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Monday, 22 July 2019

Village Life!

    “What do you mean what shall I do when I leave this place? Leave this place, I’ve not been in office five minutes!”
    “I only thought……”
    “Well don’t, let me do the thinking. What have you got against Number Six anyway?”.
    “I was the Colonel’s bag man once.”
    “You mean you did the Colonel’s fetching and carrying.”
    “Yes I suppose you could put it like that.”
    “What other way is there to put it?”
    “I watched his back.”
    “You were not watching his back when the Colonel “bought it” at the wicket were you?”
    “No.”
    “You were watching a very shapely pair of legs at the time, when you should have been alert to any danger.”
   “They put me out in the cold!”
   “And you blame that on Number Six?”
   “We had met before, in
Tokyo, I was an official at the British Embassy then. I had to contact him at a record shop. I knew he didn’t like me then, and he looked down on me when I was transferred to the same department as his.”
    “Really Potter, you wanted a transfer from the Labour Exchange, and now you’re my assistant you’re still not happy!”
    “What will you do when you leave here?”
    “Go back to the House of Lords I expect.”
    “Me? I’ll be staying I’m sure of that.”
    “Is that why you are here, because of Number Six?”
    “Well there are methods we haven’t tried yet!”
    “You really don’t like him do you Potter? I don’t want a man of fragments, I want him with a whole heart, body, and soul.”
    “And me?”
    “I think a sideways move for you Potter. You can go and help the Supervisor in the Control Room.”
    “Oh goody.”
    “Life here in the village doesn’t suit you does it Potter?”
    “Does it really suit anyone?”
    “Why did they bring you here I wonder. I bet he doesn’t know you are here.”
    “He shouldn’t be surprised by anyone he meets here!”
    “Shall I arrange for him to meet you?”
    “No, no. I’m on my way to the Control room.”
    “And I’m going to meet a new arrival, whom I’m sure will prove to be an attractive diversion.


Be seeing you

2 Times 6 Equals 12!

    Two times 6 equals 12, and two times 12 equals 24, and 24 equals Alison, numbers are all relative you see. We have a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Number 6, and even more so after a makeover. A man by the name of Curtis who was seconded back to The Village, seconded back to The Village, it makes one wonder why and when he was previously in The Village. Perhaps he was a former Prisoner who like Cobb was seconded back to The Village because they had a mission for him involving Number 6! And Alison, she appeared to have a genuine mental link with Number 6, just how and when was this mental link made apparent? Was Alison planted on Number 6 on the instruction of Number 2. She might have been, but one thing Number 2 could not have done, was to fake that mental link. Perhaps it was after this mental rapport between Alison and Number 6 was first demonstrated that he then assigned Alison to Number 6. But when exactly was that, and why should he want to help her? Some things in ‘the Prisoner’ will forever remain a complete mystery! But then that’s what helps make the Prisoner the Prisoner, wouldn’t you say?


Be seeing you

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Village Project Moon!

    “The whole Earth, as the village,” such is No.2’s hope. As for No.6 he would like to be the first man on the Moon! Such is this man’s desire to get as far away from the village as possible, certainly the atmosphere there would be very different to what it was elsewhere! Or perhaps he simply has the desire for his own company and no-one else’s. Well he got that in ‘A Change of Mind’ when the people of the village turned their back on him. We may like to think No.6 is a lone wolf in society, but he isn’t, because he needs the interaction with other people. We all enjoy our own company from time to time, but as the English 17th century author John Donne said in one of his sermons “No man is an island. No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others.”
Number 1 Given A Rocket?
    Why was there a rocket in the village in the first place? No doubt it arrived on the back of a Scammell Highwayman Transporter {see my book the Prisoner Dusted Down} but why was it needed? The Blue Streak rocket which we see superimposed onto the piece of film in ‘Fall Out’ suggesting it was a missile carrying a nuclear payload which No.6 launched in the episode. And yet the rocket had no warhead, because No.1 was sealed in the nose cone, and there were four Orbit Tubes {life support tubes} inside the rocket, suggesting when eventually launched, the rocket was bound for somewhere or something beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Whether the rocket was capable of reaching the Moon is doubtful, and even if it was there was no indication that the rocket was capable of landing on the Moon’s surface. Neither is there any indication of the rocket containing a Moon Lander, nor for that matter was there any sign of spacesuits! Perhaps the intention was to fly a manned rocket around the Moon without the capability of making a landing.
   Nevertheless the rocket was launched by No.6, which has suggested to some enthusiasts of ‘the Prisoner’ that No.6’s previous employment was as a rocket engineer. Nonetheless for that, remembering No.6 did show the desire to be the first man on the Moon, he did launch the rocket in full knowledge that his other self was firmly secured inside the nose cone of the rocket. Thereby at least giving himself the opportunity of attempting to reach his goal! Certainly No.1 achieved escape velocity.


Be seeing you

In The Therapy Zone!

    “Why am I here?”
    “Don’t you know?”
    “Well it’s a cave.”
    “Yes a cave, it’s the Therapy Zone.”
    “What’s that noise?”
    “What’s what noise friend?”
    “That sound like a cross between someone breathing through an aqua lung, Gregorian chant, and a bicycle pump.”
    “Ah, no-one has told you then?”
    “Told me what?”
    “Do we tell him lads?”
    “Look all I know is, I was dragged from my home, forced to wear these overalls, and dumped in this cave, then you three arrived.”
    “He had better put these goggles on.”
    “Oh yes he had better put the goggles on.”
    “Here put these goggles on.”
    “Why?”
    “Why, to protect your eyes.”
    {Suddenly the noise became louder and suddenly there is was, this white pulsating membranic thing appeared at the far end of the cave, placed around it were four plastic chairs.}
    “What do we do now?”
    “Sit down of course.”
    “What’s going to happen?”
    “You are to be indoctrinated.”
    “Why?”
    “This is the Therapy Zone?”
    “Aren’t we going to get drunk?”
    “Listen to the man, soon you will be intoxicated with such knowledge............”
    “Oh no, it can’t be, but it is, Roveroids travelling on hover discs, a city of Roveroids, the light it’s so strong.....a vision of a world in perpetual light, no dark, no night.......its beautiful, I want to see, show me......show me!”
    “Control yourself, it’s always like this the first time. It will show you, it will show you everything. It will show you its world, a dead world, that’s why they came here, to survive.”
    “In The Village?”
    “Their trajectory was some degrees out, The Village was made their home.
    “And the indoctrination?”
    “It wants you to learn, to implant its memories within us.”
    “To survive through us.”
    “Yes.”
    “You mean to make us the Roveroids..........oh God nooooooooooo!”
Be seeing you 

Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Therapy Zone

    I suppose one of the doctors would have carried out a psychological assessment of Number 6, well they could hardly have him wandering about the village shouting his head off about the desert and another village! Well there he was you see, our friend Number 6, well not so much of a friend because I don’t really know him. But nevertheless, there he is going about his daily business of pocking his nose in where it wasn’t wanted, countering the machinations of Number 2 against the village. Causing trouble, and generally not doing anything to benefit either the village or its community, and that’s when he wasn’t coming up with different ideas and schemes to try and escape!
   Then one day he wakes up and things are not as they might be, but there’s a familiarity about his cottage, and yet there’s a difference. And his piped jacket……since when was he 93? * Would Number 2 necessarily know what the old man would be raving about? As for the village, well how did he get there, this village in the middle of a vast desert? An old man he might be, but there must be a way out. Its no wonder 93 turned to drink, and in that was his mistake. A drunken old man who goes about shouting of another place, another village and before that…..
London. But Two told him there is no London, only the village. More than that, there’s nowhere to escape to, because there’s nothing to escape from!
    But that didn’t stop the old man from repeatedly trying to escape, then one day when being pursued by guardians in the desert and the mountains beyond, 93 found himself in a cave. There was a young man who told him he wasn’t from the village, that he didn’t know where he was or how the came to be there. 93 saw the man as a bloody miracle, and to tell 554 that he found a way out………….be seeing you.
    The old man died in that cave, and the man buried him in the desert by an old dead tree. Imagine then, Number 6 waking up in the village and storming, well perhaps not storming not at his age, into Number 2’s office demanding to know what has been going on? Telling him, or anyone in the village about the other place, the other village in the desert, that he had been there. They would think he had gone completely tonto, and before Number 6 knew where he was he’d be in the hospital undergoing a number of psychiatric tests!
    But how came the former Number 6 to the village in the desert as 93 in the first place? Generally its people who live in
New York who find themselves waking up in the village, or having arrived there by bus. People who have psychological problems, mental problems, who are sent to the village to be made better people so they can be released back into society. But Number 6 is the odd man out, he’s already in the village. The question is how is the company of Summakor able to bring Number 6 from the village situated on an estuary in Portugal, to the village in the desert? Its difficult to get one’s head around that, because although the village out in the desert has the feel of the 1950’s about it, there are certain aspects which place it firmly in the 21st century. This is confirmed by scenes taking place outside the village in New York City. So it’s possible for the former Number 6 to have been taken there, for whatever reason, but he would have to have been in his late 80’s or early 90’s.
    When people die in the village, they usually die in the outside world. Like Lucy, as 45 when she threw herself into one of those dark holes, her other self, Lucy, was dead in a gas explosion in
New York when Michael’s flat exploded. So when 93 died in that cave, did Number 6 die in the other village at the same time? And why was he sent to the other village, the one in the desert in the first place? To see if 2 could extract the reason behind his resignation, surely they were well past that after all these decades. Besides 2 never once asked 6 why he resigned from summakor! That leaves Number 6 with psychological problems, to be sent to the village to be made better.
    *the old man 93 is a representation of the former Number 6.

Be seeing you

Thought For The Day

    Unmutualism, its nothing but a witch hunt! In the Village it’s easy to become suspect, and for the slightest misdemeanour you can be seen as disharmonious, and unmutual. The hunt out of unmutuals is rather like the days of McCarthyism in America and the Red scare of the 1940’s and 50’s, in making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. Just like Number 42, who was accused of being disharmonious by ignoring Number 10’s greeting when she was composing poetry. As for Number 6, he was brought before the Committee on a trumped up charge. It was the two bully boys who were no doubt sent by Number 2 to provoke Number 6 to attack them, and thereby able them to have Number 6 sent before the Committee. And these other complaints against Number 6 as suggested by the Committee Chairman? Were there in fact any other complaints laid against him? ‘A Change of Mind’ is another demonstration of how the community is manipulated. The first time the community couldn’t get enough of Number 6 as every man Jack of the people voted Number 6 as the new Number 2. But this time its different, they all stand against him as one……Number 6 the unmutual!


Be seeing you

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The Chimes of Big Ben

    A Little while ago, my wife and I were listening to a Sherlock Holmes story from the BBC Radio Collection, on good old fashioned cassette tape, called ‘The Second Stain.’ The story began with the chimes of Big Ben which Holmes described as “What a magnificent sound that is, the sound of tradition and stability.” If there’s one thing No.6 has lacked since his abduction to the village its stability, and under normal circumstances that stability would have been restored with the traditional and familiar sound of the chimes of Big Ben. For Nadia we are supposed to believe that for her the chimes of Big Ben means safety, that’s why she was so keen to project the need to hear the chimes. But it was all a clever scheme, the chimes are false and misleading. The Prisoner isn’t in London, the apparent stability and familiarity washed away as he discovers there is no-one he can trust, not even his surroundings. And so No.6 returns to the familiarity and stability of the village. For at least here he knows where he is, and where he stands.


