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Saturday, 14 September 2019

The Girl Who Was Death

     You know there’s more to this episode than first meets the eye, and I’ve never really thought about it in this way before, but then it didn’t really occur to me until the other week. Okay if you want a childminder, one who will read your child a gentle bedtime story, perhaps the last person you should ask is our friend No.6! So why allow someone who was only recently a grumpy old disharmonious unmutual, to lull your children to sleep with a story? An action and adventure story commencing with a cricket match and exploding cricket balls, together with all the fun of a funfair, and a car chase which would only stimulate and excite the child’s mind so the child would not be able to go to sleep. More than that, such a story about a psychotic murderess, sex, death traps, a poisoning, drink abuse, and vomiting, not to mention the planned destruction of a city, along with the mass murder of millions of people would only bring about nothing but nightmares to young impressionable minds!

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A Favourite Scene In Village Day

    The Prisoner having woken up in his cottage, takes his first tentative steps out into the village, and encounters two gardeners busy working in a flower bed. His foot accidentally kicks a couple of plant pots.

    1st gardener “Watch out sir, don’t damage the plants!”
    Prisoner “Sorry.”
    2nd gardener “You alright?”
    “Looks lost doesn’t he.”
    “I’m a little confused, I don’t know where I am.”
    1st gardener “I was right, he’s lost, a new arrival. Spot em’ a mile off I can.”
    2nd gardener “Yeah, a new arrival” he laughs.
    “Where am I, what is this place?”
    2nd gardener “The village.”
    “Doesn’t it have a name?”
    1st gardener “A name? Of course it has a name, everything has a name, it would be silly if it didn’t have a name.”
    “What is it then?”
    Gardeners in unison “The village.”
    “Can you direst me to the nearest bus stop?”
    1st gardener “No buses come through here.”
    “A railway station then.”
    2nd gardener “There is no trains either.”
    “Oh yes you can get a taxi.”
    “We’ve got taxis alright. Up the steps through the archway and round the corner” the second gardener said pointing the way.
   The Prisoner dashes off leaving the two gardeners to return to planting the new plants. But not without watching the Prisoner go on his way, with knowing looks.
   The two gardeners were played by Dave Barrie and Chris Riley, it wasn’t a difficult or testing scene which had to be filmed early one morning before the village woke up for the day’s Prisoner convention in August 1998. We did one rehearsal of the scene and then went for a take and the scene was played out perfectly. The way the dialogue was delivered, and little things taking place between the gardeners helped make the scene, especially when they give each other knowing looks at the end. Again very little direction was required, Dave and Chris played their roles perfectly.

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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Top State Secret and Confidential

    Perhaps that's the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation - is that a state secret? It seems improbable, but then most things are possible and cannot be ruled out.
    I suppose that is the most permanent question in the minds of fans around the globe "Why did he resign?" A question certainly on the lips of most No.2's who are brought to the village. Yet No.2 of ‘A B & C’ seemed somewhat sympathetic towards No.6's situation "If someone can't chuck up a job things have come to a pretty pass!"
   All No.2 wanted to know was why No.6 resigned, that's not so difficult is it? Ah, but No.6 realised early on, that if he gave away the reason behind his resignation that would simply be the tip of the iceberg, and then all the rest would follow!
    But if No.6's resignation did happen to be a state secret, then he wouldn't be able to tell anyone would he, not even his fiancée Janet Portland, and then of course working for her father, Sir Charles Portland, well then he wouldn't be able to tell his daughter anything either, under pain of treason perhaps! Ah, now that does begin to explain something, because Sir Charles did tell his daughter that he had not sent her fiancé on a mission, that even he doesn't know where her fiancé is. And even then Sir Charles was telling his daughter more then he should!
   Top state secret! And it is a singular fact is it not, that No.6 during his interrogation in the embryo room during Degree Absolute of ‘Once Upon A Time,’ that No.6 did admit that he was on a mission, after being caught for speeding, it was a mission of life and death, whose life or death No.6 was not willing to divulge. However it was secret business, top secret, state secret business of the highest order. And what's more No.6 couldn’t tell the judge what it was all about, because such business is above the law! And what's more you will recall how No.6 had been recruited into the banking business, but how it was a cover for secret work, a top secret and state confidential job.
    If the village is run by those on the same side as that of No.6, "I'm on our side" No.6 informs the new No.2 during ‘Arrival,’ who wants to know where No.6's loyalties lie? "You know where they lie!" No.6 tells him. So that being the case, given No.6's unusual qualities and the extent of his knowledge, it is not then at all surprising that his own people would wish to keep such a man on a short leash, and what better place to keep him, but in the village, and a prisoner for life. Because such a man as No.6 might very well be extremely dangerous to national security, another reason to keep him - confined, for his own good as well as the well being of the nation.
    Yet it was all a bit of a trial for No.6, and having survived he was acquitted at his final trial during ‘Fall Out,’ and given the opportunity to go and leave the village! The only question you need to answer here, is "Was No.6 deserving of his acquittal?"

