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Friday 29 May 2020

Village Life!

    No.14 “Tonight at moonset, Rook to Queen’s Pawn six check!”
    Villager “Tonight at moonset you say?”
    “That’s what I said, tonight at moonset.”
    “Moonset, what time is that?”
    “I…I…….well just don’t be late, otherwise you’ll miss the boat!”

Be seeing you

Tonight At Moonset!

   “Tonight at Moonset,” when exactly is that, at what time does Moonset occur? The setting of the Moon occurs at the time when the Moon disappears below the horizon. A new moon set is when there's a new Moon in the sky, but it's not visible at all. When in this phase the moon rises along with the Sun at dawn, by noon it is directly overhead and then it sets at Sunset but all you'll see is the regular Sunset, there will be no Moon in sight. The moon rises and sets every day, like the Sun. But the Sun always rises in the morning and sets in the evening; the Moon does it at a different times every day. At new Moon, the Moon lies in the same direction as the Sun.
    “Tonight at Moonset” is a very precise time for No.6 to have his confederates gather at the Stone Boat. And for No.6 to know when Moonset is he must have been studying the phases of the Moon for him to know when the Moon disappears below the horizon. Except at the time No.6 and the Rook run the pair of lilos across the beach there is Moonlight shimmering on the water, indicating that the Moon is still high in the sky, and far from dropping below the horizon!
    There is another consideration to take into account, the housemaids who go to each cottage and make the occupant’s their nightcap of hot chocolate in order to help them sleep. If Moonset is early in the evening, then we have to take the housemaids into account, when they go to the cottages before curfew, which is at 8o’clock, in order to make the residents their nightcap of hot chocolate in order to help them sleep. If Moonset occurs before curfew then the maids would find the residents of certain cottages not at home. If after Curfew, then No.6 and his confederates would have to leave their cottages before curfew or they would be locked in or find a way to get round the electronic locks!
   It’s difficult to assess when Moonset actually takes place simply by watching the village at night time through a television screen. Also its no good judging the times of Moonset at Portmeirion, because the village isn’t supposed to be in North Wales, but on the west coast of Portugal in September, when ‘Checkmate’ was filmed. Moonset could be at any time 5 minutes after 5 in the morning or at the same time but in the evening!
   However this is getting complicated, and I we are really dealing with fiction after all, and must go by No.6’s studies of the Moon, that Moonset is at night but the timing is still questionable. He gave the message “Tonight at Moonset, Rook to Queen’s Pawn six check,” but had No.6 already briefed his confederates on the time of Moonset, or were they expected to know the time of Moonset anyway?

Be seeing you

Thursday 28 May 2020

Watching The Prisoner - The Chimes of Big Ben

    Continuing the screening of ‘the Prisoner,’ as though in real time, we reach ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’
    I remember when I first watched this episode in 1967 being intrigued by the way No.6’s abstract sculpture became a boat, how the sail with No.2’s face upon it gave the craft an almost Viking appearance. And although No.6 and Nadia had escaped the confines of the village, there he was, No.2, still watching over them. And as the crate was opened in the Colonel’s office, I actually thought No.6 had managed not only to escape the village, but he had returned to London. But the Colonel’s office, I question his rank because “Colonel” is an army rank, and when making careful study of his office it clearly has a nautical flavour, more suited to that of an Admiral, the large picture of the battle of Trafalgar being a primary example.
    A favourite scene in the episode would be when No.6 is in the woods busy hollowing out the trunk of a tree.
    “I say……… I say…… what is it?”
    “It’s not finished yet, it doesn’t make sense without the whole group, and there’ll be three pieces.”
    “Entries must be in two weeks tomorrow you know.”
    “I’ll be ready.”
    “Axe, stone chisels, even these are outside the pale of the law you know, technically speaking.”
    “Yes, I’m sure you can wink a blind surveillance eye can’t you.”
    “My dear Number Six I wouldn’t dream of interfering can’t tell you how delighted I am. Can I give you a lift back to the village?”
    “Ah no thanks, I think I’ll carry on while there’s enough light and do a bit more.”
    “Be seeing you.”
    “And you.”
    “Ha, ha, ha.”
    “But not for long!”
    The whole scene lasts less than a minute, but there is plenty in it to amuse. Number 6 thinks he’s being so clever in outwitting Number 2, but although Number 2 asks Number 6 what it is, he knows exactly what 6 is up to! And the hull Number 6 has carved out of the tree trunk, it’s wider than the tree Number 6 felled in the first place! And again the hull, the inner part doesn’t look like wood it gives the impression of being made of concrete!
    Don’t worry, No.2 knows exactly what No.6’s little game is, and with Nadia getting her elegant fingernails into No.6 the plan couldn’t be going better!
    As No.6 was carrying out his plan there I was willing him to succeed. But to this day, I’m still not sure who was the more shocked and disappointed at the time, No.6 or me? I suppose the more I think about it, I suppose it was me who was simply watching the events play out on a television screen. Had it not been for the fact Post 5’s wristwatch had been set at English time, that and with the discovery that the sound of the London traffic was nothing more than a recording and it was all up for the Colonel. I suppose there was no point in wasting energy getting angry, after all what good would it have done? I think No.6 was rather pragmatic about the situation and appeared to take it all in his stride. Perhaps he realized that this failure would have been worse for the Colonel than it was for him. After all the Prisoner’s situation had not altered, and you can’t blame a chap for trying!
    The game was up for the Colonel as well as No.6. Perhaps it was worse for the Colonel, as he failed to maintain the situation and extract the reason behind his ex-colleagues resignation. I like to think that the Colonel would be held responsible for this failure back in London when those “masters” we hear about would have some very pressing questions for him to answer. 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! Certainly the failure of this plan cannot be laid at the door of No.2, all he had to do was oversee No.6 and Nadia escape the village unhindered. But it was rubbing salt into the wound when the following announcement was made as No.6 was returning to his cottage.
   “Good evening citizens. Your local council wishes to announce another exciting competition….the subject this time…….seascapes!” If that’s not rubbing salt into the wound I don’t know what is!
   So it will be a little over six weeks before watching the next episode in this screening order, ‘The General,’ followed two or three days later by ‘A B and C so that they run consecutively. I should also have liked to have ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ to run consecutively, however No.2 words ! “You brought me back here, I told you the last time you were using the wrong approach. I do it my way or you find somebody else.” I don’t think there was any body else as good as this No.2, and ‘The Chimes of Big Ben runs over six weeks, one day, and 12 hours. And I feel No.2’s words are said so powerfully that they cannot be ignored “You brought me back here,” that a good deal of time has passed between end of this episode and that of ‘Once Upon A Time.’