Be seeing you

The Village Shop

    The village shop is a general store much like the good old fashioned corner shop, but sadly few exist today. A shop that sold everything from flowers to saucepans, bread, eggs brussel sprouts, potatoes, milk. Tinned goods, sweets, household goods, brooms, carpet beaters, ladles and plastic laundry baskets. as well as special imports of blue and white Cornish ware pottery, and as it happens Portmeirion pottery their Penny Plain pattern. Oranges, tomatoes, pineapples, to provide a full list would be almost endless. Now the village shop is a reflection of a past world, of paper bags and food items wrapped in greaseproof paper by the shopkeeper and not plastic. 
    And yet by the time of ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ something else “olde worlde” has been added to the village shop, an old fashioned cash register! These date from the 1940’s.
   A large cash drawer with scooped change compartments, and a spring clamps for notes. It has a bell which ‘dings’ every time the cash register is opened. The measurements of the cash registers are around 7.5" high, 9.5" wide, and 18.5" front to back. These cash registers were fitted with a receipt roll, the only thing is each purchase had to be hand written on the receipt as it was dispensed.
   The question is, why in a cashless society as the village, did the new shopkeeper-No.112, feel the need to have an old fashioned cash register? Perhaps he thought it added a little more ambiance to the olde worlde atmosphere of the village shop. And yet he had to put the clippings from credit cards into something, as they were proofs of sales.


Be seeing you

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Who’s That On The Telephono?

    “Yes I’m looking at his file now…….telephone sir? I’m on red, he could prove to be difficult…….but I do have a plan. Yes I bicycled to work this morning, I saw my predecessor taking the Prisoner to the Labour Exchange……..well perhaps finding him employment would help him to adjust. I’ve been reading his file. I see he built a Lotus kit car with his own hands. It states that he knows every nut, bolt and cog, so I think we should find him employment in the motor pool as a mechanic maintaining the fleet of Mini-Mokes…………Yes I read he can fly a helicopter……that would make him ideal for the task, the test has been timed for later this afternoon………well it is a risk using Number Six as a guinea pig, but what have we got to lose? All I have to do is make sure Number Nine gives him the Electro Pass………..and Number Six can unwittingly take it from there!”


Be seeing you

60 Second With No.2

   “You seem to have enjoyed your terms in office Number Two.”
    “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
    “What’s so funny?”
    “Nothing, just my sense of humour.”
    “Which is strong an unimpaired?”
    “Now you’re talking about Number Six.”
    “Well let’s talk about you. It didn’t go so well for you.”
    “Didn’t it?”
    “What?”
    “The plan to make Number Six bend, to get him to talk.”
    “Give away the reason behind his resignation.”
    “I did try and tell them.”
    “But you did your best.”                                                            
    “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, I died!”
    “Did you?”
    “Well apparently I did.”
    “Not quite the same is it, apparently dying.”                                                                
    “It could have been the drink.”                                                                                      
    “It didn’t effect Number 6, did it? He did drink from the same bottle.”                                 
    “One week, one teeny weenie week, and I almost had him.”                                            
    “He’s a good man.”
    “I am a good man, I was a good man…….!”
    “But he was better.”
    “Well of course it had to be.”
    “His reward?”
    “The throne.”
    “And yours?”
    “Apparently this Perspex orbit tube!”
    “And then what?”
   It was at this point that Number 2 fell silent with a far away look in his eye. I turned and walked away, leaving a “late” Number 2 to his thoughts before I got put into one of these Perspex tubes!

Be seeing you           

Friday, 12 July 2019

PR1SONER!

    A pair of steel doors slid open and three men in grey suits stepped into the grey cabinet filled warehouse of the archive. The doors closed and at the far end of the long aisle was a figure dressed in a brown smock.
    “Excuse me, you shouldn’t be in here you know” the man shouted.
    The three men started to walk towards the figure.
    “Who are you, what do you want?”
    The three men each drew their revolvers. As they drew closer they each fired their guns, and the figure dropped to the floor in a hail of bullets. Blood seeped from the wounds and flowed across the floor in tiny rivers, massing together in pools of red liquid. The three men set about looking for a particular filing cabinet and ransacking it when they found it. It was a thin blue file credited as highly confidential – eyes only. With the file obtained there was no reason to remain, and the last man to leave switched off the lights, and the pair of steels doors closed with a resounding clang.

