Search This Blog

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Our Diminutive Friend The Butler

    The Butler serves without question, each new Number Two who comes along. Although the one exception might very well be that of Mrs Butterworth, who although we do not see her, may very well have brought her house maid, Martha with her to the Village. If that was the case, the Butler would have been unemployed for a while! Because I couldn't see Matha suffering anyone else serving her mistress. But I digress. I have often felt that there is much more than meets the eye with the Butler.
    During the prize giving ceremony at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition during the Chimes of Big Ben, it is the Butler who hands out the prizes. So in this case, does this make him more important than No.2?
    In Checkmate the Butler makes his way from the Green Dome to the top of the bandstand, from where he follows the moves of the human chessmatch on a chessboard of his own. But on the way there, the Butler has a Top-Hat Administration Official, carrying the chess set for the Butler, who protects him against the sun by carrying aloft an open umbrella, and continues to shade the Butler against the sun with said open umbrella during the whole of the chessmatch. Now the Butler often performs this same tasks for his master No.2, shading him from the sun with an open umbrella. But curiously, here is the Butler receiving the same treatment!
    The Butler also helps to officiate at the Appreciation day ceremony, but holding the Great Seal of Office on a crimson cushion.
   In A Change of Mind, the Butler can be seen officiating in the Council Chamber at meetings of the Committee with those citizens who have been brought before them for being Unmutual! I cannot imagine what duty the Butler might have at such Committee meetings, save for making the tea in time for a tea-break!
    Then comes Once Upon A Time, the Butler is the third occupant of the Embryo Room, where he looks after No.2 and No.6 for the whole week they are sealed in the room together. Making meals, washing up, making beds and the like. But more than this, he also assists the two men during their deliberations. From handling props and costumes, to creating special effects, to dishing out twelve of the best to No.6!
   And finally in Fall Out, the Butler actively engages in the violent and bloody revolution. Although one doesn't see any blood, one has to imagine the blood as the armed security men are gunned down, by No.6 and his three confederates. It is curious, that the Butler actually knows that the cage of the Embryo Room has been lowered down onto a trailer of a lorry. That the Butler knows about this Scammell Higwayman Transporter. But what is even more curious is the fact that the Butler can actually drive the lorry. By this I mean the foot pedals of brake, accelerator, and clutch, must have been adapted so that the Butlers short legs can reach the said pedals!
   Our diminutive friend may not have involved himself in the social side of the Village, but he was very active within the Village itself, often seen out and about. And somehow I think the Butler knows far more about the actual goings on within, and the working of the Village, than he ever lets on.   BCNU


  1. Hi David, I've always considered the butler as an adult who remained a child and stands as an observator of the adults world with some distance ... or an innocent child posing as an adult if you prefer !
    Now the question is: is one innocent by serving (or even only standing by) the authority ?

  2. Hello 731 HOP,

    Well that's certainly another way of looking at the Butler, and possibly unique, as I've never comes across that thinking before.

    To answer your question, it would all depend on what one is serving. But generally no-one can be innocent by serving, or even by simply standing by and doing nothing, which is possibly worse. As with the Butler he is loyal, serves without question, and accepts what he receives in return. But even the Butler rebels in the end.
    Its a question of acceptance you see. One has to accept ones circumstances, in that I mean situations might not be perfect, but they could be worse. You can rebel, bring about revolution which has been the case in Middle Eastern countries of late. And by revolution you bring about something else. But if you don't bring about good after what has gone before, there's bound to be another revolution. And that's the point, a 'true' rebel can never accept anything and so must be contually rebelling against something.
    I rebelled once, spoke out against injustice of a certain situation, spoke out against the Government a few years ago, and was told that my name had been put on a list for my pains!
    With a matter of much smaller beer I tried to bring about a revolution within a certain society because a number of people had become unsatified with how the society was being run. But there was a coup, at which point I resigned.... The society is still alive today, and in a possible worse state than before the coup took place. A society where critisism of any kind is not permitted.......... enough said.

    Best wishes
    Be seeing you

  3. I see him as an "innocent" because there is no hint of aggressiveness or revolt, nor disobedience or even judgment in him, almost like if he were a kind of robotic furniture or almost like an animal, doing what he has to do according to the species he belongs to... He always has puzzled me!
    I don't recall him rebelling at the end though. I only remember him running with nr 6. I ought to watch the episodes again! (which I didn't do since last time)
    Bonjour chez vous !

  4. Hello 731 HOP,

    I have always seen the Butler as the most enigmatic character in 'the Prisoner,' because we know far less about the Butler than we do the Prisoner himself.

    If the Buter was such an innocent, he threw that innocence out with the washing up water! Because right from the outset of the revolt in 'Fall Out,' the Butler puts a CO2 fire exstinguisher to good use, sending out clouds of CO2 gas, and even hitting one cowled figure over the head with it. And at one point, the Butler is bent over a figure lying on the floor, and appears to be strangling the man to death with his own gloved hands! Further more, when the shooting begins, the Butler is also armed with a Thompson sub machine gun with which he is blazing away with the rest of his confederates.
    What's more I'm not so sure the Butler was as innocent about the Village as one might think. He knew about the Embryo Room, as he was the first person in it, and in Fall Out he knew about that Scammell Highwayman Transporter lorry. He knew it was there before anyone else did. As the Butler walked round the back, and climbing into the tractor unit of the lorry, started the engine and began to drive it away. What's more the accelerator, clutch, and brake pedals would have had to have been adjusted to suit his short legs!


  5. ... I guess I've forgotten a lot, sorry! Thank you for your reply that makes sense... Could it be that the butler is on the side of the strongest ones, then?

  6. Hell 731 HOP,

    There's no need to be sorry, we all have to make mistakes, sometimes we have to. I've been watching 'the Prisoner' on and off for the past 44 years, and I'm still seeing things in it I'd never observed before!

    Oh I'm sure the Butler was on the strongest side. Perhaps he was serving his time until such an eventuality came along. It's quite on the cards that the Butler could see which way the wind was blowing towards the end of the week in the Embryo Room in 'Once Upon A Time,' hence his change in loyalties.

    Best Wishes
    Be seeing you