Be seeing you

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Tales From The Village

    It was a day like any other, the village postman was already on his rounds and he made something of a jolly sight riding his Penny Farthing bicycle. Something of a bygone age, until one morning when he came a cropper!
    “What a contraption” said one onlooker.
    “He should never have to ride such a thing!” said another.
    “The very idea, after all we’re not living in Victorian times!”
    Two medics arrived in an ambulance to help the postman, who wasn’t really hurt that bad.
    “What are you going to do with him?” asked lady in a blue trilby hat.
    “We’ll take him to hospital, he’ll get the very best treatment” said one of the medics helping the postman onto a stretcher.
    “What about his Penny Farthing?”
    “Someone will come and collect it” said the second medic.
    The Postman’s injuries were slight, but he was kept in under observation. And he was questioned as to why he was riding the Penny Farthing in the first place.
    “Why were you riding that Penny Farthing bicycle in the first place? Who told you to ride it? Why were you riding that Penny Farthing bicycle in the first place? Who told you to ride it? You shouldn’t have been riding it, the idea is for you to push it, push it, push it about not ride it, look what happened when you did ride it, you ended up in here.”
    “Speak up man.”
    “I thought I was supposed to ride it.”
    “Whatever gave you that idea…..come on man speak up, whatever gave you that idea?”
    “I did it by my own initiative.”
    “Your own initiative, you mean you thought for yourself…..we have warned you before about that No.191, you must not think for yourself. And while we are about it, why does it take you such a long time to complete your postal round?”
    “I…..I…..have to knock on everyone’s door and wait for them to answer.”
    “Why, why do you do that?”
    “None of the front doors have letter box flaps fitted!”
    “There’s no answer to that.”
    “No Number 2.”
    “The Postman is right of course, there are no letters flaps in the front doors. Come to think of it, why should anyone write to someone else in the village, let alone send someone a picture postcard! But then a Postman is as much a part of village life as anyone, but why he has to wear a Royal Mail cap I don’t know. Perhaps that’s the job he did before arriving the village.”
    “He probably did Number 2.”
    “Take a note Number 12.”
    “A note sir, yes sir” he said taking pencil and notebook from his jacket pocket.
    “The Postman is no longer to be supplied with a Penny Farthing bicycle, besides he’ll be quicker on foot. Also letter box flaps are to be installed in all front doors.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    “Picture Postcards!”
    “Picture Postcards Number 2?”
    “Where can one purchase picture postcards?”
    “I believe they sell them at the kiosk.”
    “Really, how interesting.”
    Later that day.
    “Good afternoon 143.”
    “Good afternoon Number 2, what can I do for you?”
    “I would like to purchase a picture postcard please.”
    “We have a nice little selection on the stand at the end of the counter sir.”
    “Ah yes, good.”
    Turning the stand slowly No.2 began to peruse the picture postcards “Are these all you have?”
    “How do you mean sir?”
    “I mean do you have any others?”
    “Are you looking for something specific sir?”
    “No, no” is all he said and selected a picture postcard of the
Bell Tower.
    “That will be one credit unit please sir.”
    Why No.2 wanted the picture postcard, and what he did with it is unknown, perhaps he posted it to someone. Why the kiosk holder should be selling picture postcards of the village in the first place is anyone’s guess. But perhaps it’s all to do with the seaside holiday resort atmosphere of the village. And when people are at the seaside they like to send picture postcards to friends and family back home, telling them what they have been doing with the addition of the greeting or sentiment “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here!”

