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Thursday 19 July 2012

Prismatic Reflection

So What Has The Prisoner Ever Done For Me? {Or What I Have Done For The Prisoner!} Part Two

    When the BBC came calling..... that was local BBC Television for East Midlands Today, this in regard to a short series which was being filmed on the subject of peoples passions, or should that be obsessions, their collections and the like and had been on the look out for someone with a collection of Prisoner memorabilia and merchandise. Well I was only too willing to oblige. Well after a series of telephone calls, because nothing was certain, especially if a better story came along before hand, or even during the filming. It was on February 3rd when the BBC East Midlands Today film crew arrived, I had spent all morning setting up a display of some of my Prisoner collection, books, videos, badges, posters, piped blazer which I was wearing, a couple of village cloaks. Mugs, records, cd's, photographs, postcards and the like and it all looked most impressive. I was interviewed in the very best possible taste without any sort of Mickey taking. And the whole thing was screened the following Thursday. And to cap it all there were no fewer than three adverts for my piece, and it was longer than any of the other four in the series! What's more BBC East Midlands Today came back for a second time, in the same sort of context about people and their obsessions, this was during 2003 soon after my first book ‘The Prisoner Variations’ had been published.
    But this had not been my first appearance on television, not by a long chalk. SKY was one television network which interviewed both myself and my wife Morag during a Prisoner convention at Portmeirion, that was some years ago. And a French film crew came to Portmeirion on the Friday after the 1998 Prisoner convention, and again Morag and I were involved, in fact we were involved more than most. The fact that I am a look-a-like for Patrick McGoohan had a great deal to do with that!. The only thing was a group of us were trying to complete the Portmirion shoot for the film Village Day and the French film crew wanted me. So once the Portmeirion shoot was a rap, around 5-5:30 in the afternoon as I recall, it was then time to film with the French and that went on all evening through to around midnight! And the filming did in fact end up on French television - "Les Voyages d'Olivia"
    Village day is an amateur production, which was produced on a shoestring budget, but something of an abitious film. Indeed it is the first of such films to actually be filmed on a set in the Green Dome, in No.2's office.
   Set at the time of the prisoner series it concerns the prisoners brother who has been set on his trail by his fiancé Janet Portland who has not seen him for over a year, and who himself is abducted to the village, but for his own protection....against himself!
    Locations for Village day were as far away as Portmeirion, to local locations of a grocers shop and public house. A deserted road, which was when we arrived, but as soon as we started to film it was as though the world and his wife wanted to drive along that road. And because of the time set in the 1960's we could have no modern days cars in shot. But we did have a Caterham Seven KAR 120C, which we crashed! So good was the effect and stunt that a white van driver pulled over to see if we were in need of assistance, for the police or ambulance!
    And when we were busy  filming Village Day at Portmeirion an Irish woman of the general public went into the Prisoner shop to ask if she paid twenty pounds could she stand next to the big man himself? Meaning me, Patrick McGoohan!
    And there was the time when at the 1998 Prisoner convention that a man came face to face with me, well really nose to nose and asked me if I were Patrick McGoohan. Sadly I had to tell him I was not, and the man went away very disappointed!
   I have had many encounters like that, newspaper and magazine interviews, which have actually appeared in such newspapers and magazines, and have been proud to do it. I have embraced the prisoner series, held it close to me, help nurture it as best I can and made the Prisoner my life. Having had one book published, and have written three further manuscripts based on the series. Perhaps if Patrick McGoohan had done likewise things might have very well turned out differently for him.

And since then……. well I've four Priosner manuscripts written, there's my daily blog, the occasional commission, people ask me for information, and I have contact with fans of 'the Prisoner' from various parts of the world from time to time. But now I have two 'Prisoner' series to appreciate.


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