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Thought For The Day

    Towards the end of ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ when Number 2 had completely lost the plot, as well as his reasoning, he accused the Butler of being in on the conspiracy against him. So he told the Butler to get out of this house, meaning the Green Dome, not that the Green Dome is a house, it’s more a glorified office really. However that aside, the Butler packed his suitcase and left, I wonder where he went? Wherever it was it was the second time he had had to leave the Green Dome, as well as his position. What I mean is, when Mrs. Butterworth took up her position as the new Number 2, she might well have brought her housemaid Martha with her. And knowing Martha she wouldn’t put up with our diminutive friend for very long, and certainly would never share the annexe with him. For she and she alone would expect to serve her mistress. So where did the Butler go during that time? Thinking about it it’s a wonder the Butler was about in ‘Dance of The Dead’ seeing as this episode gives the impression of being female orientated.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Life In The Village!

    “What do you think about this latest experiment?”
    “You mean Speed Learn.”
    “It’s a great experiment, you can learn a lot.”
    “Who told you that, Number Two? Well history isn’t really my subject.”
    “Isn’t it? When was the treaty of Adrianople?”
    “September eighteen twenty-nine.”
    “What happened in eighteen-thirty?”
    “Greek independence was assured and guaranteed.”
    “By whom?”
    “Russia, France, Britain.”
    “Who was Bismarck’s ally against the Danish Prince of Glucksburg?”
    “Frederick of Austenburg he like the German Bundestag had never accepted the treaty of London in eighteen fifty-two. Bismarck wanted war but he wanted it waged by Prussia, Austria in alliance and not by the whole German bunt. He realized that a successful war against the Danes in eighteen sixty-four would serve the same purpose as Cavour of Italy’s entrance into the Crimean war” {and spoken in unison} “namely that it would indicate future leadership and would at the same time raise Prussia’s prestige.”
    “You see, isn’t Speed Learn the most marvellous thing?”

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Why Am I here?

