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Saturday, 29 February 2020

Thought For The Day

   In the opening sequence to ‘the Prisoner,’ having handed in his letter of resignation, ZM73 {for want of a better name} returns to the underground car park, and drives out up the ramp in his Lotus 7. Waiting nearby are two undertakers in a hearse who then follow the Lotus. This gives the impression that the decision to have ZM73 followed and abducted to the village is an almost instant one which was made the moment ZM73 left that office in order to have the hearse parked waiting outside the car park. I have come to the conclusion that ZM73’s resignation is a coincidental one, and that even if the decision was an instant one to have him abducted from his home and taken to the village, its highly improbable, but not impossible for the undertakers have got to the car park in time to follow the Lotus. It must not be forgotten how cameras had been set up in ZM73’s home in order o keep him under surveillance “What was that, sounded like a click, something in the mirror, or was it over there, yes over there too!” Also in the village it would have needed advanced notice about ZM73’s arrival in the village the Prisoner’s cottage to be made ready for him. Interior reconstruction may well have been necessary. The shower room fitted out perhaps with the hot and cold taps being put on the wrong way round, making sure the shower room door opens to the left. And the study decorated, fitted out with fixtures and fittings, as well as being furnished exactly the same as the study in the Prisoner’s London home. To my mind the abduction of ZM73 from his home in London to the village was something that had been planned over a period of time. But perhaps XM73’s resignation, or the fact he was planning to go on holiday, brought about his abduction before he had a chance to leave the country. Which he was about to do, having retuned home to collect two suitcases which were already packed, his passport and airline ticket!


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Knock Knock…….Who’s There?

    When No.6 returned to London, to his house in Buckingham Place, he knocked on the front door. Who did he think would be in the house to open it for him…..the butler perhaps!


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Thursday, 27 February 2020

A Piece of Prisoneralia!

   Today when out and about the town, I called into a charity shop, and for those reading this abroad who do not know, it is a shop where second-hand goods are sold to raise money for a charity. Anyway I was looking through a box containing a number of framed pictures, and found the above. I probably wouldn’t have bothered about it, after all its ages since I last collected a piece of Prisoneralia, but it was the pair of stabilizers, it’s rare to see them fitted to a Penny Farthing. Instantly of course it reminded me of the pair of stabilizers fitted to the Penny Farthing in No.2’s office.
   Its dimensions are fifteen and a half inches by twelve inches. As to the age, certainly the frame is made from wood, and the back is covered by old brown paper and tape, but age doesn’t concern me as it’s a nice decorative piece.


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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

The 10th Anniversary!

    The 10th Anniversary of what you may ask yourself - of my ‘Prisoner’ based blog as it happens. I wanted an outlet where I could publish my thoughts, ideas, theories, and interpretations of ‘the Prisoner’ and possibly share them with other like-minded enthusiasts for the series and Blogspot has allowed me to do just that.
   The success of my blog has been based mostly on short entries posted frequently although there are longer entries such as short stories. At the beginning I posted 5 entries every day of the week. That might seem a lot, and it was, but at the time I was trying to build up a readership. Looking back now I might have been better off staggering the posts, and not so many per day as this would have helped retain material for the blog’s longevity. However I did eventually learn to do that, simply on the basis of retaining material and thereby being able to maintain the blog. And I am still managing to come up with new ideas, or seeing something new in ‘the Prisoner’ which I have not observed before. Even in its 53rd year ‘The Prisoner’ can still surprise even for the most seasoned enthusiast.
   When I commenced writing the blog back in 2010 I imagined that it would run for perhaps a couple of years or so, I had no idea I would still be writing it for another ten years containing almost 10,500 entries. My wife said if there is any prisoner enthusiast who thinks he can better that, then let him try! Certainly the blog has proved highly successful and enjoyed by Prisoner fans World-wide who enjoy it for pleasure, or even use it as a place of reference.
   How many more years will my blog run for? Who can say, but its immediate future is secure.


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Thought For The Day

    It’s always possible that ZM73’s {for want of a better name} resignation was coincidental, not being the reason why he was put in the village. Because if it was “they” acted very quickly by the time ZM73 drove his Lotus 7 out of the car park in order to put the two undertakers on his tail!
   On the other hand, perhaps ZM73’s resignation wasn’t accepted, because it’s virtually impossible to resign from British Intelligence, just ask 007! It might be they thought he was about to go rogue, and in order for the department to protect its own interests so they had ZM73 put in the village! But thinking again he might just have been abducted to the village in order to have his file brought up to date, and they do like to know everything, as there was one piece of information missing from his file……the reason behind his resignation!


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Sunday, 23 February 2020

Tales From The Village

    “Might drop his guard with children…..he might give something away.”
    “Well it was worth a try Number 2.”
    “He told them a……… he told them a blessed fairytale. That one wouldn’t drop his guard with his own grandmother!”
    “Goodnight children………”
    No.6 looks into a hidden camera.
    “Everywhere.”
    Suddenly the door to the cottage opens and much to the amazement of No.2 the Supervisor stands in the open doorway.
    “Congratulations. What do you desire?”
    “Number 1.”
    “I’ll take you.”
    And as they leave, No.6 takes a moment to place a toy clown in front of the camera lens. It is at that moment the red, curved, over-sized intercom begins to bleep. No.2 waits for a moment, looks at No.10 who leaning against the Penny Farthing who simply shrugged her shoulders.
    “Number 2 here” he said having picked up the intercom “Yes sir I realize that, but I was always of the opinion……………..oh you heard my opinion……………I see sir.”
    There is a puzzled expression on No.2’s face as he replaces the intercom on the desk.
    “What is it Number 2?”
    “I have been summoned!” he said
    “Summoned, summoned to where father?”
    “To the summit daughter, the village is all yours……. for the time being.”

