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Friday, 10 February 2012

Different Values

     Is an analysis of Patrick McGoohan's the Prisoner, written by one Chris Tame, and which was first published in the New Libertarian Review in September 1974, although I had not come across it until the late mid to late 1980's in a bookshop in the Lincolnshire market town of Spalding.
   There is a strong Danger man theme running through the first part of Chris Tame's paper. Tame sees, as indeed have I for many years and even as a child, the Prisoner as a continuation of Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan cast as Danger Man John Drake in what was originally intended to be an imitation of James Bond movies.
    The Prisoner a direct continuation of Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan still playing the role of John Drake, but with a very different in plot theme. Drake who resigns from his job in British security/Intelligence-M9, and is almost immediately rendered unconscious and abducted to the village. No names are allowed, as citizens are known only by there numbers, and Drake is given the number 6.
    It is interesting to note in Tame's analysis that the ultimate master behind the village remains unknown. This suggests that No.2 is merely the head of the village, that No.1 is merely the figurehead of the village, while there are faceless men in high positions who are pulling the strings, even those of No.1. No.1 may sit upon the throne, but there is an unseen power behind that throne! Did not Cobb in Arrival mention to No.2 that he must not keep his new masters waiting.
    Upon which side runs the village, Tame is unclear, but puts forward the suggestion that it could be NATO Security, or British Intelligence who has had "their man" put away for reasons of security. Or that it could be, according to Tame, some other political or criminal political conspiracy which is independent of both Eastern and Western influences. Or perhaps even manipulation of both sides.
   According to Tame, one episode sees the appearance of one of Drake's Security Chiefs - Mr. Hardy. Well in the Chimes of Big Ben his name is Fotheringay. The face is the same, that of Richard Wattis, only the name is different.
    The Prisoner was at the time when the Cold War was at its height, when both sides looked at each other with daggers drawn. But perhaps when both sides see that they are looking into a mirror, that basically both sides are alike, then they will see that the village is a blueprint for the future. That future is today, with the ever present question of surveillance, and the need to be ever vigilant, and the call for increased security!
   Tame in his analysis sees the theme of the Prisoner as being strikingly clear. The man versus the state, Autonomy and individualism versus regimentation and conformity, the individual versus the collective. But these are only put on a lower level - the village. The village and the members of it's administration are the collective - No.6 the individual. There is no-way for No.6 to actually get to the real power behind the throne, not even when he is given the opportunity to meet No.1. And then when No.6 is faced with the awful truth of the matter, that he is No.1, he rejects it, his future that is!
   This is but part of Chris Tames 5 page analysis of the Prisoner, but so far he seems to have hit the nail on the head. But at the same time only scrapes the surface.

Be seeing you

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