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Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Prisoner

    There he was the Prisoner, only he wasn’t then, he was as free a person as you and I. But he had for some reason or other, decided to give up his job, and eventually handed in his letter of resignation and resigned from British Intelligence, if that’s possible. Don’t they let people go, but keep them under the closest possible surveillance? Mind you there’s no evidence that he had resigned from British Intelligence, only the eventual build up of evidence does point in that direction.
    Anyway this chap’s resigned his job, and then just when he’s about to leave on holiday he’s abducted to The Village. There they take away both his name and identity and reduce him to a number. But then the Prisoner had no name, he had no identity not until he was given the Number 6.
  “I am not a number” the Prisoner said, “I am a free man,” such was his protest. Only he was a number, Six, and he was no longer a free man, he was a prisoner. He rejected his number, refused to wear it, or respond to it, only when it suited him to do so. But I think the Prisoner doth protest too much, after all he had been known by a number before, ZM73, in fact it had been his code name.
    So at least in The Village the Prisoner was given an identity, and most everyone knows who he is despite not wearing a numbered badge. But then that is always the way of things in a small village, everybody knows everyone else.
   Oh in the world beyond The Village the Prisoner used several different names, in Germany Schmidt, in France Duval, he even called himself Peter Smith. It was as though he was frightened of using his real name, and others didn’t use his name either, not even those closest to him. Even the Colonel called him Number Six! Outside of The Village there is a question mark over the Prisoner’s name. However in The Village there is no such question mark, as we know who he is. Except when there is a pair of Sixes in The Village, but at least one of them has a name, Curtis. It is also known that Curtis was seconded to The Village, but seconded from where? A third person connected with that episode of ‘The Schizoid Man,’ also has a name, Alison who because of her mental link with the Prisoner, is used against him in an act of betrayal.
    Numbers are said to be relative, and perhaps in ‘the Prisoner’ this is perhaps no better  demonstrated than in ‘The Schizoid Man’ when one considers the numbers of the three main protagonists, 6, 12, 24, 2 x 6 = 12, 2 x 12 = 24. It’s a simple equation, but whether the three numbers were chosen by accident, chance, or were deliberately  is the unknown factor X, which only scriptwriter Terrence Feely could answer.


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