    “Tell me why you are here.”
    “You tell me, after all who would know better?”
    “You don’t like it here do you?”
    “Given my position, would you?”
    “No, probably not.”
    The village is a place where people turn up, people who have a certain kind of knowledge which is of great value to one side or another. Information which is to be protected, or extracted, if the latter then by fair means or foul. And there’s no escape, and if you give them what they want then they’ll look after you for as long as you live, for however long that is. It’s a picturesque village, giving the impression of being a holiday resort, which hides a much darker underside.
    “You’ve never really settled in have you?”
    “I was supposed to?”
    “In your position yes, it was expected.”
    “Well it would appear you picked the wrong person for the job!”
    “Yes, we don’t usually make mistakes like that, we misjudged you.”
    “So now what happens?”
    “To a former Number 2?”
    “A former Number 2 with a conscience?”
    “Well we can hardly let you leave.”
    “What then?”
    Number 2 stood at his desk, considering his options for a few moments. Then he turned and faced his predecessor.
    “Get out.”
    “You heard me, get out.”
    “And go where.”
    “I do not care, just go, go anywhere you like.”
    “As long as it’s with the confines of the village.”
    “Not necessarily. You can go and live in the woods.”
   Number 2 returned to his seat behind the desk.
    “And live how?”
    “Live as you will. You can become the wise-woman in the woods.”
    “The wise woman!”
    “Yes, you’re into herbs and all that kind of thing.”
    “You’re casting me out.”
    “Lady you didn’t want “in” in the first place!”
    “Very well.”
    The now former No.2 rose out of her chair and crossed the floor to the ramp leading up to the ramp and the steel doors. The doors slid open, she halted framed in the open doorway.
    “I curse you for this, one day you will pay.”
    “Yes I know, I won’t die in my own bed, let alone with my boots on. Just get out oh wise woman!”
    The former No.2 drew provisions from the General Store. She stole tools from the maintenance workshop, and placed them in a wheel barrow and pushed it along one of the paths deep into the woods where she knew there to be a cave. She had brought candles, a lantern, and matches with her. Lighting the candle she went into the darkness of the cave. It was cold and damp, but served as shelter. She would make it her home.
    This former No.2 made a life for herself living off the land and the woods. Yet availed herself of the General Store when need be. No-one from the village bothered her, and she them. And yet in time her reputation grew, as she had the knowledge of a nurse, she helped people with herbal remedies, help and advice. She would talk with those who came to see her, this wise woman of the woods. And they brought things which she might need in payment for her help. She called her cave the Therapy Zone, a place of peace and protection for those who came. Then one day…………
    A man came stumbling through the woods, he hid in bushes, and when he thought it safe he stumbled on, finally tripping over a tree root he fell to the ground. He lay there for a few minutes expecting his pursuers to be upon him at any moment. Then a shadow was cast over him, he looked up to see a woman standing there looking down at him.
    “Have you hurt yourself?” she asked in friendly way.
    “Y….yes, I’ve twisted my ankle” he told her.
    “Do you think you can make it to my cave, it’s only a few yards away.”
    “Yes I think so” he said struggling to his feet.
    The woman helped the man back to her cave, and sat him down inside. She made him a hot drink, and bathed his swollen ankle.
    “Who are you?” she asked casually.
    “I could ask you that same thing” he said sipping his hot drink.
    “They call me the wise woman.”
    “And are you?”
    “In some ways, I can fix people, make them better.”
    He looked at her, and about the cave.
    “So” she began, “you haven’t told me who you are.”
    “You’re the wise woman, you tell me” he said standing up.
    “You’re a goat” she told him.
    “A goat, whatever do you mean?”
    “You’ve come amongst us to cause trouble” she said accusingly.
    “I came to find you” he told her.
    “Me, why?”
    “There’s a submarine lying at the bottom of the sea, its waiting there for a signal from me. In two hours time the submarine will surface for 15 minutes and wait for that signal. Then a boat will come for us. I’m here to take you away Helen.”
    “Just who are you?”
    “I am Commander John Fielding, I work for British Military Intelligence, or if you prefer 006.”
    “You said a submarine is on the seabed!”
    “Oh no!”
    “What’s the matter?”
    A submarine sat on the bottom of the sea, the Captain checked the time and gave the order to blow main ballast.
    “Surface” came the command, and a klaxon was sounded.
    The crew worked as part of one great machine, the submarine rocked but failed to lift off the seabed.
    “Blow main ballast” the Captain ordered.
    The command was repeated by the first lieutenant, but again the sub failed to rise off the seabed. Then came a report of the engine crew being attacked. The Captain and first lieutenant went to the engine room to investigate. The bulkhead door was closed and sealed. The Captain give the command to open the door, it was his last. As the door was opened white membrane ooze out of the engine room and into the next compartment suffocating every man inside. It spread throughout the boat, what was left of the crew took up arms, but weapons had no effect on the thing. The final refuge of the remaining members of the crew was the forward torpedo room, and one bulkhead door stood between the five men and it!
