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Saturday 31 August 2019

Map of Your Village

   Do all those buttons represent each citizen living in the village? Only there doesn’t seem to be enough of them, what’s more a good many of those numbered buttons will be for the buildings, the shop, café, and Fun Palace for example, but
strangely not the General Store. Some of the buttons are even duplicated, as well as subdivided by a letter. 2d for example, she’s on the Town Council, one of those brainwashed imbeciles No.6 refers to. Number 9 isn’t what you would expect, a cottage where No.9’s agent {Virginia Maskell} lives, 9 is the taxi rank! Yet to my eye, when the Prisoner goes to press a button for the taxi he actually presses the number 1 button. Then it appears the taxi arrives just in time to divert the Prisoner’s attention from the map, so we the viewer, never get to see where No.1 lives. Where does No.1 reside? As it happens the list which the Prisoner runs his finger down has “1} Town Hall,” is this simply the number of the Town Hall, or is it also where No.1 lives? Somewhere in a room beneath the Town Hall along one of those passage ways perhaps. Or in an elaborately decorated room as we see in ‘Dance of the Dead’ in which No.2 goes in to make her report. I realize that No.1 is last seen in the rocket in ‘Fall Out,’ however we have no idea when the village administration took delivery of said rocket. Besides No.1 couldn’t possibly spend all his time cooped up in that rocket, he would surely have to have quarters elsewhere. He would be a clever man to be able to maintain his anonymity all that time, only able to remove his face mask to eat and drink in perfect privacy! Makes you think doesn’t it, that there’s more to going about wearing a theatrical mask and robed all the time, and not just for a few moments in ‘Fall Out’!

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A Frontier Township!

    “Well Stranger, fancy living in Harmony?”
    “Not my kinda town!”
    “It’s a good Town.”
    “Enjoy it.”
    “Why, what’s wrong with our town mister?”
    “Maybe I don’t like the way its run.”
    “Oh you just do as the Judge says, he’ll look after you.”
    “I’ll look after myself.”
    “It’s a good town.”
    “Keep it!”
            {Townsman and The Man With No Name - Living In Harmony}
    So the Man with No Name doesn’t like their town. He doesn’t like the way its run, but then he can say the same of The Village! It’s the Judge he doesn’t like, he’s a bad judge. Just as long as the town’s people keep in line, he takes care of them. But put one foot out of line, and well just look at what he allowed to happen to Cathy Johnson’s brother. The Town’s people turned into an angry mob and lynched Johnson. That’s rather like the time Number 6 had been put on trial for the possession of a radio. He had been found guilty, and sentenced to death. The Citizens at the Ball turned into an angry mob screaming for the Prisoner’s blood. If they had managed to get their hands on Number 6, they wouldn’t have hanged him…..they would probably have torn him limb from limb! And those were not the only times Number 6 was forced to face an angry mob! Remember the way the ladies sub appeal Committee led a vicious attack upon Number 6, before he was manhandled all the way to the hospital in order to undergo the operation known as Instant Social Conversion. But how easily the mob is pacified. The one by a hanging, the other by the supposed mental salvation of a fellow citizen. Except Johnson didn’t hang because Johnson and the towns people did not physically exist, and the other never truly happened either as Number 6 never underwent the operation, but was merely kept heavily sedated. Such is the ease that the citizens of The Village can be so manipulated. As for Number 6, he just doesn’t want to live in harmony, no matter what the circumstances he finds himself in!

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Thursday 29 August 2019

The Breda Aka M S Polotska

    I came across the following website the other day, via the link below, and was very pleased to see that the Breda aka M S Polotska is currently undergoing a complete refit and restoration.

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Life In The Village

    “Free elections!”
    “Yes, see what you get with free elections!”
    “The sooner Number Two declares abolishing such shenanigans the better!”
    “Getting Number Six involved didn’t help!”
    “What was Number Two thinking about, progress, progress, progress!”
    “I agree, progress isn’t always a good thing!”
    “And Number Six wasn’t much better, accusing us of being rotten cabbages, he didn’t get my vote I can tell you that.”
    2“So you voted for the old Number 2 in the end, and the old regime forever.”
    “Did you vote for him?”
    “No, I voted for Number 6, his promises rang richly in my ears, and I liked the idea of less work and more play!”
    “But at least we know where we are with the old regime!”
    “I wonder where we’ll stand with this new Number Two?”
    “As administration officials we must treat each new incumbent Number Two the same, we must be impartial.”
    “Since when do housemaids get promoted as the new Number Two without election?”
    “Since the abolition of the democratic process!”
    “That was quick! You have to admire the effectiveness of Number Two’s efficient administration!”