   A pair of steel doors opened leading into a cloakroom where coat hangers swung on frames. At the far end was a life-sized dummy of No.6 dressed in his own clothes.
   “We thought you would be happier as yourself” said the supervisor.
   It took a few minutes to strip the dummy of the clothes and for No.6 to change into his own clothes to the song “All you need is love.”
    Then emerging from the cloakroom No.6, the supervisor and the butler walk along a stone walled passageway, there are a number of alcoves cut into the rock face, and in each alcove are juke boxes, and at the far end of the passageway an old wooden door. The butler has a key and steps forward to unlock the door which opens with a familiar electronic hum. The other side of the door is steel lined with a neon sign with the words Well
                              Come
and forming up behind the trio are a number of men in wetsuits!
   The open door leads into a cavern, inside are people in white cowls and black and white masks, many of them as delegates of an assembly seated on benches, each responsible for different aspects of society. There are a large number of armed security guards in white helmets and blue overalls, technicians, and a High Court Judge in scarlet gown and white powdered wig. There are electrical switch gear cabinets, a large wall screen, an elaborate 'Throne', a steel tube with a large red 1 upon it. And steel see saw apparatus previously seen in the control room, but now instead of two men sitting at either end of the sea-saw looking into a close circuit TV monitor, they are armed with a Maxim machine gun.
   The supervisor dons a back and white theatrical mask and white robe.
    “Well come” says the Judge, who is the former No.2.
    There is a round of applause. Curiously there is a young man wearing a top hat, secured to a piston device which goes up and down in a steam filled pit!
    “This session” begins the Judge “is called in a matter of democratic crisis, and we are here gathered to resolve the question of revolt!”
   Number 6 is presented by the supervisor, but as he has survived the ultimate test, he must no longer be referred to as No.6 or any number of any kind. He has gloriously vindicated the right of the individual to be individual. This assembly rises to you.. sir.”
    An enthusiastic round of applause from the delegates of the Assembly.
   Sir's indulgence is craved and the Judge suggests perhaps he would care to observe the preliminaries from the chair of honour.
    Revolt can take many forms and here we have two specific instances, No.48, a hippie representing uncoordinated youth.
    “Thanks for the trip dad!”
    No.48 was with them, but then he went and gone! Now he must be grateful for the opportunity of stating his case before the Assembly! But No.48 appears to be off his head, what a crazy scene
   “Collar bone’s connected to neck bone and the neck is connected to the head bone hear that word of the Lord. Dem bones, dem bones are gonna walk around now hear the word of the Lord.”
   The delegates of the Assembly are in confusion, the Judge bangs his gavel in an attempt to bring the proceedings to order, to bring No.48 to order. Eventually the Judge orders for No.48 to be released, and two security guards step forward to release 48 from the piston. Taking to his feet 48 rings the little bell which hangs from a chain about his neck.
    “Mmm hear the word of the Lord.”
    And then chaos reigns as No.48 dashes about the cavern, climbs rocks, dodges the security guards and causes disruption and mayhem
While all the time singing the song Dry Bones. But then he trips over himself and is instantly surrounded by armed security guards.
    “Young man……….don’t knock yourself out!”
    This intervention by No.6 comes as both a surprise to No.48 as well as the Judge!
   “Young man.”
   “You got the message?”
   “I just got it.”
   “You’ve never been with it, I mean with us.”
   “I’m gone, gone away.”
   “But you were here then you went and gone.”
   And so it goes on, the interrogation as the Judge wants No.48 to give, give that’s all you want give and take, takes all they want, take, take, take, take! TAKE, TAKE, TAKE, TAKE, TAKE, TAKE……….
    “Dem Bones” booms around the cavern and everyone, except No.6 and the butler stand clapping to the beat and getting hip, hip hooray!
    The charge against the prisoner No.48 is of the serious breach of social etiquette. Total defiance of the elementary laws which sustains the community, questioning the decisions of those we voted to govern us. He has unhealthy aspects of speech and dress not in accordance with general practice. And the refusal to observe…wear…or respond to his number!
   Sir doesn’t exactly approve of the proceedings, but he notes them and has no comment to make at this stage. As for No.48 he is restrained and held in a place of security until sir's Inauguration.
   “At the other end of the scale” the Judge begins “we are honoured to have with us a revolutionary of different calibre. He has revolted, resisted, fought, held-fast, maintained, destroyed resistance, overcome coercion, the right to be person, someone, individual, we applaud his private war and concede despite materialistic efforts he has survived intact and secure. All that remains is, recognition of a man, a man of steel, a man magnificently equipped to lead us, that is, lead us or go!”