    “What the hell is this thing, and how did it get aboard the boat?” asked one of the ratings.
    “By one of the propeller shafts I shouldn’t wonder” said the Boson.
    “What are we going to do Boson?” asked one of the ratings.
    The Boson looked at his four companions, they were afraid, and he was scared witless! There was nowhere to go, nothing had the slightest effect on this creature that has invaded the submarine suffocating the crew in its path.
    “What about the torpedo tubes?” suggested the second rating.
    “What about them?” the Boson asked.
    “They are a way out.”
    The Boson studied the six torpedo hatches. He looked at the three escape suits. “It’s possible, but we have only three escape suits, and there are five of us.”
    The other four men looked at each other, three of them were armed with hand guns.
    “So it’s us three that escape” said the third rating.
    “Now lads let’s not be hasty” said the Boson slowly reaching for a release leaver “all I have to do is pull this and the torpedo room floods and we all die.
    “That bulkhead door should hold it a while” said the second rating “let’s draw cards for the three suits” and he produced a deck of playing cards from his pocket.
    “No” said the first rating “I think the three youngest should be the ones to go.”
    “I can’t” said the third becoming erratic “I hate those suits, you can’t make me go, you can’t, you can’t!”
    The second rating turned to his other three comrades “So, now there are four of us!”
    The bulkhead door began to give, and a little of the membrane could be seen.
    “There’s not long, we must be quick” said the first rating grabbing one of the pressure suits.
        The Boson decided that he would remain. The three remaining ratings made to suit up. The job was not to panic because of the pressure, and to breathe normally during the assent to the surface. When ready an inner hatch was opened on one of the torpedo tubes. The first rating climbed inside, the inner hatch closed and the tube flooded, then the outer hatch was opened and the fire button pressed sending the rating shooting out of the tube at immense speed. And it was with the second and third ratings, propelled from the submarine to eventually emerge on the surface. That left the Boson and one of the ratings. The bulkhead door was under pressure from the thing on the other side. The two men looked at each other.
    “We can sit and wait” the Boson said.
    “We can end it now. All we have to do is leave the outer hatch open and open the inner one.”
    “Flood the compartment” the rating said.
    The bulkhead door gave a little more.
    “And we take this thing with us.”
   The Boson nodded.
    It was a terrible death, the inner hatch of the torpedo tube was opened and water shot into the compartment just as the bulkhead door gave way and the white membrane poured into the compartment. The men both drowned and suffocated, the village Guardian entered back into the sea via the open torpedo tube.
    The motor cruiser M. S. Polotska was on night patrol when the crew saw the three men in the water wearing orange pressure suits. The cruiser stopped to pick up the men who were grateful to the crew. With the three men below, M. S. Polotska headed back towards the estuary and the village.
    “I don’t know what they’re going to make of this” Gunter said.
    “What were we supposed to do, leave them?”
    “Well where did they come from, answer me that?”
    Ernst thought for a moment “They’re wearing deep sea pressure suits. If you ask me they’ve escaped from a submarine.”
    “What would a submarine be doing here?”
    “That’s what Number 2 will want to know” Ernst said “I’d better tend to our guests.”
    “Yes, and while you’re about it…..”
    “Bring you some tea.”
    “And see what you can get out of them!”
    Meanwhile on the cliffs the wise woman was with 006 who was signalling with his torch, but to no avail.
    “She must have dived I’ll have to wait and try the same time tomorrow. Just a minute, what’s that?”
    “A patrol boat” said the wise woman.
    006 began to signal the boat with his torch.
    “Put that out!” the woman told him.
    “Because M.S. Polotska is our boat!” No.2 told.
    The two security guards in grey overalls, white helmets, gauntlets, and boots rushed forward taking the man in hand.
   No.2 stepped forward, there was a smirk on her face “You have now been stripped of your double zero ranking, you are now merely citizen Number 6.”
    No.6 looked out into the night as the lights of the motor cruiser drew closer inshore.
    “I’m afraid there has been an accident, a submarine lost at the bottom of the sea.”
    The Guardian left the submarine by the open torpedo tube, and returned to the confinement area, and No.2 to the Green Dome

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Sunday, 8 September 2019

A Favourite Scene In Village Day

     The moment No.6 finds himself! He thinks he has found his long lost brother and Janet’s fiancé. But in fact he finds himself, and comes round in the hospital just in time. The patient is going to be alright of course, he’ll be taken to somewhere quiet where he can recuperate from the car accident. And he’s in safe hands, as his fiancée, being an agent working for the village sees to it personally that he arrives in the Italianate village in good order!
   Mind you the scene in which when No.6 eventually finds himself, he does so with a penny and a penny-farthing coins on his eyes. This was a particularly difficult scene to shoot, because the coins on my closed eyes kept falling off sideways. When I sat up they were supposed to fall forward from my eyes in a certain way. It took several takes to get it right.

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