I was corresponding by letter with a fellow enthusiast for ‘the Prisoner.’ Indeed he’s an old, old friend who goes way back to my time in Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society. He said like me he had no real hurry to watch the series. He suggested that perhaps because he knew the series so well he didn’t feel the need to watch it regularly. I wrote back saying that his feelings had been expressed to me by another quite recently, and that we seem to be in accord.
Anyway he suggested that if he were to watch ‘the Prisoner’ series
again sometime, there are a number of episodes that he would avoid watching, ‘A
B and C’ was one, followed by ‘The General.’ He went on to add ‘It’s Your
Funeral,’ ‘A Change of Mind,’ Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ ‘Living In
Harmony,’ and ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ and possibly while he was thinking
about it, ‘The Schizoid Man,’ and ‘Hammer Into Anvil.‘ I thought about this
long and hard before I replied. Of the latter episodes ‘Funeral,’ ‘Change,’
‘Harmony, ‘Girl,’ I was completely in accord with him. I’m not so sure I would
discount both ‘A B and C’ and ‘The General’ in with them, on the grounds that I
like Colin Gordon as Number 2. ‘The Schizoid Man’ I could live without watching
again, but I’d keep to ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ because despite the presence of
other characters, ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ is quite like ‘Once Upon A Time,’ a
two-hander episode. However I would add ‘Fall Out’ to my list of episodes I
could happily cut out of my next screening of ‘the Prisoner.’ Indeed my wife
could go one better than that, and has a number of episodes of the series which
she never wishes to watch again. But she is still a hard and fast fan of ‘the
Prisoner,’ as indeed am I.
I remember, in November 1986 when Channel 5 began to release ‘the
Prisoner’ on video here in Britain. It was to be the first time that the
whole series was to be released on video, and in November of that year I
purchased the first two video tapes containing the first four episodes. It
would be a matter of months before the next two videos would be released. I
watched ‘Arrival,’ ‘Chimes,’ AB and C,’ and ‘Free For All’ time and time again,
until the release of the next two videos. That was repeated like-wise with the
rest of the episodes, until the final video containing ‘Fall Out’ was released.
And those video tapes still play as well today as the day I purchased them. How
times change. But it was the novelty of it at the time you see, to be able to
watch ‘the Prisoner’ any time I wanted, for as many times as I wanted. I still
can of course, like so many people, but the desire to do so is not so great
within me. But to watch ‘the Prisoner’ on a regular basis, does that make one
more of an enthusiast than someone who doesn’t? I don’t think so.
Be seeing you