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A New No.2

    “I am the new Number Two.”
    “What do you want me to do about it?”
    “I hold a position of authority here in the Village, and as such I should have thought it would have entitled me to better accommodation than this.”
    “Where did you think you would be living, in the manor house, or the pink mansion perhaps?”
    “No, but at least in the Green Dome.”
    “Why ever did you think that?”
    “Number Two’s residence is what they call it.”
    “That’s as maybe, but at the end of the day the Green Dome is nothing more than a glorified office.”
    “Yes I found that out for myself thank you very much!”
    “And so I’m to live here!”
    “What’s wrong with it?”
    “Well it’s just one room, and there is a distinct smell of fresh paint.”
    “You’re a fussy little f-fella aren’t you, and unsatisfied with it. It was a rush job, we only got to hear about your arrival the other day, but we managed to turn it into a real home from home for you.”
    “Hardly that, a single room, I ask you.....”
    “Anyway I shouldn’t let it bother you too much.”
    “Why not?”
    “You won’t be here that long, none of your kind last all that long, six weeks at most. Mind you I’ve known some to last but three days.”
    “Three days?”
    “Hardly enough time for anyone to get to know the place really, let alone how to run it. Well I’ll leave you to settle yourself in.”
    “Who did you say you are again?”
Butler sir, I’m almost part of the fixtures and fittings, been here that long.”
   “How long?”
   “I couldn’t really say sir, but a very long time.”
    He eventually settled himself into his new inner sanctum of the Green Dome as No.2. The idea being that he would extract the reason behind Number 9’s resignation. It should have been 6, but 2 had the file upside down. That’s the problem when one number can be made into something else simply by turning it upside down. Poor Number 9, it wasn’t his fault. Number 2 didn’t last two days, they tried to tell him that he had the wrong man. But he had the right man he said, what’s more he had the file to prove it!
    It’s all very well this rule about changeable Number 2’s, so that Number 6 is unable to strike up a relationship with any one of them. But sometimes by this action, the position against Number 6 is weakened!

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Tuesday 27 August 2019

Harmony Posters!

    Poster as seen in the imagined American frontier town of Harmony. Readers of my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down’ will know, I make certain references to a few WANTED posters and pictures which can be seen on the walls of both the Silver Dollar Saloon and the Sheriff’s office in ‘Living In harmony.’ During years spent researching ‘the Prisoner’ a number of those WANTED poster and pictures eluded me. However, recently I have been able to finally complete the research, having finally tracked them down. The above being one such poster. The Chicago and North-Western Railway poster of the 1870s promoting free homestead lands grants in the Dakota Territory, and encouraging immigrants to use their railroad.

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    What if I don’t try to escape, what happens then?
    We assume you will have settled down to life here.
    Ah, but I could be lulling you into a false sense of security. Doing what you want me to do day in day out for weeks and months on end. Then one day I’m no longer here! Aha you’ll say that was damned clever of him, lull us to sleep by doing what we expected him to do day in day out for weeks, months on end, and now he’s escaped. But how did he do it? You’ll say. When did he do it? You’ll say.
    But you are still here.
    Yes I know I am, I haven’t started my plan yet.
    When will you start this plan of yours?
    I don’t know.
    No, not tomorrow, tomorrow is the first day of the village festival.
    So it will be after then, in three days time?
    I don’t know, I might, depends on what kind of mood I wake up in.
    But you might be trying to fool us. You might be telling me this, when you actually intend to begin your plan by attending the village festival, which is what we would expect you to do if you were beginning to settle down.
    Ah! I hadn’t thought of that!
    Don’t you think that you’re over thinking this?
    I don’t want to try and escape, its more bother than it’s worth!
    But it’s the duty of every prisoner to try and escape when their spirit’s broken.
    My spirit’s not broken.
    There was one prisoner, he attempted to escape on the way to the village. He attempted to escape the moment he woke up in his cottage. On the day of his arrival he attempted no fewer than ten escapes. He planned an escape very day he was held captive here. He built a glider in the
Bell Tower, but it crashed when he tried to launch it. He dug tunnels, he tried hiding to make us believe he had escaped when he hadn’t! He hid in a dustbin and had himself thrown out with the rubbish! He tried hiking across the mountains, he formed a cross country running club they were twenty miles away by the time we caught up with them! He then formed a scuba diving club........... they never did any diving, they just liked parading about in wet suits! And there you sit...............oh he’s gone!

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Sunday 25 August 2019

During The Chimes of Big Ben

   No.6 encounters two more past associates, the Colonel and Fotheringay. I liked Fotheringay, he seemed a genuine sort. But I discovered that even he betrayed No.6, and after seeming to be so delighted to see his old colleague again! Oh I’m sure Fotheringay would be alright despite any possible embarrassing questions, as the Devil looks after his own! So that’s two ex-colleagues of the former ZM73 who work for the village, 3 including the Colonel! He has the bearing of an ex-army officer. However the colonel is something of an objectionable man, whose scepticism stands out a mile, I do not like him at all. He does not suffer fools gladly, but this only makes him even more obnoxious, for he sees everything in black and white. He’s a  very cynical man, or at least as far as the Prisoner {his ex- colleague} is concerned. He has a very sarcastic nature, with a very jaundiced view of things. I hope he realized the full penalty for the failure of this plan to extract the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation! Mind you is that reason so really important in order to go to such an extraordinary and elaborate plan as this? I wouldn’t have thought so, except as a way to get the Prisoner to talk about other matters. It’s as No.2 said at the beginning, if he would answer one simple question all the rest will follow. Well yes I suppose so, but the first No.2 in ‘Arrival’ tried that, he managed to get the Prisoner to give away the information of his date of birth, but then clammed up. Having realized they probably had that information anyway, but simply omitted it from his file. Therefore he saw no reason not to give that information away about himself.