   On the wall screen it is seen that No.6’s car has been delivered to his home in
London, and his house prepared for him.
   There is a prize for No.6, the key to his house, traveller’s cheques, a million, and a passport valid for anywhere, and a purse of petty cash.
    The President tells sir that has been an example to them all, he has convinced them of their mistakes. He is pure, he knows the way, show us. His revolt has been good and honest, you are the only individual they need him. All about him is his, but he can go if he wishes but is offered the stand in order to address the assembly, sir is the greatest. He has to make a statement, a true statement which could only be his, but for them. Remember them, do not forget them, keep them in mind. Sir they are all yours!
   Sir takes the stand and prepares to address the members of the assembly.
   “I feel that despite…..’
   “I I I I” the delegates shout sir down.
   Sir bangs his gavel and brings the delegates to order.
   “I feel that despite the …..”
   “I I I I”
   Again the gavel brings the delegates to order and sir tries again to make himself heard.
   “I feel that despite the devaluation of the pound, nevertheless….”
   “I I I I I I I I”
   “I feel that……”
    Unfortunately much of what sir is trying to say in such a desperate manner in trying to make himself heard, is lost in the persistent chanting of the delegates, but doesn’t “aye” signify agreement?
   “I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I  I I I I I I I I I I I hip hip hooray!”
   Now we take it that sir is ready to meet No.1? The steel tube with the red 1 turns out to be a rocket, inside sealed in an Orbit Tube is No.48 mumbling the words of ‘Dem Bones’ to himself. While in the control room of the rocket No.6 finally gets to come face to face with No.1. A figure in a white cowl and black and white theatrical mask sits at a control panel. He turns and holds out a crystal ball in his gloved hands, a crystal ball in which sir sees his future, but he rejects that future by allowing the crystal ball to slip from his grasp, smashing into a thousand shards of crystal. He tears away the black and white mask No.1 wears only to reveal the mask of an ape underneath. Torn away this finally reveals the face of No.1. It is into his own face that sir stares. This then has been the final manipulation of No.6, in an attempt to break him by demonstrating that he has not only been responsible for his own predicament, but also he has been behind the village all the time.  But life in the hospital has not been kind to Curtis, as the sudden maniacal laughter fills the control room of the rocket. Curtis chased by No.6 around the control room until he climbs up a ladder into an upper level, there is more maniacal laughter as No.6 closes the hatch and seals it and Curtis’ fate.
   Taking a fire extinguisher No.6 sees the diminutive butler standing at the foot of s spiral staircase, he gives No.6 the nod, and then a number of robed figures are attacked and overpowered with the help of the butler. No.48 is released from the Orbit Tube, and he and No.6 dress themselves in white robes. Four armed security guards are attacked and overpowered. Back in the control room No.6 sets the countdown controls for the launching of the rocket.
    The Judge attempts to contact control, but there is no response. He gives the order.
    “Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate!”
    No,2’s voice booms out over the village through the public address system and chaos ensues.
   Then armed with Thompson machine guns and with the help of the
Butler and No.48, No.6 leads the attack and a vicious fire fight takes place in bloody revolution! The cavern is abandoned as everyone there flees in terror. Outside in the village citizens run this way and that, as a number of helicopters take off from all parts of the village. Back in the cavern the butler takes the wheel of a lorry as No.6 and 48 leap aboard into the cage on the trailer. The three comrades escape the village, the low loader lorry crashes through a pair of iron gates at the end of a tunnel just as the rocket blasts off out of its silo.
   Travelling along the A20 to London, the top hatted hippie is dropped off somewhere along the way, leaving his two companions to travel the remainder of the way to London without him. The lorry comes to a
stop on the Thames embankment the Butler and No.6 abandon the vehicle, then questioned by a motorcycle policeman No.6 gives an explanation of recent events before they continue their way on foot. They catch a bus on Westminster Bridge as No.48 attempts to thumb a lift in either direction of the duel carriageway.
    Finally No.6 and the butler arrive home at No.1 Buckingham Place, his Lotus Seven parked at the kerb. A hearse drives slowly passed as No.6 climbs into his Lotus, starting the engine as the butler mounts the steps of the house he stands there for a moment watching his new master drive away, the front door opens automatically with a very familiar electric hum. The Butler enters the house.
   As for No.6, driving amongst the
London traffic the Lotus seven passes the Houses of parliament turning right, then right again and down the ramp into an underground car park. Eventually he returns to an office he knows very well indeed, looking for answers!


