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Wednesday 16 April 2014

Why the Prisoner?

   That’s a very good question. I suppose if it hadn’t been ‘the Prisoner’ it would have been something else. Having been a fan of ‘Danger Man’ as a boy, secret agent John Drake having been my childhood hero, I suppose it was inevitable that I should take to ‘the Prisoner,’ seeing as how I saw it as a follow-on series to ‘Danger Man.’ Well that's how I saw it anyway. It was an easy association to make I suppose, given that Patrick McGoohan was the actor in both cases. Simple to see that John Drake had become fed up and disillusioned with the kind of work he had to do. And I suppose ‘the Prisoner’ triggered my boyhood imagination, and has held me prisoner ever since. A fine tribute to Patrick McGoohan’s method.
   Way back in the 1968 since ‘the Prisoner’ series came to an end, it has always remained in my mind, I have never forgotten it. But there was one problem, I had no-one to talk to about ‘the Prisoner.’ My parents didn’t like it because they didn’t understand it, and didn’t even try to understand the series. And at school, I seemed to be the only one to appreciate it. Oh yes and there was another drawback, there was no way I could watch the series again. So I was left with only that which I could remember. I had become a Prisoner in isolation!
   I had questions that were unlikely ever to be answered. My memories of each episode were mixed, I found it difficult to recall exactly what took place in each episode. But one iconic image of ‘the Prisoner’ remained, was that of the Village Guardian. And the theme music, that has always remained.
    I had to rely on what I could remember because it would be almost ten years before I would see ‘the Prisoner’ again. And when I did it was almost in triplicate, on three different regional television stations of ITV. One screening following on after the one before, it was great. I say almost in triplicate, because Yorkshire Television axed the series after about 7 episodes. I don’t know why, because it wasn’t screened until eleven at night! But it didn’t matter, I had seen ‘the Prisoner’ at least twice. But still none of my questions had been answered. I had to find my own answers, which is what the series is all about. You have to find your own answers, arrive at an understanding of ‘the Prisoner’ which best satisfies you.
   In time I began to answer my questions, in fact ‘the Prisoner.’ I had an understanding of ‘the Prisoner’ that I was happy with, even ‘Fall Out,’ which I came to see as a James Bond style of ending to the series. But what I found with watching ‘the Prisoner’ a second, third, and a half times, that it raised even more questions!     
   Yes, if it hadn't been ‘the Prisoner,’ it would have been something else. But then what else could it have been that has withstood such a test of time?

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