Be seeing you

Saturday 23 May 2020

The Village Pictorial

    If this is the Recreation Hall, what happened to the Palace of Fun as noted on the map of the village?
   Perhaps the Palace of Fun became obsolete when the new Recreation Hall was built. Or on the other hand, perhaps by the time of the production of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ they had forgotten all about the Palace of Fun, after all it had never even been mentioned in any episode of the series, only appearing marked on the map. And anything of an entertainment value such as amateur dramatics, and the Carnival ball should take place in the Town Hall.

Be seeing you

A Favourite Scene In Arrival

    If there is a way out of the village, then it’s by helicopter! Having been given an Electro Pass by No.9, who declined to escape with No.6, as she never intended to escape without Cobb. No.6 became suspicious of No.9, suggesting she was given the Electro Pass from her boss No.2. However given the opportunity No.6 is not a man to look a gift horse in the mouth, he takes his chances.
    Having got passed the watch dog, No.6 in the helicopter prepares to take off, and yet there’s something not quite right. It’s the scenery outside the helicopter. At one point, looking out of the front of the Perspex cabin its clear the helicopter isn’t on a lawn in Portmeirion, but in a field, and the tree behind the helicopter hasn’t any leaves on it! So this scene was filmed in two locations, which is fair enough. And when we see No.6 fighting with the joystick, trying to maintain control of the helicopter, the rotor blades are not turning which suggests the helicopter is still on the ground! But I always enjoy the scene with the Guardian thwarted by No.6, and getting more and more agitated that this man is going to escape and there’s nothing it can do about it! And then just as No.6 thinks he’s getting away with the escape, an operator in the control room takes over control of the helicopter via remote control, effectively turning the helicopter into a drone. They let No.6 keep the
Electro Pass just to remind him that escape is not possible, well if that was the idea it didn’t work, because No.6 makes the best of any opportunity!

Be seeing you

Wednesday 20 May 2020

The Prisoner VirtualCon 2.0

   There will be speeches, thrills and excitement, come one come all!

Be Seeing You

From A Damsel In Distress To A Femme Fatale!

