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Friday 7 August 2015


    I always enjoy watching ‘Checkmate’ because it is the episode which contains a great deal of film footage, if not the most, of Portmeirion. In fact the episode can be enjoyed simply for Portmeirion’s own sake.
    When I watch the episode I sometimes think of my stays in Portmeirion, walking about The Village as I follow in Number 6’s footsteps. Or at Prisoner Conventions in the 1990’s when Morag and I produced the chess match, with several hundred people watching, that was members of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society and day visitors to Portmeirion. Although at the time the Conventions were not appreciated by every day visitor, there were complaints made to the Portmeirion management. One time a chap was heard to say “Oh no! Not a damned Prisoner Convention! If I’d known I wouldn’t have come!” But on the whole the Convention re-enactments were enjoyed by the day visitors.
    ‘Checkmate’ always gives a holiday feel to The Village, a quiet seaside resort. People enjoying themselves on the beach. Never mind that the doctor is performing experiments on human beings once carried out on both dogs and Dolphins!
    Why Number 6 should think Number 8 knows who Number 1 is I cannot imagine. I suppose the question was worth asking, he might have got a surprise answer. And the stolen surveillance camera, the telephone, along with the screwdriver and electrical equipment, I cannot imagine that the electrician didn’t report them missing to Control. Perhaps he did, perhaps Number 2 knew all along what Number 6 was up to. After all it was Number 2 who brought the Rook and Number 6 together, by playing on Number 6’s sympathy’s, something like Number 2 had done during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ The Rook-Number 53 had become the underdog, and Number 6 will fight for the rights of the underdog. Besides, the Rook is an electronics expert, brought to The Village not because he had invented an electric defence system, but for the treasonable thought that all nations should have it, and thereby ensuring World peace. Only some bumbling bureaucrat let his bag, containing the plans of the electronic defence system, get swiped. Most probably by an agent working for The Village! Well couldn’t that electronic beam which is deployed in the next episode ’Hammer Into Anvil, be a scaled down version of that electronic defence system invented by the Rook?
   And once again Number 6 is all at sea aboard a flimsy homemade raft. And for the second time the crew of a motor cruiser comes to his assistance. However this time there is no doubt whatsoever about either the vessel or its crew!

Be seeing you


  1. Hi David
    Yes, Checkmate is an excellent episode and one of my favourites. As well as the lovely shots of the village and the chessboard there are some funny moments e.g. when No.6 and his band of merry men accost the shopkeeper and get him to show them his books (very shady looking behaviour – why didn’t the observers spot this!), and also when his team of escapees pathetically try to tie up No.2 when they storm the Green Dome. Plus the searchlight team get thrown out of the tower – yet again! I wouldn’t have wanted to do their job – probably one of the most dangerous in the whole village!
    So, David, if you worked in the village which job would you like to have done? Perhaps you’d have been brave enough to work in the tower searchlight team? Myself I’d probably like to have been a barmaid in the Cat & Mouse, or even No.6’s housekeeper so I could get to know him, ha, ha!

    1. Hello Nadia,
      I enjoyed reading your comment very much. I've always thought the shopkeeper acted rather shifty as he protested to Number 6 and the Rook that his books had never been checked before. I like to think that he was fiddling his books in some way. And perhaps that's why he was replaced by the time of the next episode!
      You asked if I worked in The Village which job I would have liked to have done. Well I have had a fascination for boats and ships of all kinds, and from all ages since I was a boy. So I would be a boat hand on M.S. Polotksa, but that would be a second choice, as that's not technically working in The Village. So seeing as I am a very keen gardener, I'd be one of the gardeners, mind the plants sir, they're new!

      Very best regards