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Friday 15 August 2014

A University Degree In Three Minutes?

    "It's improbable" says No.6" but not impossible" according to No.12. Well that's as may be, but did you know, and some of you might, that a number of years ago that the Prisoner has enjoyed a campus, as well as a cult following. No surprise then that once it was used as a model for University degree studies as the subject for countless theses by students, both here in Great Britain and abroad.
    The first course to embark upon an examination of the series, otherwise than as simple television entertainment, was initiated by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority. Designed, in 1978, for study at secondary, colleges and university levels, the course provided an opportunity for those who wished to explore in greater depth the many themes introduced by ‘the Prisoner.’
    OECA claimed that the series posed "some of the crucial questions in the survival game humanity is playing; and it poses them in almost flawless film art." Like all great art the Prisoner operates on many levels, the viewer gets as much or as little out of it as he or she chooses. The series was presented by OECA as an allegory, in a setting where a man in unexplained captivity, deprived of his liberty, privacy and name, struggles against all odds to regain his freedom, but he is fighting for freedom in a world that strongly resembles our own world; only he sees it as a prison, while we do not.
   In a separate attempt to peer beyond the series' surface level of action, the Arizona State University provided its own course. An experiment was offered, to examine the series and its 'social - psychological concepts.' Two main factors in appreciating the Prisoner were regarded as significant. Firstly, although ambiguity as a whole required viewers to work hard to make sense of what was occurring, the pace of the programme maintained interest. Secondly, the viewers fascination with the main character Number Six, was not doubted. Indeed, students were often found to be intensely involved with the charismatic individual, imprisoned in the village and the adverse conditions which he faced. Constantly confronting overwhelming odds, the Prisoner maintained, overcame coercion, fought, resisted, and held fast throughout the series, the Prisoner as some might see as being a hero.
    Although analytical framework has been provided by such courses as a way of interpreting the content of the 17 episode series, clearly there are many ways in which the series can be examined on a personal basis by each viewer. Thus the Prisoner and its lead character have provided a means of interaction with viewers unlike any other television programme during the past 47 years.
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