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Thursday, 20 February 2020

Watching The Prisoner – Many Happy Returns

    And so continuing the screening of ‘the Prisoner,’ when No.6 wakes up to find both the electric and water has been disconnected. What’s more when he takes a step outside he finds there is no-one about, and as he explores the village he finds the place completely deserted! One might ask why they bothered the cut off the water and electricity first, but I suspect that was to make the Prisoner feel as uncomfortable as they could. No water to drink, and impossible to cook a hot meal.
   I imagine it took No.6 a couple of days to fell the required trees in order to cut the logs to required length. Empty the steel drums, and find enough rope he needed, to construct his sea-going raft which he would have had to begin on February 20th in order for him to set sail no later or sooner than the 22nd for him to spend 25 days at sea and return to London on the 18th of March. Of course the problem is that this episode overlaps with ‘The Schizoid Man.’ While No.6 sets sail aboard his raft he’s still growing his full beard and undergoing conditioning in 12 private! And there lies the problem, sticking to dates such as Feb 10th and March 18th and 19th when constructing a screening order such as mine. In some regards to ‘the Prisoner’ I have learned to ignore certain things in order to make the other pieces of the jigsaw fit!
{No.6’s Navigational Log written on the back of The Tally Ho}

   Our friend No.6 is a resilient fellow; he spent 25 days at sea, sleeping only 4 hours out of each 24 hours eating cold corned beef, baked beans and tinned fruit, and cold water to drink. I wonder why he didn’t bother to tether himself to the raft using a life-line? After all he is in the Atlantic Ocean, and particularly when he has the Bay of Biscay to cross, a huge wave might so easily have washed him and his raft away! In the beginning he tries to maintain a certain state of hygiene, but that all soon goes by the board, and the lack of sleep must have been taking its toll.
   So when No.6 was asleep, if only for 4 hours, who was steering the raft? He had no automatic steering gear, so surely the first time No.6 slept for 4 hours he would have been carried miles off course by the tides and currents! When you think about it he was lucky to reach England, let alone London at all. He could easily have died on the raft from hypothermia! You can read further details of this in my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down.’
    Mrs. Butterworth gives the impression that she, like No.6, are recent arrivals in the village, because she is still wearing the same dress she did the last time we saw her back in London. But there is no indication of the duration of time between the moment No.6 drove off in his Lotus 7, and the moment Mrs. Butterworth walked in through the door as the new No.2. It is clearly impossible to say with any certainty when Mrs. Butterworth arrived in the village. But I should imagine it was a good deal sooner than No.6. Well she would have to have taken up office, and given time to settle in, not to mention the baking of the cake!
    During this episode No.6 was treated to the first genuine act of kindness since his abduction to the village, by a young Romany woman, who gave him a hot cup of tea, soup, or broth. Her act of kindness was probably brought about by meeting someone worse off than she, this raggedy man. Then later this raggedy man shows up on the doorstep of what had once been his home.
   Eventually he makes his way back to his house in Buckingham Place. He walks up and down the street, probably checking his surroundings. Eventually he climbs the steps of his house and knocks on the door. Who does he think is there to open the door for him? He certainly hasn’t got the key to his house, so if the housemaid had not opened the front door perhaps No. 6 would have had to break in!

    Mrs. Butterworth takes him into his home, although Martha the housemaid looks down her nose at him. Mrs. Butterworth feeds and waters the man, but as he’s about to leave the house, having two calls to make, she shouts at him, with some feeling I might add, that he mustn’t go like that. She then invites him to wash and shave, and borrow some of her late husband’s clothes. And if it wasn’t bad enough being entertained in what was your own home, the merry widow allows him to borrow his own car to aid him in being able to get about!
    No.6 has to make two calls, one in town and one in the country. It must have felt good for Number 6 to be behind the wheel of his car again, the freedom of the open road and all that. He parks his car in that familiar underground car park we see during the opening sequence. He leaves the car park and makes his way to an office somewhere along Whitehall, and in the office where he handed in his letter of resignation, he approaches the man sat behind a large oak desk.
    “Anyone at home?”
    Apparently it being Saturday the Colonel would probably be at his country residence, or the golf club, hence the call to be made in the country. 
    The original script called for Mrs. Butterworth to hand No.6 a present wrapped up in a copy of The Tally Ho, the present being the roll of film containing all the photographic evidence of the village he had taken on the day he escaped from the village! According to the Tally Ho headline it looks like there has been an accident somewhere at sea, ‘Plane Lost Over Sea. No Hope of Survivors,’ runs the headline. So to the rest of the world No.6 will be dead, which is what No.2 wanted in ‘Dance of The Dead.’ Perhaps that “amended body” was lost somewhere at sea and never found.

   However as it is, No.6 has been unceremoniously returned to the village, just as though he had never been away, the amenities are restored to his cottage, the coffee is brewing, and Mrs. Butterworth {Number 2} keeps her promise having baked the cake she said she would if he didn’t forget to come back, and he did came back. But then there wasn’t any other place for him to go! It’s as Number 2 says in ‘Dance of the Dead,’ “He’ll, eventually go back to his room, it’s the only place he can ever go,” and that’s as true in London as it is in the village. Mind you Number 6 is far better off in the village, at least he has a home, and he’ll be looked after for as long as he lives. Mind you it might be a little embarrassing for him, when he’s forced to pay that I.O.U for 964 work units he wrote on the counter in the General Stores!
    No.6 goes to the window and looks out and upwards, but it’s no good him looking up at the sky, the Gloster Meteor is long gone by now. On its way to be ditched somewhere at sea by the pilot who would presumably be picked up by the crew of M. S. Polotska.


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Monday, 17 February 2020

Caught On Camera!

    As the Prisoner walks across the lawn, and through the Piazza, the village bell tolls, it tolls the hour of 11 o’clock. 11 o’clock in the morning and the café is only just opening for breakfast! But more than that there is something blatantly missing, where are the citizens? 11 o’clock in the morning and there are only three people up and about at that time of the morning and one of those is a bit dodgy. The man seen up in the Bell Tower who doesn’t appear to have been there at all, the waitress busy setting out the tables on the café, and the gardener swilling down the patio using a hosepipe. There is no-one on the lawn of the Old People’s Home, no-one in the swimming pool, and no-one promenading in the Piazza, why? Perhaps the answer is to do with production, that if there had been people mingling about the village; promenading in the Piazza etc it would have taken the television viewers attention away from the Prisoner! So why have the village bell chime 11 when they could have so easily have it chime seven or eight times suggesting it’s early in the morning!


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Cobb’s Funeral!

   I always think it is such a pity we do not get to see the hearse in the funeral cortège, a white Mini-Moke with its black and white striped canopy. However it is possible to glimpse a small piece of the canopy through the brass band. 
   And yet we do get a much better glimpse of the hearse, with its black and white, possibly dark blue and white canopy, as it passes by in the background in a scene in ‘The Schizoid Man.’ Someone has failed to secure the canopy properly, as the wind lifts it off the frame, as it passes by!


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Friday, 14 February 2020

The Guardian

   The Fall Out rocket blasts off out of its silo, and suddenly the Guardian is there, have you ever wondered what it was doing there, and how it managed to get there? I have absolutely no idea why its there, that’s just another of those imponderables that plague ‘the Prisoner.’ However I can shed a little light on how the Guardian may have got into the cavern, along that tunnel leading from the Rover cave we see in ‘Free For All.’ Okay they wouldn’t have thought about that during the production of ‘Fall Out,’ but fictionally how the Guardian managed to get to the cavern works for me.


