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Sunday 31 July 2011

Portmeiron Video - Pathe

    The following video is copyright to Pathe.


Living In Harmony - Uncensored!

    You may have read in a recent blog, my writing about the Prisoner  episode Living In Harmony having been censored in America for the series first screening there between 1968-69, because of it's subversive message of not carrying a gun, and refusing to kill, this at the time of the Vietman war. Well this was a belief which was rife at the time with the fan club for the Prisoner, and indeed documented in The Official Prisoner Companion book by Matthew White & Jaffer Ali in 1988.
   The reason for my belief, and that of my contemporaries of the day was because we had no reason to question it, and there was no Internet at the time. Indeed one of the fan clubs co-ordinators held the belief most strongly, as being the truth of the matter. What's more, there was no contradiction by American members of the fan club at the time. No-one to say 'That's wrong. Of course Living In Harmony was screened as part of the series. The censorship story is a myth.'
   The question of the censorship of Living In Harmony was commented upon a day or so ago, by someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but who states, and I quote from his comment: 'The Prisoner was shown in the Fall of 1969 and including 'Living In Harmony' {uncut} in November of that year in syndication on many of the CBS affiliates just 60 days after the CBS network broadcast. 'The Prisoner' and 'Living In Harmony' was broadcast thoughout the entire Vietnam period and all through the 1970's in the US.'
   I am obliged to Mister Anonymous for laying to rest a long-time ghost, and apparently proven myth of the 1980's. You see it's not just a matter of questions being a burden to others, for me, answers make a prison for onself!  I'll be seeing you

Yes, I Can't Wait To See Him!

    Why was Fotheringay so excited at seeing his ex-colleague the Prisoner-No.6 again? After all he like the Colonel is a damned traitor! Suconded to the Village to help dress the stage in order to make No.6 think he has actually been returned to an office that he knows very well in London. A traitor? Well yes, given the information at the time, that the Village is in Lithuania, on the Baltic, begind the Iron Curtain!
   Fotheringay is speaking on the telephone about the impending arrival of his ex-colleague, when he tells someone that he can't wait to see his ex-colleague. In the same scene during what is termed The Alternative Chimes of Big Ben, Fotheringay goes further 'We weren't just professional colleagues you know. We were at school together.' That being at school perhaps implied an in-joke, that actor Richard Wattis and Patrick McGoohan were at Ratcliffe College together. Well they were not, Richard Wattis did not go to Ratcliffe College, at the same time as McGoohan, or indeed at any other time.
    What's more at the end of The Chimes of Big Ben, No.6 knows that he cannot trust his ex-colleagues, as Forthingay stands large upon the steps of the Recreation Hall. Fotheringay who works for the Village, asking of his next assignment, fresh instructions which will be given to him by the Colonel. But for now, Fotheringay must return to London before any embarassing questions are asked.......what embarassing questions might they be? Parhaps Fotheringay should not have been in the Village! Certainly Fotheringay is one of those trustys who are alllowed to have knowledge of the Village, and at the same time allowed to leave. And it makes you wonder doesn't it, that if No.6 knows that he could no longer trust his ex-colleagues, why it is that every time he is free of the Village, he goes running back to them?   I'll be seeing you.

Thought For The Day

   The Prisoner could have gone anywhere, once he was free of the Village in Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling. But perhaps the body which his mind then inhabited, was not to his liking, the Colonel's. But then, having woken up in his London home on the morning of the day he was supposed to have resigned, perhaps he had no memory of the Village. But certainly he was aware that someone, somewhere had played a dirty trick upon him. Also I don't think the Colonel was one of Sir Charles Portland's men, otherwise Sir Charles would have at the very least, recognised the Colonel.    Be seeing you.

Pictorial Prisoner

            Direstor David Tomblin is not averse to filling in for others, as well as doing his own job. Here he acts as clapper board boy.           BcNu

Saturday 30 July 2011

Be Seeing You In Gotham City

  Yesterday I received an email from my good friend Edward Ball, who informed me that he and his wife have been watching the television series Batman from 1966, and had discovered in a scene in the episode The Clock King, first transmitted in October 1966, contains a reference which pre-dates the Prisoner. The reference takes place while during one of their in-jokes when Batman and Robin are walking-up-the-wall. Sammy Davis Jr suddenly opens a window.......well watch for yourself, because as it happens, someone has up-loaded the very scene on YouTube...........Just clik on the link below.

<object width="640" height="390"><param name="movie" value=" name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390"></embed></object>

Amazing or what?   Be seeing you.


   We first learn of Unmutuals in the Prisoner epsiode A Change of Mind. No.6 is declared Unmutual, and is spurned by other members of the community, those being socially conscious citizens who are provoked by the loathsome presence of an Unmutual! Citizens keep their distance from an Unmutual, No.6 for example is refused service on the lawn of the Old People's home when he asks a waiter for coffee, and is generally ignored by his fellow citizens, effectively 'sent to Coventry!'
   There is a 1960's film called The Angry Silence, which demonstrates unmutualism perfectly. In the film Richard Attenborough playes a factory worker, Tom Curtis, who refuses to go on strike with his fellow workers, and crosses the picket line at the engineering factory.  Once the strike is over and the factory workers return to work, a meeting is called by the Shop Stewards, and all Union members in the factory attend.  For punishment for crossing the picket line, Tom Curtis is 'sent to Coventry,' effectively no-one in the factory is allowed to speak to Curtis, in the street, in shops, down the pub, nowhere.
   Okay, being decalred Unmutual in the Village is not so terrible, as we view it through the television screen, besides which No.6 does much perfer his own company to others in the Village. But birds of a feather do flock together. Even No.6 cannot remain a 'Lone Wolf' for too long!  What's more there's that name again - Curtis!   Be seeing you.

Nadia Rakovski - You Can't Believe A Word She Says!

