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Monday, 30 June 2014

The Uniformed Village

    At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that uniforms are not worn by citizens of The Village, but everyone wears a uniform. From the everyday colourful clothes that every citizen wears, to Number 2, doctors, nurses, waiters and waitresses, taxi drivers, painters, gardeners and motor mechanics in their dove grey caps and overalls! However there are exceptions to the rule, take Number 6. He wears The Village uniform of beige trousers, navy blue turtleneck jersey, deck shoes, and piped blazer. And yet when the new Number 2 wears the identical suit of clothes as Number 6, instead of grey flannel trousers, grey polo neck sweater, and either single or double breasted plain dark blazer, it could be said that he’s showing individualistic tendencies! Number 2 in ‘Free For All’ is more subtle, he wears The Village uniform, but with a jacket of his own choosing. The jacket is different in colour and style, it even has cuffs at the end of the sleeves!
    Then there’s Mrs Butterworth as Number 2, when she enters Number 6’s cottage wearing that diamond patterned dress, not forgetting Number 86 who also wears a dress instead of the regular hospital uniform! And what about the Butler and Number 240 {Number 6’s observer}, they go about wearing their capes inside out! It would seem that Number 6 isn’t the only Village Citizen with individualistic tendencies. These slight changes in Village attire are merely trifles, and yet to the person it might mean they are cocking a snook at convention within The Village!

I'll be seeing you

The Prisoner

   There is a good deal that takes place within ‘the Prisoner’ that we are not privy to. Such as how Number 2 manipulated Number 24/Alison to betray The Schizoid Man the way she did. More than that, what was it that brought Number 6 and Number 24 together in the first place? Was that part of the plan, or did Number 2 recognise the genuine mental link between 6 and 24, and decided to put that to his own use?
   When did Number 6 take up the role of “childminder?” Number 6 told the three children a fairytale, as Number 2 observed. Was that the only fairytale he told them? After all the children made him promise that he would come back tomorrow, and Number 6 said he would seeing as he didn’t think he had any other important appointments! You will probably be familiar with the name Scheherazade.

   Perhaps the Scheherazade connection is carrying this just a little too far. But it would all depend on how many times Number 6 had visited the nursery during his spell of child-minding, and how many fairytale's he told.

Be seeing you.

Thought For The Day

   On the one hand we have Number 1 blasting off in his rocket, and on the other we have Number 6 escaping in a cage on the trailer of a Scammell Higwayman transporter. You could say that between them they tore The Village apart!
   But what of The Village? As far as I can see the actual fabric of The Village wasn't damaged at all. Is it conceivable that the government behind The Village would leave it abandoned, to fall into a state of dilapidation and ruin? It may very well be on the cards that The Village would have been repopulated, and quite possibly by the people who evacuated it in the first place. After all where would they put all those people? I know there are all those helicopters which took off from The Village during the evacuation, but the question is what kind of flying range would they have, three hundred miles, four hundred? If it was simply the case of a "quick flip to the landing stage," there there would have been a long queue of people waiting to get on a boat in order to take them home. And what would they do with the people then? They would need somewhere to keep them all together, otherwise if someone talked they could blow the lid off the entire Village! But The Village is fine, sound and intact, so why not put them back in it? Besides there might even be people there already....those people who went running off along the beach during the evacuation. They would have missed the chance of getting away in a helicopter, and I should imagine that unless they went and lived in a cave, the only place they could go would be back to The Village!

Be seeing you

Bureau Of Visual Records

   It might have been that the Prisoner in refusing Number 2's offer to sit down, recognised the "comfy chair" as a recognised method of an interrogation technique, and perhaps he was trained to resist it, seeing as how he twice refused Number 2's offer to sit down!

  You sit the subject down in a low comfy or easy chair with a light in his eyes. Your seat at the desk has its back to the window. Why the low comfy chair? Well if you have been to speakers corner in Hyde Park, you will have noticed that the speakers stand on a soap box, that is to get the people to take notice of him. And the same can be said of a parson who speaks from the pulpit, people look up and take notice. And the light? Briefly one of the tricks is for inducing the state of hypnosis is for the operator to stand in front of his seated subject and revolve or swing a small bright object in front of his eyes.


The Comfy Chair!