    The silver grey Allouete helicopter approached the village, it circled twice before landing on the lawn by the sea wall. A white Mini-Moke taxi was waiting. A man dressed all in black stepped out of the cabin of the helicopter and down to the ground. He put on his black top hat, and he carried a black leather document case under his arm.
    In the Green Dome the grey ‘L’ shaped telephone began to bleep, No.2 picked it up.
    “Yes what is it?”
    It was the Supervisor in the Control Room “I thought you would like to know the helicopter has just arrived.”
    “Good, and the courier?”
    “He was met by a taxi and is on his way to the Town Hall” the Supervisor reported, watching the progress of the Mini-moke on the wall screen.
    “Very well….just a minute, not the Town Hall, have him brought to the Green Dome.”
    “The instructions are to admit him to the Committee room in the Town Hall” the Supervisor insisted.
    “Are you questioning my authority?”
    “No Number 2.”
    “Very well then, have the taxi driver bring her passenger to the Green Dome.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    The Supervisor relayed No.2’s instructions to the taxi driver “The Committee isn’t going to like this” he told his assistant.
    “Thankfully that’s not our problem” No.60 replied.
    “Too right” agreed the Supervisor looking at his watch and announced it was time for their elevenses.
    The taxi passed the Town Hall and turned right at the top of the street.
    “I was told to report to the Committee in The Town Hall back there” the courier told the driver.
    “You heard the radio message sir, my instructions have been changed” the driver told her passenger “I’m to deliver you to Number 2 the Green Dome.”
    The taxi came to a stop at the steps leading up to the Green Dome.
    “We’ve arrived” the driver told her passenger.
    The passenger alighted “Up the steps?”
    “Yes sir, Number 2 will be waiting for you, be seeing you” the driver said.
    The taxi sped off leaving the courier standing in the street. A passing cyclist rang her bell ting-a-ling-a-ling. Curiously the bicycle had a tall canopy, which must have made the bicycle a little ungainly to ride.
    The Courier started to climb the steps as he looked at the imposing green domed building, well not so much green, as a turquoise colour. On the balcony he took a moment to look out over part of the village, people going about their daily lives, a little old lady emerged from the General store, he could hear a brass band playing. Turning he faced the large double archway, he stepped into the arch and facing the door pulled on the wrought iron bell pull. From somewhere a deep tolling of a bell, and the front door opened automatically with the sound of an electric hum. A diminutive butler dressed in black tails stood on the other side of the door inviting the man in black to step inside the foyer with the gesture of a hand. He did so, and the door closed behind him. The foyer was nicely decorated, a vase of flowers stood on a round table, and paintings of sailing vessels decorated the walls. The butler led the way passed a large fire place, a pair of french doors stood open, and beyond those a pair of steel doors opened at their approach.
    Both the butler and the courier stood in the open door way.
    “Ah there you are do come in and sit down” No.2 gesturing with a wave of his arm from a black globe chair.
    The courier walked down the ramp, crossed the floor and looked at the vacant black chair, he sat down.
    “You’ve had a long journey, would you like some tea, or coffee?”
    “No thank you, I have something to pass on to the Committee then I must be on my way” the courier informed the man in the chair.
    “Really!”
    “If I can see the Committee…..”
    “Oh I see, no there’s no need, you can give the file to me” No.2 said holding out his hand.
    The courier felt reluctant to do so, after all he had been given his instructions.
    “Please, I am Number 2 Chairman of the village.”
    Reluctantly the courier opened his black leather document case and removed the thin blue file “If you are sure.”
    “I’m positive” No.2 told him.
    The courier stood up and approaching the grey curved desk handed over the file “Now if you could arrange for me to leave the village.”
    “Leave?” No.2 looked up as though surprised “Oh I’m sorry the helicopter has already left, and will not return until two tomorrow. It looks very much like you’ll be staying.”
    “You can’t keep me here.”
    “Oh I think I can.”
    “Why?” the courier demanded to know.
    “To bring me this file of course” No.2 said “You know this file is like the old empty barn.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “Empty!”
    “What’s the point in an empty file?”
    “To put things in, now let us begin to fill it out, name, time of your birth, age, what you were, what you want to be. What you like to read, to eat, loves, hates, family illnesses, politics, I want to know everything about you.”
    “Why?”
    “You have been selected” Number 2 told him.
    “Why?”
    “Because I have a problem and you are the solution. How do you feel about becoming the new Number 1?”
    “New Number 1?”
    “Mind you I only ask out of courtesy, you really don’t have any say in the matter.”
    “Then I’ll be the boss.”
    “In a manner of speaking….yes I suppose you will” No.2 said thoughtfully
    “Then I will be able to leave this place, just a minute…….what happened to the old Number 1?”
    “Why do you ask?”
    “Did he chuck the job in?”
    “In a way.”
    “In what way?”
    “He left the village.”
    “So you can leave!” said the courier eagerly.
    “He left somewhat involuntarily.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “He departed the village, and most probably this life, in a rocket. You see he had this desire to be the first man on the Moon.”
    “And me?”
    “Like your predecessor, your desire may very well be the death of you” No.2 said then asked “where do you desire to go?”
    The new No.1 was installed in his inner sanctum without ceremony, dressed in a white robe and black and white theatrical mask, because no-one was to see 1’s face. In fact he is to be completely isolated from the village and its entire community. His identity to be kept a closely guarded secret. He will be a kind of observer of village life, but never to be involved. A figurehead through whom instructions and orders are implemented. If he thinks he’s the boss, he is deluded, the “masters” back in London are the boss. They pull the strings and No.1 must dance to their tune. However he is No.2’s immediate superior, but has no pleasure in attaining the position of No.1, its lonely at the top being in command. What’s more there’s the village, and No.1 unable to enjoy any of its benefits, sealed away, isolated hoping his counterpart makes no attempt to escape or it will be all the worse for him!


Be seeing you

If I Am 1 You Must Be 1 Two!

    1 and 6 different sides of the same coin, the tormentor and the tormented, no one any better or worse than the other. Number 6 made a prisoner of himself because he chucked in his job, and Number 1 didn’t want him to and there’s the conflict, the anguish pattern. And in the mind the Village is created, he has made his own prison, and there’s no escaping that. Each and every day he has to live with the fact that he resigned from a perfectly good job, and his conscience will not let him live with it and it is that which Number 6 wrestled with each and every day. We all want to be Number 1, but not Number 6, he rejected the Village. He wanted out, but there is no out, there is only in. Number 6 isn’t the problem, he’s the solution seeing as they want to carry out something of a coup in order to replace Number 1 with Number 6! That would suggest to me that they have had enough of this Number 1, but have no idea of 1’s identity. It would have been a dangerous move. Because Number 6 as Number 1 would have carried out the plan he tried in ‘Free For Fall,’ an organized mass breakout of the village, which he indirectly caused in ‘Fall Out.’