    For example, Nadia tells No.6 during The Chimes of Big Ben that she is an Estonian. That there is a fishing Village, Braniewo in Lithuania thirty miles from the Polish border, that the people there resist those of the Village. Well as it happens Braniewo isn't in Lithuania, it's in Poland. Nor can the Village be in Lithuania thirty miles form the Polish border, because Kaliningrad is situated between Lithuania and Poland. Also when Nadia is speaking to her supposed contact man Karel, she is speaking in Russian, not Estonian, or was it all the same behind the Iron Curtain?    BcNu   

Potter MBE?

  Yes Potter MBE, but that was in the days when he was the Cultural Attache for the British Embassy in Tokyo, in the days when working as a Civil Servant, and rising above a certain level, would almost certainly result in some sort of honour.

   This of course is Potter in the Danger Man episode Koroshi, who meets Drake in a record store in Tokyo.
    At one point during their conversation Potter talks about giving assitance to 'Lone Wolf' from London, which was the original title, before Danger Man.
I'm Obliged

Friday 29 July 2011

Thought For The Day

    Why is it that books written on the subject of the Prisoner contain so many blatent errors? I suppose it all boils down to research, and the amount of research carried out. Here's a prime example. Here in the United Kingdom in 2004 there appeared a part-work publication for the Prisoner produced by De Agostini, you may have heard of it, you may have spent a great deal of money in collecting the part-work. In the part-work section for Free For All there is a piece regarding the phrase used by No.6 Playing it according to Hoyle? And No.2 states All cards on the table, you may rely on that. The two Prisoner consultants, Hearne and Fairclough, who helped on the part-work attributed the phrase used by No.6 to Fred Hoyle, and that was their mistake. Because using the phrase Playing it according to Hoyle No.6 is referring to Edmond Hoyle {1672-1769} an English writer who codified the rules of whist in his book 'A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist' {1742] and in successive editions of the book, he added new material, rules on other card games, and games in general including Backgammon. Hoyle wrote several other books, and According to Hoyle, has come to mean 'by the highest authority.' Fred Hoyle, a British Astronomer, has nothing to do with it!   BcNu

Caught On Camera

  Policeman 'Perhaps you can explain Sir.'
  McG 'Explain? Well it's not that easy you know. The Prisoner cannot be summed up in a few words, but I'll try. Basically the Prisoner resigns his job. We don't know who the Prisoner is, although he might be John Drake, or he could be absolutely anyone. Anyway, whoever he is, he is abducted from his home, and wakes up in the Village........
   'The Village Sir?'
   'Oh yes, I forgot, you don't know about the Village do you? The Village is a place, where people turn up. People who know too much or too little.......look I can't do this standing on the pavement. Send a stamped addressed envelope to my office at MGM Studios and my secretary will be only too pleased to send you a breakdown of the series, perhaps a few signed scripts.'
    Policeman 'I haven't got the foggiest idea of what you are talking about Sir. What I want explained is, are you resonsible for abandoning that low loader lorry back there on the Thames embankment?'
'Yes, yes Officer I suppose I am.'
'You can't leave it there you know.'
'No Officer of course.'
'Well get it shifted, or I'll have the damned thing clamped!

Pictorial Portmeirion

Such is my liking for old photographs and pictures of Portmeirion, rather than modern day ones.


Pictorial Prisoner

                                           He will if he meets Janet Portland coming the other way!

Thursday 28 July 2011

Why Did You Resign?

    What does it matter why the Prisoner resigned? It's no business of ours. Time to leave the poor man alone! If people can't chuck up a job things have come to a pretty pass, as No.2 once put it. The Prisoner did actually tell No.2 why he resigned, only I don't think he was listening, because he asked the Prisoner to tell him again. But the Prisoner was never a man to repeat himself, 'You've been told' is all he would say. But why should the Prisoner have to say anything? He simply resigned as a matter of choice.He shouldn't have to answer to anyone. Its entirely his prerogative, his democratic right as an individual, to proceed in any way he sees fit. That's the whole piont of it all, except.............Well the Prisoner isn't like most individuals. He's not a Butcher, Baker, or Candlestick Maker, a man in the Prisoner's position cannot simply get up and walk away. It's not simply a matter of storming into someones office, shouting his mouth off, slamming his letter of resignation down on the desk, and storming out, and expect that would be the end of the matter, No!
    Callan was recruited to 'the Section' of British Intelligence as an assassin. If someone was in need of being bumped off, their name went into a red coloured file, and then that file was given to Callan, and he......killed that person, and was not expected to ask questions such as 'Why?' Callan once resigned from the Section of British Intelligence. He was allowd to leave, but kept on a short leash by Hunter, Callan's immediate superior. Callan ended up as a clerk working for £8 a week. Had the Prisoner been allowed to remain at large, that might be how he turned out, working in a dead end job for £8 a week. But then again the Prisoner is of a different calibre to that of Callan. Besides which the Prisoner was ready to get away. He was going abroad, somewhere in Europe, Paris perhaps. But it was all too late. Because the moment the Prisoner drove out of that underground car park in Abingdon Street in the city of Westminster, 'they' were onto him. Two Undertakers followed him through the streets of London, to arrive in Buckingham Place before him, waiting patiently as the Prisoner arrived home, went into his house......................and of course the rest is history.
     People do resign their jobs, it's a fact of life. But depending on the type of job, that act of resignation can bring about different effects. While some in higher walks of life have to answer to a higher authority, others have to answer to the wife, or husband. Me, when I resigned my job, the only person I had to answer to was the woman at the Job Centre 'Why did you resign Mister Stimpson?' I resigned because for a very long time..............            BCNU

Arts And Crafts

     This is from my Cycledelic period. And that's the Prisoner for you, it comes in vicious cycles. The wheels turn in the mind, like cogs in a machine. The mind makes it's own dark places, and from the prison of the mind there is no escape!


Well It's Your Funeral!

