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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Prismatic Reflection

    What is it about ‘the Prisoner’ that enthusiasts enjoy so much? Watching the series obviously, yet everyone also enjoys the series for a number of reasons. Discussion and debate with others, arriving at individual ideas and theories as to what ‘the Prisoner ‘is all about, and escapism plays its part. We all want to escape, many escape to The Village {Portmeirion} once a year as they embrace The Village. Indeed Morag and I were once upon a time one of their number. Artists and writers have been inspired by ‘the Prisoner,’ and I count myself to be one of them, and many fans create websites devoted to the series But on a personal level, I gain enjoyment through ‘the Prisoner’ by sometimes thinking of what takes place between the episodes we know. Also finding something pictorially new in ‘the Prisoner,’ like the time I spotted Number 6 using the ballot box, used on Polling day, as a waste bin in ‘The Schizoid Man.’ On a fictional level, I like to bring a little continuity between certain episodes, such as Potter of ‘Danger Man’ being the manager of the Labour Exchange, and then becoming Number 2’s assistant during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ and who later appears in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ as Number 6 recalls the type of work he used to do. Some would argue that Potter in ‘the Prisoner’ cannot be Potter of ‘Koroshi – Danger Man,’ because the character is different. And yet when actor Christopher Benjamin attended a Prisoner Convention in 2017, who formerly believed that Potter in ‘the Prisoner’ was not the same Potter character in ‘Danger Man.’ However after watching the clip from ‘Danger Man – Koroshi,’ and the three clips from ‘the Prisoner’ he said “Now I’m beginning to wonder if it was that Potter in Danger Man who was in the Prisoner.” “I’m beginning to think they should have been Potter, the Potter from Danger Man, but why didn’t someone tell me that I was still Potter?” Then there is Thorpe of whom I like to think life in The Village didn’t suit him as Number 2. But as Number 2 I think Thorpe would relish the opportunity to “hammer” Number 6! And we must not forget Martha, Mrs. Butterworth’s housemaid. It appears that when she came to The Village she brought Martha with her, but when Number 2 left The Village she left her housemaid-Number 36 behind. Who no doubt found employment as a housemaid, well it’s hardly rocket science is it. And the time she tried to buy a bag of sweets, but her weekly allowance having been all used up, so in Number 6 buying a bag of sweets for her perhaps he recognised her and felt sorry for the woman, even though she had looked down her nose at him when they met previously on the doorstep of his former home! Characters you see, if an actor or actress plays more than one role in ‘the Prisoner’ I like to link those roles. And when it comes to characters Tony Sloman once said you can put the episodes of ‘the Prisoner’ together in such a way that they correspond to the changes in Number 6’s character. Really? To my way of thinking Number 6’s character doesn’t change at all, he’s just as arrogant at the end as he is at the beginning. Except when Number 6 is played by Curtis, who is far more relaxed, there he is coming into his cottage whistling, he obviously feels very much more at home. He’s even taken to wearing his numbered badge. In fact Curtis makes a better Number 6 than Number 6 does! There is one character who is unique to the series, a character who changes about mid episode. Then there’s Number 48 who I like to think of as the former Number 8. Up until him Number 8 had always been a woman, perhaps Number 8 in ‘Living In Harmony’ might have been better as Number 48, that would then make the link though the President’s words “You were with us, then you went and gone,” perhaps meaning 48 had committed suicide and died at the end of ‘Living In Harmony.’ And how am I to account for that and 48’s appearance in ‘Fall Out? Well they brought Number 2 back from the dead, so why not Number 48? It is also interesting that like Number 6, Number 48 is allowed to wear his own clothes, a privilege un-afforded to Number 2 as surgeons were busy resuscitating him! I sometimes wonder what was it that brought Number 48 to the point of ‘Fall Out’ that permitted him to wear his own clothes? But no amount of conjecture and supposition will answer that one. It seems more the case that Number 48 is nothing more than a contrivance on the part of the scriptwriter. Number 48 is merely a representation of uncoordinated youth that rebels against nothing it can define, because it must. And yet although we have met the “late” Number 2 on two previous occasions, he is also representative, of the Establishment who turns upon and bites the hand that feeds. And what about the former Number 6, well he’s representative of Everyman who fights to make himself heard in a world of officialdom and bureaucracy, and against the protestations of officials in an organization or government department, considered as a group who refuse to listen! No he’s not, he’s rebelling against the system to which he was abducted, and incarcerated against his will, in The Village! And the Butler, he’s representative of the little man, or the man in the street who has no voice in officialdom. And so follows unquestionably those who govern supposedly so wisely. Together they make up the four Musketeers who combat the Cardinal’s men so valiantly, and make good their escape from the Bastille. I suppose that is one way of putting it, to give it a novel twist.
    As for myself, I did my best to re-create the character of the Prisoner in re-enactments at Prisoner Conventions, which many thought I carried off rather well, members of the general public thought I was Patrick McGoohan, or his son. And as we filmed ‘Village Day’ in Portmeirion, people thought I was filming a remake of ‘the Prisoner.’ One woman went into the Prisoner shop and asked Max Hora if she paid £20 could she possibly stand next to the great man, meaning me!!!!! But at the time it had nothing to do with my trying to be Pat McGoohan, but the character of the Prisoner, which I suppose basically is one and the same thing I suppose!                


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