeirion during the filming of the Prisoner during the September of 1966, I see another flag flying at Portmeirion, the American 'Stars and Stripes.'

  So, I could not help but wonder who it was, who was staying at Portmeirion at the time when the Prisoner was being filmed, who warranted the flying of the American flag? Unless it was simplyordinary American guests who demanded that the 'Stars and Stripes' be flown from the hotel flag pole. After all, it was an American guest who demanded the removal of the Peacocks from Portmeirion back in the 1990's. It was about May or June, the mating season of the Peacocks, and during which time the birds are at their noisiest. It disturbed the American guest and he couldn't get to sleep at night, and he said that if the Peacocks didn't go, then he would and never to return. It was a sad, sad day when the Peacocks were taken away from Portmeirion, many people loved them, including my wife and I.

Be seeing you.

The Relationship Between No.6 And No.2

    And there is a relationship, this despite there being so many different No.2's throughout the Prisoner series. And that was the given reason behind there being so many different No.2's, so that No.6 would be unable to strike up a relationship with him or her.
   But it wasn't quite that was it? Because I believe we can say, that there was certainly a rapport between No.2 and No.6 during the episode of The Chimes of Big Ben, and such rapports do not arise over night. And so to resolve this to any satisfactory conclusion, much depends upon the time between the end of Arrival and the first day of the Chimes of Big Ben for example. Because we can say that there must have been a gap of some time between the end of Arrival and Chimes, as the new No.2 wouldn't just arrive for the closing moments of that episode. The man had only just commenced his term of office, and in this, No.2 of The Chimes of Big Ben might very well have been there for a few days before Chimes began. Because I think it is wrong, and far more interesting not to see the one episode commencing straight away after its predecessor. Of course this rapport between No.2 and No.6, which they both seemed to enjoy, could have been established before their encounter in the village, of prior knowledge perhaps, or simply a case of No.6's reputation going before him? After all No.2 told No.6 that he was glad that he is here. After all during the time in the embryo room of Once Upon A Time, No.6 admitted that he knows No.2 "In my mind, in my mind... you're smart!"
   This relationship between Numbers 6 and 2 was rekindled during the episode of Once Upon A Time, No.2 even admitted in the embryo room that time "I'm beginning to like him." And after escaping the village, and upon their return to London, they even parted on good terms in
Parliament Square
.
   But there was not one No.2 with which No.6 enjoyed a rapport with, after all by the time of the General No.2 and No.6 were old friends from way back, since A B and c in fact.
   And then there's that elfin looking No.2 of Dance of the Dead, a female yes, and "Never trust a female, not even of the four legged variety" being No.6's golden rule. Ah but this female No.2 isn't all that feminine is she, and that just might be the reason behind his rapport with her, her lack of femininity. But on the other hand perhaps not, after all there had been Alison-No.24, and later Monique, the Watchmakers daughter-No.50 of It’s Your Funeral.
   So yes, despite the attempt to try and halt any relationship developing between No.6 and No.2, the fact that once they have failed in their attempt with No.2, or his or her term of office had reached its end, they were removed from office. This through the possibility that any given No.2 might, just might, begin to show a lack of apathy, thereby showing a possible likeness towards No.6 and in that to assist him to escape.
   So yes, even so there is time for No.6 to build up a rapport with No.2, which is only dependant upon the person at the time, and the length of time we don't see between episodes of the Prisoner.

BCNU