Be seeing you

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Echoes of The Prisoner

  Last Sunday, July 7th,  my wife and I sat watching the final episode of ‘Man In A Suitcase’ called ‘Night Flight To Andorra,’ and it wasn’t long before I was having another of those “echo’s of the Prisoner” moments. 
    No, it has nothing to do with the fact that John Maxted, his girlfriend, and henchman are sat watching a series of slides, although that in itself could be considered to be an “echo” of ‘the Prisoner.’ It’s that fancy frilled shirt worn by Maxted played by Peter Woodthorpe which instantly caught my eye. It looks very like the shirt as worn by the Judge {David Bauer} in ‘Living In Harmony,’ then Mister X {Patrick McGoohan} in ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ and No.48 {Alex Kanner} in ‘Fall Out.’
    What compounded my suspicions about this shirt is the jagged piece of cloth at the end of the cuffs as seen in the above picture. To my eye it suggests there used to be frills at the end of the sleeves, which had been cut off! So is this shirt, worn by actor Peter Woodthorpe in ‘Night Flight To Andorra,’ the same as worn in 3 episodes of ‘the Prisoner?’ I wouldn’t like to say it is, but it’s always possible, those jagged edges at the end of the cuff are certainly suggestive.
   Perhaps actor Peter Woodthorpe took a particular liking to that shirt, because in every scene in which he appears in ‘Night Flight To Andorra’ he’s seen wearing that shirt. Perhaps that’s why Mister X wears the frilled shirt in ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ having seen David Baur wearing it in ‘Living In Harmony,’ he fancied wearing it himself, along with the tie. And the shirt certainly goes well with No.48’s other clobber!


Be seeing you

NumbersGame

    There is a song about a secret agent having his name taken away and being given a number. “Secret Agent’ being the American title for ‘Danger Man.’ But I don’t recall John Drake having had his name taken away and his having been given a number, but he did work under a number of different aliases from time to time. The only way the secret agent could have had his name taken away, and his having been given a number, would be if it were John Drake who was abducted to the village. Although I realize that idea is not everyone’s cup of tea. And besides ‘the Prisoner’ didn’t exist at that time.
    But the village is not the only organization to operate through numbers. ‘The Men From U.N.C.L.E were given Numbered badges, although the U.N.C.L.E agents were not known by their number, and the badges were only worn when they were in any U.N.C.L.E headquarters.
    The 1960’s television series ‘Get Smart’ Max Smart works for a secret U.S. government counterintelligence agency based in Washington, DC which uses code numbers for its agents. Smart’s code number is agent 86, his female partner is Barbara Feldon agent 99.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Smart
    Then there’s the1977 - 81 ITV television series, ‘The Professionals,’ Bodie and Doyle both have numbers or call signs 3-7 and 4-5 respectively, although they are known by both their names, they seem to be known more by their call signs. They communicate using these to their CI5 boss, George Cowley, also calls them by both their names and numbers, and he being the boss is Number 1, or to use his call sign Alpha-1. It has been wondered how the Prisoner was given the number 6. I wonder how Bodie and Doyle ended up with call signs 3-7 and 4-5?
    An earlier piece of detective fiction by the pen of
Agatha Christie would be “The Seven Dials Mystery,’ the Seven Dials is a group of criminal-catchers and people who do secret service work for their country. Each member of the group is known by a number, however Number 7 is always missing at meetings. It is not until an emergency meeting of the Seven Dials is called, which Number 7 attends, is the identity of Number 7 is revealed. One might expect that Number 1 of the Seven Dials is the boss, but that is not that case, Number 7 turns out to be the boss! And that got me thinking. On the basis of the Seven Dials, the fact that Number 7 never attends their meetings, and the fact that Number 7 is always vacant in The Village, I came up with the idea that somewhere the mysterious unseen Number 7 is the boss behind the village not Number 1!


Be seeing you

Monday, 8 July 2019

Village Life!

    “What’s up with you this morning?”
    “Nothing, why do you ask?”
    “Well let’s just say you’re not your usual cheery self.”
    “I was never that, not since I woke up in this place.”
    “What the village, it’s not so bad really.”
    “Not so bad!”
    “Well what I mean is I can think of worse places to be.”
    “Go on then, name one.”
    “Eh……..well there’s Wormwood Scrubs,
Alcatraz, Sing Sing.”
    “In those places you know where you stand, warder or prisoner. But they bring you here and expect you to carry on the good work. They turned me and you into Top Hat officials of administration. More then that, its us who now go out into the world and abduct people. Well next time I’m sent on a special assignment I’m going to do it.”
    “Do what?”
    “Not come back!”
    “You mean escape?”
    “Yes. I bet no-one’s tried that before!”
    “You mustn’t say things like that.”
    “Why not?”
    “Well you never know who might be listening.”
    “Like who?”
    “At the very least, Observers.”
    “They won’t take any notice of me.”
    “Why?”
    “I’m a jammer!”
    “But I’m not, I’m an undercover and the game’s up!”
    “Damn and blast it!”

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The Therapy Zone

    ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ gives an incite into the Prisoner’s former work both in fiction and in fact. On the one hand we have an unnamed secret agent, Mr. X, who is trying to track down a mad scientist who is planning revenge for Germany losing the second World War {in the original script}. On the other we have Patrick McGoohan acting the role of ‘Danger Man’ John Drake in an unused script. However this is not the only instance in which we gain such an incite, in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ when ZM73 goes running back to his ex-colleagues for a third time.
   In ‘A B and C’ through the Prisoner’s dreams we see the kind of circles he moved in, all those who attended Madame Engadine’s celebrated parties were either rich or influential, or both. Professional people, with perhaps a few unseemly characters thrown in for good measure. It is a place to see and be seen, a place to meet people. When the Prisoner first arrived at the party, many people knew him, they warmed to him and smiled, others, to whom he does not speak, point him out. So is it pure pleasure that brings the Prisoner to attend
Engadine’s parties, or is there a professional reason? How often Engadine holds her parties is unknown, but certainly she and the Prisoner are old friends. Both he and ‘A’ do the same job, but now they are on different sides. This is the first time they have met at Engadine’s parties, she a tactful lady, and managed, up until now to keep them both apart. ‘A’ made world news when he defected, and since then ZM73 has turned his back on his old friend. They had a great deal in common once, but now that’s all in the past, and now ZM73 despises ‘A’, and looks upon him with derision. I imagine ‘A’ wasn’t all that important, otherwise they’d have had him brought to the village when he was about to defect. That having been the case with ‘C’ – Chambers! As for ‘B,’ she is a very good spy, from a long line of spies, no doubt produced from a School for spies somewhere on the Russian Steppes! The last ZM73 remembers of her is how she was hiking across the mountains to Switzerland, she got sore feet. I guess by the conversation that ZM73 was somehow involved at the time. She was also involved with ‘A’ who is a very bad loser, and no doubt it was ‘A’ and his henchmen who ‘B’ was trying to escape across the mountains into Switzerland! Being a very good spy, ‘B’ sees death as an occupational hazard. She’s cool, self-assured, confident in herself and her abilities. Its only when No,.14 puts words in ‘B’s’ mouth that her character changes, turning her into a weak and feeble woman, who is afraid, and desperate to make a deal in order to save her own life. As a matter of fact, women make better spies, and survive longer than male counterparts. Certainly Engadine’s celebrated parties might well attract the wealthy and influential, but also the nefarious types!