    I think I’m right in saying that generally women come off better in the village than men, in fact a couple of them can be thoroughly brutal and heartless! In this regard I refer to No.23 and No.86, the one takes pleasure from adapting experiments first used on animals to use on human beings. The other medically cleaned up a very barbaric operation in carrying out leucotomies on patients.
   The first encounter is with a waitress who is obliging enough to offer a new arrival breakfast, and coffee at the café, but then she is only doing her job. It’s virtually the same with the Oriental taxi driver who is pleasant enough, and seems happy in her work. The Housemaid No.66 is a woman of a different calibre; she has been assigned to No.6 in an attempt to get him to open up by using the sympathetic card. But he sees through her crocodile tears which will not wash away No.6’s doubts, and she is sent away with a flea in her ear! Later in ‘Arrival’ No.9 is assigned to No.6, she had been assigned to Cobb, she might not like her work being forced to betray people, however she can spin a very convincing tale, even her tears at Cobb’s funeral are real. And yet she made one mistake, No.6 saw her leaving the Green Dome!
   They say it’s always best for spies to use their own first name as it saves possible complications, and so we have Nadia who is a very attractive woman. She has been brought to the village under the cover story of suffering from nervous tension, that she has been sent to the village to recuperate, except according to her she has committed no crime, all she did was resign. That’s good, trying to play on No.6’s sympathies! Assigned to the village her task is to get close to No.6 by making him believe she has vital information, the location of the village. Because if No.6 knows where he is sailing from, he can calculate where he will be sailing to! Nadia’s cover is sound, she is also trusting, and brave, brave to swim out to sea knowing what terrible creature she would be faced with, the Guardian. Then half drowned, half suffocated to death she is taken to the hospital to be interrogated, which No.6 is witness to. But it worked, No.6 protests at the treatment of this damsel in distress, telling No.2 to let her go. After that he takes Nadia under his wing, and makes plans for them to escape together. Nadia is very capable agent.
   No.14 is a doctor who has developed a new drug who is forced to prove her drug on No.6. I think No.14 is the only female doctor with a conscience. Is she guilty of deliberately not telling No.2 that No.6 opened his eyes and saw her that time, also by leading No.6 to the laboratory, knowing he was following her? She did seem more than a little pleased when she announced that No.6 knew all the time, and had been playing with No.2.
   No.2 “Your drug failed.”
   No.14 “No, he succeeded”
   No.14 spoke those words with no feeling at all towards No.2. Not surprising really, when it was him who threatened to have the drug proved on her if she didn’t get it right!
    ‘B’ she even looks like a spy, one of a long line of spies, certainly she is well known to No.6 from his former life. What’s more he’s very relaxed in her company even though she works for a different side to him.
    Now we come to No.58, a woman of a different calibre. She certainly plays her part well, and as No.58 I find her really likeable. And yet when she drops her façade she turns out to be nothing more than a hard face bitch who shows no feeling towards No.6 whatsoever. One can only leave it to one’s imagination as to what this new No.2 would have done to No.6 in order to make him talk. A bit of bruised tissue is nothing to that woman! And yet I trust her term in office did not end by her having been co-opted onto the town council, only it’s not often one sees women being brainwashed in the village, and yet five women stand amongst those “brainwashed imbeciles” described by No.6!
    There is one word which defines a number of women working in the village BETRAYAL, which brings us to No.24, Alison, if that is indeed her name. But I think there are times when we have to take things at face value, otherwise we’ll soon be in a fine pickle of mess. We have absolutely no idea what it was that brought No.6 and Alison together, but apparently they do share a genuine rapport in being able to read each other’s minds. Whether that’s a natural ability or somehow brought about doctors as part of a cunning plan, one has to make up one’s own mind about that. But certainly No.2 takes full advantage, and forces Alison to betray No.6, which she later regrets, and is ashamed of what she did to No.6. And yet no doubt No.2 brought certain forces to bear in order to force Alison to betray No.6 the way she did. I doubt very much No.6 saw Alison again, and would have no further truck with her if he did. And that’s another point, any woman who becomes involved with No.6 we only see them the once, and never again in any later or previous episode!
    Mrs. Butterworth, a merry widow who has a taste for a little speed! She seems a charming woman, and could not be more helpful to a nameless exile, and yet in the village there’s something that makes me want to give her a smack and wipe that smarmy smile off her face! And yet Mrs. Butterworth does appear again later in the series {well she does in my mind}, at No.6’s “dreamy party,” the woman who gives him one of her earrings while suggesting he place it as a bet on No.6 at the roulette table, suggesting 6 being his lucky number.
    ‘Dance of the Dead’ gives the impression that the episode is female orientated, and so it is, up to a point. No.2 is efficient, and yet likes to appear as a boy who never grows up; Peter Pan and certainly when she laughs at No.6 at the end her facial features do take on an almost elfin appearance! No.240 is one of the village’s best observers, she is also a stickler for the “rules,” one of which is “A still tongue makes a happy life.” There is another, “Observers of life should never get involved,” No.34 had died, 240 didn’t know that and she was his observer, but had been off duty at