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Who’s That On The Telephono?

    “Yes, who is this?”
    “Number Two, I’m on yellow.”
    “Yellow? Oh yes I see, I’m on grey.”
    “Which one?”
    “I’m sorry?”
    “You may well be. Which grey telephone are you on!”
    “Well it’s difficult to say.”
    “Why, why is it difficult to say?”
    “Because they are identical.”
    “Why do you have two identical grey telephones?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Don’t you?”
    “Is it important?”
    “No, I suppose not. Only it’s more usual to have two different coloured telephones.”
    “Do you?”
    “Do I what?”
    “Have two different coloured telephones?”
    “What’s it got to do with you?”
    “Oh nothing, nothing at all, I just wondered.”
    “As it happens I have a yellow one, a turquoise coloured telephone, and a red one.”
    “All ‘L’ shaped?”
    “As a matter of fact the red one is rather over-sized, and curved.”
    “Why do you think that is?”
    “Why do you ask?”
    “Humour me.”
    “Probably because of my high position as Number Two.”
    “No other reason?”
    “What other reason could there be?”
    “I take it that that’s the hot-line to Number One.”
    “I rest my case.”
    “Rest your case, what do you mean, what case?”
    “I think Number One is taking the mickey out of you!”
    “Why, why do you think he would do that?”
    “I’ve really no idea, after having read that column in The Tally Ho perhaps he sees you as a fool………….oh dear he’s rung off. He must be in one of his moods!”

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Friday 23 August 2019

M. S. Polotska = Due For Refit and Restoration

   I had occasion this morning to carry out a little research for my latest Prisoner based manuscript and chanced upon this website, see link below.

  I was shocked to see the pictures of the ‘Breda,’ formally ‘Dab II,’ of how a once proud ‘Little Ship’ which helped evacuate British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in June 1940 has fallen into disrepair. I can only hope this vessel, which appeared in two episodes of ‘the Prisoner’ ‘Many Happy Returns,’ and named M. S. Polotska in ‘Checkmate’
 can be fully refitted in time to once more make her a proud ‘Little Ship.’

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Louis Bleriot Crossing The English Channel As Depicted In The Village Story Book

    July 25th 2019 saw the 110th anniversary of the flight of the French engineer and Aviator Louis Bleriot, who was the first man to fly across the English Channel between Calais and Dover in 36 minutes. This historic flight is depicted in “The Village Story Book.” Oh by the way, there’s a sailing vessel under No.6’s right thumb!
   I have always been struck by this picture, and thought there must be more to it than first meets the eye. During more than five years of research into ‘the Prisoner,’ I eventually found out that the aircraft is a Bleriot XI in which Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel in 1909, thus capturing the London Daily Mail prize of £1,000 which had been put up by the newspaper the year before for any successful cross-Channel aeroplane flight. You can read more about this subject in my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down’ It was all well and good finding the information, but it was still the picture which captured my attention. It struck me that the picture had been stuck in “The Village Story Book” in a somewhat rushed manner, because it and the other pictures we see, the boxing scene, and the whaling scene do not fit the pages of the book properly.
     So I set about trying to track down the picture of the Bleriot XI, what I thought must surely be a print of an original painting. But I had no idea who the artist was, so I had no name to go by. I trawled through countless art and poster websites, consulted any number of art books and gazetteers. However it turned out to be a frustrating and fruitless pursuit. But I never gave up the search, and from time to time I would resume the quest. And that is what I was doing only recently; in fact it was only four days before the 110th anniversary of Bleriot’s historic flight across the
English Channel, that I found this picture. It was created and published in Brussels by J.L. Goffart, printer, in 1911. This was a personal success for me, and suddenly I felt my original goal was within my grasp. Thus the search was continued, and the full result can be seen over the page.  

    And finally my quest is over, for on July 23rd 2019 I finally managed to track this print down, its description follows; This print shows French engineer and aviator, Louis Blériot seated in the cockpit of his wood and fabric airplane as he crosses the English Channel on his flight from Sangette, France, near Calais, to Dover Castle on July 25, 1909 in the first Channel crossing by air. It is dated ‘09’ for 1909 and signed by the artist H. Delaspre {Guillaume-Claude-Henri Delaspre 18?? - 19??}. Although a prolific artist little more than his name is known. Amongst his works are a number of French propaganda posters during the Great War of 1914-18, his last work is dated 1948. Nor could I trace the original painting.
     The print above was created and published in
Brussels by J. L. Goffart, printer, in 1911, and is stretched canvas art, the size is 24 x 18 inch and described as being Wall Art Décor.

    For those of you reading this, and have a copy of my book ‘The Prisoner Dusted Down,’ please feel free to print this article, and place it between the appropriate pages of the book.

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An Escaped Prisoner!

    Well that’s what No.6 was, an escaped prisoner, but not the one the police were looking for. As for Colonel James and Thorpe, I’ve never been sure about them one way or the other. Were they both in cahoots with the village, or had they really no knowledge of the place? It’s an easy game for the Colonel and Thorpe to play, just de-brief their ex-colleague, investigate his story, and if they are in league with the village, just as the former Colonel and Fotheringay had been, all they had to do was send him on his way back to it! And if not, then did the Colonel authorize a search for the lost aircraft and crew supposedly lost in an accident at sea? But I expect the commander of RAF Gibraltar would have alerted British Intelligence back in England, and in turn the Colonel.  And yet the question remains, were the Colonel and Thorpe in league with the village as their predecessors had been? Or were they innocent of any such collaboration? Perhaps this is insoluble for both man and machine!

