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Wednesday 30 January 2013

The Therapy Zone

    1993 saw the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the Prisoner, and Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society organised a special event at the Great Western Hotel in Paddington, London. Around 40 guests attended the event, guests who worked on the Prisoner series, and spent the day reminiscing about that unique time. There was a number of guest panels, one of which became known as the Fall Out panel, as it was followed by a screening of that episode. This was something of a misnomer, as all of those present contributed to that particular episode. the criteria was in fact, that they all contributed to one or more of the last four episodes of the Prisoner. What follows are extracts from the interview of that panel of guests which included;
Noreen Ackland........Film Editor
James Bree.............Actor
John Drake..............Actor
Kenneth Griffith........Actor
Len Harris................Camera Operator
Eric Mival.................Music Editor

    When you watch the Prisoner again after all these years what do you think? Do you look back on it with fond memories?
    John Drake: Yes, in the sense that it was a job and I got paid for it. Fond memories indeed. I enjoyed the time I had on it, which was one day. I had very pleasent conversations with Christopher Benjamin, I remember on the coach going out onto location discussing, mainly, the tragedy of my divorce, which seemed to dominate the day for me more then the shooting. But certainly I have fond memories. I enjoyed watching the scenes later on.

    What about you Eric?
    Eric Mival: “Well yes, for me it was more of an opportunity than anything. I had done some editing before-hand, I had been assistant editor, but this was an opportunity to do something a little more creative. It was like a step up. Really it was a smashing series to do. I was glad that I was able to do as much as I was on it.”

    You had fairly good memories then, but Noreen, I know you had a very tough time when you were working on Fall Out.
    Noreen Ackland: “Fall Out yes, but Living In Harmony was a marvellous episode to work on.”

   What about you Len, how do you rate the series now?
    Len Harris: “I enjoyed working on it I must say, it was something different. I little bit confusing at times. I'm sure you've seen the last episode. I've seen it and I'm more confused than ever now. There was something about it. I've said this several times, but this man, McGoohan, was a fantastic worker and his creative ability....... he's left the country now........ is a great loss to the British film industry. It's a great shame. He's really wonderful to work with.”

The Mind Is A Powerful Thing
   It is said that the Prisoner is all in the mind, that it's a dream created by the Prisoner in his mind. Well if that's the case, then the episode of ‘Living In Harmony’ is doubly so, don't you think?
   It has also been suggested in the past, that The Village is a place created by the mind in which people with, mental problems, are put. Certainly the Prisoner-No.6 is described as having a persecution complex, suggesting that he's putting himself through the seventeen episode ordeal of the Prisoner! I'm not sure what fans of the series will make of this, I'm sure they have ideas and theories of their own. But it is a fascinating thought, that some fans of the original series, who see the Prisoner in this way, cannot see the reinterpretation of the series in the same light.
   Of course we are all familiar with the term "role playing" games, and Living In Harmony might very well be the first, as No.6 plays out the game in his mind, before finally coming face to face with his opponents, who all turn out to be nothing more than cardboard cut outs! It is also interesting to note, how part of The Village can be placed out of bounds, and with a little set dressing can be turned into an American frontier Town of the mid to late 1800's.
    So, the Prisoner, The Village, and ‘Living In Harmony’ are simply all in the mind, a dream. It wasn't as No.8 said, that No.6 could separate fact from reality so quickly, no, no. It's more simple than that I feel. As the Sheriff, after the gunfight with the Kid, No.6 is again faced with death again, as the Judge shoots No.6 with a Derringer. But the thing is, you cannot die in a dream, and so just before the point of death, No.6 woke up!
Be seeing you

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