the time. She got to know No.34 pretty well, but of course he didn’t know her. With 34 dead she is assigned to watching No.6 instead, and at one point she has to report she cannot find No.6, the best Observer they have is she?! However her femininity does come through dressed as Little Bo Peep who always knows where to find her sheep. And then before we know it she’s at No.6’s trial as his prosecutor, and look at the emotionless expression on her face as she speaks her own testimony about No.6 attaining a radio from somewhere, where is unknown as the Prisoner has not yet been subject to interrogation. “It is the duty of all of us to care for each other, and to see that the rules are obeyed, without their discipline we should exist in a state of anarchy. The Prisoner had no radio of his own, there’s no radio he could have borrowed {and just for a moment there was a puzzled look on the prosecutors face, but it lasted only a moment before the stern look appeared again} so when acquiring one he made he made a positive effort against the community indicating a malicious breaking of the rules. The court’s duty is to pass the severest possible sentence.” And yet when the court pronounces the death penalty the prosecutor protests, and yet it’s the rules! As for the prosecutor’s testimony one does wonder if it’s the machine talking and not her!
    Then there’s the Supervisor-No.22 who is a pretty stern woman, and I feel she gets pleasure from putting No.240 in her place!
    The doctor-No.23 of ‘Checkmate’ is I feel the female alternative to the male doctor-No.40 of ‘Dance of the Dead.’ She takes pleasure in adapting experiments once carried out on animals to use on humans. Her bedside manner is non-existent, for a doctor she is unfeeling towards her patients, who are after all merely experimental subjects, and all you have to do, is look at what she did to the Rook, not forgetting No.8 who is turned into a poor deluded woman, hypnotised into thinking she is in love with No.6 and he with her, and with the help of an emotion transmitter is built into part of the village alarm system! No.8 is a warm charming woman I’m sure, but in her current state she’s about as suffocating as the Guardian!
    No.73 she is a real a true victim, brought to the village simply because they thought she could tell them where her husband was. But all she could tell them is that he’s over there, somewhere there, he had some work to finish. She had already attempted to commit suicide by slashing her wrists, and then….well she finally achieved escape by leaping to her death through an open hospital window. That was careless of them; to leave that window open knowing No.73 had suicidal tendencies.
    Monique-No.50 goes to seek help from No.6, and yet is that of her own free will? She was certainly hesitant to go and see No.6, she certainly took a long time to make up her mind to go and see him. No doubt Monique was only too well aware of No.6’s reputation; well you know how people talk in a village. Although Monique doesn’t betray No.6, she was a tool by which an interim No.2 was supposed to make No.6 interested enough to help prevent an assassination. But because of No.6’s sceptical attitude to Monique, in not believing one word she had to say for herself she failed in that mission. And yet she became No.6’s side-kick in preventing the assassination of the retiring No.2. Monique has a father but no mother; it is possible that she was born in the village, her mother now deceased. Certainly Monique is a determined young woman, who’s only desire is to save her father from folly and eventual punishment!
   No.42, a young woman who is always in tears and in need of rehabilitation, well that rehabilitation soon worked, because later in the episode she has become empowered! She became one of a number of women of the ladies sub-appeal committee, becoming outspoken against No.6.
   “They are socially conscious citizens who are provoked by the loathsome presence of an unmutual,”
   And this when before No.42 wouldn’t say boo to a goose! And what about No.56, who appears to be at the head of the ladies sub-appeal committee. Certainly she is a formidable woman both physically and mentally. But then what freedom do even the ladies of the sub-appeal committee have, after all they, like the welfare committee, are but  tools used by No.2 to help steal people’s minds, and take what he wants.
   No.86, what can one say about her? She is attractive woman with a certain amount of individuality about her, seeing as she likes to wear her own dress at one point, instead of the usual uniform worn by doctors. It appears to me that No.86 wore that blue dress especially for No.6, the dress certainly made her look more feminine. She is also clever, in having medically “cleaned up” the once barbaric operation when carrying out leucotomies on patients. At one point she claims to be higher than No.2, and yet I expect that’s the Mytol talking! Attractive, cool, clever, calculating, and doesn’t flinch at taking away a person’s mind, and yet she was not clever enough as to put one over on No.6….stupid woman she ruined everything!
    Cathy, or I should say No.22, there she stands by the Penny Farthing crying probably because her other self, Cathy, has just been strangled to death by the Kid. Having him force himself upon her at one point would have been bad enough. What No.22’s position is, whether she was No.2’s assistant or was simply drafted in to help with No.8’s experiment is difficult to say. However she does make the fatal mistake of getting involved with No.6, by wishing it had been real. And yet it was real enough when No.8 strangled 22, life imitating art you could say.
    No.10 has done well for herself, rising to the position of assistant to No.2. As the girl she is a real femme fatale, who became deeply involved with Mister X, in fact she would have just loved him to death…….given half a chance!
    Such is the feminine side to ‘the Prisoner,’ a series which is generally male orientated. Although the ladies have their exits and entrances as much as anyone else, and while most women fare better than others in the village, and as far as we can say, none end up in the Aversion Therapy room like those two chaps in ‘A Change of Mind.’ Although in ‘Arrival’ there are a few undergoing group therapy at the hospital, which counteracts obsessional guilt complexes producing neurosis.
It’s unsure whether that is a form of brainwashing, but at least none of them were being treated like that infantile chap. They shaved his head and then attached electrodes to it via the sticky tape, whether they were trying to bring his reason back, or if it was the treatment which turned the patient into an infantile idiot is unknown.

