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Wednesday 12 December 2012

The Therapy Zone

    Mr. Jonathan Jones Remembers - who was local to Portmadog, and of Spetember 1966, he was in the Labour Exchange, when he was put in charge of recruiting film 'extras' for the production of the Prisoner.
    "I was very friendly with Clough Williams-Ellis, although I think he was not very keen on having all those poeple at Portmeirion. Perhaps he didn't realise what would be involved when he allowed the filming there. He kept Portmeirion very select at that time you see. He was one of the 'old school.' The customers he had there were usually Diplomats, Princesses, Lord and Ladies, people like that. He didn't mix much with the film-crew but he followed them round picking up matches, cigarettes ends and bits of paper. He couldn't bear to see bits of cigarettes or anything like that in the village. I could see him picking up the litter every day."

    Patrick McGoohan went to America for a few weeks in 1967 to work on his first Hollywood film called Ice Station Zebra, the money earned was pumped into the production of the Prisoner, in order to keep the production going for the final five episodes.
    During his absence the episode Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling was made, when No.6 was played by actor Nigel Stock, thanks to the idea of a mind swapping process developed by Professor Jacob Seltzman. McGoohan only appears in flashbacks, which occur during the episode. However these "flashbacks" are taken from previous episodes, or stock film footage, not previously used.
    Originally the episode ‘Once Upon A Time’ was intended to have been the sixth episode, and that means No.2 would have died in that cage of the embryo room!
    The idea that the Prisoner was filmed in Portmeirion, is I'm afraid, incorrect. In fact, most of ‘the Prisoner’ series was filmed in and around Borehamwood MGM film studios, and only about a quarter of the series contains scenes of Portmeirion. In later episodes, Hammer Into Anvil, It's Your Funeral, and 'A Change of Mind,' the Portmeirion scenes are mere huge painted back-drops at MGM film studios! Only four episodes contain Prtmeirion to any considerable extent. These are 'Arrival,' 'Free For All,' 'Dance of the Dead,' and 'Checkmate.'
  As well as filming all the interior scenes at MGM studios at Borehamwood, some of the Portmeirion exteriors were re-created at the studio. The outside of Number Six's cottage is one example. The main door and small window near it, the whole of that wall and the arch next to it plus the forecourt, were in some episodes, a 'mock-up.' When Number Six enters his cottage in the episodes 'The Chimes of Big Ben,' 'The General,' and 'A Change of Mind,' we see the studio version of the exterior. When Number Six is confronted by Number one hundred in It's Your Funeral, and a fight takes place between them, that grassy back, and building behind, is another 'mock-up!'
   With the real picture clarity of re-mastered DVD'S, High Definition, and Blu-Ray, it is so, so easy now to distinguish between actual Portmeirion, and the 'mock-up' and painted back drops of Portmeirion.

All You Need Is Love
   So what might be the rationale behind the use of this the Beatles song, especially in the fire-fight of ‘Fall Out?’
   Irony! Man is capable of peace, love, and war. "Love thine enemy" others would have it "Do it to them, before they do it to you!" There has never at any time been any peace on the planet Earth, not since Man has walked upon it. Man has always been at war with himself some where on earth, and in that man is his own worst enemy, in the way he spends billions, upon billions on weapons of destruction, rockets and missiles which could destroy the planet in almost the blink of an eye. That is the irony of the violence in the revolution of ‘Fall Out to the Beatles’ song All You Need Is Love.
Be seeing you


  1. "All you need is love". I wouldn't claim I've a 100% clue why PMcG chose this particular song except that perhaps he liked Beatles music and this song was the new hit single. As seen on the screen nobody can possibly say anything else than "it's use is ironic". Did you notice that the initial chords are those of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem? It's a match with the trial setting of the episode, the song's origin being from 1792, time of the French Revolution the era of courtmartialing and political (show) trials, when political adversaries were being disposed of in short order. - BCNU!

    1. Hello Arno,

      I had observed the initial cords are those of the Marseillaise, but I had not realised it's origin, nor had I compared that with the three trials of 'Fall out.' Thank you for pointing this out. Who said there is nothing left to think about in 'the Prisoner?' What's more it's educational!

      Kind regards

    2. Absolutely. See below! - BCNU!

  2. 100% that McGoohan saw the irony

    McGoohan had done Danton's Death in 1959, written by Karl Georg Büchner

  3. Didn't know this, interesting! As it happens Büchner was a resident of my home town for some years starting 1833 where he attended lectures at the university. He was everything but happy with his life there. By 1834 together with some collaborating friends he wrote the revolutionary leaflet "Der Hessische Landbote" which was aimed at the very poor rural population to insurge against the oppressive regime and structures. It's remarkable headline was "Friede den Hütten, Krieg den Palästen!" - "Peace to the shacks, war against the palaces!" Afterwards he and his friends - no wonder - were sued by the authorities, his rooms were searched but he wasn't arrested. He then managed to escape to Strasburg (now France) and finished writing of "Danton's Death" in 1835. He went on to write various plays and drams. In 1836 he died aged only 23 of typhus in Zurich, Switzerland. - BCNU!