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Wednesday 21 August 2019

The Green Dome Pictorial

 “Come and join me for breakfast, Number Two the Green Dome.”

                                               {But first it had to be built!}

Operation of the steel doors

The production crew and cast
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Do You Play Croquet?

    It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it somehow, “Sir, do you play croquet sir?” as “Sir, do you play chess sir?” and if things had been different they might well have been playing crocquet on the lawn if someone hadn’t come up with the idea of a human chess match. However that is most unlikely seeing as the two men, according to the original script for ‘Arrival,’ were playing crocquet on the lawn near Gate House. And the two men in fact being guardians, Post 14 in fact, who are instructed by the Supervisor to pursue No.6, and it’s they who we see in the episode pursuing the Prisoner on the beach in the Mini-Moke. So it seems the two guardians were playing Croquet simply to pass the time.

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Village Day – The Green Dome Shoot

“Come and join me for breakfast, Number Two the Green Dome.”
                                                  {But first it had to be built!}

The Prisoner – Village Day’ the 20th anniversary
    The biggest film shoot for ‘Village Day’ in 1999 was that of the interior of the Green Dome, not simply because of the planned three day shoot. But also because the set had to be designed, materials purchased, painted, then transported to a sound stage at a nearby school in Liverpool {which we booked for three days during the Easter Holiday} and constructed. And there was no-one better suited and accomplished on the production than Pam Buckle, because of how she had recreated the interior of No.6’s cottage in the attic of her home. Pam eventually came up with both a plan, a model of the set, how to construct all the pieces of the set, and find a location where we could put the set of the Dome’s
interior together. Max Hora took both his Penny Farthing bicycle and globe chair to Pam’s home. There were a couple of problems with the chair. First there were the scratches and dents, which Pam was concerned about, and there was the question of the chair being orange. I instructed Pam to paint the chair black, she was concerned about Max Hora’s reaction to this, and thought we should ask him first. But that was easier said than done. I said to paint it, and that I would take full responsibility. Max didn’t mind our painting his chair, in fact he loved it, so much so that we had difficulty getting him out of it when we were not filming him as No.2. Not only did he feel at home in the chair, he looked the part!
    About 10 days before filming was to commence Pam telephoned saying she had to go into hospital for a major operation! We did ask her if she wanted to postpone the filming. But no, Pam didn’t want this, in fact she discharged herself early from hospital, as she wanted things to go to schedule. She got friends, who under her supervision finished the construction of all the pieces which would go to make up the set of the Green Dome.
   And so the great day arrived, March 29th, and members of cast and production crew from different parts of the country all arrived at Pam’s home in Liverpool by midday. There was a minor panic, as Chris, who was bringing a large screen and projector had not arrived by night time! We were unable to contact him on the telephone, and as a consequence started to put a plan ‘B’ together in case something had occurred, and he couldn’t actually make the shoot. However, he did eventually arrive late that night. On the day of arrival the cast and crew {minus Pam who was unfit} went to the school to construct the set. The purple wall went up first, but at least we only had about a third of the chamber wall to construct which was difficult enough. This was because once each section had been attached together the wall itself had to be free standing. Large pieces of card to be used for ‘skirting’ along the floor and base of the wall, had been pre-cut to a specific design. However when the time came to fit them, they didn’t fit together properly in a semi-circle, gaps had to be left in parts in order to make them go round. Long thin rods were to form the cage-like framework along the dome wall, however after securing the rods together when we tried to secure the completed frame against the wall it was too flimsy a structure to hold together and remain in place. So unfortunately this had to be discarded. Because of Pam’s unexpected hospitalization, things were behind schedule, and during this time props were still being made. The large red curved over-sized telephone was made the night before, while the ‘L’ shaped intercoms were made and painted on the morning filming began on the second day, the paint being dried using a hairdryer! The electronic doors were quite a challenge. They looked very big and impressive, but had to look realistic. When the doors were stood up and put into position, it took 6 of us {3 for each door} to operate them, an operation which was practiced over, over, and over again in order to get them sliding open and shut simultaneously. One problem was that they kept falling forward and wobbling about when moved. However in the end they worked superbly. As one cast member remarked “You should see them from the other side, they look dead good.”
    As it was only half a dome, care had to be taken with angles of filming, and not to end up with wires, chairs, and odds and ends scattered about in view. This was particularly difficult filming No.6’s first view of the interior. 
    The Monday was all about construction and preparation, the next two days would be all about filming and destruction. Firstly one cast member had to be collected from Liverpool station as she could only get one day off work. Then cast and crew arrived at the school on the Tuesday morning, with the question in my mind, would the set still be standing? Happily it was, much to my relief. Certainly Max Hora was preparing himself for his role as the first No.2. He took himself off into a corner and could be heard over and over again practising his lines interspersed with another voice he was using for the conversation. By the time he came to film his scene he was word perfect, unlike the scene in the Ice Cream parlour during the Portmeirion shoot.
    Morag as the New No.2 in her uniform giving her the impression of being a South American dictator, strutted about her office, giving instructions in a voice of authority. The 6 operators slid the doors open and closed perfectly every time, so much so that when compared to the doors of No.2’s office in ‘the Prisoner,’ the doors in ‘Village Day’ operate far better {I wonder how many crew were used to work those?}.
   Once all the scenes in No.2’s office had been filmed, it was a question of dismantling the set, the only piece to remain in place was the wall screen, and the setting up of the laboratory scene, and the black sound stage was perfect for this, as I wanted the laboratory to be completely black. This was to give the effect that the room was boundless in the darkness.
As No.6 I finally came face to face with the former No.6 whom I had been attempting to find, but firstly on the wall screen. The body lying on the operating table was Nigel Kitcher, but of course as I whipped back the sheet, it was me who lay there with a Penny coin on one eye, and a Farthing coin on the other. This was a particularly difficult scene to shoot, because the coins on my closed eyes kept falling off sideways. When I sat up they were supposed to fall forward from my eyes in a certain way. It took several takes to get it right. There was one further scene to shoot, that of the resignation office. For this we improvised using a closed-in corner of the soundstage, and a pair of double doors of the room.
   There was one final scene filmed over the three days, but for this Pam,