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A Favourite Scene In Once Upon A Time

    In which No.2 as the father takes No.6 the child, for a ride around the village in a wheelchair, or perhaps that should be pushchair, pushed by the diminutive butler. That probably makes the butler a childminder. On their promenade around the village No.2 bought No.6 an ice cream cone. 
    Here they are, having returned to the Green Dome. It looks like vanilla is the ice cream flavour of the day for a change, I wonder if it was a ’99?’ If it was the ice cream would have had a chocolate flake.   
    Although ice cream is sold in the village, you will recall how in ‘Arrival’ “Strawberry was the flavour of the day,” this is the only time in the entire series of ‘the Prisoner’ that we see anyone actually eating an ice cream!


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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tales From The Village

    It’s not easy living here in the village, especially when you volunteered and when you arrive its nothing like what you expected. Oh it’s pleasant enough on the surface, something like a holiday resort, people on the beach enjoying themselves, sunbathing, playing beach ball and the like. That’s when I got the notion of sending a message to the outside world. I didn’t mind who found the message, just as long as it was taken to someone in authority. I strolled about the village trying to come up with a way to send the message. I first hit on the idea of using a pigeon, but how far would it go, and if the pigeons were by any chance homing pigeons, well they were already home! Then one day down on the beach I saw the ex-Admiral and someone else sailing two plastic boats in the water. This made me stop and think, I had intended sealing the missive in a watertight polythene bag and attach it to an open upside down umbrella which I would set in the water, and it would look as though it had blown away in the wind, and then slowly drift away on the tide hardly noticed. But a plastic boat would be far better, so I purchased one from the kiosk on the beach. I spent time over the next two or three days sailing the plastic boat in the Free Sea in the Piazza, so that the Observers would get used to seeing me with the plastic boat. The ex-Admiral took an interest which was good as it gave me a certain kudos, especially when I joined the Admiral and who he was pleased to call his Flag officer, sailing our plastic boats in the gullies of water left by the tide on the beach. People became used to seeing us sailing our boats, as I’m sure did the Observers, and that was the main thing.
    Then the day came and I needed to write the message to someone in the outside world in complete privacy. My cottage was impossible, there might even be a camera in the bathroom. Nowhere public, the woods then, maybe not. The Observers might not be able hear you in the woods, but they can still see you. I know, the cave set in the cliffs of the cove! I gathered paper and pencil, the clear polythene bag, and the blue and white plastic boat then set off through the village, down onto the quayside and onto the beach, with my boat stuck under my arm. What could be more natural than for No.35 to be on the beach about to sail his boat?
    As luck would have it there was no-one in the cove, and I made straight for the mouth of the cave, which was little more than a slit really. Just inside I crouched down, took out my identity card, together with the sheet of paper and began to write my message which began “To whoever may find this……… I had managed to rough out a rudimentary map of the village placing it on an estuary, although I didn’t know what sea it was, I was able to give the points of the compass. Then I sealed the message and map together with my identity card in the polythene bag. Then I removed the white superstructure of the plastic boat, placed the polythene bag inside and fixed the superstructure back onto the blue hull. Leaving the cave I checked that there was still no-one about, then walked across the sand to the waters edge and threw the boat into the water, and stood watching the boat bob about on the waves knowing the tide would carry it out to sea. I stood there watching the small boat in the water, then slowly made my way back along the beach to the village.
   In the control room an Observer sat at her monitor making a sweep of the beach via a surveillance camera on the look out for any unusual activity.
   “Supervisor” said the Observer looking up from her monitor.
   “Yes what is it?”
   “Number 35 is on the beach, and he isn’t carrying his blue and white plastic boat.”
    “What of it?”
    “Well as you know he’s never seen without it.”
    “Let’s have him on the screen, put up camera 5.”
    The large wall screen suddenly pictured the scene of the beach, citizens paddling in the water, playing beach ball, building sandcastles, or simply sunbathing. And there he was, No.35 striding along, then his attention was attracted by the Ex-Admiral who was waving to him.
    “Sound” said the Supervisor.
    “Not sailing your boat today?” asked the ex-Admiral.
    “No not today.”
    “Well join us, my Flag officer and I have constructed a TEWT {a tactical exercise without troops} of a French sea port which was attacked in World Ward Two by a Destroyer.”
    The Supervisor picked up the grey ‘L’ shaped intercom.
    In his office No.2 was reading a report from the works department on the reconstruction of a cottage, when the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep. He leaned forward in his black spherical chair and picked it up.
   “Yes what is it?”
   “Supervisor here sir, I think you ought to know something, Number 35 is without his blue and white plastic boat, which he sails on an almost daily basis.”
    “What of it?”
    “Well that’s just it, he’s hardly ever without it.”
    “And you think what?”
    “I think he’s sailed it for the last time.”
    “You mean the boat sank.”
    “No sir, I think its gone sailing on a long voyage!”
    “Then alert M. S. Polotska, and let them make a search for this vessel.”
    The Supervisor pressed the button on the bottom of the intercom to clear the call, then made another.
    “Calling M. S. Polotska, calling M. S. Polotska are you receiving me over……”
    On board the motor ship Polotska the two man crew were just having lunch when the radio suddenly burst into life.
    “Calling M. S. Polotska, calling M. S. Polotska are you receiving me over……”
    “Oh what do they want now, I’ve just made beans on toast with a side portion of corned beef for our lunch” Gunter grumbled pouring out the tea.
    “I’ll have to answer” Ernst said and picked up the microphone “M. S. Polotska receiving over.”
    “This is the Supervisor calling, this is the Supervisor calling, I want you and your crew to keep watch for a blue and white boat which put out to sea a few minutes ago, over.”
    “What is it, someone stole one of the jet boats again?”
    “Tell him we’re having our lunch!”
    “No, this is a small plastic vessel about a foot or so long…….”
    Ernst looked at Gunter “The man’s off his head!”
    “Did you receive that over?”
    “Yes, M. S. Polotska out. Pull up the anchor, we’ll search inshore first.”
    No.35 was sat at a table on the patio at the café when a Mini-Moke pulled up and two burly set guardians got out and approached him.
    “Number 2 wants to see you” 256 said.
    “What does he want to see me for?”
    “You’ll find out” said the other.
    Citizens sat looking, probably thankful that it wasn’t any of them they came for.
    The two guardians manhandled No.35 into the Mini-Moke and drove off to the Green Dome.
    The pair of steel doors closed and No.35 sat in a black leather chair looking across the grey curved desk.
    “Thank you for coming along quietly” No.2 said.
    “I didn’t exactly come along quietly as you put it; I wasn’t given any choice in the matter!”
    “Well you’re here now. I think you will recognize this” No.2 said producing the blue and white plastic boat from under his desk.
    No.35 looked at it and said nothing.
    “The curious thing about this little ship is it was carrying a cargo of sorts, including your own identity card” No.2 sat reading the message again “You intended sending this message to someone, anyone somewhere who would find it and then what? Well I can’t say as I blame you for trying, but I doubt anyone would actually be able to find the village using this somewhat rudimentary map of yours.
    “If found I expected the message to be passed on to someone in authority” 35 said.
    “Did you….did you. Well as you can see the plastic boat was found, and the message brought to someone in authority….me!” No.2 crumpled up both the message and the map and threw them in the wastepaper basket. Picking up the identity card he leaned over the desk offering it to its owner.
    No.35 stood up and approached the desk taking hold of his identity card.
    No.2 kept hold of the card “I think your sailing days are over…don’t you 35?” then released his grip.