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Saturday, 6 July 2019

Who’s That On The Telephono?

    No.2 “Number 118, why was there no mole on Number 12’s left wrist? I said why was there no mole? Don’t you realize you’ve jeopardized the whole operation. Report to me first thing in the morning, first thing.”

    The telephone bleeps.
    No.2 “Yes?”
    Supervisor-No.106 “Control Room here, negative search results so far. No trace of him yet sir.”
    “Send out a general alarm, orange alert.”

    Strange how this No.2, unlike his predecessors and successors doesn’t use a telephone when he speaks to his subordinates, not even when the Supervisor is speaking to him on the telephone! Instead he communicates with them via the large screen in his office at the touch of a button via a microphone. Obviously there’s the added loudspeaker so that he can be heard, and he can hear them. Likewise actors Colin Gordon and Patrick Cargill are the only actors to use that red curved, over-sized telephone. Anton Rogers is the only actor not to use one of those ‘L’ shaped telephones when called to do so! No.2 in ‘Checkmate’ also communicates with the doctor through a microphone at the press of a button, but he does also use the telephone at times.


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Caught On Camera!

   It stood to reason that Number 6 has two piped jackets, one with joined piping on the lapel, the other with broken piping, as can be seen throughout the series. But what’s Number 6’s own suit doing hanging up in the wardrobe, they burnt it didn’t they? Or at least that’s what the doctor told the Prisoner the day after his arrival in the village. And yet ‘In Dance of The Dead’ Number 6’s own suit was specially delivered for the occasion of Carnival. Obviously with ‘The General’ following ‘Dance of The Dead’ Number 6 was permitted to keep his suit, which was later collected and his effigy then dressed in readiness for his participation in ‘Fall Out.’ Well Number 2 said they are damned clever!


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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Caught On Camera!

   What’s that sign doing there? It appears to read HALT. The sign is seen a little way on the bend in the road, for a couple of seconds in ‘Arrival’ after No.6 is being driven away from the hospital. And can be seen again in ‘Checkmate’ when No.8 is following No.6 and the Rook in a taxi. It suggests that taxis are not permitted passed that signpost. Not that any notice was taken if that’s the case. The sign doesn’t appear as other signposts about the village. So is it a production sign to do with filming of ‘the Prisoner’ if so the Moke’s didn’t stop at the HALT sign. So the signpost might have nothing to do with the filming, but more to do with Portmeirion itself. Although it doesn’t have a permanent look about it.

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A Favourite Scene In Living In Harmony

    Had George Markstein not left ‘the Prisoner’ production when he did, he could have revived his role as the man sat behind the desk in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ cutting out the need for actor Patrick Jordan as Danvers. George could also have appeared in the role of the Marshal who is busy writing out a report or something or other during the opening sequence to ‘Living In Harmony.’ As we know the episode enjoys a representative opening sequence of the regular opening sequence to ‘the Prisoner.’ However there will be those of us who remember the 1984 screening I think it was, of ‘the Prisoner’ by Channel 4. When it came to ‘Living In Harmony’ some clever dick thought the regular opening sequence was missing from the episode, so it was added. So that when ‘Living Harmony’ began there was the regular series opening sequence immediately followed by the correct one for the episode!


