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Wednesday 29 February 2012

The Therapy Zone

   In The Chimes of Big Ben we learn at the end that Number Six's British superiors are working for The Village - or at least they were a part of whatever system had incarcerated him. In Many Happy Returns, we're not so sure. Those British superiors appear authentic, and they seem honestly concerned about what happened to Number Six, well the Colonel perhaps, not so sure about Thorpe! Casual viewers may think that the pilot of the Glotser Meteor jet aircraft, the man who ejects Number Six from the aircraft and back to The Village, was working for the British. But a closer vieweing reveals that the airplane pilot first appears in the episode as a Milkman, driving a milkfloat which bears a sign "Pinta man Is Strong," which of course is a cover. The Milkman is working for The Village, who overcame the Group Captain, taking his clothing, and flew Number Six to The Village.
    That is exactly what happened in the original script. In fact, in the original script we are introduced to the character who is going to fly the aircraft, and we are privy to a scene in which the Milkman and this pilot confront each other. If this had been completed according to the original script, we would be in no doubt that the actual airplane pilot was different to the intended pilot. Why would the change have been made in the final version? Perhaps the script was going too long and certain scenes had to be trimmed. More likely - considering the importance of this detail - it was decided to leave the situation ambiguous. Although it is fairly clear that the British superiors weren't in on it this time, although we can't be certain."

    In the episode of Checkmate No.8-the white Queen offered to help No.6 with an escape attempt if it's a good plan, at least she could tell him what not to try, a sort of one woman escape committee. Incidentally in an unused script entitled Don’t Get Yourself Killed No.6 hears about an "escape committee" which used to be in every POW camp during both the first and second World Wars, who would assess and authorise inmates escape plans. No.6 joins the "escape committee" and meets the bottle man, who puts SOS messages in bottles and throws them into the sea. An attempt to organise a helicopter for an escape attempt is foiled, No.6 having been betrayed by the Miner, who had discovered "fools gold." And a man who had built a "pedal copter" hidden in a cave, and it was there that No.6 met the Miner.
    This script Don’t Get Yourself Killed was rejected, but I think it may have added something to the Prisoner series, because it shows that other inmates were actually involved with escape plans. After all in the actual series we only hear about escapes, or being too old to escape, apart from No.6 who does attempt four escapes from the village, other than that we only witness one escape which involves other citizens of the village, and that was in the plan drawn up by No.6 in Checkmate. Other than that there was only one other escape attempt, and one I do not count as it was "stage managed," that escape attempt of Nadia's who could not swim so far - how far? 30 miles, according to Nadia.
   Seeing as there are so many unhappy people in the village, you'd think that more people would try to escape, unless they are too old for escape, but even so the law of averages would say that sooner or later one citizen would succeed. But having successfully escaped, where would the escapee send the postcard? Anyone successfully having escaped POW camps during World war II, having made a "home run," would send a postcard to the POW camp from England. Ah, but then you would say that no-one knows the whereabouts of the Village to send a postcard. No.6 knows, No.6 knows.


    "From the beginning of the series, the character called 'No.1' was responsible for death, torture, war. So the worst enemy of man is surely himself; the evil in him the worst thing on earth. One is born with an instilled sense of right and wrong, which is why one is a human being and not an animal. The Prisoner was a splash of objection on a canvas. It was an attempt that failed really to try a slightly different type of television series and at the same time take a stand on something I feel strongly about: numerization, mediocrity, this levelling of people by acceptance. It seems to me that part of the rebellion today is the rebellion against acceptance."

                                                    Patrick McGoohan
Be seeing you

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