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Wednesday 6 March 2019


    The Prisoner could be no more than a storm in a teacup, and that’s not the first time I have said that! There was certainly a storm brewing that much is plain during the opening sequence. Dark clouds, thunder, and a man determined on causing trouble! And the thunder doesn’t stop there as ZM73 shouts the odds at a man sat behind a desk, and a letter slammed down and punctuated with a fist upsetting a cup and saucer, and a tea plate broken in the process! Back in the 1980’s it was thought by a number of fans of the Prisoner that there were two saucers, and they couldn’t figure out why. Two saucers I thought, how do they work that one out? It is a cup, saucer, and a tea plate for biscuits, this for bureaucrats’ elevenses. Elevenses being a short break for light refreshments, usually with tea or coffee, taken at about eleven o'clock in the morning. And this gives an indication of the time ZM73 hands in his letter of resignation, shortly after 11 in the morning.
   The next cup and saucer upset by Number 6, because there are occasions when Number 6 is in the vicinity that invariably a cup and saucer are upset, is in A B and C. Number 6 sits on the edge of his bed drinking his nightcap, when he begins to lean forward, the cup and saucer fall from his grip as he collapses onto the floor unconscious!
   In Many Happy Returns Number 6 is about to cast off his raft, when there comes the sound of broken crockery, and on the table a smashed cup and saucer supposedly broken by a black cat. How is the cat supposed to have done it? That has never been worked out. I cannot see the cat using a hammer or brick to smash the cup and saucer. Had the cat done it, it would have meant the cat would have had to knock said cup and saucer off the table to smash on the ground which would have made sense.
   On the face of it, it does appear that Number 6 and the cat are the only inhabitants of the village, and had there been a third party who smashed the cup and saucer the cat would have sprung from the table and run away. Yet it didn’t, and there is no physical evidence for the presence of any such third party. And it wasn’t Number 6 who smashed the cup and saucer, so no matter how improbable it might seem, the only possibility is that it has to have been that cat that did it. And yet how exactly still remains a mystery!
   Number 6 does eventually return to that office in which he handed in his letter of resignation, but this time it’s more cordial. A man sits behind his desk, the empty cup in its saucer on his desk but no tea plate this time means the man has recently finished his afternoon tea break at a little after 3 o’clock as Number 6 quietly approaches the desk, leaning over he asks “Anyone at home?” Meaning the man looks to have his mind not on the job, but is preoccupied with a crossword puzzle in a newspaper. And the cup and saucer remain unstirred!
    You might think, seeing as how tea appears to run throughout the episode of A Change of Mind, that there would be at least one upset cup and saucer. But no, there’s no storm in a teacup here, but a maker’s mark is revealed. It’s not until Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling when ZM73 returns to that office in a building somewhere in
Whitehall that a teacup is upset in its saucer. This time Danvers is sat behind the desk when ZM73 comes calling again at a little after 3 o’clock, albeit in the guise of the Colonel, demanding to see Sir Charles Portland. Danvers has just finished his afternoon tea, he looks up from his desk, he doesn’t recognize the Colonel, but then neither does Sir Charles Portland. Which is strange, as Number 6 knew the Colonel, and I don’t recall the Colonel being mentioned within the hearing of Number 6!
   “Who are you, what are you doing here?”
Danvers shouts at the intruder.
   The Colonel pulls
Danvers out of his chair by the lapels demanding he get Sir Charles at once. In the struggle as Danvers reaches for the alarm button his hand seems to deliberately upset the cup in its saucer, but no tea plate meant no biscuits. Although Number 6/ZM73 wasn’t directly responsible for the upset teacup, he was the cause. And more often than not when Number 6 is about there’s bound to be a storm in a teacup, or at the very least broken crockery left in his wake!

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