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Tuesday, 2 July 2019

I Will Not Be Pushed

    The steel doors closed behind the man who was projected into the domed chamber of No.2’s office.
    “Nice of you to come along.”
    The man picked himself up at the bottom of the ramp.
    “Well I didn’t exactly come along as you put it. I wasn’t given much choice in the matter.”
    “You must forgive my men, they can be somewhat over zealous in their work.”
    “Work they seem to enjoy.”
    “Yes, well you are here now.”
    “Yes, and why am I here, that’s the question.”
    “Do you also have the answer?”
    “No sir.”
    “You are Number 105, or should I say Jonathon Peregrine Danvers late of over the typing pool, and of British Civil Service, now of administration here in the village.”
    “And you’re Number 2 Chief Administrator, so that’s the introductions over with. What now?”
    “I have a few questions to put to you.”
    “Questions, what questions?”
    “Questions I’m going to ask you.”
    “I don’t know what you want with me, I’ve nothing to say.”
    “Nothing to say perhaps, but something to hide, or have hidden.”
    “Hidden, what might I have to hide?”
    “That’s what I’m going to find out.”
    “You might be Number 2, but I know my rights, you can’t push me around.”
    “Rights, you forwent any rights you might have had the day you arrived here. Who is XO4?”
    “XO4?”
    “It’s a simple enough question, who is XO4?”
    “Believe me, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
    “That’s just it, I don’t believe you!”
    “There’s nothing I can do about that.”
    “I could have my men brought back.”
    “Yes you’re good at that kind of thing. You can do what you like to me, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about!”
    “It’s a very important file that’s gone missing.”
    “How do you know it’s gone missing, there are hundreds of grey filing cabinets in the vault, how would anyone know if any file has gone missing. And why should you think I should have anything to do with it?”
    Number 2 turned his black spherical chair round and round slowly. Leaning forward he pressed a button on the control panel of his desk. A round disc dropped to leave a black hole in the floor, through which rose a black leather chair.
    “Sit down.”
    “I think I’d rather stand if its all the same with you.”
    “Its not all the same to me, sit down 105, or I can summon my men and they will make you sit down. I’ll be generous and give you one last chance. We know XO4 exists because D6 sent him a message.”
    “Look, I don’t know anything about any X04.”
    “Do not make me rely on brute force.”
    “You can’t beat out of me what isn’t there.”
    Number 2 picks up a yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom from his desk, a few minutes later two burly set men wearing red jerseys enter the domed office. Five minutes later they leave with blood and broken skin on their knuckles, and Number 105 slumped in the chair, battered and bruised.
Filed    “So this is the records department.”
    “Yes Number 2, and may I say it’s not every day we have someone as distinguished as you visiting the depository, is it 123?.”
    “No 321 it isn’t. Perhaps you would like some tea?”
    The depository was a vast secure vault in which grey filing cabinets stretched in every direction. Filing cabinets which held all manner of information. We all end up here in the end, one way or another. Those who have resigned, defected, or are just plain deceased.”
    “Well what can we do for you Number 2?”
    “I’m looking for a file.”
    “Well we have plenty of files here thousands of them in fact.”
    “Some are in dire need of de-classification they are too old!”
    “I’m looking for a specific file, XO4.”
    “XO4, have we had a file XO4 321?”
    “I don’t call it to mind, and my memory is pretty good, quite infallible in fact.”
    “Well now what have we here? ZM73.”
    “We know about him, he had a code name D6.”
    “A man with a code name, hiding behind a secondary codename, that’s taking security a bit far wouldn’t you say?”
    “Security isn’t a dirty word.”
    “No Number 2. PR12”
    “Yes.”
    “XB4.”
    “That’s Potter.”
    “Is that his codename?”
    “What?”
    “XB4, is Potter his codename?”
    “No, that’s XB4’s real name, Potter.”
    “We have a file on Potter here somewhere. He was given the number 20, and a position as manager of the Labour Exchange. But he wasn’t well suited to the job. So he found himself another job, promotion, that’s what comes from working in the Labour Exchange, you get first dibs on the best jobs.”
    “What job?”
    “Assistant to one of your predecessors wasn’t it 123?”
    “Yes, but that job didn’t last long. He was demoted to working as the Supervisor’s assistant in the Control room.”
    “And XO4?”
    “You keep mentioning this XO4, but we’ll need a little more information than that you know.”
    “Why?”
    “Well just look about you, where are we to begin looking?”
    “321 here once went looking for a file on Hunter, that’s a rank you know, rather like yours. They keep changing, but not so often. Anyway 321 got himself lost for a couple of days, didn’t you.”
    “Yes.”
    “Number 105 told me the file is here.”
    “Number 105 who’s he?”
    “He works in administration.”
    “Oh, we don’t come under that heading.”
    “No, we’re more a working archive.”
    “Well work a little harder and dig that file out for me. Or I’ll see you both buried here in one of those grey filing cabinets!”
    Number 2 turned to leave “How do I get out of here?”
    “Walk down that centre aisle, tuned left at the wall, then keep turning right.”
    “He’s a one 321.”
    “He most certainly is. If he wants a file on this XO4, we’ll make one up for him!”
Stamped    The pair of steel blast proof doors slid opened, and Number 14, Number 2’s assistant walked in and down the ramp, the pair of doors sliding closed behind him. He carried something in his hand and approached the desk. Number 2 sat up in his chair with interest.
    “What have you there 14?”
    “A file Number 2.”
    “Yes, I can see that much for myself.”
    “It’s been stamped XO4 top secret and confidential.”
    “XO4! Let me have the file.”
    Number 14 placed the file on the desk, Number 2 rose out of the black special chair and picked up the file.
    “Alright 14 you can go.”
    “May I warn you sir, your predecessor used to tell me to leave this office just when things were getting interesting. In short he didn’t trust me.”
    “Meaning I should?” Number 2 asked.
    “I am still here, whereas he is not, you are sir.”
    Number 2 thought for a moment “Alright 14 you can stay.”
    “Thank you sir.”
    Number 2 paused a moment, then opened the file.
    “You know 14 this file is like the auld empty barn!”
    “The old empty barn sir, how do you mean?
    “There’s nothing in it!”
    “I don’t understand sir.”
    “How did you come by this file?”
    “It was passed on to administration from the file archive, I was sure there was……just a minute sir, there’s a piece of paper.”
    “Good, what does it say?”
    “Nothing!”
    “Nothing!”
    Number 14 studied the sheet of paper.
    “It appears that someone has rubbed a pencil over indentations in the paper.”
    “Let me see” said Number 2 taking the paper. He studied it carefully, just able to make out the indentations.
    “To XO4 Ref your query via Bizet record. No.2’s instability confirmed. Detailed report follows. D6.”
    “What do you make of that sir, and who is D6?”
    “D6 is the code name of ZM73.”
    “And who is ZM73?”
    “Our friend Number 6!”
    “And XO4?”
    “Refuses to be identified!”
Indexed    XO4 identity unknown.    ZM73 carried out top secret confidential assignments.    D6 code name for ZM73.   ZM73 is Number 6 indexed as having resigned his top-secret confidential job.    Number 6 still refuses to be indexed by revealing his name, always relies on code names, or pseudonyms such as Peter Smith.   Number 2 Chairman of the village.    Number 14 assistant to Number 2.
Briefed     Number 14 “So who exactly is XO4?”     Number 2 “That’s just it, I don’t know, and why I’m trying to find out.”
    “Number 6 wrote the note, and the evidence is clear enough, he tried to hide the fact.”    “Number 6 is on record as having written a missive to this XO4 signing himself D6. I checked with Visual Records.”
    “So who did he give the note to?”
    “Perhaps no-one!”
    “He couldn’t have left the village, so it follows the note was meant for someone here.”   “Yes 14 of course. But did he actually give it to anyone?”    “Sorry Number 2, I’m not with you.”
    “He may have simply have kept it, and disposed of it later.”    “Why should Number 6 do that?”    “Why should he have left blank sheets of paper in the stone boat!”
Debriefed    “Number 6 left blank sheets of paper in the stone boat?”    “Yes.”
    “To catch someone out!”    “I hadn’t thought of that.”    “The stone boat was a prearranged dead drop. He was putting someone to the test, but who?”    “Don’t you know 14?”    “Me sir?”
    “Yes you sir.”
    “It was your predecessor who found the envelope. We went back to his office, I wanted to see what was in the envelope, but he told me to go. When I protested he told me just to obey orders. I never knew what was in the envelope.”    “There was nothing written on those four sheets of paper, they were just what they appeared to be, blank sheets of paper.”   “But where does that get us?”   Yes, where exactly?
 Or Numbered   Number 2 sat contemplating his future when the thick steel doors to his office slid open, and the tall figure of Number 14 entered. He stood there, framed in the door way for a few seconds before he walked down the ramp, the steel doors shutting behind him with a resounding clang.
    “How goes it with you sir?”
    “I’ve just been sat here contemplating my future.”
    “Really sir?”
    “No not really because I’ve been informed that I haven’t got a future, not here are any rate.”
    “I’m sorry to hear that Number 2.”
    “Apparently I’ve been wasting my time since I arrived here.”
    “Surely not!”
    “XO4 so I’m told doesn’t exist.”
    “Doesn’t exist?”
    “No, neither does D6.”
    “But I thought…….”
    “Yes, so did I, 14 but apparently not.”
    “Hard luck sir.”
    “Anyway its all yours now 14, well until my successor arrives. I’ll be seeing you, well perhaps not.”
    The ex-Number 2 cut a sad and forlorn figure as he raised himself out of his chair and walked across the floor. At the bottom of the ramp he paused and looked back, before turning on his way up the ramp and through the open doors. Number 14 removed his badge from his grey jacket, and from his breast pocket he took another badge and pinned it to the left lapel. The red ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep, he picked it up.
    “NO2 here…..yes sir I’m making myself at home in my inner sanctum……..well thank you sir, I hope so too.”
    The new NO2 placed the intercom back on the desk, and picked up the turquoise ‘L’ shaped intercom, he paused before he spoke.
    “Put me though to XO4…..”
Be seeing you