    Tt’s another beautiful day in The Village. Everyone is having a good time on the beach. Sunbathing, playing beach ball, paddling in the water. It’s just like being on holiday at the seaside, Margate, Clacton, Brighton, or Southend-on-Sea. They even provide bathing tents, and over there there’s a beach kiosk that sells, well everything for the beach. You know, I might have an ice cream in a moment.
   Village Announcement: “Good afternoon everyone, good afternoon. The ice cream flavour of the day is chocolate.”  That’s lucky, because I like chocolate. What’s more they do their very best to keep the citizens here entertained, there’s the regular Brass Band concerts, the human chess matches. For the athletic types there’s the gymnasium, target shooting, fencing, work -out exercises, boxing, oh yes and some strange oriental sport called Kosho!!! The Recreation Hall also provides the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, I made a copper teaspoon. There was an exhibition of mime and entertainment the other day, tomorrow there’s a Folk Music concert. And the local Council keeps coming up with exciting new competitions, seascapes, landscapes, escapes…, I shouldn’t have used that word. They don’t like that word here, as there is no escape. And even if there was, where is there to escape to?
   I like to sit and watch, watch the gardeners working in the flower borders. Oh look, there Mrs and Mrs Eighty-three. “Good day to you both.”
  “Beautiful day.”
  “It is that. Be seeing you.”
   A lovely couple, they say there’ve been here for years, now they wouldn’t leave The Village for the world. Probably because they are too old, and settled in their ways. The world outside will have changed, and having been here for what……the past twenty, thirty years, and they will not have changed with it. Village is best for them, Village is best for me. It’s alright for that Number 6, going about chopping down trees, carving boats out of tree trunks, building sea-going rafts. Thinking of nothing but escape! But where’s it got him I ask you? Nowhere but here. Someone told me that Number 6 managed to escape, made what we called in the war when someone escaped a prisoner of war camp and made it all the way back to blighty, a “home run.”  Escapees would send a postcard to the camp, to confirm they had got away. Number 6 never sent a postcard, he did better than that, he came back! Couldn’t keep away could he? No sooner than had he got away he was missing The Village so much, he simply couldn’t get back quick enough!
   Do you know, well obviously you don’t, but I was down at the Old People’s Home the other day, taking tea. I got talking with this old chap, said he’d once been a Number 2. He handed me a letter and asked if I would post it in the extra Blue Zone in the post for him. He told me that one day he’d had the opportunity to get away from The Village. I asked him why he didn’t take it. He said something about it not mattering where he went, they would catch up with him sooner or later. So why not save himself the grief of having to keep looking over his shoulder every five minutes. Having to keep moving on, not even daring to think of going home. Not when he could live here in quiet in The Village. Village is best for him!
    I watched someone once, from the top of the cliffs, he was trying to escape. He was making for the far side of the estuary, perhaps a bit further. I wondered if he was going to make it, heading for the hills on the far side I shouldn’t wonder. Then it came, that white mass of the Village Guardian. It came rolling and bounding across the beach, emitting that blood curdling roar. Well not really a roar, more of a mixture of a roar with added Gregorian chant, and the sound of someone breathing through an aqua lung for effect. I remember seeing the man look back over his shoulder, that’s when he saw the Guardian getting closer towards him. That’s when he began to run! I could see the sand was soft and yielding, making running slow and difficult. Suddenly the man tripped and fell, just when the Guardian was just a few feet away. It was on the man in an instant as he tried to get to his feet. The Guardian seemed to give a roar of victory. I heard the man scream, and scream again as the white membrane began to cover his face. I saw the white membrane turn to a pink hue. I also saw the man fall to the sand, his body white, as though all the blood in his body had been drained away!
   They say Number 2 is a very charming man, well not the one who dealt with me, wasn’t. Come to think of it Number 2 wasn’t even a man. She wanted to know all about me, asked me what my date of birth was, well I saw no harm in telling her. And as we talked on, I suddenly realised just how little I actually knew! I think it was the comfy chair that did it for me. Number 2 interviewed me in her office, she asked me to sit down in the “Comfy chair!” Its an interrogation technique. Basically you sit the subject down in a low comfy and easy chair with a light shining into their eyes. The interrogator’s seat is behind a desk, with a window behind it. Well I don’t recall a window, but the effect was still very much the same! It’s the same with speakers in
Hyde Park who stand on soap boxes, or the preacher preaching from his pulpit to the audience below him.
    Here in The Village it’s all about wearing the prisoner down, even to induce a state of hypnosis by the use of lights, and mirrors. There’s the “treat em rough” technique. Make the subject stand for hours, and so eager does the subject become to end the ordeal that the subject talks and sometimes for hours at a time! But why the comfy chair? Well that’s the “treat em  smooth” method, where the comfy chair is employed on the principle that a relaxed subject is more ready to talk than one who is physically tense. And so I talked!
   These days I’m left alone to live out my life here in the peaceful atmosphere of The Village. No-one bothers about a man who had so little to give, but even then they took it, probably filed it away somewhere. In fact they did me a favour in having brought me to The Village, after all I couldn’t think of a better place to hide.
  “Come on young man, your move.”
   “Right-ho Admiral. I think I’d like some tea. Would you like some tea Admiral?”
   Number 66 nodded, a hand was waved and a waiter came walking over.
    “Pot of tea for two” I said, making the first move, pawn to Queen four.

Be seeing you

Sunday, 29 June 2014


    Lets face it, there are not that many ways of escaping The Village, in fact it has been demonstrated again and again that escape is not possible! But if one was to attempt to escape one would quickly find that any such ways are restrictive. The way of the mountains, either over or through via a pass seems impossible. By air is only possible by helicopter, the only trouble is, the remote control device in the helicopter. The pilot would have to identify the device and then to disable it. In Number 6's case, rip it out!
    By impersonation, if one is lucky enough to have a doppelganger in The Village, working for Number 2, who you might be able to impersonate and leave The Village that way. You could run for public office, become Number 2, and eventually leave The Village that way. Perhaps an easier way would be to steal a taxi and simply drive across the sand, leaving The Village far behind. Or walk across the sand to the far side of the estuary making for the hills on the far side. Having left The Village, and before one reaches the mountains, there is the open countryside to escape into, which is seen in both 'Many Happy Returns,' and 'Hammer Into Anvil.' Well if one cannot get so far overland, well what about escape by sea? If one knew where one was sailing from, one could calculate where one was sailing to, either in a boat carved out of a tree trunk. On the other hand you could spend a couple of days building a sea-going raft, then having put to sea, finally to escape The Village, only to find yourself back there about a month later! Perhaps by speed boat, having disabled the remote control device first! Or by capturing the vessel M.S. Polotska! Although seeing as how The Village is set on an estuary there is an alternative to the sea. An estuary is the mouth of a river, one could carve out a dug-out canoe from a tree trunk, and paddle off up the river instead of putting out to sea, that sounds much simpler, and far less dangerous! One could simply try to swim away when the tide is in, if you are good at "wild swimming" that is. That's what Nadia found out you see, why she could not swim so far. Wild swimming, especially against the tide is not the same as swimming in a swimming pool, not even one of Olympic dimensions! Another way would be by rocket, or in a cage on the trailer of a Scammell Highwayman transporter. I suppose if one gets desperate, when ones spirit is broken one could simply hide in a dustbin and look to get thrown out of The Village with the rest of the rubbish! Failing that to take the ultimate escape, by hurling oneself to ones death through a hospital window. But when one is not endowed with the numerous skills and knowledge that Number 6 demonstrates, such as navigation, being able to make a compass from odds and ends, able to pilot a helicopter, carve in woodwork. Knowing about such devices as a Triquetrum, an ancient Greek device for attaining ones position by the stars. The ways for attempting escape becomes even less for other mere mortals!

I'll be seeing you

Exhibition Of Arts And Crafts

From My Black and White Period

                                            "Barred Is The way Of The Prisoner!"