    And that is the attitude No.6 could have taken in the episode of It's Your Funeral, after all what was it to him? It was said of No.6 that he must not grow up to be a 'lone wolf!' Certainly the Prisoner-No.6 much perfers his own company to that of others, unless it suits him to be in the company of others. Indeed he doesn't always answer the door to his cottage when people come calling! So for No.6 to suddenly develop a social conscience seems somewhat out of character, and for so short a time. Because by the time of A Change of Mind, No.6 is even more anti social, than he was before!  Be seeing you.

Thought For The Day

     Many Happy Returns - Having returned home after a long and arduous journey, why should the Prisoner then knock on his own front door? Admittedly the Prisoner would not have the front door key to his house on his person. But who did the Prisoner think would there to open the door? The Butler perhaps!

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Is The Prisoner Subversive?

    There are two ways of looking at No.6, as a hero, who is very brave, strong, a man of steel who will not give into torture, and coercion. Who has held fast, resisted, maintained his individuality,against an enemy who wishes to extract the information in his head. Nay, to turn him to the Village, to make him one of them! As in the case of Cobb, who musn't keep his new masters waiting, and No.2 who stated in his address to the Delegates of the Assembly in Fall Out, that what is so deplorable is, that he resisted for so short a time!
    Then again No.6 could be seen as being a subversive, not wanting to co-operate. Refusing to accept the Village and it's society. Someone who will not settle down, and only responding to his number when it suits him! Is that what the Prisoner is, a political subversive message, dedicated to the individual so to engage in acts of revolt? Certainly the Prisoner applauds anarchy. In the 1960's when the Prisoner was first screened in America the episode Living In Harmony was not shown amid the series, because it was seen as subversive, in showing an American who refuses to carry a gun, soemone who will not kill. And that was not what the American Congress wanted Americans to hear and see, because of the Vietnam war, and the draft that was being carried out at the time, and Uncle Sam needed brave men to go and fight Communism in Vietnam.
   In it's time the Prisoner has attacked the education system - the Courts - religion - the election process - and cocked a snook at democracy, which the Village has dispenced with for it's lack of efficency. So what does the Prisoner stand for? Well basically the right of the individual to be individual. But then is society not made up of individuals, and if it were not for such individuals society would not exist!
    Is No.6 some kind of role model? Should we follow in the footsteps of the Prisoner? Well to be perfectly honest, only if you are aboducted from your home and family. Abducted and taken to a place as alien as the Village. To he held there. Questioned - Interrogated - manipulated - coreced - and held Prisoner for any length of time. Because it was until his resignation and subsequent abduction to the Village, the Prisoner-No.6 was a successful, and accepted member of the establishment. He was good at his job. He had a comfortable home. He was going to marry the bosses daughter, Janet Portland. No, it was not until the Village, did the Prisoner revolt agaisnt his captivity and those who held him captive. He was even offered the chance of ultimate power, to become No.1, which the Prisoner also rejected. Which only goes to show that the revolutionary can never accept anything, otherwise he ceases to be a revolutionary! I can think of many people whom I have known in ordinary life who would like it very much to 'lord' it over others. Those who seek a position of power [wherever they can find it} just for the sake of it, just to be important, but not actually wanting to do anything.
    There are many ways of looking at the Prisoner, and he can be whatever you want him to be. But basically I think the Prisoner is a great moralist, in finally rejecting either his darker self, or the offer of ultimate power, choosing not to be No.1!

Pictorial Prisoner

  Hello, there's something not quite right here!

   Well for years I was taken for Patrick McGoohan, as I portrayed McGoohan's character No.6 in re-enactments at Prisoner conventions held at Portmeirion, on stage, and in film. And in all of that I've had more then my fair share of those 15 minutes of fame.     Be seeing you

Caught On Camera!

     What does No.6 think he's doing?

   In Checkmate a daring escape attempt is being made. No.6 has just cast the Rook-No.58 adrift on a pair of rubber lilos. Now he's dashing off to meet his other reliable men at the Stone Boat - but just a minute, he's running not towards the Village, but away from it!!    BCNU

Thought For The Day

    It's Your Funeral saw an assassination/execution plot against the retiring No.2. Had it not been for that plot, and the retiring No.2 expected to die via a bomb in the Great Seal of Office which was expected to have been detonated by radio {what a terrible way to die} No.2 would, under normal circumstances, have been gracefully retired to the Old People's Home. And he still might have been, seeing as how the helicopter No.2 was escaping the Village in, was turning back towards the Village, much to the surprise of the new No.2.       Be Seeing you.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

The Prisoner Takes It All In His Stride!

