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Friday 23 November 2012

The Therapy Zone

    The General’ - this is the second episode to feature Colin Gordon as No.2, although his other episode ‘A B & C,’ was in fact filmed later. The credit's give Joshua Adam as the writer, this being the pen name of Lewis Griefer. For the first time in the series the metal corridors, which lie beneath The Village, appear, as do the American style military guards, who return in later episodes. Also re-used is the Council Chamber from Free For All. This was the basic interior set used to represent No.2's Operations Room, the Control Room and the Labour Exchange, plus the laboratory in A B & C. Education was a newsworthy issue in the mid-sixties, with student sit-ins' being all the rage. However, the main thrust of the story was to give a warning about the danger of technology, when it is used for learning. If people are fed data which has not been arranged or edited, that will become fixed with the information and will have less freedom of thought, as their mental spectrum has been narrowed.

    How the series ended. I'm of the opinion that if they wanted to there could be a further series, one with Jim Caviezel as Two, and of course with The Village in the mind of 313. But I suppose that would just simply be repeating more of the same thing really. So perhaps it's better to leave things as they are. It was nice to see Two being driven around in his Bentley convertible, if only for a few seconds. You noticed of course that Two's Butler never said a word, probably because he was never on screen long enough, or that he was often seen simply lurking in the background.
    I've watched some of the extra features on the discs of the DVD, and one of the deleted scenes was when the Prisoner was in the desert sometime after he had woken up. He found an abandoned scooter in the desert, a 1960's Vespa in fact, and that turned out to be useful transport. But he was soon being pursued by people on other scooters and having been chased the Prisoner crashes his scooter, is sent flying off and hides behind a small sand dune while those on other scooters go riding passed. Now I think it's a pity that that particular scene was dropped from the episode, as it would have helped show how the Prisoner actually got near The Village, after all out there on foot in the desert, the Prisoner could have died of thirst! And I'm sure that Two had ordered that Scooter to be left there so that the Prisoner would come across it. I made the observation that amongst the follies in the desert, that ships drift anchor for one, there might have been a canopied penny farthing half buried in the sand for Six to find. That would have been a nice touch I think.

Hammer Into Anvil
This episode marks a return appearance of Patrick Cargill, previously seen as Thorpe in ‘Many Happy Reruns,’ but the two characters are not meant to be the same. This situation does occur throughout the series, with certain actors playing different parts in some episodes. Filming of The Village was an odd mixture of studio mock-up, Borehamwood locality and second unit Portmeirion footage. McGoohan only appears in The Village proper a couple of times, being film from previous episodes. There are also several back shots which are actually Frank Maher. Again, much of Portmeirion is seen and the story is usually a strong favourite, almost provoking boos from the audience aimed at No.2 and cheers for No.6. The Episode is effectively a two man show, as occurs with the later episode ‘Once Upon A Time.’ ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ also represents one of the rare examples of No.6 actually winning against The Village. A coded message appears in McGoohan's own handwriting.
    It is thought that script editor George Markstein was keen to play up the spy aspect of the series. Department names such as D6 and XO4 had hints of MI5 about them. The Cold War element may also have come from the title, if likened to the 'Hammer and Sickle'. The graveyard seen on the beach in ‘Arrival’ in this story moves to a memorial garden."

Be seeing you

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