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Sunday, 9 February 2020

Watching The Prisoner – The Schizoid Man

    “The atmosphere here is very different from what it was elsewhere.”
    Perhaps that’s one of those “in-jokes” that are supposed to plague ‘the Prisoner,’ the fact that they are not in Portmeirion, but on a set at
MGM film Studios!

    This episode has to follow both ‘Free For All’ and ‘Dance of The Dead’ in anyone’s screening order, simply because by this time the democracy is an irritation which has been dispensed with, and No.6 has found a new use for a black ballot box……as a kitchen waste bin!

    To watch ‘The Schizoid Man’ is only right because the episode has to begin on Feb 10th for obvious reasons. Now I sense you are just about to ask a question, what about ‘A B and C,’ doesn’t that episode take place around Feb 10th, seeing as that’s the date of The Tally Ho. That problem comes about by using the same Tally Ho Broadsheet for the two episodes, instead of producing two separate ones. And even then the dates wrong for ‘The Schizoid Man!’
    Back in the 1980’s, because the date Feb10th appears in both ‘The Schizoid Man’ and ‘A B and C.’ one fan of ‘the Prisoner’ came up with the idea that the two episodes take place at the same time! The idea is preposterous of course. However there is one problem with this episode, the fact that it is over lapped by ‘Many Happy Returns!’ Just as this episode has to commence on Feb 10th ‘Many Happy Returns’ has to begin on or around Feb 20th depending on how many days it takes No.6 to build his sea going raft, if he is to spend 25 days at sea and arrive back in London on March 18th. Even if it takes No.6 only two weeks to grow his beard, that takes him to Feb 24th when he would probably have already been at sea on his raft for two days! You see the problem. Of course the problem could be solved by having a gap of a month between the two episodes, but that would put ‘Many Happy Returns’ into April and then the date wouldn’t be right. Remember No.6 asks Mrs. Butterworth the date “Saturday March the 18th.” To which he replies “Tomorrow’s my birthday.” The only way to solve the problem would to put a year between the two episodes, which would make ‘the Prisoner’ run into 1969, which is impossible because the Prisoner has to return to London on a specific day in December 1967. That may not be etched in stone, but it is written on a wall!
    No.6 is conditioned to smoke Black Russian cigarettes, so why doesn't he? Mind you he’s also conditioned to like pancakes, and to eat them on sight, but then in No.2’s office he doesn’t do that either, he simply picks at one!
        Alison-No.24 is as ambiguous as ‘the Prisoner’ itself can be. The question of why Alison was brought to the village in the first place is a question which also hangs over most citizens in the village. Does she work for the village, and assigned to No.6 as Nadia Rakovski had been? Whatever it was that brought Alison and No.6 together, indeed how they discovered they shared a mental link will be forever unknown. Perhaps Alison had been brought to The Village because of her mental powers, to be able to read people’s minds, and to have that mental power enhanced. Thus No.6 had become unwittingly involved in an ESP experiment. After all according to No.2 No.58 had been brought to the village because of her photographic memory. Yes she turned out to be the next No.2, but originally she might have been brought to the village because of that photographic memory.
    After sharing a final goodbye with Alison No.6 attempts a daring escape by impersonating Curtis. But Alison knows who he really is, and No.2 has his doubts, while No.6 Curtis has forgotten security regulations, meaning the wearing of a blindfold. And yet, are we really to believe that No.2 would have allowed Curtis to leave the Village looking like No.6? I should have thought Curtis would have had to spend a little more time in the Village before being allowed to leave, if only for a final make-over, if not to be given time to grow his moustache again!
  