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Village Day - A Personal View

    After the difficulties of pre-production, I was more than happy to finally get to film on location at Portmeirion, no matter how daunting the prospect was. However before then the assistant director was promoted to director, who then had a sudden brainstorm! He told me that we could complete the filming at Portmeirion in a day and a half. I said a day and a half?! We would be taking advantage of people in village costume and therefore filming during a Prisoner convention! He didn’t know what he was talking about! Besides he told me the pair of cameras he was supplying, he would have to take back with him on the Sunday afternoon when he was due to leave, leaving me high and dry! It was over another matter that he offered his resignation, which I believe he was under the impression that I would not accept. He was wrong! I didn’t think twice about accepting his resignation, and as Executive Producer I made myself director, because I didn’t want to be messed about anymore! As it happened filming at Portmeirion began at 7 am on the Saturday morning of the Prisoner convention, and we only just completed at 5pm on the following Friday.
    So on a very personal level, there I was the writer, Executive Producer, and director, and it all lay on my shoulders to see the job done! I could not help it, and you reading this my call me arrogant to say it, but I truly felt that I was walking in Pat McGoohan’s footsteps. Many day visitors to Portmeirion thought that was who I was, McGoohan as he was at the time of the Prisoner. That gave me a buzz, and it did allow me strong control over the crowds of day visitors who were only too pleased to stand watching the filming.
A few asked if they could appear in a scene, which I was pleased to allow. One woman wanted to pay £20 just to stand next to the “big man” as she put it, meaning Patrick McGoohan…….meaning me! And someone heard in the Prisoner shop saying that they had seen McGoohan’s son filming down on the Piazza.
    Eventually we had to film on location in London, the chief location was Buckingham Place. Bill Lonnen had brought his Caterham 7 up from Bournemouth especially for the film. Not an exact replica for the Lotus 7 used in ‘the Prisoner,’ all I could do was to accept it. Bill had already crashed his 7 magnificently for the film, but now I was to get
behind the wheel. Dressed as the Prisoner I climbed in the car behind the wheel, fired up the engine, engaged first gear, and drove off turning left into Palace Street, left again, left once more, and at speed along Buckingham Place just as the Prisoner does during the opening sequence. That was another personal achievement for me. I could allow myself to enjoy such personal goals simply because I was the man in charge, and had to be able to enjoy myself when the going was good.
    I have watched several Prisoner based films produced by enthusiasts, and although ‘Village Day’ has its production faults, it does stand out for one particular reason. I was determined that my film would have an interior set of the Green Dome, and ‘Village Day’ is the first film to achieve that since the production of ‘the Prisoner.’ But the Green Dome is another story, one reserved for the summer edition. Although ‘Village Day’ delivered me some very personal achievements and pleasure as I performed the role of the Prisoner-No.6, the film also brought a good number of people together, people who also gained pleasure from being involved with the film. Once the film was produced and had received it premier I was asked when I was going to produce another? I replied in the words of Mr. X, “One of those is quite enough!” And it was at the reception at the premier event in 1999 I got rather drunk. I think it was the relief, the relief that it was all over, done and dusted you could say!


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