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Thursday 30 January 2014

The Prisoner Under The Spotlight!

    ‘Fall Out What was the motivating force behind the episode?
   Probably to get the episode completed and in the can! After all the Prisoner the screening of which had already begun and people were screaming for an ending which Patrick McGoohan had long since promised. Screening of the Prisoner had already been interrupted because of production hold ups. The gap was actually filled with the screening of the only two colour episodes of ‘Danger man’ episodes ‘Shinda Shima’ and ‘Koroshi.’
    What do you think Patrick McGoohan expected to achieve?
    I think he achieved it, whatever it was he wanted to achieve. There, that's an enigmatic answer to an allegorical question! Otherwise one could say that McGoohan wanted to make people angry, to sit up, take notice and ask questions and not to simply accept things as they are!
    Well McGoohan achieved that okay, the telephone lines into the television studios of ATV were jam packed with irate viewers wanting to know what that rubbish called Fall Out was all about?
So yes, McGoohan did achieve what he set out to achieve, to make people angry!
    Did the episode work?
    Well I suppose it all depends on how you look at it! McGoohan once said of Fall Out that it is an allegory, an allegorical ending to an enigmatic series. Well that's all well and good, but I think that's all a bit of a 'cop-out' by McGoohan really. After all calling Fall Out an allegory means that the subject in hand can mean absolutely anything. And if it is an allegory, then it still works because you can do anything and get away with it!
    However there is another way to see ‘Fall Out’ and that is with the eyes of James Bond. Because if you do that then ‘Fall Out’ instantly becomes a James Bond film style of ending to the Prisoner and that puts a whole new completion on things.
    You have the good guys in the guises of Sir, an ex-No.2, No.48 and the Butler who never had a number in the first place! The bad guys, the assembly, armed security guards, The President and of course No.1 and there's a rocket being prepared for launch.
    Sir and his confederates over power armed guards, there is a fire fight where all the guards are killed. A mass evacuation of the installation known as the village, with citizens running in all directions, Mini Mokes speeding this way and that with helicopters taking off from all points of the Village.
    No.1 is confronted and heads up into the nose cone of the rocket, and Sir seals No.1 inside after which he sets the countdown in motion, resulting in the launching of the rocket as our four intrepid heroes escape aboard the Scammell Highway Man Transporter. Rover, the Village Guardian comes to a nasty end and supposedly the Village is destroyed, because there is no actual proof of this.
    The rocket is seen by some as a nuclear missile, well if it’s a missile {which it really is} there wouldn’t be enough room for people in it. Also it is thought that the Village is destroyed by that rocket, I see no evidence for this.
    I don’t see ‘Fall Out’ having anything to do with nuclear missiles, otherwise the title would read ‘Fallout.’ For me the episode is more about a “falling out” between friends, that is the interpretation I personally place on the title of the episode. But as well as that it all reads very much as a James Bond film style ending. In any case it reads much better than the allegory that McGoohan liked so much. Mind you he never did try to explain ‘Fall Out’ which to him probably made no sense to him as it didn't to many at the time, and for many still doesn't today! So I hope I have helped clear the allegorical mists away, if only just a little!
    One final word about Fall Out, even if you don't fully understand it, I think the Prisoner would be a poorer series without Fall Out. Somehow its right even if many find it difficult to see the reason behind it, and certainly its the right style of ending to the Prisoner, did I say ending, I meant beginning. Because with the ending comes the beginning, and in the end is my beginning! Oh heck, don't start all that again!
    Anyway for me ‘Fall Out’ is the perfect ending/beginning to the Prisoner and really I cannot see how the series could end/begin any other way.

Be seeing you


  1. Very well put! Regardless of what everyone of us, and the readers, thinks about it this coda to the series changes much if not everything, much more than an (perhaps) above average conclusion (with a decent villain) would have been. The final episode may have been the result of a chaotic production and improvised to some degree, but it's one key factor that helps keeping the whole show in mind, over so many decades. - BCNU!

    1. Hello Arno,
      As you say " The final episode may have been the result of a chaotic production and improvised to some degree" it's difficult to imagine what other ending 'the Prisoner' could have had.
      "Remember us, don't forget us, keep us in mind" key words spoken by the President I have always thought. Words spoken not only to the Prisoner, but also to the television viewer. And so we have over the years and decades, maintaining both the Prisoner and his Village.

      Very kind regards

  2. > "There, that's an enigmatic answer to an allegorical question!"

    [Sigh] It wasn't an allegorical question.