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Tuesday 10 May 2016


   It’s curious that after the beach scene, when Number 8 encouraged Number 6 to sit with her, was enough to shake her love for Number 6. She saw that he could be very unkind. She thought that if she didn’t know him better, she’d think he didn’t love her any more. He doesn’t! But then how can he say that after he’d given her that locket? But then he didn’t! She must be dreaming, she’s got the wrong man. But then if she’s got the wrong man, why has she got the right photograph, in that locket!
  The last seen of Number 8, is when she’s on the beach, pictured on the wall screen in the Control Room. To both the Supervisor and the doctor watching, it looks as though Number 8 is paddling in the water looking for the lost locket. They have no idea Number 6 has the locket, together with the tiny transistors it contains.

   And yet after that there isn’t the opportunity for us to see Number 8 again, although we cannot say the same of Number 6, because soon after that Number 6 is giving a coded message to his “reliable men.” “Tonight at moonset, Rook to Queen’s pawn Six, check.” Then its night-time, and Number 6 is transmitting his distress call from an apparent aircraft in distress. The starboard engine in flames, port engine oil pressure dropping rapidly. The aircraft is a thousand feet and losing height. The Rook is then cast adrift on two rubber lilos strapped together with rope, hardly a seaworthy craft! The idea being, that an automatically transmitted distress call will bring a ship to pick up the Rook, and in turn come inshore to rescue Number 6 and the rest of the potential escapees.
  Apparently the original script for ‘Checkmate’ has Number 8 going aboard M.S. Polotka together with Number 6, and finding Number 2 sitting in a chair actually aboard M.S. Polotska, instead of appearing on a two-way television screen. So Number 6 was originally to have taken Number 8 with him on the raft. I wonder what his motivation was to do that? Especially when he doesn’t trust her! Perhaps he thought to leave her behind she might in some way give the game away, thus his action to take Number 8 along with him would have prevented that.
   It makes for a fascinating thought as to what might have been if the changes in the script had not been made, as to why Number 6 took Number 8 with him on that fateful night.

Be seeing you


  1. I've always had the feeling that this is a rather muddled story. No. 8 disappearing as well as the "man with the stick". Well, he doesn't actually disappear but he's degraded to a mere follower. Contrary to his first appearance. In the end it isn't the story that counts but the Village setting of the action and, of course, the chess metaphor. - BCNU!

    1. Hello Arno,
      That's fair comment. Poor old Number 14, had it not been for him, Number 6 would never have been able to instigate his escape plan, much good it did him. What's more, Number 6 puts himself in charge of the escape, it’s as though he has to be the boss, unable to take orders from others, or simply remain in the background as one of the escapees.
      ‘Checkmate’ is one of my four favourite episodes because of its adventure content, as well as containing a great deal of Portmeirion film footage.

      Best regards
      Be seeing you