The Prisoner – Is He Still Out there?
Well would you credit it,
September 5th 2011 saw the 45th anniversary of the commencement of filming of the Prisoner at Portmeirion. Portmeirion which itself saw its 85th year in 2011, since its opening weekend in 1926. Not only that, but 2012 will see the Prisoner 45th anniversary of its original screening in Canada, yes I did write Canada, and subsequently in Great Britain.
So three anniversaries in close succession, enough to please any Prisoner fan and frequent appreciative visitor of Portmeirion. And I was there you know, well not at Portmeirion, I didn't visit the village until September of 1988. But I do remember the original screening of the Prisoner back in 1967, and in black and white it was, well if you were around at the time you would remember it too. And here I am over 40 years on producing a Tally Ho news letter, writing blog on-line, who would have thought it?
Why am I still captivated by the Prisoner after all these decades, what is it about the Prisoner that captivated me since I was a boy 12 years of age? Well we all have our own reasons don't we, so there is no need for me to waste time going into mine. So as Number 6 once put it "ask on, ask yourself!" But then there is the question of age, I mean the Prisoner was never intended as a children’s television series, but like myself many fans were drawn to the series at a very early age, even as early as 7.
I doubt anything will be made of the 45th anniversary, as a fan of the Prisoner I might have hoped that there would be. Perhaps a terrestrial screening of the series for a change instead of confining it to an afternoon screening on ITV4, because there's nothing quite the same as watching the Prisoner LIVE so to speak, instead of on video or DVD. Yes I know it’s convenient that way and you can watch the series any old time you choose. I myself have the Prisoner on Precision Video, MPI video from the early to mid 1980's then Channel five and all releases right up to DVD box sets which we enjoy today. And there is something to be said for watching the Prisoner on 80's video somehow it’s a little refreshing to do so. No, we must remember that here in
45 years might be a long time, but perhaps the 50th anniversary might be a better time for television to celebrate McGoohan’s work. Ah but I forget, the Prisoner, although the series enjoys a wide fan base, is not a well liked television series. That’s why it is confined to ITV4 and screened in the afternoon when almost anyone, who is a fan, is at work or at school, thereby is unable to watch! Britain
So in my mind and after nearly 45 years I have come to an understanding of the Prisoner not that he understands me in the least, which suits me. I have studied the Prisoner, his village and all related material to such depth and extent, having put answers to many of the questions posed by the Prisoner. Put forward interpretations using reasoned logic, not reading things into the Prisoner which are simply not there and which were never intended to be there in the first place, or going off into fanciful flights of the allegory as McGoohan once upon a time would have us do! But even then there is something of the Prisoner which is an enigma, that remains today.
And it’s all contained within the pages of a manuscript The Butler Speaks, a manuscript which over the past couple of years has now grown out of all proportions, and its never ending, there is always something new to notate and research. There have been at times, things which I have discovered that I would not have dreamed of in all my years of Prisoner appreciation, but having found the answer to a personal 44 year old puzzlement about the Prisoner I can believe anything, even to the extent that my life has been leading up to this work.
Be seeing you