    There he is, having woken up in what appears to be a deserted Village. No.6 makes a search of the Village, even tolls the bell in the Bell Tower in order to attract someone, anyone's attention, but there is no-one! So the Prisoner sets about leaving the Village. The mountains appear to be impassable, so the only way out is by sea. The Prisoner starts felling trees, empties a number of oil dums, and contructs himself a Kon-Tiki style sea-going raft - collects his provisions from the General Store, which has been convieniently left unlocked. Then having taken a camera, the Prisoner takes photographic evidence of the Village before setting sail.
    Once at sea, the Prisoner sets about making himself a compass, comprising of a magnatised needle, an old Village cooking oil jar half filled with sea water. A piece of rounded cork marked with the four points of the compass. String, and two pieces of marked wood. He pits his skill against a cruel sea, and keeps his log on the back of a copy of The Tally Ho, and sleeps only four hours out of each twenty-four, and survives on water, tinned baked beans and corned beef. But sleep deprevation eventually overtakes the Prisoner, and he collapses into unconciousness through exhaustion. The raft is spotted by two so called 'gun runners,' who take what they can from the raft, and dump the unconscious body on the raft into the water. This act brings the Prisoner round, and he manages to get aboard the gun runners boat before it gets underway. The Prisoner then sets about taking on the two gun runners, who do not appear to have any food of their own, judging by the way they start tucking into the Prisoner provisions of tinned baked beans and corned beef! Having over powered the two gun runners, the Prisoner takes command of their cabin cruiser, and sets sail for a light in the distance. But the two gun runners gain their freedom, having been tied up and locked in their cabin, and attack the Prisoner from two sides. The Prisoner puts up a valiant fight, but has to quickly abandon ship when one of the gun runners open fires on the Prisoner with a hand gun.
    Having swum for a few miles, the Prisoner is washed up on a beach at the foot of chalky cliffs, and there is a Lighthouse not far off shore. Seeing as the only way is up, the Prisoner scales the chalk cliffs at a place where a large piece of cliff errosion has recently taken place, and there he scrambles up the cliff like a wee mountain goat!
    Somewhere in the countryside, not far from the cliffs, the Prisoner encounters a gypsy, who he follows to a gypsy camp. There are three gypsies, one of them a young woman, who shows an act of kindness towards the Prisoner by offering him a cup of hot tea, soup, or broth. He asks her where there is a road 'Don dunderon doi doi' the girl responds, or words to that effect and spelling, and points to where there is a road.
    The Prisoner finds the road, but there is a police road block, and a British Police car together with good old Birtish Bobbies should tell the Prisoner that he's back home in England. But his sense tells him that what he may see may not yet be trusted. and so he works his way round the Police road block through the undergrowth, then finally, seeing a large van pulling away from the road block, he runs and jumps aboard into the back of the van, where he can eventually settle down for some much needed sleep.
    Suddenly the sound of traffic and a Police siren - the Prisoner wakes up, panics, and jumps out of the back of the van - into the road and path of busy London traffic! What the devil did he want to do that for? To risk his life in escaping the Village, only to leap out of the back of a van, to possibly lose it under a London bus or taxi just when he had reached his goal, seems the act sheer folly to me. But the Prisoner didn't, more by luck than judgement, and eventually he made his way across London to his home in Buckingham Place.
     Having reached his home, the Prisoner walks up the steps to the front door, and using the door knocker raps upon that door. Just a minute, just a minute. If this is the Prisoner's home, and I do realise he doesn't have the key to his front door on his person, who by knocking on the door, did the Prisoner think would open the front door for him?
   But the front door is opened for him, by Martha, an officious housemaid, who looks down her nose upon the raggedy figure of the Prisoner with disdain, shares a few words with him, and then closes the door in the Prisoner's face! But worse is to come.....within moments of that closing door, the Prisoner's ears recognise the roar of an old friend, his Lotus Seven which comes towards him, from the other end of Buckingham Place, with a woman behind the wheel!
    The Prisoner intrigues Mrs Butterworth enough so as to invite him in. But even in this familar environment, having crossed London to get home, the Prisoner still looks for reassurances, by looking out of the window, listening to the dialling tone of the telephone, and explaining to Mrs Butterworth about the damp patch behind the desk which he had made good about twelve months ago, and the fact that the hot and cold taps of the shower had been put on the wrong way round, and that the bathroom door slides to the left. They exchanged explanations, the Prisoner gives a false name, Peter Smith, he tells Mrs Butterworth his story, and she gives the Prisoner tea. The lease of the house, which had six moths to run, is now in Mrs Butterworth's name, she has also taken possession of his Lotus Seven, which she kindly lends to the Prisoner just as long as he promises to come back, having fed, washed, and clothed the raggedy man. What's more and she'll bake him a birthday cake.
    For the second time the Prisoner goes running back to his ex-colleagues, and spins them a tale which Hans Christain Anderson would reject as a fairy tale! But the Prisoner convinces the Colonel, if not Thorpe, that every detail of their ex-colleagues report should be checked out, which leaves the cards heavily stacked in the Prisoner's favour.
   A search area is calculated via the log the Prisoner kept on his sea voyage. An aircraft is requsitioned, the Group Captain is the pilot, the Prisoner the navigator, and clearence has been given for refuelling at Gibraltar. But there is just one teeny weeny problem on the horizon..............the Milkman!
    And so the search goes on again tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow........No.6 is a stubborn fellow. And then there is it, the reconnaissance flight has discovered the whereabout of the Village! But to no avail.....the pilot lifts the visor of his helmet, turns to look over his shoulder........'Be seeing you!' and pulls the ejector seat leaver, effectively returning the Prisoner to what is to all intents and purposes, a deserted Village.
    The Prisoner slowly returns to the only place he can ever go, his cottage of '6 Private.' Suddenly the water is turned back on, along with the electicity, the light comes on, the coffee perculator is boiling, and the front door to the cottage opens and in walks Mrs Butterworth-the new No.2 bearing a cake with 6 candles lighted upon it, and a smarmy smile upon her face. Outside the good citizens are parading around the pool and fountain of the central Piazza, and the Prisoner, well he calmy takes all this in his stride. Having put himself through so much to escape the Village, it's as though he'd never been away................many happy returns No.6!  
Be seeing you

Thought For The Day

   If the term of office of this particular No.2 has been so long that he's had to take a spell of leave away from the Village, why is it, when No.6 goes to pay a call on No.2, he has to ask to see No.2 because he doesn't recognise this man sitting in 2's chair, as No.2?
   Perhaps this particular No.2 didn't have direct contact with No.6, busy as he was with other projects in the Village......what is the new Blue Zone in the post? I've often wondered.    Be seeing you.

Pictorial Prisoner

    I've often wondered what the significance this Peg Wooden doll has in the Prisoner, although I've never been able to figure out what that significance, if any, that might be. The way this doll is placed in the chair by a disembodied hand, during the conversation between No.6 and No.14 in Checkmate, seems quite deliberate to me. Also there is a Peg Wooden doll on the table in No.6's cottage on the day of his arrival, it holds the card 'Welcome to Your Home From Home.'   Be seeing you

Caught On Camera

    Isn't everything they do in the Village a betrayal?