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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Living In Harmony!

     I have never understood why people have symbolized the Man With No Name who refuses to wear a gun in ‘Living In Harmony,’ to the “draft dodgers” who refused to pick up arms and go and fight in the Vietnam War. Perhaps the episode itself isn’t enough for most people causing them to make more of it than there is. There is another way of looking at it, a far simpler and more mundane. One thing which must be remembered was that before this Man With No Name who became a drifter, was once a Town Sheriff of an American Wild west frontier town. It was a job from which he eventually resigned, handing in both his badge and his gun. But why did he resign? That’s easy to answer, a town Sheriff would be open to many dangers as he tried to keep the peace, aided sometimes by deputies. There might be a gang come riding into town, say the James gang, the Dalton boys, the Youngers, or the Clanton gangs, to rob the Bank. And the Sheriff would have to try and stop them, and if he couldn't, then he'd have to form a posse and go after the Bank robbers.
    A Sheriff, worth his salt, would have to be fast on the draw; otherwise he wouldn't last very long. But then the faster on the draw the Sheriff was, so much greater his reputation, and that in turn would attract every two-bit gunslinger out to make a reputation for himself. And the Sheriff, who got paid very little for being a peace officer, a few dollars a month, would have to stand up to every gunslinger who came to town, and then would have to face up to him in front of the whole towns people in order to face down the gunslinger or be forced to take him on in a gun-fight. In time this can wear a man down, the killing, having to put his life on the line every time a gang or gunslinger came to town. Perhaps that’s why the Sheriff handed in both his badge and gun, it had taken its toll on him, worn him down, he had had enough of killing. And after that he simply refused to wear a gun again.
    Many of my favourite American Westerns are in black and white, ‘High Noon’ being very near the top of my list. Marshal Will Kane hands in his badge and gun, as he prepares to retire and leave town with his new bride for Mexico. Well he would have done, had it not been for Frank Miller and his gang…… there’s always one last gunfight, one last badman to face down. Kill or be killed! And so it is with a Sheriff who agrees to wear the badge but not the gun in the town of Harmony. But there’s always that one last gunfight, one last gunslinger to face down in the street that of the Kid…….
   For the 50th anniversary of ‘the Prisoner’ I watched ‘Living In Harmony’ for the first time since 1967 in black and white, and I enjoyed the episode more on that occasion. Probably because watching the episode in black and white did make it look more like a Western, and made it more believable.


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The Prisoner According To Halliwell!

    A few days ago I purchased, for a mere 50 pence, a copy of ‘Halliwell’s Tele Guide’ first published by Granada Publishing in 1979. Leslie was a programme buyer for the ITV network and for Channel 4 until his retirement in 1986. He spent several years as film reviewer for ‘Picturegoer’ and ‘Sight and Sound’ as well as contributing to other national publications including ‘The Spectator’ and ‘Films and Filming.’ Halliwell was also the author of several standard reference books on cinema and television including ‘the Fimgoer’s Companion,’ The Film Guide, and was co-author of ‘the Clapperboard Book of the Cinema.’ 
   Basically the book is a Television guide of TV programmes and series of yesteryear from both sides of the
Atlantic. So what did Mr. Halliwell have to say for himself on the subject of ‘the Prisoner?’

The Prisoner 17x50m colour
ATV {Patrick McGoohan}
    “An ex-secret agent is captured and brainwashed in a curious Shangri-La civilization from which he finds he can never escape.
    Downright peculiar, sometimes fascinating, often irritating and trendy melodrama in which episodes, though well made and acted, tended towards repetition. The much awaited final episode explained nothing and fell apart almost completely, the intention apparently being to make a statement about
Vietnam.”


Patrick McGoohan

   “Revived in 1976, the show turned into a minor cult, and Portmeirion, the private welsh village in which it was filmed, again attracted unwelcome hordes of tourists.”
   Note: When I watched ‘the Prisoner’ in 1967-68, and even when I watched the series again in 1976 and again in 1977 I had no idea that symbolism was mixed up in the series. This was probably because I was watching ‘the Prisoner’ as a straightforward action adventure series. It was not until over a decade later that I learned of the symbolism that could be found in the series. And how in ‘Living In Harmony’ the way the Man With No Name refused to carry a gun, was being symbolized in America with the “draft dodgers” who refused to pick up a gun and go and fight in the Vietnam War. That never once occurred to me when I first watched ‘Living In Harmony,’ nor again in 1976 and 77 probably because I watched the episode as a straightforward Western!

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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Thought For The Day

    If the local election was a real election, and not just further manipulation of the citizens, I wonder if citizens discussed the two candidates amongst themselves and who they were going to vote for. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there hadn’t been a certain amount of therapy, in that citizens were pre-programmed to vote unanimously for No.6, otherwise the citizens might simply have all voted for No.2 and the old regime forever! And then No.6 wouldn’t have made it into the Green Dome as the new No.2, and that would have prevented No.58’s little scene, as well as stopping the two motor mechanics from extracting their revenge on No.6! Oh the citizens were enthusiastic enough, but it seems they were simply going through the motions so to speak. There appears to have been no interaction between citizens leading up to polling day, most seemed to be of one mind. It would have been nice to have at least heard some political discussion in the Cat and Mouse nightclub. But there were no re-actionists, no-one heckling the candidates on the hustings, just everyone happy to vote for No.6 or so it seems as when No.6 is voted in as the new No.2 the citizens look upon him with distrust!


