Is 'the Prisoner' a work of art? Well the Village is certainly colourful, the Village buildings, the citizens who wear brightly coloured clothes, wearing colourful striped capes and twirling colourful umbrellas. And certainly colour gives the viewer new impact, and it seems to add a new dimension to 'the Prisoner.' But a work of art? Me thinks that's going a step too far to describe 'the Prisoner.'
I prefer to think of the series as escapism. Over the years 'the Prisoner' and his Village have been a place to escape to, if ony through the media of television and my imagination of course. And the actual Village itself Portmeirion, a place to escape to for a week or two, to be able to follow in the Prisoner's footsteps. But why the Prisoner? Why not go there as the Rook, the Shopkeeper, or cafe waiter? Because they are not exciting characters perhaps. I have known many fans of 'the Prisoner' go to Portmeirion wearing Village attire. In Kosho outfit, or as a Court Jester and Queen Elizabeth the first. Or as Number 48 who represents rebellious youth, but why would two well matured women want to dress up as Number 48? For a start they are the wrong sex, and for another there's the rebellious youth aspect of the character, at 60 they could hardly be descibed as being youthful!
And there are many who have gone as the Prisoner himself, even thinking they have captured the character of the Prisoner. Well they did give it a good try, but there has only been one person to get into the very character of the Prisoner, and that of Patrick McGoohan I suppose, seeing as much of the Prisoner's character is that of McGoohan himself, and that is me. Mind you I had one huge advantage over the others, I looked liked the Prisoner, having been taken for Patrick McGoohan at 'Prisoner' Conventions. After one particular performace, a scene from 'It's Your Funeral' when Monique had come to wake the Prisoner up in his cottage, one long time fan said to me "You are the Prisoner!" and believe me that was one hell of a compliment. Mind you not everyone was in favoiur of my efforts, but that was generally from people who complained about everything and never did anything themselves, or lacked the aptitude to play the role of the Prisoner-Number 6. Blowing my own trumpet? Well yes, but at least I've a trumpet to blow!
However those days for the need to escape are far behind me, and today I am beginning to look a bit like another of McGoohan's characters, that of Steinmetz from Columbo's 'Identity Crisis,' when I brush my hair back that is.
On October 6th I begin a screening of 'the Prisoner,' this to celebrate the 45th anaversary of the series. Come to think about it, that will be the first screening of an episode for me this year. I can recall a time when I would watch the series a couple of times a year, and some individual episodes in between time. But not a day goes by when I do not think of 'the Prisoner,' as I am doing as I type these words, so the Prisoner is never far from my thoughts. Is that a good thing, or bad? It's not my only interest, far from it. But over the years 'the Prisoner' has been a large part of my life, and has grown to be in more recent years. Someone once said of me "You've done more for 'the Prisoner' than Patrick McGoohan ever did," a compliment indeed, which is nice.
I'll be seeing you