Number 6

    When Big Ben struck eight, and Number 6 sees that his wristwatch {given to him by a man in Poland} says eight when there should be one hours difference, he knows that he’s been tricked. Especially when he discovers the tape recorder playing the sound effects of London street traffic hidden in the cupboard, which indicates to him that he isn’t in the Colonel’s office in London at all. It’s a long walk down that corridor knowing what he’s to be faced with, a view of The Village when he opens the double doors at the end of that corridor.
   But Number 6 takes it all in his stride. He walks over to the steps of the Recreation Hall, and looking up to Number 2, Fotheringay, and Nadia, all he can do is salute them “Be seeing you.” What else could he have done? A show of anger would have availed him nothing, after all that planning, all that effort to escape had availed him nothing. In fact he was back in The Village long before he realised it, approximately twelve hours in fact! And as though to rub salt into the wound, “Good evening citizens, your local Council wishes to announce another exciting competition, the subject this time….seascapes!” The announcement, coming at the moment it does, has always appeared to be to be quite deliberate, as though the announcer is rubbing salt into Number 6’s wounds!

Be seeing you

Quote For The Day

  "File Number Six, section forty-two, sub-section one, paragraph one, back to the beginning."
   "You were right about him."
   "I told you."
   "Don't worry, it was a good idea and you did your best. I'll stress it in my report."
                                                          "Number 2 and Nadia  -  The Chimes of Big Ben}

   Number 2 told them they were taking the wrong approach, he admitted that in 'Once Upon A Time.' But whose idea was it for Nadia Rakovsky {if that be her name} to be assigned to Number 6, to make her a damsel in distress, so that he would take her under his wing. To make out that she knew the location of The Village, so that Number 6 would formulate a plan so they could escape together, escape back to London. Well the idea certainly didn't originate from Number 2. The Colonel, well I shouldn't think he has the wit. Number 1? Well that's more like it, unless the idea originated from outside The Village, say back in London.
    As for doing his best, well Number 2 was hardly involved at all. All he did was to make sure that Number 6's plan to escape went along unhindered. I suppose it was a good idea, it was simply a question of time that let it down, the fact that there was the possibility that Number 6 would have asked Post 5's wristwatch so that he could time the journey to London. And he wouldn't have, had he and Nadia not have had to swim for it, hence Number 6's wristwatch become waterlogged. If it hadn't been for that, the plan may very well have succeeded!
   And who was Nadia going to report to? I was under the impression that Number 2 always made the report to Number 1. But Nadia, she's dressed ready to leave The Village. She doesn't give the impression that she's about to go and see Number 1 to report personally, unless Number 1 happens to be living his London town house. The Colonel? Well Nadia's not going to make her report to the Colonel because he already knows how the plan failed! Sir Charles Portland? Well that's a possibility, anything is a possibility when one doesn't know the answer to the question!

Be seeing you

Saturday, 28 June 2014

More Village

    April 17th saw the 5th anniversary of THEPRI6NER, and so to celebrate, I watched a screening of the series, my ninth screening in fact. Since the year began I’ve had a hankering to watch THEPRIS6NER, but managed to hold myself in check until April. I am still in awe of the series, and have lost none of my enthusiasm. One of the aspects of THEPRIS6NER I enjoy is it’s subtly. The Prisoner might not bang his fist on the table when he gets angry, unlike his predecessor. Jim Caviezel may not shout “I am not a number, I am a free man” like Patrick McGoohan, because he is not Patrick McGoohan. The series is not “in your face” as the original, in fact I have come round to the thinking that in the case of THEPRIS6NER, less is more. And that is reflected at the end of every episode {well almost every episode, as I feel ‘Harmony’ is the weakest of the 6 episodes} and at the end of the series I am always left with the feeling of wanting more. That’s the sign of a good television series.
    With the original series my sympathies definitely lay with No.6, apart from a time or two with No.2 such as at the end of ‘A B and C.’ Yet with THEPRIS6NER my sympathies lay with Two. Curtis and his wife Helen a bio-Chemist and Dr. of Philosophy in something or other {that part of her certificate is obscured}, entered into the experiment of the Village in order to have a family. The drawback being that although Helen in New York has to remain heavily sedated, and fed hallucinogenic drugs in order for her to dream the Village within the depths of her subconscious, M2 also seems to have to be sedated as well. Which in turns means Two can only have a few minutes at any one time with his wife M2, before holes begin to appear in the Village, simply because M2 is awake, which in turn must mean that Curtis is spending time with his wife Helen. Two is proud of the Village. He sponsors the idea of “More Village.” And yet, the Village is not ideal for Two, unable to live a normal life with his wife in either the Village or in New York. And its hardly the perfect life that Helen had chosen, as the child she so desperately craved, as M2 she doesn’t know her son 11-12 at all. It’s no wonder Two was desperate to hand over the Village to Six, which left escape open for both Curtis-Two and Helen-M2, seeing as they have no life together in either existence.  
   I shouldn’t think that THEPRIS6NER will ever see a repeat on ITV, but then again it’s been some years since the original series of ‘the Prisoner’ was screened on ITV, the main channel. On ITV4 yes, but even then it’s been a while. But at least the tide of antipathy shown to THEPRIS6NER  seems to be turning. Only the other week I heard from someone who said they had been reading my articles on the subject, and told me that because of what I had written she had been inspired to watch the series again, having taken a great dislike to the series the first time. And that’s good, and I am gratified that my articles are having an effect that fans of the original series, are giving the 2009 series a second chance. Because THEPRIS6NER certainly deserves that second chance.
   Ever since 1967 I have been a fan of ‘the Prisoner,’ and for years when there had been talk of either  a new series or a Hollywood feature film of ‘the Prisoner,’ I was of the opinion that any new series or film should adhere to the original, and the only place for a new series or film was Portmeirion. Such was my purist opinion. Then after all those years of talk there came THEPRIS6NER. I never turned a hair when I heard that the new series was not to be filmed in Portmeiron, but Swakopmund in Namibia. Where was Swakopmund? I had to locate it on the map. Then I wanted to see pictures of Swakopmund, and when I did, I knew it was the perfect location for the Village. It even has a Lighthouse! I know that the architecture of Swakopmund isn’t quite Portmeiron, but it was the decoration of the buildings which struck me to be Portmeirionesque.

