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Thursday 27 December 2012

The Professors Lecture

   My lecture today ladies and gentlemen concerns technology and transport. One piece of equipment used as a prop is the Olivetti Summa Prima adding machine {dual decimal} which is used by the doctor in Arrival, and by the Supervisor in the Control Room, during the episode 'Checkmate.'
   One other machine which particularly springs to mind is the Creed teleprinter used in ‘Dance of the Dead,’ which Number Six fails to sabotage in the closing moments of the episode. This effect was achieved by lacing an unconnected loom of wires and terminal blocks across the access door to the space below the printer, where it's roll of paper
was housed, suspended from chains attached to each end of a bar that ran through its centre core, there being no electrical connection in this part of the unit.
   All the electrician had to do was isolate the mains switch whilst Number Six was ripping out the wiring and paper, and restore power after the delivery of Number Two's immortal line "Then how very uncomfortable for you old chap!"
    During 'The Chimes of Big Ben' Number 2 records a report on number 6 upon a small recoding device, which contains, either two tiny spools and magnetic tape. Or it is possible that it is an early form of a Digital recording device with a restricted recording time of say 40 seconds.
   Gas guns containing nerve gas “one squirt you’re paralyzed, two squirts you dead.”  Which in turn means either the development of nerve gas, or it’s acquisition from one source of supply or anther. 
    Inside cottages and various buildings of the village there are internal speakers  have no wires  no Arial and
no on/off switch. This then is the village advancement in the technology of wireless communication. Where you
 have a method of data transport, wireless technology appears very simple to wired technology. You have a
piece of hardware, a method of transmission , and communications on both ends that transform data.
    You can’t move you laptop 15 feet from the wall jack when depending on a 10-feet cable. Similarly, you
can’t go out for a jog and expect your in-home cordless telephone to keep a connection five miles away from
 its receiver. This in the same way that in the evening of The Chimes of Big Ben No.6 could not have taken
that speaker outside if it were on the end of a cable. Which means all building in the village are “wireless ready.”
    The methods of connection and ranges of services available vary in wireless technology. Different types of
wireless solutions can communicate ten feet, ten miles, or with  satellite in orbit.
    When on the morning of The Chimes of Big Ben No.6 irritated by the programme of early morning music
placed his speaker in the refrigerator. Thus rendering silence to his cottage, the refrigerator had effectively cut
the speaker off from receiving its wireless signal.
    Have you ever been in London and taken a ride on the AEC {Associated Equipment Company} Routemaster bus? Like the one on route 59 which Number Six and the Butler chase over Westminster Bridge for example. This is the only tangible indication that the closing scenes of the final episode were filmed on a Sunday, as route 59 ran only on that day of the week, the weekday equivalent being numbered

The Professor


  1. Hello David,
    When Number 6 put the speaker into the refridgerator, I always assumed that the insulation value of the fridge was what made it so that he could not HEAR the speaker...which my presumption was that the sound was still coming out of the speaker.
    I had not considered that the signal to the speaker could have also been cut off by putting it into the fridge!
    Another thing that I wondered about is the fact that in CheckMate Number 6 figured out how to tell prisoners from villagers...yet he never used this knowledge in any episode but this one!
    Also, in Chimes of Big Ben and Many Happy Returns ,he is shown that people from his past WORK life are shown as assisting the village to get information from Number 6.
    But in Arrival, COBB is shown conversing with Number 2 as if he has changed "sides"
    That is in keeping with the confusion about whose side are you on? But one has to watch and think about what one has seen from episode to episode as well as within each episode!


    1. Hallo Karen,
      Putting the loudspeaker in the refrigerator would have the opposite effect, the closing of the door, and the insulation of the refrigerator would render the loudspeaker absolutely silent, and cut off the wi-fi signal. Which of course it did in the episode.
      In ‘Free For All’ Number 6 said he intended to discover who the prisoner and who the warders. But it took a meeting with Number 14 in ‘Checkmate’ for him to be able to do that. Why didn’t Number 6 use that knowledge in another episode? Well it didn’t work the first time, and in all probability wouldn’t work a second time.
      Obviously both the Colonel and Fotheringay {The Chimes of Big Ben} were working for The Village. But there is still a question mark over the Colonel and Thorpe of ‘Many Happy Returns.’ It’s far from conclusive that they were actually working for The Village. With the knowledge Number 6 had about the Colonel and Fotheringay, the fact that they had betrayed him, and could no longer be trusted. How did Number 6 know that when he went running back to his ex-colleagues {having escaped The Village in Many Happy Returns} it would be the Colonel and Thorpe waiting to see him, and not the Colonel and Fotheringay? In fact I’m surprised he went running back to his former employers a second time. Once bitten forever shy and all that!
      As for Cobb, yes judging by the conversation between him and Number 2, it does seem he has indeed changed sides! But which side is that? After all if The Village is run by the Russians, Cobb is hardly dressed for the Kremlin! He’s wearing a bowler hat and business suit, so he’s dressed for London, but as a double agent? That’s what the Colonel and Fotheringay were, both working for British Intelligence, and The Village! they could have been working for MI5, The Village run by MI6. After all both those departments within British Intelligence don’t know what each other are doing!
      Its one thing thinking about what one has seen with an episode, the trouble is that there is no continuity between the episodes. In certain regards somethings conflict between episodes!

      Best regards
      Be seeing you

  2. Hi David,
    Since Patrick McGoohan WANTED discussion and arguments, the continuity discrepencies only add to the mystery.
    It had to be difficult to keep continuity from one episode to another because of all of the different writers. Even though Danger Man had the same main character as the central focus...HIS world CHANGED every mission...different countries and different people to work with and different jobs to be done.

    In The Prisoner, the Village SCENERY was about the ONLY constant...because everything else was always shifting around.

    Best Regards BCNU

    1. Hallo Karen,
      McGoohan’s idea was that he wanted people to think for themselves, to ask questions, and not sit there blindly watching soap operas on television. He wanted people to stand up and speak out against wrong doing.
      It wouldn’t have been all that difficult to maintain continuity between episodes if they had less scriptwriters, or at least more information passed onto scriptwriters of other episodes. Also where the actors and actresses are concerned I have this example. the doctor-Number 40 in ‘Dance of The Dead’ was played by Duncan MacRae, and the doctor in ‘Checkmate’ was played by Patricia Jessel, both appear to me to be the male and female equivalent of the same character. If they had the same actor playing the same doctor that would make one piece of continuity. And Number 14, Number 2’s assistant in ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ and Number 22 Number 2’s assistant in ‘It’s Your Funeral’ those characters could have been played by the same actor, seeing as they not only look alike, but they are dressed exactly the same! But thinking about it, if there had been more continuity between the episodes there would be far less for me to write about on my blog. So I can’t have it both ways!
      ‘Danger Man’ enjoyed many different scriptwriters but didn’t suffer from that, because each put John Drake into a different environment, sent on different missions. But with ‘the Prisoner’ Number 6 is confined in a small Village, and in that he would see the same people over and over again, and with the ordinary citizens that’s true. But too many main characters change. It’s only a small Village, and as an example, look at how many different members of the medical staff there are….too many!
      Yes that’s a good point you make, the scenery of The Village is the only constant, I like that.

      Best regards
      Be seeing you

  3. Hi David,
    It's an interesting point that you mentioned that MI5 and MI6 don't know what the other are working on...and it's the same way in our government here in the states.

    I saw a picture on Facebook today that I found SO interesting, it showed a KING, QUEEN, BISHOP, ROOK and PAWN and they were labeled Government, Police, Media, Politicians and US.

    Remind you of anything????