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Friday 19 April 2013

The Therapy Zone

Playing It By The Numbers
   Eric Portman - played the role of No.2 as a bold statesman, the perfect portrayal of a seasoned electoral campaigner in Free For All whose term of office was almost up. The old regime, together with the old No.2 are put up against the revolutionary ideas of the opposing candidate - No.6.
   The politics of this dignitary either right or left, is unclear. Although he is clearly a popular choice within the community, although clearly we don't know why.
   Portman is majestic in his characterisation of a man who will always be challenged by a rebel such as No.6.
   Guy Doleman is our first introduction to No.2-Chairman of the village in Arrival. He is suave, polished and obviously from a public school. His manners are impeccable, and his one task seems to be the debriefing of the new arrival-No.6, followed by his introduction to and an Arial tour of the village.
   Inviting the Prisoner for breakfast might at first seem a friendly thing to do, but it is simply so he can then conduct the debriefing of the Prisoner, which suggests a darker side to his character.
    Mary Morris - an elfin looking No.2 Peter Pan fancy dress costume seems to suit her very well. Sometimes though we might worry about her nonconformist appearance and almost masculine manner and  behaviour. Her deep voice, cropped hair are confusing, and she seems to enjoy such lines as "Then how very uncomfortable for you old chap." It's that "Old chap" which is the confusing part, although to hear her seems natural for her somehow.
   She is a No.2 unlike any of her predecessors, or of her successors to come. Craggy-faced, she strides through the surreal episode of Dance of the Dead.
    Patrick Cargill - Ruthlessness personified is the gift brought to The Prisoner by this late actor. And in this I include his cameo role as Thorpe of Many Happy Returns. The one character being sadistic megalomaniac, saying that he is going to 'hammer' No.6. A duty perhaps, but it appears to be something he would enjoy doing, even as Thorpe perhaps.
   How glad we are as he cowers in the relative comfort of his chair, the broken link in the chain of command, forced to report himself as being a breakdown in control. Beaten and degraded he is, but is there not a small piece of your heart which feels sorry for this man at the end? Is he not worthy of a show of compassion? It's certainly a forceful piece of acting .
    Here is an actor who was a veritable tour de force. An actor who is larger than life, the late Australian actor Leo McKern. He is the No.2 we all remember and possibly revere. He brings a certain pantomime and power to the Prisoner. A strolling player perhaps, who's company we enjoy on no less than three occasions, with each performance stronger than it's predecessor, but no stronger than during Once Upon A Time when I feel that McKern was at his best. Possibly the best actor of the Prisoner series, second only to McGoohan.
   Rosalie Crutchley, an eager female in the episode of Checkmate, who is totally believable as a love-struck victim. Hypnotised into thinking that she is in love with No.6, and he with her. But she is a pawn, just as No.9 was in Arrival. Conditioned, and programmed will her reactions be, into the alarm system. She is both annoying and infuriating, but also sympathetic. She wants to help No.6 with his plan to escape, and if it's a good one , she'll escape with him! However she has often helped others with their escape plans, but they've always failed. Me wonders why?
   Is there anyone else in the village we can feel more sorry for? One minute her hopes are high, the next she's being told by No.6 that she's crazy, that a 'slight shower' won't wash away his doubts!
  Well acted by the late Rosalie Crutchley, No.8 a prisoner of both love and rejection. But then once the hypnosis has been reversed, will she remember?

Ringing The Changes
   The diminutive Butler who we know so well, was originally to have been a tall athletic, good looking gentleman, who was to have had a speaking part.
    A more romantic scene was written by Vincent Tilsley for ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ this was reduced to No.6 simply stroking Nadia's hair.
    ‘The 'alternative' Chimes of Big Ben’ contains a scene in which No.6 uses a home-made wooded instrument, based on the Greek 'Triquetrum,' to determine the position of the village according to the stars. In the standard episode we can see No.6 placing a pencil in the breast pocket of his blazer, for which there seems to be no logical reason, as No.6 is not seen to be writing anything down. Where as in the 'alternative' version, he makes a notation on a graph chart, then all becomes clear.
   The role of No.2 during the episode of ‘Dance of the Dead’ was as we know originally intended for a man, actor Trevor Howard, who was to have had the costume, not of Peter Pan, But either Jack the Ripper or Old father Time.
    The Napoleon character of Professor Schinipps was supposed to have been Hitler, but was deemed to have been wholly inappropriate. World War II only been over 20 years or so.
    The Irish Marshal in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ was to have been called O'Toole after Kenneth Griffith's great Friend Peter O'Toole, but Patrick McGoohan claimed he didn't like in-jokes, so he had the name changed to O'Rourke.
    The name Seltzman of the episode Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, was originally intended to have been Saltzman. This name was changed so that the name did not contain two letters the same, this to fit in with the slide scene. Otherwise there would be 2 slides under the letter 'A'.
    The original scripted residence of No.2 was to have been that of the pink and white Georgian house {Unicorn cottage} but was changed later to the Green Dome, due to problems with camera angles caused by the bushes and trees around the Georgian house.
    The role of the Kid of Living ‘In Harmony’ was originally to have been a speaking one.

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