You would think No.6 would notice wouldn't you?
Be seeing you

Monday 25 July 2011

Even As A Child There Is Somehting Inside Your Brain Which Is A Puzzlement

    'When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.'
                                {Corrinthians1 verse 25}

    What is it about the Prisoner which attracts the mind of a child? I myself was a mere 12 years old in 1967 when I began to watch the series, as were many of my contemproraries at the time, perhaps even a year or two younger. And the story has been much the same through the decades, young children drawn to and becoming fans of the Prisoner, when originally the series was never meant as a childrens Television series. However, there are many childish things within the Prisoner, the use of nusery rhymes for one, the tune of 'Pop Goes The Weasle' features much in Arrival, and in following episodes of the series, with No.8 pompomming the tune in Checkmate as one such example, as she makes No.6 his nightcap of hot chocolate. No.6 is later accused by No.2 of telling us a blessed fairy tale in The Girl Who Was that what Patrick McGoohan was doing all along? And don't forget for Once Upon A Time No.6 was regressed to his childhhood.
    If I have discovered anything about the Prisoner, it is that the series is best viewed through the eyes of a child, and is best understood as a child, and that has been true all through the years and decades since the first days of the Prisoner. And is that what Patrick McGooahn did, unbeknown to the majority, made us get out our childish things once more? Perhaps that's why the vast majority of the general public could not understand the Prisoner at the time, thought it the biggest load of rubbish to be seen on British television, because they had put away such childish things!   Anyone for a game of conkers round the back of the bike sheds?   BCNU

Patrick McGoohan Might Well Have Been Shaken But Not Stirred!

    Regular readers of my blog may very well be aware of the dialogue which has taken place regarding the identity of the Prisoner-No.6, with the idea of him being the former John Drake of 'Danger Man.'
    Well seeing as that dialogue is now closed, at an end, all the things that needed to be said, having been said, I decided to look into the origin of 'Danger Man.' Because strange as it may seem, Patrick McGoohan, who turned having down the role of James Bond, may very well have ended up playing the MI6 agent, had Ian Flemming not already sold the rights to 007 James Bond, being unable to buy the rights back. Roger Marshall, scriptwriter on 'The Avengers' who was also involved in the very early days of 'Danger Man' had this to say - 'I worked for Ralph Smart who was the Producer of 'Danger man.' At the early stages of perperation for 'Danger Man' it was called 'James Bond,' the idea was that it was going to be a series 'James Bond' Television show with Pat McGoohan. Then I went to work in America, and when I came back four months later, it wasn't 'James Bond,' but 'Danger Man,' but it was still Patrick McGoohan!'

    'The Invisible Man' {1958-1960} pointed the way. Like 'Danger Man' the production was geared for the American market. The title hero was voiced by an American, the stories basic crime thrillers had however a British background.
    Ralph Smart, who had written 'Invisible Man' scripts, provided the way forward. Commissioned by Grade, Smart came up with two scenarios, one of which was for what was to become 'Danger Man.' But in the beginning, Smart had come up with a concept entitled 'Lone Wolf,' an espionage thriller concerning one man going it alone in a world of spies and espionage. Smart had several meeting with 'James Bond' creator Ian Flemming, the two men considered bringing 007 to the Television screen, but as stated previously in this blog, Flemming had already sold the rights, to Eon Productions and was unable to buy them back. In consequence the two men used Bond as a spring board to invent a new character. A cool, handsome man, a user of women, he would get the job done no matter what.
    Smart gave the idea to Ian Stuart Black, an author who had contributed scripts to 'The Invisible Man' series. He knocked the idea around and came up with the idea of an agent working for NATO. To further remove the agent from 007 James Bond, and also to aid sales to America, Smart and Black made the agent an American. Two storylines were develivered to Grade. The pitch was successful, and 'Lone Wolf' which had become 'Danger Man' was given the go ahead.....the rest as they say is history.

   Footnote: Seeing how Ralph Smart came up with the concept of 'Lone Wolf,' I now see what No.2 was referring to in the Prisoner episode Once Upon A Time when he said to No.6 'You musn't grow up to be a Lone Wolf!' I always thought that meant No.6 musn't grow up to be a person who just goes his own way, and doesn't need anyone else. But now I see that it is another of those in-jokes we hear about from time to time, meaning Ralph Smarts 'Lone Wolf'' television series!
I'm Obliged

Arts And Crafts

   You will recall my watercolour of yesterday, the same scene as this one, but just as I was finishing, two Top-Hat Adminstrative Officials came walking into the scene, so I felt the urge to paint them into my composition, but I had to work quickly as the couple walking down the street from the Town Hall, had walked passed the Taxi................phew!


It's Inexplicable!

    The way No.6 tells his ex-colleagues , the Colonel and Thorpe, that The Tally Ho newspaper is issued daily at noon, when in It's Your Funeral he is able to purchase a copy at 10:20am!


Sunday 24 July 2011

A Right Old Pantomime Is Dance of the Dead

    Peter Pan, a boy played by a woman. There's a Principal boy dancing to the music, with everyone in fancy dress costume, including the Chinese Emporer as though from Aladin, and No.240 as little Bo-Peep who always knows where to find her sheep!
   The trial of the Prisoner is also something of a pantomime, because you know that sentence given to the Prisoner is never going to be carried out, seeing as how earlier in the episode the Prisoner was said to have a future with the Village.
    Roland Walter Dutton was also in a Jester's fancy dress costume, and it was he who the Prisoner called as a character witness, seeing him as the only person free and able to say the things that needed to be said. But might there have been more to it than Dutton being due to die? Roland Walter Dutton was brought before the Court, as a Court Jester.....................  In olden days of the Medieval period, each King would have a Court Jester, and it was the Jester who was the only one at Court who could say the things that needed to be said, critising the King perhaps, making a fool of him, speaking out against the political policies of the day, and not be punished for it.        I'll be seeing you

Village Pin-Up

     The lovely Bettine Le Beau, who played the role of Lucette, Madam Engadine's maid in A B & C.

Be seeing you

Arts And Crafts

     From my Watercolour period. 

Pictorial Prisoner




Saturday 23 July 2011

X'ed Out And Filed Away - Somewhere in that Long Room!