   There is a tremendous difference between the original series of ‘The Prisoner’ and the 2009 series. The fact that I could follow the progression of the production of THEPRIS6NER via the AMCtv website. Reading about the problems, such as when the Therapy Zone fibreglass tunnel blew over in a sand storm! Reading the daily blogs written by both production crew and members of the cast at the time, which is something which could never have been experienced with the production of the original series. So I knew what was coming with THEPRIS6NER, and couldn’t wait to see the series. All the time during the series production, I was excited about it. And when ITV began screening adverts for THEPRI6NER I became even more excited. I emailed ITV at the time, asking when the series was to be screened, but I was told that they did not know. So I just had to be patient.
The following pages contain excerpts from writings of the time of the production of THEPRIS6NER, reproduced in order to say happy fifth anniversary. 
 Breathe in….breathe out…..more….Village

   Ian McKellen to play Number 2 in Prisoner Remake Ian McKellen to play Number 2 in Prisoner Remake       
   ITV has today confirmed that Sir Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel will star in the network's remake of 1960s classic cult thriller, The Prisoner.
    American film actor Caviezel will take the role of Number Six while McKellen will appear throughout the series as Number Two.
    The original Prisoner show was filmed in the Italianate resort of Portmeirion in North Wales - but ITV was not confirming where the new series will be shot. ITV Productions is co-producing the six-part series with Granada International and AMC, with a worldwide premiere slated for 2009. The Prisoner is the first project being "greenlit" as part of ITV's new co-production with US studios and networks.
   Sir Ian said of the new version: "It is witty, intelligent and disturbing. I am very excited to be involved."
    Patrick McGoohan created, produced, wrote and directed the original show and starred in the lead role of Number Six.
    The remake promises reflect 21st century concerns and anxieties, such as liberty, security and surveillance, while showcasing the same paranoia and tense action seen in McGoohan's enigmatic original.
   The six one-hour episodes tell the story of a man who finds himself trapped in a mysterious and surreal place known as The Village, with no memory of how he arrived.
   As he frantically explores his environment, he discovers that its inhabitants are identified by number instead of by name and have no memory of a prior existence or outside civilisation.
   Not knowing who to trust, Number Six is driven by the desperate need to discover the truth behind The Village, which is controlled by the sinister and charismatic Number Two.
{Source: The Press Association} 2008   ITV announced today that Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen will star in the network’s reinvention of the 1960s classic cult thriller The Prisoner. Caviezel takes the role of Number Six while McKellen will appear throughout the series in the role of Number Two. ITV Productions is co-producing the six-part series with Granada International and AMC, with a worldwide premiere slated for 2009.
   In the 1960s, The Prisoner helped permanently alter the scope of the fantasy genre. Through the work of Patrick McGoohan – who created, produced, wrote and directed the series, and starred in the lead role of Number Six – The Prisoner is widely regarded as one of the most well regarded and intriguing cult TV series ever created.
    While the original series, which debuted in 1967, was a riff on Cold War politics, ITV’s remake will reflect 21st century concerns and anxieties, such as liberty, security and surveillance, yet also showcase the same key elements of paranoia, tense action and socio-political commentary seen in McGoohan’s enigmatic original.
    The six one-hour episodes tell the story of a man who finds himself trapped in a mysterious and surreal place known as The Village, with no memory of how he arrived. As he frantically explores his environment, he discovers that its inhabitants are identified by number instead of by name and have no memory of a prior existence or outside civilization. Not knowing who to trust, Number Six is driven by the desperate need to discover the truth behind The Village, the reason for his being there, and most importantly, how he can survive and escape to his previous life.
    The Village is controlled by one man – the sinister and charismatic Number Two. In each new episode Six and Two are locked in a battle of wits, as Six challenges the oppressive nature of The Village and battles against his captors. Six must find out what The Village is, but in doing so, he must also confront some dark truths about himself.
   McKellen says of the role: “Bill Gallagher’s new version of The Prisoner is an enthralling commentary on modern culture. It is witty, intelligent and disturbing. I am very excited to be involved.”
   John Whiston, Director of ITV Productions says: “For those of us who were watching grown up TV in the 60s The Prisoner was dangerous, exciting and challenging TV. For those of us who were too young to stay up to watch the series, it casts a long shadow. You don’t embark on something this iconic without the best team around to do it justice for a whole new era. With Bill Gallagher as writer, Trevor Hopkins as Producer, Michele Buck, Damien Timmer and Rebecca Keane as the UK Execs, AMC as production partners, ITV as UK Commissioners and Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen leading the cast, we have that team on board. I can’t wait.”
    Writer Bill Gallagher says: “I was haunted by The Prisoner when I saw it as a boy on its first broadcast. Here was something that was more than television, something I couldn’t quite grasp but couldn’t let go of. It’s a unique opportunity for a writer to be able to go back to The Village and tell some new stories about that strange place and its surreal menace. We have a terrific cast and a wonderful director, so we hope to serve up something as beguiling and disturbing as the original was.”
    Producer Trevor Hopkins adds: “The Prisoner was an iconic piece of 60s TV and updating the series for a contemporary audience has thrown up many interesting challenges. I feel that Bill Gallagher’s splendid scripts, combined with Jim and Ian in the lead roles will bring the series to a whole new audience, whilst still pleasing the dedicated fans of the original.”
    ITV’s Managing Director Global Content, Lee Bartlett, said: “As an ardent fan of both Patrick McGoohan’s original vision and now Bill Gallagher’s reimagining, I am excited that The Prisoner will become the first project to be greenlit as part of ITV’s new co-production model with US studios and networks. In particular, I am delighted to be partnering with AMC on such a prestigious project.” The Prisoner is a co-production of AMC and ITV Productions; the deal brokered by ITV Worldwide, which holds all international rights, as well as sales and remake right to the original series. ITV DVD holds Home Entertainment rights. The series is written and Executive Produced by Bill Gallagher.
Sir Ian McKellen Talks About THEPRIS6NER

