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Thursday 29 May 2014

Thought For The Day

      What does the Prisoner mean to me? A life-time sentence that’s what! There’s no parole. No time off for good behavior. And definitely no escaping it! Ever since that first crack of thunder, as dark clouds gather over a deserted airfield in Norfolk, I was hooked, captivated by what I was watching, and held Prisoner throughout the week until the next episode in which I hoped to learn more about both the Prisoner and The Village.
    For me
Arrival’ is the best episode, and sets the whole series up a treat. And it’s not just the Prisoner who is treated to an aerial tour of The Village, we as the viewer, also go along for the ride and enjoy the tour. Especially if the television viewer has not been to the Italianate village of Portmeirion. No.6 tired to escape by helicopter, and failed. But would he escape next time during The Chimes of Big Ben?’ The first time round, I thought he had managed to escape. You see, it was not only No.6 who was taken in by Naidia Rakovski, if that is indeed her real name.
The Prisoner’ is action and adventure. The action takes place during fight scenes. Escape attempts by helicopter, at the ‘Dance of the Dead, or whilst pitting oneself against the Village Guardian. Or putting stress on a weak link in the chain of command, just waiting to be broken. Saving No.2 from assassination/execution during the Appreciation Day ceremony. While the adventure often takes place at sea all alone aboard a raft, or while the mind is in someone else’s body!
   The series is also enigmatic, puzzling, with a dose of the allegorical, which I personally take with a pinch of salt!
‘The Prisoner’ makes you think, to ask questions, like who is Number Two? Why did No.2 and No.112 waste all morning listening to those six records, when No.2 could have merely have them sent to the laboratory? And who was looking after the shop is all that time. Where is The Village? Who runs the Village? Whose side are they on? Why did the Prisoner resign. Oh it was a matter of principle, of conscience. For peace of mind, because too many people know too much! So like No.2, we were told. But perhaps , like No.2 we were not listening, because he asked to be told again. The administration behind The Village, are keen on accumulating information. It makes one wonder what it is they do with all this information should they get it. Perhaps they simply file it all away in those grey filing cabinets we see during the opening sequence., where the Prisoners card was filed away under ‘RESIGNED.’   Personally for me, the Prisoner will always be the former Danger Man John Drake {no matter what Patrick McGoohan had to say on the subject, so I’m with George Markstein on this one] formerly of NATO Security, and M9. It should have been MI9, but I think they dropped the ‘I’ perhaps for lack of intelligence! Then Drake went and resigned his job, and found himself abducted to The Village. A man like him would be worth a great deal on the open market. But I don’t think that if he’d been a Butcher, Baker, or Candlestick Maker, he would have been so important. People like those were recruited through the Labour Exchange, and Employment Bureaux.
   Over the years, I have written letters and articles. Debated about what
the Prisoner’ means, and is saying to us. I have searched for so called “hidden meanings” within the series, and have found it wanting. Because as far as I am concerned, there are no “hidden meanings!” I should think that the production team working on the Prisoner’ were far too busy to be bothering themselves incorporating hidden meanings in the series. In-jokes, now that’s a whole different matter. Patrick McGoohan is on record as being against the addition of in-jokes within the Prisoner.’ But I suspect that was only if he himself wasn’t behind any such in-jokes!
   A last meaning  
the Prisoner,’ is not to think about the series, but simply view it as pure escapism. Immersing oneself in the Prisoners situation, as he is pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, de-briefed, and numbered, in the safe knowledge that it’s being done to someone other than you!

Be seeing you

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