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The Rover Cave!

    In ‘Free For All’ after telling the citizens they are free to go, free to go, free to go, the two motor mechanics turn up in No.2’s office. They attempt to restrain him, but he breaks free and makes a dash to the pair of steel doors which open, the wall revolves and he is faced with a single steel door. The door opens and No.6 stumbles into a cave. Four men dressed in what looks to be flying suits and dark glasses, sit round a pulsating Guardian. Why? Is this the real Therapy Zone? It has been suggested that the four men are undergoing some kind of indoctrination. If the Guardian is man-made and has a mind its mind will not be its own, and they could have been using the Guardian as a process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs. 
    I used to think the only way into the cave was through the pair of steel doors and the hidden single steel door which affords the cave extra security. But why have this as the only way into the cave through No.2’s office? Upon further examination there appears to be another way in and out of the cave.
   There appears to be an entrance to a tunnel which gives the impression that there could be an underground network of caves, and the tunnel might eventually lead into the underground cavern seen in ‘Fall Out.’ And yet the cave No.6 stumbles into is on ground level, not underground. But there is no indication of the possibility of a cave from outside the Green Dome! This is what I am pleased to call another imponderable!


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Sunday, 2 February 2020

Making A Better Village!

    On Thursday January 30th, I read on the ‘Red Button’ the BBC television digital service, how the new Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsey Hoyle, declared an end to all bullying in Parliament. He said he wished for everyone working on the Parliamentary estate to be respected. “I want to make this a better village for all of us” he said.

   The Speaker’s words made me instantly think of 6’s final words in THEPRIS6NER “It has to be possible to do this the right way, yeah? Make a good village. I think I could do it.” Of course in Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s reference to the village he means Westminster village. And in that there is another reference to the episode ‘Free For All’ because from now on, it appears members of Parliament will be playing the game according to Hoyle!


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Tales From The Village

    It was late morning, the village was its usual self as a number of citizens occupied themselves by promenading around the pool and fountain in the Piazza, while others enjoyed themselves on the beach. The café was doing its usual daily business, citizens were either enjoying an early lunch, a late breakfast, or a simple cup of tea.
    Customer “Good morning, nice day for it.”
    Waiter “It will be another nice day for it tomorrow.”
    “Oh you think so?”
    “Well according to the weather forecast it will be.”
    “Have you noticed anything different about today?”
    “No should I have done?”
    “You haven’t noticed?”
    “Alright, I’ll buy it, noticed what?”
    “There haven’t been any announcements about the Professor’s lectures!”
    “Now you come to mention it……….”
    “Look at the people, all going about their daily business as though nothing’s happened.”
    “Well nothing has happened.”
    “Precisely my point.”
    “Do want tea or coffee?”
    “You don’t miss it?”
    “The Professor’s lectures. They do tell me that Madam Professor’s art seminars have also stopped.”
    “Who told you that?”
    “I was talking to Number 34 in the General Store.”
    “Perhaps Madam Professor and her husband have left the village.”
    “Well the house is closed up.”
    “Well there you are then.”
    But of course that does not take into account the two fresh graves in the cemetery, and standing at one grave the grieving widow.
    “Did you know that a new No.2 arrived today?”
    “No, but then I’ve been busy here.”
    “I saw the helicopter arrive the other day, and I saw who got out.”
    “What’s he like this new Number 2?”
    “It’s not a man, it’s a woman, slim, attractive, elegant. She wore a dress made up of different coloured diamond shapes.”
    “Sounds like Pierrette has dropped by!”
    “I’ll tell you something else as well, she had her own maid with her.”
    “What was she like?”
    “Oh you wouldn’t look at her twice. Here have you heard?”
    “I’ve got work to do, I’ve no time to bandy words with you, heard what?.”
    “They say there’s no sign of Number 6, they say he went and gone!”
    “Gone, gone where?”
    “I saw workers down on the quayside this morning, busy removing rope, long logs, and black steel barrels.”
    “What do you think’s happened?”
    “I think Number 6 built himself a raft and put to sea on it!”
    “You do talk rot!”
    “I’m not in the habit of talking rot. He’s not been seen about, and if he’s not here where is he?”
    “Waiter……”
    “Yes sir I’ll be with you in a minute, look I’ve got customers to serve.”

    “You see Supervisor people are asking questions, they want to know why there are no more of the Professor’s lectures.”
    “What is the official line?”
    No.22 “There isn’t one. You know what happened, the General destroyed. Both the Professor and Number 12 dead. And already this new Number 2 has been flown in, and then gone back to London!”
    “She was here just long enough to oversee Number 6’s escape from the village. Then she left and an interim Number 2 was put in place.”
    “So what do we tell the students whose education has been left incomplete, and who will not now get there university degree?”
    “Think about it 22, even if the students had attained a university degree, what possible use would they have for that here?”
    “So where’s Number 6?”
    The Supervisor turned and looked up at an area of the World map, then pointed “His last reported position was just about there.”
    “Reported position, you’re having him shadowed?”
    “You didn’t think Number 2 would simply let Number 6 set sail on the open sea all alone did you?”
    “I’d best be on my way, and see if I can be of any assistance to this new interim Number 2.”
    “He’ll be gone soon enough” the Supervisor said “I give him three days!”
    Number 22 departed the control room through the opening steel doors, leaving the day shift to its business.
    “Supervisor, Number 81 acting suspiciously, he’s just stolen a screwdriver from the electrics truck.”
    “Right, let’s have him on the screen, put up camera twelve sound and vision.”


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