always ingenious, turned her dining room into a hospital room. And there I lay, in operating gown, and bandaged head, with facial bruising. Sue Everett with the help of Morag, was make-up artist, and what a magnificent job Sue did on the bruising. I recall how everyone was in stitches at the time, laughing incessantly, using the scene as a parody on the NHS. Because the scene in that hospital room looked cheap and nasty. It was particularly funny, and apt because the Government of the day had the slogan “The NHS is safe in our hands.”
    Certainly over the three day shoot everyone worked as a team when it came to constructing the three sets. The Interior of the Green Dome was ambitious, and if it were not for Pam Buckle’s skills working behind the scene, creating sets and scenery for the local Theatre Company, I doubt very much if it would have been possible to create No.2’s inner sanctum.

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Monday 19 August 2019

Village Day – The Tally Ho

    This year is the 20th anniversary of my art house film ‘The Prisoner Village Day,’ which was premiered in November 1999. The above is a reproduction of The Tally Ho newspaper which was produced especially for the film. I recall after the filming of a short scene in which a Tally Ho vender was giving out copies of the broadsheet to citizens, the film extras refused to give their copies back!

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In The Village!

    Everyone’s a number in the Village, unless of course you have a name, like Cobb, Nadia, Alison, Monique, Roland Walter Dutton......that’s a point, why Roland Walter Dutton, why not just Roland Dutton? Using his second name sort of gives him an air of importance where Dutton is concerned. But he wasn’t so important as he had no access to the vital information, and certainly not by the end of the episode he wasn’t important. Some Court Jester, who Number 6 said would be able to say the things that had to be said!
    When it comes to being important there’s no-one more important than the Professor! A kindly gentleman, and yet when I refer to the Professor’s wife it’s always as Madam Professor, simply on the grounds that she has neither number nor name. And the same goes for the Professor. It’s strange, but as far as I can recall there is only one scene in ‘The General’ when Madam Professor and her husband are seen together and then only for a few seconds, when he’s lying heavily sedated in his bed.

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Saturday 17 August 2019

Life In The Village

    “I understand a new Number Eight arrived in the village late this morning.”
    “What happened to the old Number Eight?”
    “He wasn’t that old.”
    “I know that, what happened to him?”
    “He vacated the premises.”
    “He escaped, I don’t recall officiating at his funeral.”
    “No, there wasn’t a funeral, you need a body.”
    “We didn’t need a body for Cobb’s funeral that time.”
    “That was different.”
    “So what happened to the body?”
    “My guess would be Rover absorbed it!”
    “It did have a pinkish hue about it the day Number 8 went missing.”
    “Nasty way to die!”
    “I can think of better ways.”
    “You remember that old woman Number 113 in a wheelchair ?”
    “She was always coughing.”
    “Yes, but it wasn’t the cough that carried her off.”
    In unison “It was the coffin we carried her off in!” laughing very loudly.

