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Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Village Has Been Going For A Very Long Time

   How long? Since the war? Before the war? Which war? A long time! In my minds eye The Village has been existence at least from the Victorian period, and for me that puts the Prisoner in a long tailed frock coat, black top had, possibly brandishing a silver topped cane. The Lotus Seven replaced by a hansom cab. The Austin Princess hearse replaced by a hearse drawn by four black horses each with a feather head plume. Of course the Prisoner couldn't go storming along a long dimly lit corridor because the underground car park would not have existed back then. But the Prisoner could still storm along another dimly lit corridor somewhere else. Because that's what I see him doing, in my minds eye. The Prisoner leaving his house, getting into a hansom cab which takes him to his destination somewhere in London. The Prisoner alights the cab, asking the cabbie to wait. He fails to notice the black hearse with two undertakers waiting in the street, as they watch the frock coated figure dash across the street, through two doors. The figure storms along a dimly lit corridor, the tails of his coat billowing out behind him. Finally he pulls a double door open and bursts into an office. There is a man sat behind a large desk, the Prisoner paces up and down in a rage. Takes an envelope from the pocket of his frock coat and slams it down on the desk before storming out, back along that dimly lit corridor, out of the building, across the street and back into the waiting hansom cab. The Prisoner tells the cabbie to take him back to the address where he was collected. Again the Prisoner fails to see the hearse, the hearse that moves off following the hansom through the busy, bustling streets of the metropolis. But time is of the essence, and the Prisoner tells the cabbie to whip up the horse, as if the chase is on, eventually arriving back at his home. The hearse parked in the street, the two undertakers watch as the Prisoner alights the cab, crosses the pavement and enters the house. They descend from the hearse, one Undertaker goes to the front door, he has a key. The other goes to the back of the hearse, opens the door and slides a coffin towards him. The front door is open, and together the Undertakers carry the coffin along the pavement and into the house, closing the front door behind them. Inside the study the Prisoner is packing for a trip, but he's too late, a nerve agent is pumped through the keyhole of the study door. The Prisoner stops collecting some papers, he senses that something is wrong. He stumbles, falls, the papers fall from his hand and float in the air for a moment as the Prisoner falls to the floor, unconscious. A few minutes later the Undertakers re-emerge from the house carrying the coffin between them, which is put back into the hearse. One Undertaker returns to close the front door of the house while the other climbs back onto the hearse. Joined by his colleague, the hearse slowly pulls away.
   What happens to the Prisoner? He wakes up in what he thinks is his own home of course, yet he is in The Village of 1886!

Be seeing you


  1. 1886? 50 years later 1936 more likely if a nerve agent (discovered mid-1930s) was used.

  2. The first nerve gas, poisonous gas, wasn't develeoped and used before WW 1. The non-lethal "laughing gas" was first used by dentists in the late 18th century. However, this wouldn't have knocked No. 6 out would it. So, what about ether, a handkerchief around his face... or just an ordinary club on his head? But your thoughts are nice, nonetheless, really. I can imagine the Village as a group of Victorian buildings, lit by gas light or candles. The Stone Boat would be there. And there would probably be "Rover", a Baskerville-type of dog, huge and dark-grey with glimmering eyes roaming the estate. The Observatory Tower with the camera obscura would certainly play a more important role than in our version of the Prisoner. - BCNU!

  3. Hello Anonymous and Arno,
    I wrote the above piece while I was listening to a piece of music, which has nothing whatsoever to do with 'the Prisoner.' Its just something that came into my mind at the time, I wasn't thinking about when nerve agent or gas had been first developed. I was using poetic license. Perhaps the Undertakers chloroformed the Prisoner, chloroform having been first used successfully in 1847.
    Okay my brief description is years away from 'the Prisoner' we know. But the Village had to start at some point, perhaps I took the point back too far. Nevertheless I like the idea.

    Very best wishes

    1. I think chloroform is a bit of a non-starter too. From Wikipedia: "Use of chloroform as an incapacitating agent has become widely recognized, bordering on clichéd, due to the popularity of crime fiction authors having criminals use chloroform-soaked rags to render victims unconscious. However, it is nearly impossible to incapacitate someone using chloroform."

  4. The more one thinks about it, the more holes appear in your Victorian fantasy. At the abduction stage of the operation, there would have been no four horse-drawn hearse. A handcart, or bier cart, was the most common form of transport for a coffin, especially as someone as circumspect as The Prisoner would not have TWICE failed to notice the ostentatious hearse and four, festooned with black ostrich feathers.

    1. As far as I can read, David's Victorian fantasy about the abduction of the Prisoner is just that, a fantasy, a flight of fancy, a product of the imagination. In a fantasy anything can happen. Both logic and realism are thrown out with the baby and the bathwater!
      Fantasy would be in a very poor way if it always had to be historically and scientifically accurate. Where would the Prisoner be? I personally have never come across a true life Rover, with all its attributes as seen in 'the Prisoner' series. Of course maybe you just view it as merely a weather balloon.
      In the 2011 film 'The Three Musketeers' set in the 17th century, an airship is blown up. The first balloon flight made by the Montgolfier brothers had not taken place until 1783, let alone there being airships in the 17th century. Its a fantasy film.

      John Darke

    2. But it's not a flight of fancy, is it? It's a proposition that "The Village has been existence at least from the Victorian period", so support for such a theory has to be grounded in fact, which it unfortunately isn't.