   During the opening sequence, after the Prisoner has handed in his letter of resignation, his photograph on a computer print-out card is X'ed out and filed away under RESIGNED in a grey filing cabinet in that long room of filing cabinets.
   I suppose one could be forgiven for thinking that the picture is that of John Drake, indeed as a boy of twelve back in 1967, that is the impression I was given. However, it is in actual fact a promotional photograph of Patrick McGoohan, which is also used for the election placards in Free For All, and in the episode of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, it would seem that it is Patrick McGoohan who has resigned, and been filed away in that grey filing cabinet! What was it the Prisoner told No.2 'I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered!' Well of course there is no-way that the Prisoner could have known he had been filed in this way. Of course the Prisoner could have been pushed into resigning, no longer believing in the job he was doing which brought about his resignation. As for being stamped, well he's certainly had his card marked! Briefed, this happened during the aerial tour of the Village. De-briefed by the first No.2 over breakfast, and numbered by the Supervisor!
   I've sometimes wondered what it is they do with all this accumulated information in those grey filing cabinets. It puts me in mind of the end scene of Indiana Jones & The Raider of the Lost Ark, where the Ark is locked in a crate, and the crate put in a huge warehouse full of crates, perhaps never to be looked upon again........................................ Be seeing you.

60 Second Interview With The Kid

Reporter 'Hello Kid. The Judge reckons you're the fastest he's ever seen on the draw.'
The Kid......................................
'Not so fast with you're fists though eh Kid?'
Photographer 'Smile Kid' {click goes the camera}
'You're the Judges favourite, not one of the boys.'
The Kid simply sits in his chair staring ahead with a kind of funny look in his eye.
'Don't say too much do you Kid. They tell me you're soft on Cathy, would you say that Kid, would you?'
'Well maybe you wouldn't. You're the strong silent type eh Kid?'
'The Judge aint gonna hit me no more!'
'What's that Kid?'
The Kid looks sheepish, as though he's said too much!
'Thought you said something there Kid. Look, why don't you tell our readers something about yourself Kid?'
'Not much to tell eh Kid! They say you killed your first man at fourteen, that right Kid?'
The Kid shuffles in his seat.
'They do say that the clothes you wear are taken from the men you've killed, that right Kid?'
'What about your parents, they still alive?'
{The Kid puts his hand to his pacemaker, I mean Colt 45 Peacemaker and was about to draw on me.}
'Hey Kid, no need to get all riled up like that. Why not tell the readers where you come from.'
{The Kid takes his hand away from his gun.}
'Were you born here in Harmony?'
{The Kid pours himself a drink.}
'I see, you kinda drfited in. You like the Judge Kid?
The Kid take a drink and refills the glass 'The Judge ain't gonna hit me no more!'
'That's twice you've said that Kid. The Judge hits you, why does he do that?'
The Judge 'Because the Kid's temperamental. He's fast on the draw, sensitive maybe, but he's one of the best.'
{I wrote down homicidal maniac!   The pair of doors to the Silver Dollar Saloon still swinging after the Judges entrance.}
'I think that's all for now Kid. Go over to the Jailhouse and keep an eye on Johnson. Cathy will be over later to see her brother. Don't you look at me like that Kid. There'll be another Prisoner here for you to look after. If you behave yourself, I may let you kill him.'
{The Kid swallowed two fingers of red eye. Stood up, picked up his top hat, put in on his head and walked slowly and deliberately out of the Saloon.}
'He's mean. Now, lets be about a hand or two of Poker, I'll deal.'

Reporter No.113
Photographer No.113b

Thought For The Day

    The Alternative Chimes of Big Ben as it was termed upon its discovery in the early 1990's, and eventually released on video. I've never really liked the use of the word alternative, because what was discovered is actually the 'first cut' of The Chimes of Big Ben. If anything is the alternative episode, it is the one transmitted during the series.
   As I understand it, there is undergoing, has been undergoing a restoration project for The Alternative Chimes of Big Ben at

Caught On Camera

  This picture is taken from the episode The Chimes of Big Ben moments prior to No.6 inviting Nadia-No.8 into his cottage for a nightcap. I had often wondered why No.6 is about to place a pencil in the breast pocket of his blazer - had he just been completeing The Tally Ho Crossword, or solving a chess problem in the newspaper off camera? Because to me it seemed out of place somehow, and could think of no other reason for the pencil.  Then back in the early 1990's, the discovery of  what has been termed as The Alternative Chimes of Big Ben was made, and ultimately released on video, something Patrick McGoohan had tried to stop, as he did not want this 'first cut' of The Chimes of Big Ben released to the general public for screening. But seeing as how McGoohan no longer had any control over the Prisoner, his attempt to stop the release of the never before seen 'first cut', proved to be a waste of time.
  This next image is taken from The Alternative Chimes of Big Ben - No.6 having constructed himself a Triquetrum, an ancient device used for the measurement of stars. A crude device, not one hundred percent accurate, but No.6 was using the device to discover the location of the Village by the stars.
    Now at long last I had the explanation for the pencil in the above picture. No.6 had been making a notation of his astronomical observations in a note book, and so it was moments after doing so, that No.6 was about to place the pencil in the breast pocket of his blazer, as in the next image which again is taken from the 'first cut' of The Chimes of Big Ben
   Why the 'first cut' was scrapped, and the episode re-edited together, without the 'triquetrum' scene I have no idea. Nor the reason why Patrick McGoohan didn't want the 'first cut ' of the episode released to the general public. I can only think that McGoohan didn't like it for some reason, and therefore didn't want it seen by anyone.
   What was No.6 noting down in that notebook of his? Well you can see the notebook briefly on screen, but for a few seconds only. Below is a copy of those astronomical notations, and a diagram of the Triquetrum itself which was reproduced in the early 1990's.