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Prismatic Reflection

    All about you is yours, the High Court Judge told the former Number 6. Could they really be serious? Could they really have trusted Number 6 to lead The Village? Surely 'they' made a mistake? I mean to say, look what happened when Number 6 was elected as the new Number 2 in ‘Free For All.’ Number 6 hadn't been in office five minutes before he was attempting to organise a mass breakout! He had control. He was immobilising all electronic controls, and told the villagers that they wee "Free, free to go." Of course Number 6 was never actually in control, of either the village, or himself. However it did demonstrate what Number 6 would do if given half a chance.
    ‘Fall Out’ has a number of inconsistencies and logicalities, just like the previous sixteen episodes which help make up the series. So what do they do? They bring back yet another former Number 2 who has had direct dealings with Number 6, who knew just what No.6 would be capable of. Then promote him to President, which I thought was all rather theatrical. And after praising Number 6 as a man who having revolted, fought, resisted, held fast, maintained, destroyed resistance. Overcome coercion. Vindicating the right of the individual to be individual or person. They applauded his private war, and finally they conceded that despite materialistic efforts, the former Number 6 has survived intact and secure. And after all that, all that remained was the recognition of a man, a man of steel who is magnificently equipped to lead them. Well of course the High Court Judge was correct, but really, could he have been serious about the offer of ultimate power? Certainly Number 6 was given the opportunity to address the Delegates of the Assembly. But given the chance to make a speech, the Delegates just shout Number 6 down at every attempt as he tries to deliver his speech. 'They' have no wish to allow Number 6 to make his speech. More than that, 'they' have no desire to hear what Number 6 has to say. Will not permit him to be heard! Both Number 48 and the 'late' Number 2 were allowed to plead their cases, then why not Number 6? Simply because he was not on trial! Although it would seem that the Delegates of the Assembly were not prepared to sit and listen to the ravings of an egomaniac!
    So why should 'they' elect such a man as Number 6 to lead them? They knew what Number 6 was like. They knew what he would try and do if he was given half a chance, and given that half a chance, he took it!
    ‘Fall Out’ was the final manipulation of the Prisoner by the Administration behind The Village. They faced Number 6 with himself, a final throw of the dice in order to try and break him. If that was the case, then they failed. Whether  Number 1 was the id to the Prisoner’s ego, or even Curtis, whoever, Number 1turned out to be he was the unstable one. A laughing maniac, who as soon as his identity was discovered, made for the nearest exit from the Control Room in the rocket, this by climbing a steel ladder into the nose cone. Have you noticed how villains who are being pursued, have this uncontrollable urge to climb upwards in order to avoid capture. Then of course the biggest mistake of all was made. Once Number 6 had confronted Number 1, having sealed him up in the nose cone of the rocket, they left Number 6 to his own devices in the Control Room, where he set the countdown in motion. Surely security should have been sent to the Control Room once the High Court Judge thought that something was wrong. Then Number 6 could have been overpowered, and what follows in the episode would have been avoided. The launching of the rocket with Number 1 still aboard. The fire-fight and death of all the security guards, and the ultimate escape of the Butler, Number 48, a “late” Number 2, the former Number 6, and I suppose Number 1. 
    It is believed by many fans that The Village was destroyed by the launching of the rocket, seeing the rocket as a missile with a nuclear payload, hence the title ‘Fall Out.’ But in that lies the difficulty, the title of the episode is ‘Fall Out.’ If it had anything to do with a nuclear element, then it would be one word Fallout. I don't think The Village was destroyed, there is no evidence of The Village’s destruction. No blinding white light, great wind, or fire and flame, only evacuation of the populace. There is no evidence to suggest that the rocket is a nuclear missile. Don't forget that there were three clear Perspex 'Orbit Tubes,' for sustaining human life during a long space flight within the rocket. No, the title ‘Fall Out,’ two words, suggests nothing more then there having been a falling out between old friends.

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Thursday 15 August 2019

Where Is Marshall O’Rourke?

   Indeed where is Marshall O’Rourke? He seemed to spend most of his time down in the armoury. In the episode of ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ Napoleon refers to his men as Marshall’s, except the men are credited as Scots Napoleon, Welsh napoleon, and originally Marshall O’Rourke was to have been the Yorkshire Marshall or Napoleon. However in the original script Napoleon’s men were to have been German officers who looked like Hitler and would have had the Yorkshire Fuhrer singing;
“Underneath the lamplight
By the barrack gate.
That’s where my darling, my Lili used to wait…….”
   As Mister X hits him, rendering the Yorkshire Fuhrer unconscious. However as we know it was all changed because it was thought to have NAZI’s in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ was too close to the end of WWII. But even then the Yorkshire Marshall or Napoleon should have been singing;
(Traditional English - Yorkshire)
“Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee,
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!
Wheear 'as ta bin sin ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at?!

Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane|

On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at
On Ilkla Moor baht 'at”……………
   But then the Yorkshire Napoleon changed to the Irish Napoleon {but was still named Yorkshire Napoleon in the closing credits} and it would not surprise me if that was done by Pat McGoohan so that he could sing “Oh Danny Boy,” however that is a personal impression.
“Oh Danny boy the pipes the pipes are calling
From glen to glen and down the mountain side
The summer's gone and all the flowers dying
'Tis you 'tis you must go and I must bide
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy oh Danny boy I love you so…………”
   "Danny Boy" is a ballad set to a traditional Irish melody, by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly who wrote the lyrics in Bath, Somerset, in 1913. The lyrics were rearranged in order to better suit the accompanying melody of "Londonderry Air" after Weatherly heard a copy of the tune sent to him from the USA by his sister, affectionately known as 'Jess'. So there is the irony, changing the character of Yorkshire Napoleon to Irish Napoleon so Pat McGoohan wanting to sing an Irish song in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ However for me the real irony is that “Oh Danny Boy” is an English song, yet held dear by the Irish, and Pat McGoohan technically wasn’t Irish, although was of Irish parentage. Although on their immigration to America his parents chose to be legally British.