    Sir Ian McKellen as Number Two in The Prisoner. Photo copyright of Granada TV/AMC
  In the 1960s British TV series The Prisoner, a character named simply Number Two was the overseer of The Village, a remote seaside community that welcomed new “residents” but rarely allowed anyone to leave – at least alive. When an ex-British Secret Service agent, Number Six (played by actor and series co-creator Patrick McGoohan), was brought to The Village against his will, Number Two was assigned the task of finding out the truth behind why Six resigned from his job.
   Over the course of the show’s 17-episode run, no less than 17 actors and actresses portrayed Number Two, with Leo McKern appearing three times and Colin Gordon appearing twice. Some stories featured more than one Number Two, including It’s Your Funeral, in which two incarnations of the character played major roles in the episode, while images of two others were seen as well.
    This Sunday, November 15th, AMC will air the first two episodes of its six-part miniseries remake of The Prisoner. Award-winning British stage, feature film and TV actor Sir Ian McKellen assumes the role of Number Two and, like his predecessors, is equally dogged when it comes to finding out Number Six’s (Jim Caviezel) true agenda. In the following AMC press Q & A, Sir Ian McKellen talks about the 2009 miniseries and his role in it.
   Why did The Prisoner interest you?
    Ian McKellen - This is the sort of thing I would enjoy watching myself and that is always the test. It also arrived at the right time – I wanted to work and, to top it all, it brought me to Cape Town. Now, it’s more intriguing than when I first read it. It’s a thriller and unlike the original series, this is much more about what Six wants to escape from and why he can’t escape. There are clues from the very first scene in the opening episode.
   Who is Two?
   IM - In the original series, Two was running The Village. More than that, he was played by a different actor for each episode, but this time there’s just me playing the part. Two appears to be in charge of The Village and he has the qualities of someone who might well be that. If you like The Village, you’d accept him as your leader and revere him, but if you don’t like The Village, you’d think he is a monster. I personally don’t think he’s creepy at all.
    What about Two’s family?
    IM - It is no secret that Two has a family. He has a son in his late teens and he has a wife who’s comatose and with whom he is madly in love. So he has a wife who he can’t really talk to, and a son who doesn’t want to talk to him. He loves them both and it is his love for them both that sets the whole story rollicking along. Does he bring Six to The Village to take over from him or does it become his motive as the story goes on? You never know with The Village.
    Why is The Prisoner so compelling?
   IM - Once you get involved with something as good as this you find out things you didn’t know before. I read online about people who indulge in mutual dreaming. Sometimes the dreams are identical. I suppose Bill Gallagher [who wrote this re-imagined version of The Prisoner] knew that, and if he didn’t, is very perceptive to these things. What I like about The Prisoner are all the oddities, the strangeness and the peculiarities. Portmerion [the setting in which the original 60s Prisoner was shot] doesn’t look real. It’s a fantasy. Bill Gallagher’s Prisoner is set in a more believable place and one that clearly has a style to it. Swakopmund has the feel of a prison, with the mighty Atlantic Ocean on one side of the town and desert on the other side.
    Are there similarities to the original?
    IM - There are references back to the original and there are characters that appear in the original that appear in this. I don’t think it is any secret that Rover is back. In this, as opposed to the original, we discover where Rover comes from. Questions are answered. People who enjoyed the original might ask why have you cast an American and not an Englishman in the central role? It all will be answered. The Prisoner is being re-imagined by a group of people who are fans of the original.
   What do you think The Prisoner is about?
    IM - It is about relationships in the context of things which preoccupy us. It is about the nature of government today, about the state of mental health, about conspiracy theories. It is a thriller because exciting things happen, and if you are interested to know why they happen  you would want to watch the next episode. The story plays with current observations just like the original did.
"Bill Gallagher's new version of The Prisoner is an enthralling commentary on modern culture. It is witty, intelligent and disturbing. I am very excited to be involved," said Ian McKellan.
    In the opening scene of ITV's reworking of the cult classic The Prisoner, a man known only as Number Six wakes up in a strange desert. The first thing he see s is a bearded old man being chased by a posse armed with guns and dogs. Number Six carries the elderly man, who, it emerges, is named Number 93, to the safety of a nearby cave.
    As the old man fades towards death, he whispers in Number Six's ear: "Tell all I got out. Go to 554."
"554? What?" asks the clearly bemused Number Six.
"You're not from here, are you?"
"I don't even know how I got to this place," responds the increasingly perplexed Number Six.
"You're a blessed miracle. Be seeing you," laughs Number 93, before quietly expiring.
   What of The Prisoner, then? Will that thrive when it is released into the community in 2010? The signs that it can be rehabilitated in the present day are promising. The tale of a nameless man, Number Six (played by Jim Caviezel), who has no clue why he is being held captive and rails against the authoritarian leader of the Village, Number Two (Ian McKellen), plugs into timeless themes. The ideas first developed by McGoohan more than four decades ago still have traction today: the deceptiveness of appearances, the confusion between fantasy and reality, the power of dreams, the insidiousness of the surveillance society and political dictatorships, the impact of mind games and the effect of psychiatry. The piece is infused with a very 21st-century sense of paranoia about state control. After all, we live in the country with the most CCTV cameras per capita in the world. So Number Six's celebrated cri de coeur - "I am not a number, I'm a free man" - shakes us as much today as it did in 1967.
   Lennie James, who plays Number 147, a taxi driver who seems to be happy with his lot in the Village, asserts that, "The Prisoner has endured because it is a classic whose ideas will never date. The proof of its durability is the fact that so many people have returned to it in different versions. Lost, The Matrix and The Truman Show have all drawn on the central theme of The Prisoner: what is reality?
    McKellen concludes that, "There are certain scenes in The Prisoner where you don't quite know where you are - and that's a good thing. So much telly these days is linear and over-explained, but this is very different. It's a very bold thing for ITV1 to do. Viewers need extending. Commissioning editors need to push boundaries and make things that don't provide all the answers. "We want more shows like this that make people ask, 'what on earth is going on?'

  “Village Is Best For us!

Village Life!

   "This isn't what we ordered Fortheringay!"
   "Indeed it isn't Colonel!"
   "Someone has made a mistake Fotheringay!"
   "Indeed they have sir. I'll get onto the stationers first thing in the morning."
   "Why, what were you expecting Colonel, a crate full of paper clips?"
   Fotheringay looks sheepish "Two crate fulls actually!"


Government House

    In a letter some little time ago an old friend of mine who wrote “I was told years ago, that all government houses were built to the exact specifications. So that when you moved to another part of the country it didn’t matter what size carpet or curtains you had, they would all fit. And did you know that both the Prisoners house in London, and Number 6’s cottage in The Village, the doors to both places face the same way. It must be as the sun sets in the west. I think Patrick McGoohan knew what he was about don’t you?”
   I am reminded The Village is not so different from the capital of London after all. With its dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, or even that of the Old Bailey, St. Stephens Tower where the bell "Big Ben" is housed, and somewhere in between the Prisoner's home of No.1 Buckingham Place. So where do these structures fit into The Village? Well quite obviously they wouldn't, not being of the scale of building that they are. However The Village does enjoy their equivalents, the Green Dome for example, the Bell Tower and somewhere in between there is  '6 Private', although this cottage contains only the study room of No.1 Buckingham Place. So using a little imagination The Village can be a real "home from home" but with more pleasant architecture, and a more pleasing atmosphere for the majority of its citizens. It's really only those of No.6's disposition who take against it! You see all you want is here, and all they want you to be, is happy!