   Be seeing you


Friday 22 July 2011

Thought For The Day

   Strange how the characters name of Cobb in Arrival go to make up the time of the following episode Chimes of Big Ben, and just a mile or so away, there is the Cobb at Portmadog, along which a railway track runs. But of course it's pure coincidence, and nothing more should be made of it than that. You can actually see the Cobb at Portmadog in some of the aerial shots in the Prisoner.

What's That No.6 Up To?

'Up periscope!' What's the game this time? Don't tell me No.6 is all at sea - well he will be when those two security guards get their hands on him!
    I watched the projectionist, sat at this periscope in the Projection Room, and No.6 is pictured here doing the same, the only difference is, No.6 doesn't know why, or does he? He is pictured here when various departments were reporting in to Control as preparations were being made for another of the Professor's lectures in The General. So why the need for the Periscope? To be perfectly honest, I've no idea. Although I have seen factual film of men sat at periscopes in a room, just like the Projectionist and No.6 does, and in that case I think it had something to do with the testing of Nuclear bombs in the 1950's, as far as I can remember that is. If only I could remember where I've seen that film...perhaps it was on, it was a documentary on television, but I cannot remember what.     
Be seeing you

Pat Jackson - Film Director

    It was yesterday when I learnt of the passing of film director Pat Jackson, who learnt his trade on the 1936 film Night Mail, and who went on to make one of the finest wartime films Western Approaches.
    His best Television work was done with a young stage actor he had introduced to the screen, Patrick McGoohan in episodes of Rendez-Vous, Danger Man and McGoohan's brainchild the Prisoner having directed episodes A B & C, The Schizoid Man, Hammer Into Anvil, and Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, whose cult status ensures that, unlike most of Jackson's work, it remains in circulation.
    It has to be said, that Pat Jackson was a cantankerous film director, and perhaps that is why he got on with Patrick McGoohan, and why McGoohan had so much respect for Jackson, as McGoohan could be cantankerous himself, two of a kind it could be said.

   Pat Jackson died on the 3rd of June 2011.

Be seeing you

Pictorial Prisoner



Thursday 21 July 2011

Thought For The Day

    I guess the worst moment about the Prisoner came when in 1968 the series came to an end with Fall Out, and there I was, a boy of twelve deperately trying to maintain memories of what had taken place not only in the whole series, but also in Fall Out!
Be seeing you.

Village Pin-Up

   Norma West, who played the role of No.240 No.6's observer, and previous to that Observer to No.34 who died. No.240 got to know No.34 pretty well, but then he didn't know her!
    Also as Little Bo-Peep who always knows where to find her sheep, this at the Ball in the evening at the Town Hall.

Who Is Number One?

     If there's one film I enjoy starring patrick McGoohan its Hell Drivers. Red, played by Patrick McGoohan {for those who do not know} drives a ten ton tipper truck No.1, carrying ballast {gravel} But later in the film Tom Yately, played by Stanley Baker, takes Red's truck, and when questioned about this at the quarry.............


Arts And Crafts

           Hell is a Village!


Wednesday 20 July 2011

Janet Portland - One Time Debutante!

    Now a middle aged woman, and still unmarried! Janet was in all probabilty one of the last Debutantes of the 1950's. And having been so, one would have thought, as would her father Sir Charles Portland, that being a debutante Janet would have been paired off with a boy of good family and breeding. But it was not to be It has been written that Janet was attracted to the Prisoner by his good looks, but what attracted the Prisoner to Janet is not quite so clear.
   When we meet Janet, it is when she is a forlorn woman, having lost her fiance, not knowing where he is, whether he's alive or dead, but living in the hope that one day her lover will retun to her. And possibly her father was living in the hope as well. Because having put his daughter through the very expensive process of finishing school, and not having found herself a husband as a debutante, no doubt Sir Charles thought he would have his daughter on his hands for the rest of his life. So it's not at all surprising that he dropped his secateurs when the Prisoner asked for his daughters hand in marriage, I bet Sir Charles couldn't believe his luck! But then his hopes were tragically dashed when Janet's fiance went and disappeared!
    It has also been written that Janet is a child of the sixties - rubbish! She's nothing more than a middle aged spinster! The 1960's has been described as a time when women even more then men were breaking out of their behavioural straightjackets. expanding their cultural horizons and discovering fulfilment in mental and sexual freedoms - well that might be true in some cases, but not Janet here. I cannt belive that she has discovered sexual fulfilment and freedom! I mean just look at her hair style, it's formal, it's plain, as is Janet herself. And look at the kind of men she attracts at her birthday party, mostly middle aged, and old men, well as I say, Janet herself is middle aged, so her bithday party was never gong to be a rave.
    She probably does the social rounds. Janet is the homely kind of woman, concerned with the hairdresser, shopping for clothes, has her own dress-maker. She doesn't work, probably has a generous allowance from her father. Janet has not embraced the sixties, as her dress sense is still in the 1950's, as is her hairstyle!
   So why would Janet marry a man such as the Prisoner? Well only a woman can answer that one. Why would the Prisoner want to marry Janet? Perhaps he saw the marriage as a way of bettering himself within Sir Charles department of the Foreign Office. And Sir Chalres? Well he welcomed the marriage, because it meant that he would get his daughter off his hands at long last!  BCNU


    Just the other day, last monday morning in fact, I was listening to Stephen Fry's 'English Delight' on Radio 4, and suddenly I had what I can only describe as being a Prisoner moment. Stephen Fry was talking about Oscar Wilde and how he wanted to know how his latest book was selling. So he wrote a letter to his publisher, but with a simple question mark written upon the paper. His publisher, upon receiving Wilde's letter, wrote back to him with a simple exclamation mark written upon the paper! And so I wondered if I could apply this to a certain aspect within the Prisoner? Because almost instantly I was thinking of the Prisoner episode of The General, and that insoluable question to man or machine, which No.6 asked the General - WHY?
    Over the years and decades, the question of WHY? has been written about, and debated by fans of the Prisoner, in attempting to answer this so called insoluable question. Fans came up with why did the General self-destruct like that, if the computer could not answer the question, there would simply be no response. Or perhaps the General could have responded with 'Why Not? But have I hit, although completley by accident, the answer to WHY? being WHY! If so, thank you Oscar, and thank you Stephen Fry, who is also a very dedicated fan of the Prisoner.    Be seeing you.

