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Sunday 21 January 2018

Shinda Shima

  Continuing the screening of ‘the Prisoner’ for its fiftieth anniversary last night with ‘Danger Man’s – Shinda Shima,’ which is a more adventurous episode than ‘Koroshi.’ More than that, there is a distinct pre-Prisoner feel about it, from Drake’s soft canvas shoes to the clicking of his fingers. Then there’s mister Edward Sharp British security electronics expert of Q department most secret communications operations, a Civil Servant who has resigned his job taking a number of important electrical components with him. Stopped at Tokyo airport and after which impersonated by John Drake. Then there is the uniform worn by the disciples of a revived ancient brotherhood, who deal in murder by the blow of oblivion, a Judo outfit. This uniform is seen in two episodes of ‘the Prisoner,’ first in ‘Arrival’ by people sat on the floor in the Aversion Therapy room, and then by Number 2 {Peter Wyngarde} himself in ‘Checkmate,’ He sits upon the floor, concentrating on a plank of wood laid out before him, as he practices the discipline of the martial art of Karate. Suddenly, swiftly, and with one fatal blow he breaks the plank in twain. He could simply be practicing a karate blow, he could also be practicing the blow of oblivion! Is Number 2 a lost disciple of the ancient brotherhood? It seems highly unlikely, but there is the parallel of the uniform. In fact it’s about as unlikely as Richards {Kenneth Griffiths}, a beachcomber and self imposed exile being Number 2 in ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ especially as he dies later in the episode! Also two members of the ancient brotherhood went on to work in The Village. One as a motor mechanic, the other one of Number 14’s bully boys in ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’
    Impersonating Sharp, Drake infiltrates the complex on the island of Shinda Shima. The man in charge of the complex on the island is the Controller {George Coulouris} , who could be a relative of Number 14 the ex-Count, he could be his identical twin, who wants to break the Unicode, the operations code of the United Nations.

  You have seen these images before, in ‘Many Happy Returns’ as Number 6 finds The Village. So that puts The Village on an island after all, in the far east on the Japanese island of Shinda Shima!
   In setting up the code breaking equipment Drake intercepts a coded message……..To Potter embassy
Tokyo……Drake routine report overdue…….What is his current assignment? Report his whereabouts immediately urgent M9. So Potter also gets a mention! There is also a scene in which Drake and a young Japanese woman are escaping the island by boat, they are being shot at by guards on the island, and have to jump overboard, just like Number 6 and Nadia in desperation to escape the pursuing Guardian. It is a parallel, but no more than any of such parallels noted here. Oh I forgot, the sound effect of the electronically operated doors, also used in The Village. It has been a simple yet interesting exercise, simply because at the time, next on the television drawing board, was ‘the Prisoner.’ However like ‘Koroshi,’ Shinda Shima’ was produced in 1966 but not actually seen until three quarters the way through ‘the Prisoner’ in 1968!

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