Be seeing you 

Sunday 17 May 2020

Tales From The Village

    “WHY……..WHY AM I HERE?” The room was in almost pitch darkness. How I came to be here is beyond my reasoning. I was at home with my wife living our life in quiet way being no bother to anyone. We went to bed……I woke up here!
    I have no idea how long I sat in the darkness before I dare move, but simply sitting, waiting for something to happen was a pointless occupation, besides I was both hungry and thirsty and the keenness to know where I was, why I had been put in this predicament was growing on me. I shouted aloud “Hello….hello….hello” all that happened was that my words echoed back to me “hello….hello….hello”
“Is there anyone here?” I shouted “Is there anyone here?” asked the echo, it was quite apparent to me that I was all alone.
   I stood up, I felt in my trouser pockets, the pockets of my jacket they were empty, anything I had in them had been removed. That included credit card, my card of identity, health and welfare card, even the badge I wore on the lapel of my blazer had been removed, and with it my identity. But then I knew who I was, I had known it long before I arrived in this place, but they had removed that identity and reduced me to being a mere number. I remember how my wife and I came here because we thought it would be different, but it certainly wasn’t what we were expecting. My wife being a bio-chemist was put to work in the hospital conducting medicals and eventually witnessed, if not being actually involved in, medical experiments and therapy treatments which often extended well beyond the usual methods of a medical practitioner. In time my wife was taken to a laboratory and put to work helping other bio-chemists and technicians working on the ROVER project. I being a former administrator was absorbed into administration and found myself wearing a top hat, striped jersey and sitting on committees. Then one day someone came along and took away my top hat and striped jersey and gave me a piped blazer to wear, and I found myself promoted to the position of assistant to Number Two. Life was difficult there being things we had to do, but there were benefits with the occasional day on the beach, perhaps a picnic on the cliff top. We never once turned our minds to escape, unlike some who were more often than not brought back although not always alive, we had come to serve. “So what went wrong? You tell me!” I shouted the words echoing back to me.
   I decided to find the dimensions of this darkness, taking a few tentative steps forward without encountering any obstacle I walked forward counting the paces as I went. At 12 paces my foot hit something and I fell forward and found myself lying on a slope. I lay there for a few moments getting my bearings before on hands and knees I was climbing the slope at the top of which was the base of a wall. Standing up I had to brace my legs so not to slide down the slope as there was nothing in the wall to grip. Stretching my arms out on either side of me and feeling the wall with my hands, I found it to be perfectly smooth save for a small chink my fingers detected. I tore at one of the lapels of my blazer and placed a piece of cloth into the chink. Then turning to my right I began to move slowly along the slope to the wall feeling my way as I went, my feet slipping now and again but counting the paces as I made my way along the wall. Then suddenly I tripped and fell in a gap in the slope. I climbed my way up and stumbled onto what appeared to be a ramp at the top of which was a shallow alcove in the wall. Again it was perfectly smooth except for a thin line running from the base presumably to the top of the wall. I moved on and stumbled once more into another gap in the slope. I lay there for a moment or two before standing up and climbing back onto the slope. During this time I tried to keep a count of the paces I had taken from the piece of cloth in the wall when I suddenly felt that same piece of cloth again. I was in a round chamber, a chamber I calculated to be approaching some 200 feet in circumference, give or take two or three feet. I slipped down the ramp and rolled over on the floor. I was about to get to my feet when my hands felt the edge of something curved. Stretching out my hands there was nothing! I worked my round the curve….a hole, there was a hole in the floor!
   Suddenly laughter filled the chamber “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha” the laughter grew louder and louder and to the point of hysteria like a crazed maniac. Then as suddenly as it started the laughing stopped!
    “How is it with you man?” a voice said.
    “Why, why am I here?”
    “Why, why are you here?” a voice replied.
    “You should know better than I.”
    “You know why you are here, but it would be better if you were not!”
    “Then let me go, let me and my wife leave this place.”
    “That cannot be, you are a danger to the village. You are a plant
sent here to spy on us.”
    Suddenly there was a bright beam of light shining on the large hole on the floor. I saw the desk. I rushed over to it and began pressing buttons on the control panel. One of the switches activated the wall screen and the smiling face of No.2 appeared on the screen. And out of the hole set on a dais was a black spherical chair; in the chair was a large white balloon looking sphere.
    “What’s that?”
    “That would be telling” the voice said.
    “That’s not the new Number 2 is it?”
    “I do not know, is it?”
    “Get Number 1.”
    “You think he would be concerned with you?”
    The thing in the chair was showing signs of life, it pulsated, it deflated itself slightly then rose up out of the chair it made a noise something like Gregorian chant crossed with the noise a bicycle pump makes, and someone breathing through an aqua lung. With the chamber now partially lit I could see the shallow recess in the wall was a door. I rushed across the floor but stumbled in my haste.
   “See how he grovels on the floor” said the voice, the face of No. 2 still smiling on the screen.
   I got to my feet and rushed up the ramp to the pair of steel doors. I tried putting my fingernails in the narrow gap between the doors in a vain attempt to prise them apart. The attempt was futile. I turned and looked at the grey curved desk.
   “That’s right” the voice said “one of the buttons on the control panel does open the door…but which one, and can you get to it?”
   The voice seemed to be goading me, for now the white sphere having left the chair now stood quivering between myself and the desk. I ran down the ramp and ran across the floor in a quick zig zag pattern trying to dodge out of the way of the sphere. But it was quick, too quick, as I reached the desk it was upon me it gave out a blood curdling roar which echoed around the chamber. I buried my head on the desk and began to press buttons; none of them seemed to operate anything. But then the pair of steel doors opened. I dared a glance over my shoulder; between me and open doors was clear floor. I pushed myself away from the desk and made a run for it, but just as I reached the top of the ramp the doors closed! I hammered on the steel with my fists for all I was worth. Then I heard the blood curdling roar again. Turning I saw the white amorphous mass come at me from out of the gloom. I screamed and screamed again as the membrane, at which my fingers clawed, covered my face cutting off the air I breathed. My lungs burned, my hands fell away at the end of limp arms, and my legs crumpled beneath me, blackness over took me, and I fell to the floor.
    It was while I was still in hospital that No.2 came to see me.
    “I trust there’s no permanent damage after out little experiment?”
    “No permanent damage no, but why?”
    “Ask your wife; after all she helped to develop ROVER.”
    “You know what you are don’t you number so called 2.”
    “No, but do tell me.”
    “You are a complete and utter bastard!”
    No.2 smiled, “I’ve been called much worse than that I assure you. I’ll let your wife come and see you tomorrow.”
    “Don’t bother, tomorrow I won’t be here!”
    “Escape, from your sick bed, this hospital, I’d like to see that. You might manage to get out of this room, even out of the hospital, but the village? There is no escape I assure you. Come and see me in my office when you’re feeling better, you can resume your duties then.”
   I saw then the open window, I pulled back the sheets and eased myself out of bed, I made it across the floor and then…..steel doors opened I walked smartly down the ramp feeling the object in my blazer pocket. As I approached the desk I produced a nerve gas gun, procured through a contact in administration. Holding my breath I squeezed the trigger and vapour filled the space around the black globe chair in which No.2 sat. One squirt you’re paralyzed, two squirts you’re dead, No.2 stumbled to his feet his hands reached for the desk, I squeezed the trigger a second time, No.2 fell forward slumped over his desk dead. I stepped back and waited for the nerve gas to dissipate before approaching the desk. I picked up the red ‘L’ shaped intercom and pressed the chrome button.
   “I have to report Number 2 is dead……….yes suddenly a few moments ago……yes sir…….very good sir.
    I saw the badge pinned to the lapel of the single breasted plain blazer, removed it and pinned it onto the breast pocket of my blazer then calling security I sat back in the black chair and waited.

