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Wednesday 14 December 2011

De-briefing The Prisoner Part One

De-Briefing The Prisoner-Part One

    There is a book once published under the title "De-Coding The prisoner" written by Chris Gregory, I have never read it, nor want to seeing it is written by a university lecturer who appears to know little or nothing whatsoever about the Prisoner. This impelled me to write the following article a few years ago under my own column Prismatic Reflection, because if any writer is going to write on any given subject, I think at least he should know something about it, especially when the content of such a book is to provide information to the reader.

    How would you define the Prisoner? A man with no name who is abducted to a village he knows not where, by people he does not know, but who must be on one side or the other. Or there are those who see the Prisoner as nothing more than a old television series which doesn't really mean anything at all, and didn't when it first came onto our screen!

    Well I suppose one can read anything into something given the time and imagination, because there have been many fans of the prisoner who have done just that, making something appear to be something else, misinterpreting the simplest of mundane origin, seeing so termed hidden meanings which simply are not there and were never intended to be there in the first place! If this is their way of trying to understand the Prisoner then they’ll not succeed. You may or may not agree with some of my deliberations on the matter of the Prisoner which I set to record here, but I have enjoyed almost 40 years of Prisoner Appreciation and have come to the end of the most in-depth study ever to be carried on into the subject of the prisoner, and all related material, a study which has taken the better part of three years, perhaps it would have been better to have done it using Speedlearn!

    So let me take you into the speculative and undefined village of the prisoner. So exactly who is the Prisoner-No.6 and why did he resign? Well realistically he could be anyone, but I believe him to be John Drake of Danger man. No lesser people than George Markstien {the man sitting behind the desk in the opening sequence}, Tony Sloman {film librarian who worked on the series} and camera man Jack Lowan have all confirmed this fact known to them. And they should know, after all they were there! the Prisoner, Irish American, worked for a British government department, possibly British Intelligence-MI9, M9 in Danger Man, had a top secret, confidential job. Certainly it is made clear in A B & B that he mixed with spies and agents, A for example used to be on his side before going over. And B he seemed to know very well indeed! As for the reason to resign, well you were told, perhaps you were not listening when No.6 told you. For peace of mind. Because too many people know too much. As well as being a matter of conscience, perhaps he needed time to think. One thing is for sure.... he wasn't selling out!

   So why was the Prisoner brought to the village in the first place? Because of his resignation, later he was seen to have a future in the village, hence the reason why the village authorities went so far with No.6 and no farther. After all they mustn't damage the tissue!

    And the village? Well its certainly an International community, cosmopolitan as you never know who you'll meet here! Its run by one side or the other, but both sides are beginning to look the same! Answers you see, can be found within the prisoner if you accept them, I have learned to do that, otherwise I'd still be left thinking! But certainly I see the village as No.2 did in The Chimes of Big Ben a blue print for world order. But more than that the village being an International community with its single currency the work unit, just as today Europe has become an International community with an almost single currency the Euro. The village, possibly a blue print for Europe today, certainly something of a prediction I should think. Because at the time of the Prisoner series 1967-68 the UK ad not long joined what was then called the "Common Market." Cobb in Arrival said that he mustn't keep his new masters waiting, the European Parliament in Brussels perhaps? Did McGoohan see the European Parliament in Brussels as our new master? But perhaps that is reading far too much into things as there is no evidence of this, and demonstrates just how the imagination can take over if one allows it to. Yet in allegorical terms the village could only have existed in the mind of the Prisoner possibly a self persecution complex. After all each and everyone of us carries his or her village around inside their heads and there's no escape as there isn't for the Prisoner, except through death.

    How about the character of the Prisoner - No.6? Well much of the Prisoners character comes from the character of Patrick McGoohan himself, with a touch of John Drake thrown in because both characters share many of the same mannerisms, the clicking of fingers when he's irritated or nervous. And that goes for No1, well No.1 is the alter ego of No.6 and vice versa, that much is blindingly obvious. Well apparently not to those who refuse the evidence of their own eyes it isn't! We are even told in the opening sequence who No.6 is;

Who are you?

The new No.2

Who is No.1?

You are No.6

    Mind you its the tone of the voice, and the way you say it which makes the difference! McGoohan was trying to show how we all want to be No.1. "You have to look after No.1, because no one else will" people tell us. Because just like No.6 we all have an evil side, a Jekyll and Hyde situation, our alter ego that we sometimes have to control and at other times beat, yet is something we cannot live without. That there are times when each and everyone of us is our own worst enemy.

    So where exactly is the village? Well I can tell you where it isn't, its not on the Baltic in Lithuania, 30 miles from the Polish border, that much I can tell you. Although North Wales would be a good place to start looking, somewhere not too far off from the A487 perhaps, a place called Portmeirion! But not on the English south coast some place near Dover as its been known to be believed by some! Through my deliberations, and long research into the prisoner plus having been given all the facts that there are I have actually pinpointed the location of the village within a few miles.... but don't ask me to give it away, well not until a certain manuscript is finally published, then you'll know as much as I do!

    Whatever the Prisoner is, it all begins with the actions of "Fall Out" creating a vicious circle from which there is no escape. After all in the ending of "Fall Out" is the beginning of "Arrival."

    What's that village guardian ROVER all about? Just that, the village guardian no more, no less. Consisting of white organic membrane, not an alien species I think as in alien from another world. But man made, developed in a laboratory for the precise function it carries out. Whether it can think for itself is difficult to ascertain, certainly it made a choice between the pair of 6's in "The Schizoid Man" and is impervious to bullets as demonstrated in "The Chimes of Big Ben." Death by suffocation, and like a shark Rover homes in on the movement of its prey, hence No.2's order during "Arrival" to "be still!" And again in "Checkmate" when Rover is on patrol and come rolling and bounding along the street, everyone freezes at the side of the road to let Rover pass. Ah I hear you cry out, what about the man with the stick, Rover doesn't attack him as he comes walking past! Ah, well I don't have answers for everything, if I did there would be no mystery! And then again in allegorical terms Rover could just be a nightmare, a representation of our own nightmare which we all have to face. A representation of the thing we fear the most, something hidden away in the darkest and deepest recesses of our mind..... what do you fear, what's your phobia you have difficulty in facing up to and which keeps you Prisoner? Surely your worst fear cannot be worse than the Village Guardian Rover..... or can it?

Part two is to follow soon.

Be seeing you.

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