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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Therapy Zone

All Our Prisoner Days - Part Two

    The summer of 1983 saw the crash of the Alouette helicopter employed by the village killing the pilot John Crewsdon. The Prisoner magazine was launched. Precision Video released the last pair of Prisoner tapes ‘Checkmate-Free for All,’   The ‘General-The Chimes of Big Ben,’ strangest choice of pairing, but it is seems that the order of the episodes didn't matter, or no thought was given to the episodes on the four released video and Beta-Max tapes. The reason only four taps were released was because Precision video, which was part of ITC Entertainment, went bankrupt. Ed Ball and The Times filmed their video of their song "I helped Patrick McGoohan escape" at Portmeirion with the aid of members from Six of One: the prisoner appreciation society.
    On the 16th of January 1984 Six Into One: The Prisoner File was transmitted on Channel four. It was the first documentary programme which was supposed to explain the Prisoner once and for all. Sadly it was an opportunity missed, and turned out to be a complete waste of everyone’s time, both that of the documentary producers and those, like me, who were foolish to sit up late and watch the programme in the first place! In the Spring of 1984 was the first Episode guide written, and in the autumn of that year was the first issue of both magazines Number Six and Danger Man. Also the first Prisoner merchandise catalogue was issued from the then independently run Prisoner shop at Portmeirion.
    On the 6th of June 1985 actor Clifford Evens, who played No.2 in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ died’ And in the Autumn the newspaper cutting supplement Village Observer was issued from the then independently run  Prisoner shop at Portmeirion. 4th of September 1985 ITC told Six of One: the prisoner appreciation society to stop all activities by the 1st of November 1985. By the 26th of November ITC confirmed that they were happy to continue their support towards the society.
    In the Spring of 1986 Ban-Caruso issued the first Prisoner LP record. There were two versions, the first a gate fold LP containing a black and white map of your village, the making of the Prisoner and one or two other items. The second issue of the record had no gatefold effect, nor extra contents. The Summer of 1986 saw the death of actor Nigel Stock who played the Colonel in the episode ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.’ And in the November Channel 5 released the first four videos of the complete Prisoner series, and this time the order of the episodes was compatible with those contained within the television transmissions of the Prisoner series. And incidentally on December 12th I first subscribed to Six of One: the prisoner appreciation society, a membership which I was to enjoy for 15 years before disillusionment set in!

    Geroge Markstein, writer and script editor on the Prisoner died on the 15th of January 1987, and that Spring saw the issue of a flexi disc of different Prisoner themes, and in the Summer was the U.S. video release of what has been termed at "the alternative version" of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ This is something Patrick McGoohan himself tried to stop. He did not want this first edited version of The Chimes of Big Ben to be released. But not owning any part of the Prisoner, which was owned at the time by ITC, there was no way that McGoohan could stop this release. On the 3rd of April 1987 saw an act of resignation which was witnessed by thousands on the television screen, the act of resignation by jazz musician Jools Holland, he had resigned, from his position of presenter on the BBC 2 television series The Tube, this resulted in the Prisoneresque ‘The Laughing Prisoner.’

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