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Friday 15 May 2020

The Virtual Prisoner Convention 2 Announced

Click on the link to take you to the facebook page of The Virtual Prisoner Convention.

  The Virtual Prisoner Convention has been brought back for a second term due to the success of the first one Virtual Convention back in April. Its well worth a visit, and you might even feel the need to contribute something yourself.

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Thursday 14 May 2020

Doctor Who - The Tenth Planet

     In 1966 the BBC transmitted Doctor Who – The Tenth Planet, when the Tardis materializes at the South Pole in 1986.The arrival coincides with the appearance of Earth’s forgotten twin planet along with visitors from another World, the Cybermen!
    At the very beginning of the first episode a rocket is launched, and film of the launching of a Blue Streak missile is used. Although the film is transmitted in black and white, this could easily be the same film of Blue Streak as used superimposed on the film in ‘the Prisoner episode ‘Fall Out.’

What’s more the two astronauts are played by two actors who will go on to appear in ‘the Prisoner,’ Alan White {Dutton} and Earl Cameron {Supervisor No.106}. And these are not only Prisoneresque details to be found in this episode of Doctor Who.
    On a desk in the mission control room is the Olivetti adding machine, but unlike in the control room in the village, when it’s used as a control consol, the adding machine in ‘The Tenth Planet’ doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is.
    And there’s an American sergeant using a periscope to make weather observations, you will recall that a technician in ‘The General’ sits at a periscope, although in this case the use of the periscope is somewhat obscure. There is also a “General” who is in command of the space mission to the Tenth Planet.
    There are no parallels to be drawn because the production of Doctor Who and The Tenth Planet predates the Prisoner; I merely make observations, because I have not seen ‘the Tenth Planet since I was 11 years of age. Although I must admit, the sight of the Blue Streak missile in the first moments of the first episode did make me think of No.1 as Blue Steak blasts off out if its silo in the village.

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That Was Lucky!

  It was lucky for the new No.2 in ‘Arrival’ that No.6 was able to pilot a helicopter. Otherwise he would have had to have come up with a different elaborate plan in order simply to demonstrate to No.6 that escape from the village is not possible. Mind you I should have thought No.6 would have learned that lesson when he tried to escape in a Mini-Moke but came up against the Guardian!

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Monday 11 May 2020


  This is No.42 he is painting a yellow archway in ‘Checkmate,’ and is questioned by No.6 and the Rook about his paint work.
    “What do you think?”
    “Something wrong sir?”
    “You paint this?”
    “Well yes, if its not satisfactory…..”
    “………I’ll do it again.”
    “I’m satisfied, are you?”
    The Rook “Yes.”
    “Carry on Forty-two we’ll be in touch with you.”
    But someone clearly wasn’t satisfied with 42’s work, because the next day when No.6 approaches him to give the signal “Tonight at moonset Rook to Queen’s pawn Six, check” 42 is still painting that arch! On the other hand, it might simply be the case that 42 was spinning the job out, making the job last!
   One final thought. If this is No.42, what happened to poor old Dutton, not to mention this painter chap who doesn’t appear to have been returned the chessboard! Because by the time of ‘A Change of Mind’ No. 42 is a young woman who is always in tears, who later becomes a member of the Ladies sub-appeal committee!

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No.1 Buckingham Place

    During ‘Fall Out’ on the wall screen the former No.6 can see his house is being prepared for him. The ‘for sale’ sign is removed, the windows cleaned, and his car delivered and polished, then he is presented with the key to his house. And yet by the time the former No.6 returns to his London home the front door of No.1 Buckingham Place has received an upgrade. When the butler makes to go into the house there is no need for a key to unlock the door, because the door is now operated electronically and opens automatically for him! It gives the impression that No.6 has been in the village all the time!
    So why does ZM73, for want of a better name, have to use a key when he returns home from handing in his letter of resignation, this during the opening sequences to ‘Arrival,’ which follows on from ‘Fall Out’?
   As for the estate agents, Lageu and Son, the owners had put No.1 Buckingham Place up for sale, which must have been the firm ZM73 did business with in regard to obtaining the lease of the house in the first place. But now, who purchased the house on his behalf, and why?

