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Monday, 24 December 2012

The Therapy Zone

    “Dance of the Dead’ - originally planned to be the second episode transmitted, this would explain some introductory sounding dialogue. The episode was one of a first batch of four to be filmed and was made back-to-back with ‘Checkmate.’ Anthony Skene's second script for the series features a larger percentage of women than usual {No.2, the Observer, the day Supervisor, the two maids and so on}. Mary Morris' role was really written for a man, actor Trevor Howard, who was due to play the role of No.2 as Old Father Time, or even Hitler! Writer Antony Skene even came up with the idea of having a character in the form of Jack the Ripper. The Screening of ‘Dance of the Dead’ in November 1967 meant that over a year had passed since its Portmeirion filming had occurred in the September of 1966. A photograph used in the wallet of the dead man seems to show a couple of holidaymakers sitting on the edge of the pool in the central Piazza. But these two people are actually members of the production crew who worked on’ the Prisoner.’

    McGoohan stated that "If there are any answers to the Prisoner, they are in the final episode." It is difficult to find any clear-cut answers to questions such as "Who is Number One?" or "Why did the Prisoner resign?" But there are solid answers to the questions of why this series was made. For one thing, ‘the Prisoner’ is about revolt, and the viewer is offered a type of sermon on revolt. According to the President in Fall Out there are three kinds of revolt. The rebellion of youth, which rebels against nothing it can define. The rebellion of such established members of the establishment, which turns on and bites the hand that feeds. And finally the revolt of an individual against the whims and constraints of society. No.6 of course represents the third kind of revolt, the pure form of revolt, possibly the only form that makes a difference.

   “Free For All - Although shown as the fourth episode in the Prisoner series, this episode was in fact the second to be filmed back to back with ‘Arrival.’ ‘Free For All’ was one of two episodes to be hit by the 1960's censorship with the well staged but sadistic fight sequence in the Rover cave being deleted for the transmission in the premier UK screening. Stuntman Alf Joint choreographed the sequence and along with Peter Brace, another well known fall guy, played the motor mechanics who beat Number Six senseless. This story gives the only view of the 'Cat & Mouse' night club. And although not credited, the Supervisor in this episode is Peter Sawnwick and is seen via stock footage from Arrival. The opening credits give director as Paddy Fitz, which is a pseudonym of Patrick McGoohan, coming frrom his mother's maiden name of Fitzpatrick.
    In one later scene in the episode, Number Six is driven by Number fifty-Eight along the Sea front a short distance away from The Village, passed a cottage called White Horses which is seen briefly. White Horses is the cottage where McGoohan and his family stayed whilst filming was taking place at Portmeirion in September of 1966. This led to the cottage becoming a favourite cottage for fans of the series to stay in Portmeirion. But there is a drawback, White Horses cottage is not available in the winter months, as certain seasonal high tides, and the cottage being part of the sea wall at Portmeirion, causes the cottage to flood!

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