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Fall Out

   As it happens Number 6 was more than ready to meet Number 1, although he had been given the choice of leading The Village or going. Number 6 clearly couldn’t go without at least meeting Number 1, that way he’d know who to blame for his incarceration in The Village! And as I happens it wasn’t just Number 6, so too were the television viewers at the time, and each new enthusiast for ‘the Prisoner’ series over the years and decades, has been eager to meet Number 1.
   It seemed that under that theatrical mask {although I’ve seen Morris dancers with such painted faces, half white, half black} and the ape mask, lies the face of a lunatic or madman! His maniacal laugh echoing around the Control Room of the rocket, as Number 1 ran around avoiding Number 6 laying hands upon him. Finally to scale a ladder into the nose cone of the rocket {strange how those being chased have the sudden urge to climb things} closing the hatch behind him, and sealed by Number 6. As it happens there is no release leaver on the inner side of the hatch, so it would appear that Number 1’s fate is sealed!
   Number 6 had no compunction about ridding himself of that troublesome doppelganger, the cause of all his troubles since waking up in the community of the village. One can only speculate what may have taken place had Number 6 managed to lay his hands upon his tormentor. However it is extremely unlikely that they would have sat talking together over a cup of tea. Besides had Number 6 got his hands on Number 1, it would undoubtedly have ended in violence. Just as it was when Number 6 finally laid his hands on Number 12. That resulted in the death of Curtis! And the launching of the rocket, in all probability, the death of Number 1!

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Tuesday 13 August 2019

The Prowler

    No.38 is an old lady, and a little after 8 o’clock who was preparing for bed. The maid had just made her nightcap and the cup and saucer now stood on the bedside table. It was a grey night outside, grey and wet, it was raining. No.38 sat on the edge of her bed drinking her nightcap. Suddenly through the window she thought she detected movement, only for a second, but she was sure a shadow had passed by the window. She got up in the safe knowledge that it was after 8 and therefore curfew, and the door to her cottage would be soundly locked against any intruder. Putting the cup and saucer down on the bedside table she stood up and crossed the floor to the window and looked out………She screamed, screamed and screamed again!
    In the Control Room an Observer reported a disturbance at 38 Private.
    “Supervisor, Number 38 has just been screaming.”
    “Probably a nightmare” said the Supervisor.
    “I don’t think so madam, she hasn’t been to sleep yet!”
    “Put up camera 29, sound and vision” the Supervisor ordered.
    The view on the wall screen covered the lounge of 38 Private, then camera 22 the kitchen, 35 the bathroom, and finally camera 44 the bedroom, and there was No.38 lying in a dead faint on the floor! Security and a medic were dispatched almost at once, while Observers were put to the task of scanning the outside of the cottage.
   “Employ thermal camera” the Supervisor ordered “as well as infra red.”
   A thorough search was made, and widened to take in more of the surrounding village. And yet at the back of 38 Private were the woods into which any prowler could disappear.
    “Perhaps we might catch a glimpse of the intruder on one of the surveillance cameras” No.60 suggested.
    The Supervisor turned to look at his assistant “Good idea, we can leave that task to you can we?”
    No.60 took the hint.
    Security were also on the scene, they searched the area but there was no sign of anyone out and about after curfew, the Observers were instructed to keep a sharp look out. No.38 was taken to the hospital where a doctor checked her over, she was uninjured but she had received a nasty shock and was kept in hospital overnight for observation.
    “He was there at the window” 38 told No.2 the next day.
    “Who was?”
    “He was just standing there staring in.”
    “Can you describe him?”
    “He was tall like you……he had dark hair like you….come to think of it he looked like you, it was you” the old woman began to panic, calling out for the nurse.
   A nurse and doctor arrived at 38’s bed and began to calm the patient.
    No.12 gave his superior a quizzical look “I say sir, the old woman identified you as the prowler…’re not the prowler are you sir?”
    “Don’t be ridiculous, do I look like a prowler!”
    “Well sir, according to the old woman…..”
    “Look Number 12 you had better catch this prowler and get him under lock and key!” No.2 ordered.
    “Me sir?”
    “Yes you sir!”
    “Why me sir?”
    “You’re always reading Sherlock Holmes stories, I should think that makes you the ideal man for the job.”
    “I don’t spend all my time reading Sherlock Holmes stories.”
    “No, it’s that other chap as well.”
    “What other chap sir?”
    “Cribb, that’s the fella Sergeant Cribb.”
    “I don’t think I’m qualified sir, I really don’t.”
    “Put all posts on yellow alert, and orange alert, have the Guardian on patrol
    “Yes Number 2.”
    One question which wasn’t asked, what is it the prowler wants?
    The whole village was put on high alert, the Observers kept a sharp lookout, the outlying posts were armed as they kept watch. And Rover the Guardian patrolled the village like a guard dog guarding the chicken coup! It was decided that there must be something about 38 Private which the prowler was interested in. Perhaps the cottage contained something of importance. So whilst No.38 was still in the hospital the decision was made to search the cottage. But it was as it seemed, the home of a little old lady, and contained nothing of any significance or importance.
    “Perhaps  the prowler is some kind of pervert!”
    “A peeping Tom perhaps” was No.2’s suggestion.
    “I say, you might have something there” agree No.12.
    “Number 12……..”
    “Yes sir.”
    “How old would you say Number 38 is?”
    “Seventy-three. If the prowler is a peeping Tom, don’t you think he would pick on a much younger woman?”
    “Yes sir, but……..”
    “No, I still think it’s something to do with the cottage.”
    “But there has been no sign of the prowler these past days.”
    “That’s because he’s clever. We’ll relax security, deactivate Rover, rescind the yellow alert. Normal surveillance, let’s draw this prowler out into the open.”
    “Very good sir.”
    “Number 12, I have an important assignment for you.”
    It was just after curfew that No.12 found himself hiding in the bushes close to 38 Private, and it was beginning to rain. He had been there for five hours and nothing. But then there was movement, movement inside the cottage. Emerging from the bushes No.12 approached the cottage and peered in through the window. The old woman, No.38, was sat on the edge of her bed drinking her nightcap. Putting the cup and saucer down on the bedside table she stood up and crossed the floor to the window and looked out…She screamed, screamed and screamed again!
    In the Control Room an Observer reported a disturbance in 38 Private.
    “Orange alert” was the order “orange alert.”
    From the depths of the sea the white membranic mass of the Guardian emerged, and skimmed at speed across the waves towards the village. The Supervisor contacted No.2 who made his way to the Control Room.
    “Well what is it?”
    “A disturbance at 38 Private sir. The old woman is lying on the floor in a dead faint……………. again! The Guardian is about to arrive on the scene. Put up camera 22 sound and infra red.”
    A figure could be seen outside the cottage, then the sound of the Guardian, a sound of Gregorian chant crossed by the noise of a bicycle pump, and someone breathing through an aqua lung. The figure turned and in an instant it was on the prowler, who tried desperately to fight the thing off, clawing at the membrane which now covered his face, cutting off the air until its prey fell to the ground.
    Number 2 sat in the black globe chair behind the grey curved desk in his office. The steel doors slid open and two men in black and red striped jerseys manhandled the slumped figure down the ramp, across the floor and sat him down into a chair. Then stood back a little way.
    “So, it was you all the time, I’m surprised. What was the fascination of that cottage?” No.2 demanded to know.
    The figure of No.12 was beginning to revive “You, you think I’m the prowler?”
    “You were seen skulking in the bushes, why?”
    “I wanted to catch the prowler.”
    “But you are the prowler. You were seen by Number 38 leering in through the window. It was you who made her scream and faint!”
    “Me! I saw movement inside the cottage, I thought the prowler had got in.”
    “That was Number 38 about to go to bed!”
    “Why were you skulking in the bushes Number 12?”
    “I thought to wait and catch the prowler red handed.”
    “And that’s your story?”
    “It was my assignment!”
    “So you say. Was it Number 38 you had an interest in, or was it something in the cottage?”
    “I wanted to catch the prowler.”
    “I say you are the prowler, you wanted to scare Number 38 out of the cottage so that you could retrieve this” No.2 said producing something wrapped up in a filthy cloth which he dropped on his desk.”
    “What’s that?”
    “You don’t know Number 12?”
    “Would I ask?”
    No.2 unfolded the filthy cloth “This is what they call…….”
    No.12 stared at the thing on the desk, he was afraid of it, but fascinated by it too. He began to jibber inanely like a man possessed, a man gone mad, until he fell out of the chair and onto the floor. His whole body shook and writhed. The two security men stepped forward and tried to restrain the man on the floor, but he collapsed in not a dead faint, but dead.
    It was never explained what it was, this thing wrapped in a filthy cloth. Nor was it ever known why No.12 sought to find it. But what is known, is that the thing wrapped in its filthy rag was replaced in the chimney where it was found. No.38 was re-housed in the Old People’s Home, and the former 38 Private was boarded up.

