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Tuesday 29 July 2014

Quote For The Day

    "Who is Number One?"
    "You are Number 6."
                 {The Prisoner and Number 2 - The opening sequence of 'the Prisoner'}
    The above seems clear enough doesn't it? The Prisoner is asking Number 2 who Number One is. Number 2 tells the Prisoner that he is Number 6. And yet if one places the emphasis on the word "you," when Number 6 asks the question again and Number 2 says you are Number Six, effectively telling the Prisoner that he's Number 1. I wonder who the first person was to place that emphasis on the word "you," thus changing the context of the short sentence? Is it merely the interpretation of the enthusiast for 'the Prisoner' who once placed the emphasis on that one single word "you?" I'm not so sure it was the scriptwriter, Patrick McGoohan, or the director, seeing as when the opening sequence was filmed, in all probability, no-one knew who Number 1 was. And if that was the case, then Number 2 is simply telling the Prisoner that he's Number 6. And yet if Number 2 does put the emphasis on the word "you" telling the Prisoner he's Number 1, why doesn't Number 2 take instruction from Number 6, if he knows he's Number 1?
    I remember Number 2 during 'The Chimes of Big Ben' in the hospital asking Number 6 is that an order, when Number 6 demands that Number 6 let Number 8 go. And in 'Free For All,' Number 2 suggests that if Number 6 wins the election then Number 1 may no longer be a mystery to him, if he sees what Number 2 means. Perhaps meaning that Number 6 will recognise the voice on the telephone of Number 1, as being that of his own on! However that seems highly unlikely, seeing as at the time no-one knew who Number 1 was, least of all us, who were watching!

Be seeing you


  1. Hello David,

    sometimes I imagine Number 6 as a Number 1 with amnesia, kind of. So that the village knows that he would be capable to be as important as Number 1 if he hadn't resigned (or fallen out, for that matter). Although it surely wasn't intended to be meant this way.

    As for all the hints who Number 1 is, I think on some occasions this might have been like an inside joke for them. about McGoohan being Number 6 but Number 1 of the production process. Or a comment by the writers about Number 6s overwheening sense of self-importance. I can also imagine that the decision to make Number 6 Number 1 partly came from reflection on the whole filming process and from self-reflection, too. That McGoohan kind of learned who Number 1 was just by being Number 6.

    Very best wishes

    1. Hello Jana,
      An interesting comment. I think it was David Tomblin said I knew it would be you. And Patrick McGoohan once said of Number 1, who else could it have been? Well no-one I shouldn't think. Unless it turned out to be someone like Sir Charles Portland, or other high ranked Civil Servant. But how boring would that have been? While others of the production crew thought it was going to be Lew Grade!

      Very kind regards