Be seeing you

Prismatic Reflection

   Second to 2, that’s what I call a number of individuals who are assistants to Number 2. Although not every Number 2 has an assistant, certainly neither the first, nor the second as far as we know. But certainly the third Number 2 during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ he had an assistant, who previously was the manager of the Labour Exchange Number 20. To be perfectly honest I’m not sure if the third Number 2 warranted an assistant, as he seemed more than capable to me. Perhaps that’s why his assistant {whose number is indistinct in the surveillance footage} was later confined to the Control Room. As for the former Labour Exchange manager, perhaps he saw being attached to Number 2 as a promotion. But then again at least while he was the manager of the Labour Exchange has had been his own boss. And yet I feel that this assistant would take great delight in using methods they haven’t tried yet in order to break Number 6. But thankfully for 6, Number 2 doesn’t want a man of fragments!
    If Number 2 of ‘A B and C’ has an assistant it has to be the bio-chemist-Number 14. Perhaps she was also treating Number 2 for his stomach ulcer, well you never know. She is a doctor, and there’s a question over Number 2’s health, “Is No,2 Fit For Further Term?” So it would be perfectly natural for him to seek medical advice from Number 14.
    Number 2 who takes Number 6 right through the election period, has no need for an assistant, as he makes full use of The Village’s administration, medical sciences, and techniques adapted from use in the Civil Service. Also he is a past master at the manipulation of such a community as The Village. However having said that, Number 2 has no immediate assistant, there is always Number 58 who has been assigned as Number 6’s driver for the election period. If anything should go wrong, 58 is close enough to 6 to deal with it. As with that time in the Cat and Mouse nightclub, she knew enough to get him to the Therapy Zone in time for another dose of the drug, to exact proportions, which would see him right through to the end of the election.
   ‘The Schizoid Man,’ sees Number 12, or is it Number 6, as Number 2’s assistant? Either way or it could be both, Number 6 has a bruised fingernail which helps save both his sanity and his identity!
   Number 12 of administration is Number 2’s next little helper. Number 12 is a cog in the machine. He has particular  thoughts about the Professor, such as him being a crank, and that cranks attract troublemakers. Number 2 suggests his thoughts should be guarded very carefully. In all the 17 episodes of ‘the Prisoner,’ this Number 12 is the only conspirator working within the Village administration, and against The Village, that we ever see. That makes him unique. What’s more he gave his life for the cause. But which cause might that have been?
     Neither female Number 2 that follow have an assistant, well we cannot be one hundred percent about Mrs Butterworth as we see so little of her in The Village. And as for the next one, I suppose the closest you could call an assistant would be Number 240. She’s not really an assistant at all, but an Observer who works in the Control Room. Although Number 240 does appear to be close to Number 2, and has a rather unorthodox way of making a report direct to Number 2 instead of going through her Supervisor-No.22.
   ‘Checkmate’ sees a Number 2 who is a quite able administrator who requires no assistant. Number 269 appears to be more of an assistant to the Supervisor-Number 56 than to Number 2, seeing as he spends so much of his time in the Control Room. Perhaps that’s where Number 2 sent him, not requiring an assistant himself.
    Number 2 “the hammer,” he has an assistant, Number 14. Number 14’s only desire is to assist Number 2 in anyway he can, but is frustrated by Number 2, who keeps 14 well at arms length. Although Number 14 is a loyal ally to Number 2, who is paranoid about everyone in The Village, only trusting his assistant up to a point. In other words Number 14 has his uses, but nothing beyond that. Number 14 is ambitious, he seeks promotion. Look at the way he’s slumbering, half asleep in that armchair in the foyer of the Green Dome the one minute, then the next, when he hears the pair of steel doors slide open, he jumps to his feet and stands smartly to attention giving Number 2 the impression he’s been standing like that all the time. I bet this Number 14 would like promotion to Number 2 one day. Well if he had been, it would have been a sorry day for Number 6! The last we see of this Number 14 he is unceremoniously expelled out of ‘6 Private’ by Number 6 though the French door, taking the balcony railings with him!
    There has been a series of interim Number 2’s while Number 2 has been away on leave. The current incumbent Interim Number 2 has an assistant, Number 100 who is adept at indoctrination, who has never had a failure yet, and didn’t have with the Watchmaker Number 51. Number 2, who has returned to The Village just in time for his retirement, also has an assistant, Number 22 who doesn’t appear to do very much at all. He doesn’t like the idea of Plan Division Q, but is not prepared to do anything about it, but just stands about awaiting the inevitable. The exception being, when Number 2 asks Number 22 to send someone to the Bureau of Visual Records for a tape he wants to review, the subject “Warning of an assassination plot, subjects Number Six and his successor.” His assistant knows that it would be a waste of time, seeing as there is no recording of that description, this despite him having no duties in the Bureau of Visual Records! We do not see Number 22 again! I cannot see anything bad happening to him, only that he disappeared back into the depths of administration! As for Number 100, he came to grief at the fists of Number 6.
    ‘A Change of Mind,’ again Number 2 has a doctor for an assistant, Number 86. Once Number 6 is posted as being unmutual, it is Number 86 who has to convince Number 6 that he has undergone the full personality change known as Instant Social Conversion. And from there on in, to maintain the sedated state of the Prisoner’s mind. But the stupid woman allows Number 6 to turn the tables on her. Also Number 2 works closely with the Supervisor-Number 26. This is the only time we see the Supervisor in Number 2’s office when they are in conference together.
    The next Number 2 to enjoy an assistant turns out to be a bad Judge! In fact this Number 2 has two assistants. Number 8 who is the brains behind the idea of dosing Number 6 up with hallucinogenic drugs, placing him in a dangerous environment, and talking to him through microphones. Also Number 22. Well she’s there for the love aspect as Cathy who works in the Silver Dollar Saloon, she may even own it. The idea being, give Number 6 love, take it away from him, and make him kill! The only trouble is Cathy/Number 22 falls for The Man With No Name/Number 6. And because of that the Kid/Number 8 becomes jealous, murders Cathy/Number 22 and the whole experiment falls apart!
    He told them a blessed fairytale……. “Well it was worth a try Number Two” Number 10 told her superior. Why should this Number 2 have a female assistant? Well, there had to be The Girl Who Was Death! I suppose Death could have been a male assassin, but where would the sex have been in that?
   The butler is as capable an assistant to Number 2 as anyone. A personal gentleman’s gentleman, his valet in other words. And yet in ‘Once Upon A Time’ he is very much more than that. Not only does he provide meals and refreshment for both Number 2 and Number 6, he also assists Number 2 during the deliberations. The butler is in charge of special effects, props, wardrobe, punishment, and entertainment!
    Being second to Two perhaps isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, to coin a phrase. But one can only serve in whatever capacity one is given, and play only the card one is dealt. Playing the game according to Hoyle one could say. Perhaps the best thing about being second to Two is, the fact that when the proverbial hits the fan, its Number 2 who carries the can. After all he’s the boss, well in charge any way. As for assistants, well they are not unlike Number 2 himself, along with the personal maids such as 21, 66, and 54, they come and they go!