    It was the new No.2’s first day in office.
    “I want to take a walk through the village” she told her assistant No.22.
    “There are several pressing matters this morning.”
    “All in good time 22.”
    The two set off from the Green Dome, down the steps and turning right at the bottom. No.2 with an old school scarf wrapped about her shoulders, and carrying an umbrella shooting sick. Suddenly she stopped in the middle of the road.
    “That cottage there.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    “Why has it been left to go to rack and ruin?”
    “It was sealed up some time ago.”
    “I….I don’t know Number 2.”
    “Well find out would you, and in the meantime get gardeners to clear the undergrowth. Send builders and decorators in to make the cottage habitable once more.”
    “Yes Number 2.”

    The maid had just made No.25’s nightcap and placing it on the bedside table bid the young woman goodnight.
    “Goodnight” 25 replied emerging from the bathroom. She went into the bedroom and sat brushing her hair. Crossing the room to draw the curtains it was then that she screamed and screamed enough to wake the dead.
    The face at the window stared in with burning eyes as the young woman collapsed in a dead faint on the floor. The face kept staring into the room, a long pointed tongue licked its lips.
    The nightshift had just begun in the Control Room when an Observer turned in his chair
    “Supervisor, a disturbance at 25 Private. The young woman is unconscious on the floor, and there’s a prowler at the window.”
    “Yellow alert all posts” ordered the Supervisor, then “Orange alert.”
    But it was all too late. By the time the white membranic mass of the Guardian appeared on the scene the prowler had already entered the cottage and gone, taking No.25 with it!

Be seeing you