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Friday 16 March 2012

No.7's It Doesn't Really Mean Anything!

Until recently, I drifted along with theories and opinions which abound with the realm of Prisoner fandom. But now I regard the series simply as a brilliant piece of television, on face value. To view the Prisoner in any other way is to hide behind words.
   How can anyone watch the superb and highly emotional scenes of Fall Out, only then to regard it in such low esteem that they attempt to describe it as an allegory, or whatever? That has always seemed to be to be something of a cop-out, as an allegory can be anything you like to make it. Surely, what is felt while watching the series is the only thing that matters. It is all too easy to follow pre-conceived notions until they become a dogma!



  1. Why term it "low esteem"? There isn't anything "wrong" about it. A pity we're left with hardly more than language in order to exchange thoughts rather than feelings, of course, where other works of fine arts step in, most notably music that "says it all". Describing (the whole of) The Prisoner as an "allegory" is merely a linguistic crutch or an auxilary means. Various people were using different expressions: "symbol", "symbolism", "eclectic work of art", "postmodernist" and so on. We may find facets to confirm each of the statements. The traditional theatre has ever employed such strategies.

    I wrote on "Fall Out": 40 years on the chutzpah employed by McGoohan is still admirable for merging elements contradicting, incommensurate and disparate. And yet, against anticipation, all this does have some impact. No, this episode isn't really a good one. Not in terms of TV serialized entertainment. It's too good for many others."

  2. Hello nr6e,

    Why the term "low esteem?" I really cannot say. No.7 must have been in one of his moods at the time. There are those who like to think about 'the prisoner' for the series as it is. There are those who like to look and come at 'the Prisoner' from new angles, or think of 'the prisoner' in different terms. And there's No.7, who sees himself as being different to others, simply because he wasn't in 'the Prisoner' I suppose. Personally I think he does it to try and be controvertial.

    Kind Regards

  3. It is a game of opinions and that is the only game we can play, and all win at.... ;-D

    By chance I was reading a newspaper TV critic's view from 1972. It must have been the first time this guy had seen the show, and he was commenting on the final episode in particular:

    ".......this show was either classed as social comment on a grand scale or a celluloid jigsaw puzzle, which over the piece was unsuited to simpletons like myself. Last night's episode wasn't too bad. In saying that I must admit I knew in advance it was the finale so I was prepared to put up with anything.

    Anyway No6 (could well be the code for a cigarette representative), after passing every conceivable test, was honoured by his hosts and then eventually escaped with his short, fat side-kick, the Conservative MP, and the so-called hip youth.

    In fact after weeks and weeks of 'heavy' viewing it sank to the almost plausible depths of James Bond stuff in the end. I suppose it was inevitable No6 would meet 007 - take away the number you first thought of and the your answer is Tom & Jerry"

    So most of what we think today has all been thought of before, but the opinions remain just as valid... in my opinion. What I'm not quite so sure of is whether that reviewer actually *liked* the show or not..... :-D .... I guess McGoohan would have settled for the fact that he had watched it for those 17 weeks. That is all the proof anyone needs to present, in order to express an opinion..... ;-)


  4. Hello Moor,

    "It is a game of opinions and that is the only game we can play, and all win at."
    Yes, very good, very good indeed. I like it.

    Yes, Patrick McGoohan is noted as saying that with the end of the series he didn't want to give the television viewers a James Bond style of ending. Strange then that 'Fall Out' can be viewed precisley like that! Well it works for me. I know that many fans see 'Fall Out' as being an allegorical ending, but that could mean 'Fall Out' can mean anything, and I've always found that to be something of a cop-out, especially on the part of Patrick McGoohan. For me the massive disappointment of 'Fall Out' is, I'd have liked to have heard the Prisoner tell the delegates of the assembly all the things that needed to be said, but he didn't, or if he did I couldn't hear him!

    As for opinions, well we all have them, and at times we all try to forcibly voice those opinions, and at other times we feel sad and disappointed that others do not see 'the Prisoner' in the way we do. But then we don't always see the series as others, and that's the whole point of the matter I suppose it's cosmopolitan!.
    And that's right, if anyone has seen 'the Prisoner' then they have an opinion about it. Whether or not that opinion is right, well who are we to say that it is not? My father saw 'the Prisoner' in 1967-68, and his opinion was that it was complete rubbish, and he held that opinion for the rest of his life, he wasn't right of course!