What An Infernal Contraption!

    Firstly, I do not lay claim to this contraption in any shape or form, as I came across it whilst trawling the World Wide Web. Secondly, this has no connection to the Prisoner, save for the fact that it's a Penny farthing bicycle. Looking at it, this motorised Penny Farthing, looks like something Jules Verne might have dreamt up!    Be seeing you.

Pictorial Prisoner

                     A curious point, but the substitue alphabet code having been substututed by a number block code for the actual transmitted eipsode!  BCNU


Tuesday 19 July 2011

Lava Lamps - Just That Or Something More Malevolent?

   Here it is, the Astro Lamp or Lava Lamp produced by the Mathmos Company, first developed by Mister Edward Cravern-Walker, after seeing one on display in a country public house. He became fascinated by the contraption, purchased it immediately, and expanded upon it around 1963. The Astro or Lava Lamp became an iconic symbol of the 1960's, which is still popular today.   The Village also has the Lava Lamp. No.6 has two in his cottage. No.2 in Arrival also has two Lava Lamps in his office, but one placed on top of the other. However these are removed by the time of The Chimes of Big Ben. Instead you can see the Lava Lamp effect shown on the large wall screen in No.2's office. And in many other buidlings and offices around the Village, there is the Lava Lamp, even in the Medical Examination Room in the Hospital!  Why? Okay, once switched on and heated up, the almost perpetual movement of the wax in the oil can be very relaxing to watch, even theraputic, certainly decorative. But having the Lava Lamp in the Village, could it not take on a more sinister and symbolic meaning? Could it's presence in the Village be symbolic of that membranic creature, the Village Guardian, that patrols the Village, bringing to heel anyone who attempts to escape, rendering it's victim unconscious by suffocation - or worse. We have seen how it is contained in a containment area somewhere at the bottom of the sea, and have observed how a segment of the Village Guardian is released. In fact, could not the Lava Lamp be a smaller containment for a segment of the Village Guardian placed in the homes, buildings, and offices as a daily reminder of what is waiting out there for anyone who goes off the rails, and attempts to escape? Watch the Lava Lamp as it heats up, the wax growing and expanding, almost alive, malevolent almost, as though it would do you harm if only it could escape its confines! Is that not the way it might appear to citizens in the Village? And one way of controlling this membranic creature would be to  simply ...............switch it off!     I'll be seeing you                                                                                   

Thought For The Day

    During Dance of the Dead, No.6 finds a dead body on the sea shore, and going through the dead man's pockets he finds a wallet, and a transistor readio in a black leather pouch - the radio still works. Later, No.6 is seen on the outlook above the cliffs, listening to the radio and the following transmission.........

       Nowhere is there more beauty than here.
Tonight when the moon rises the whole world will turn to silver.
Do you understand, it is importnat that you understand.
I have a message for you, you must listen.
The appoinment cannot be fulfilled.
Other things must be done tonight.
If our torment is to end, if liberty is to be restored, we must grasp the nettle even though it makes our hands bleed. Only through pain, can tomorrow be assured.

    Now what may we make of that message? Certainly I don't think it was meant for No.6 - probably for the dead man No.6 found on the beach! Perhaps he was a plant in the Village, and someone from somewhere was supposed to have come and extract this man from the Village, to liberate the Village even.
   Yet there is another point of view - and that the radio transmission, picked up and listened to by No.6 was not transmitted from out in the free world, but from somewhere within the Village itself! Well just read the first line again Nowhere is there more beauty than here, that line suggests the Village, although it can also suggest the world that No.6 dreams about - his world. And of course there is the question of liberty - whose liberty? That of the dead man? Well its too late for him. Perhaps the message alludes to the liberty of the citizens of the Village. Because there is the question of the voice of the radio transmission. I've watched Dance of the Dead dozens and dozens of times over the years, and the more I listen to that radio message, the more I have become convinced that it is the voice of No.2 of Free For All, that of Eric Portman!    I'll be seeing you.

Caught On Camera

   Partick McGoohan was flown over from Hollywood to endorse the Prisoner special edition at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1990. He was presented with the keys to this very car, chassis number 6 of the special edition, echoing his name in the TV series - 'Number 6.'

    Patrick McGoohan's "I am not a number" speech has long since passed into cult status. As a free man in the Prisoner TV series, he drove a Seven. From 1989, so could anyone, with the Prisoner special edition, pictured in 'The Village' {Portmeirion, in North Wales}.


Arts And Crafts

  Perhaps the Prisoner was feeling the heat - is that why he resigned?



Monday 18 July 2011

These Arn't All They Might Be You Know!

     At the outset of The Chimes of Big Ben, the General said of his chess set to No.6, that they are not all they might be. I think I'll make myself a chess set!

   And here the General is, exhibiting his hand-crafted chess set at the Exhibition of Arts & Crafts.

     Hand-crafted yes, but not by the General I suspect. As these are hand-crafted copies of original hand-crafted Isle of Lewis Chess Men, such as these pictured below.
The only hand-crafted Chessman of the General's chess set is that of the amended 'King,' whose face has been forged in the image of No.2 for the episode. Of course if you don't know about the Isle of Lewis chessmen, then you would have no idea that the Generals chess pieces were not hand-crafted by him, or at least by a member of the Properties department on the production of the Prisoner, as I did at the time.
When the King of the original set looks like this.
And if you wish to know more about the Isle of Lewis Chessmen, then please to read the following.
I myself have a reproduction set of these Isle of Lewis Chessmen which I purchased in 1987. Do I play with them? From time to time. I have also seen some of the original Lewis chessmen, they are quite remarkable.
Be seeing you