Be seeing you

Friday, 27 June 2014

Teabreak Teaser

   On the evening of ‘Dance of the Dead,’ the French door leading out onto the balcony of No.6's cottage, 6 private, had been left unlocked. An oversight, or an open invitation?


Exhibition Of Arts And crafts

A Watercolour Portrait of the Prisoner

                                              "Big Ben Strikes Eight!"


Schizoid Man

    Number 2 was shocked to say the least when he heard that Number 6 was dead, he couldn’t get Rover deactivated quick enough. “Deactivate Rover immediately pending further instructions” or words to that effect. So what had gone wrong? It must have been the password Gemini, that the Guardian had not recognised, the same as the two Village Guardians had not recognised earlier on in the street, because it was the wrong password. But then it wasn’t Number 6 who had died, but Number 12, Curtis!
   So now armed with the correct password Number 6 confronts the Village Guardian “Schizoid man” with confidence, and the Guardian accepts the password. Yet when Number 12- Curtis gives the same password Rover attacks him and suffocates Curtis to death. So it must have been to do with the nervousness with which Curtis gave the password “Schizoid man, schizoid man, schizoid man!” Then of course Curtis began to run, and that was enough to convince the Guardian, and its natural instinct being to give chase to it's prey. Had Curtis stood his ground, well who can say what might have happened. After all when in the presence of the Village Guardian, Number 2 does advise the citizens to “Be still!” So its just the same in this case as it was with Alison and her mind reading act. It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
Be seeing you

Thought For The Day

   The Prisoner resigned because for a very long time… his resignation wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, he had been considering his future over a period of time. Then something happened, the straw that broke the camels back so to speak. Could that straw have had anything to do with Professor Seltzman? After all by the time of ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ the Prisoner-No.6 had been in The Village for a year. It had been a little over year ago that ZM73 had left that roll of film with the manager of Walters World cameras Ltd shop. And then there was the letter ZM73 sent to Professor Selzman over a year ago from London. It is far from conclusive, but the timing is about right.

Be seeing you

Caught On Camera!

   There must have been a shortage of number eight badges. Look at the one worn by Nadia, the digit 8 is to the left of the pedals. Had it been a single digit number, the eight would have been over the pedals. This indicates that eight might have been in the 80’s, eighty 1, 2, 3,4 ,5 6, 7, 8 or nine. The second digit having been tipexed out! But at least it's the right way up this time!

Be seeing you

Thursday, 26 June 2014


   Curious is it not, that at the very same moment that Number 6 and his three confederates crash through the gates at the end of that tunnel, Number 1 is blasting off from The Village aboard his rocket. One could interpret this as being more than coincidence, seeing as how Number 6 and Number 1 are seen to be one and the same, that they actually escape The Village together.

Be seeing you

Do You Think that’s Wise Sir?

    "Do you think that's wise sir?" is the question the interim Number 2 should have asked. Plan Division Q was a cunning plan, but the one flaw was to involve Number 6. No plan involving Number 6 ever succeeded. And since when did The Village administration need an excuse to carry out anything, and that includes mass reprisals against innocent people, for the supposed assassination of a retiring No.2. That sounds more like a purge to me, the removal of troublesome people. The removal of persons who are believed to be malcontents disloyal to The Village, I wonder if No.6 was to have been amongst their number? Him being top of the list of malcontents, somehow I don’t think so, not when you take his importance to The Village.
   But Plan Division Q failed. There was no assassination/execution of the retiring Number 2. It was very dramatic on Appreciation day, but the citizens will never know of the plot. The only people who do know are Numbers 1, 6, 50, 51, the Interim Number 2, Number 2, 100, the Supervisor-No.26, and 22, as far as we know that is. No doubt Numbers 100 and 22 were returned to the depths of administration after Appreciation Day. The retiring Number 2, who returned to The Village would probably be quietly retired into the Old People’s Home, and the new Number 2 would be replaced for his failure. As for Monique and her father, well life in The Village just went on as normal I would imagine, as it would for Number 6.. As for the Supervisor-No.26, well he’s fireproof, and went on overseeing the work carried out in the Control Room.

I'll be seeing you

Pictorial Prisoner

  "Ah, you react!" well who wouldn't with the tip of a sword prodding ones forehead? But just a minute! According to a psychological report on the tests carried out on Number 6, he showed a negative reaction to pain. Admittedly that would take superhuman will power, but nevertheless it's something, according to Number 2, that Number 6 wouldn't be able to fake. The doctor-No.22 carried out those tests herself, I would imagine she enjoyed that! But either by the time of 'Hammer Into Anvil,' which is the next episodde, Number 6's negative reaction to pain had been forgotten, or he had suddenly lost the will power!


A Tragic Figure!

  The Village must have come as quite a shock to Number 73. There she was probably living quietly at home, while her husband was somewhere over there, presumably behind the Iron Curtain although there is no evidence for that. But wherever he was he had some work to finish. No.2 and The Village administration wanted to know where her husband is, and because they couldn't find him, they had his wife abducted and brought to The Village. She might have woken up in what she thought was her own home, just as both Number 6 and Nadia had done on the day of their arrivals. But there she was, without a friend in the world, well in The Village. And faced with an interrogator who will stop at nothing to get the information he required. There is no way we can know what experiences 73 had during her time in The Village, one can only surmise from her slashed wrists as she first attempted suicide, that she was far from happy in her new surroundings. She wanted to escape her tormented ordeal, the only way she could do that was by jumping to her death through the hospital window.
   Not only had they taken 73 from her ordinary, yet comfortable environment and placed her in The Village where everyone was a stranger to her. But Number 2 attempted to destroy her memory of her devoted husband, to break her spirit, in order to get what he wanted. After all 73 only has Number 2's word for Mariha. Yes he has a photograph, a photograph you understand, and not a series of photographs. And yet photographs can be manipulated. So this poor woman, through lack of hope and out of despair, took the only way out available to her. However 73 was remembered by at least one person, hence the daffodils laid upon her grave.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

A Mind Reading Act

    No.24-Alison, who had developed a mental link with No.6, had to deliberately misread his mind that time in No.2's office, gaining one correct card out of five. Then No.24, who doesn't have a mental link with Curtis-No.6, achieved five out of five.
    Many fans think that it is a stacked deck, a pre-arranged series of five cards that No.24 would have memorised with Curtis. But what if No.6 had shuffled that deck of cards which he took from Alison, then there is no-way that the deck could be stacked in Curtis and 24’s favour. No, there are five pre-arranged signals which pass between Curtis and Alison, so that she would know which card it was Curtis was holding up in his hand, just like the way it is with professional mind reading acts. The signal which passes between Curtis and Alison is a simple one, its in the way Cutis says the word “now” and the tone he uses.

Be seeing you

Page 6

    Number 6 may well have had good reasons to regret his imprisonment. I have been of the opinion that life in The Village is something of a nightmare for the Prisoner. But what if it isn’t a nightmare, but a confirmation of that decision? It might be that the Prisoner is reassuring himself that given a second chance he would do it again. And yet, and yet Number 14, the doctor in ‘A B and c’ interpreted the repetitive action of the Prisoner handing in his letter of resignation over and over again on the wall screen, as an anguish pattern. It might be on the cards that the Prisoner’s resignation was causing him a some pain and distress. He might even be tormented by his act of resignation, living and reliving that moment in his mind, so much so that he actually regretted the decision he made. And probably, given a second chance, he wouldn’t do it again!

Be seeing you

A Favourite Scene In The Prisoner

    No.6 cannot stand girls who cannot make a descent cup of tea. So in 'A Change of Mind' he sets about showing No.86 how to make a decent cup of tea. "A lesson. Empty pot, rinse out, warm the pot always {that doesn't have an effect on the flavour of the tea, but it does stop the earthenware teapot from cracking when you pour boiling water into it} rinse out. Now, one for me, one for thee, one for the for luck, boiling water, switch off, let stand for one moment." No.6 asks 86 to pour the milk while he gets another cup and saucer while keeping an observant eye on 86 who adds a couple of mytol {a sedative} pills into No.6's cup. "Mmmm good. Sugar please in the end cupboard thank you." then No.6 swaps the cups and saucers round, effectively turning the tables on 86. "Pour, should be just about nice." All charmingly domestic...I think I should like some tea.
   George Orwell wrote an essay entitled "A Nice Cup of Tea" for the 'Evening Standard in January 1946.

Be seeing you

Quote For The Day

    When the clock strikes four...................
            "Number Two is unmutual, unmutual social conversion for Number Two Number the unmutual."
                                                                         {Number 86 - A Change of Mind}

    Number 86 denounced Number 2 for being an unmutual! So in hypnotising Number 86 Number 6 was able to turn the tables on Number 2, and hammering the point home he turns the crowd on Number 2 who is marched through The Village at the chant of "Unmutual, unmutual, unmutual, unmutual." Until the moment when Number 6 makes a dash for the relative safety of the Green Dome, with the chasing mob close on his heels! I've often wondered whether or not the citizens actually gained entry to the Green Dome, and so into Number 2's office, and if so, what then? Number 2 dragged and manhandled through the streets of The Village to the hospital by the citizens as they had Number 6, to undergo Instant Social Conversion!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

To Be Number 1

   They do say that it’s a lonely place, that place of command. It must be more so for Number 1. Most certainly if we are to assume that No.1 keeps himself to himself inside that red one rocket all the time. But he can’t possibly wear that black and white mask and cowled robe all the time can he? Well monks wear their habits all the time, so why not? But for Number 1 to be hidden away like that all the time, imagine how it would have been for Number 6 to have given way his resistance, how costly it would have been to him. I know he put a high value on his personal freedom, preferred his own privacy to the company of others at times. But to have to go about dressed like a monk, or something out of the Ku-Klux clan, and to be forced to wear that mask to hide his identity, and maintain his anonymity from others day after day, after day. His identity, and personal freedom finally stripped from him. It makes one wonder why anyone would want to be Number 1 in the first place, just think of the personal cost. Much better to be a small cog in the machine, than the machine itself!

I’ll be seeing you

Such Business Is Above The Law!

    It was during the deliberations between No.2 and No.6 of ‘Once Upon A time,’ when the Prisoner was up on a charge of careless driving. He was on a mission you see, a matter of life or death {presumably he was trying to save a life} which caused him to drive at great speed. According to the Prisoner no-one was harmed when the Judge asked him how many were dead.
   When the Judge asked the Prisoner whose life or death, the Prisoner refused to say, claiming that it was secret business. In fact it was Sate secret confidential business. And that such business is above the law! This angers the Judge to think that anyone and any business could be above the law, and finds the Prisoner guilty. The Prisoner is then taken away, but appeals against unfair treatment. The Judge tells him he’s getting the same treatment as everybody else. Yes he knows that, that’s why he’s going to appeal!
   I would imagine that King Charles the 1st felt very much the same, that he was above the law. During his trial he was allowed to feel happier as himself by being allowed to wear his own suit of clothes at his trial. And I should think King Charles thought that he was above the law, right up to the moment Parliament had his head chopped off!

Be seeing you