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Saturday 9 May 2020

Tales From The Village

    “Good morning, good morning, any complaints?”
    No.12 turned round to see the face of No.2 on the television set
    “Unlike you I like to mind my own business” No.12 told him.
    “Don’t be like that, it was a genuine enquiry.”
    “Why do you care?”
    “I don’t, but the community has to live, so do you.”
    “So where do we go from here?”
    “I’m leaving today, my term in office is over.”
    “And you called me to say goodbye……goodbye!” and he put down the receiver of the telephone.
    The former No.2 was in his room in the Town Hall busy packing a suitcase when the door opened. A Top Hat official dressed all in black stood framed in the doorway; behind him were security guards in grey overalls, white pith helmets and gloves, each holding a white truncheon.
    No.2 stopped what he was doing “Yes what do you want?”
    “If you would come with us Number 2” the Top Hat official said.
    “Why, my term in office is over, I leave in ten minutes.”
    “The helicopter has been cancelled Number 2” the official said “You will not be leaving, it seems we need you!”
    “Why come to me, my successor is already here, I’m sure she is equally equipped to be able to help you.”
    “My orders come from Number 1” the official told him.
    “Number 1?”
    “It seems it has been decided that you are to be co-opted onto the town council.”
    The colour drained from the former No.2’s face, he dropped the book in his hand “W……why?”
    “There is a vacancy” the official told him.
    “But I don’t want to be co-opted onto the town council, I want to leave!”
    “I trust you are not going to be difficult No.2h.”
    The Top Hat official stepped back and the two security guards stepped forward and into the room.

    The doctor-No.86 and her medical team were waiting in the operating theatre; a final check of equipment occupied them while they waited the arrival of the patient.
    No.2h was escorted out of the Town Hall, down the steps, and bundled into a waiting taxi. One security guard got into the back seat next to No.2h, the other in the front passenger seat.
   “To the hospital, and don’t take the scenic route!” the security guard said.
    The driver turned the ignition key starting the engine, engaged first gear and the taxi moved forward sounding its two tone horn to warn cyclists and pedestrians of its approach. Then the taxi shot forward gathering speed through the white and yellow triumphal arch. The driver followed the road through the woods, turning right over a bridge and following the road leading out of the village, finally arriving on the gravelled forecourt of the hospital. Two orderlies emerged from the stone castle as the taxi came to a stop, and helped No.2h out of the vehicle who immediately began to struggle. That’s when the two security guards stepped in restraining No.2h as an orderly produced a syringe, rolled up a sleeve and administered a sedative. The second orderly went back into the hospital and fetched a wheelchair, into which the limp body of No.2h was seated and wheeled away along a corridor to the operating theatre.

    No.2h found himself lying on an operating table; he struggled against the leather restraints but failed to move either his legs or arms. He turned his head to see men in white coats, and there was a woman in an operating gown filling a syringe with a dark red liquid.
    “What’s that?” he asked.
    The blonde haired doctor turned her head and smiled.
    “You’re going to be all reassuring and tell me this won’t hurt” he said.
    “On the contrary, the pain in your head is going to be excruciating, but by the time we’re finished you won’t be feeling anything!” the doctor told him.
    The doctor pressed the plunger of the syringe clearing the air out of the needle which was then inserted into the patient’s right arm and pressed the plunger all the way down. It took a few moments before anything happened, the patient’s eyes widened, his body tensed, and he struggled against the restraints, and shaking his head violently trying to shake out the terrible visions in his mind. And when he began screaming the doctor placed a gag in the patient’s mouth giving him something to bite on before administering a second brown coloured drug which seemed to calm the patient. Gone were the tragic and traumatic visions of the past, the faces of former demons replaced by psychedelic colours whirling around in his mind like the inside of a kaleidoscope. Then a third injection of green liquid was administered. This time a drug that cleared No.2h’s mind of any fear or courage he might have, taking away the sensation of joy and happiness, finally rendering his mind of free thought, and the power to even laugh or cry.

   The next day there was a meeting of the local town council in a large orange walled domed chamber beneath the Town Hall. No.2, Chairman of the town council presided over the meeting from the chair, while the other twelve members of the council stood at a number of lecterns set in a semi-circle and subdivided as 2a 2b 2c 2d 2e 2f 2g 2h 2i 2j 2k 2l.
    “First business of the day is to welcome a new 2h who was only recently co-opted onto the town council” the new No.2 said with a bang of a gavel.
    There was no round of applause of welcome from the other eleven councillors who remained unmoved, their blank expressionless faces registering no emotion whatsoever, and that included No.2h.
   “Now onto further business of the day” Number 2 said reading out the first item on the day’s agenda………

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Thursday 7 May 2020

Watching The Prisoner - It’s Your Funeral

    Why watch ‘It’s Your Funeral’ today? Well I suppose simply because it’s Thursday, Appreciation Day, the day when the citizens of the village show their appreciation of those who govern them so wisely. I suppose my wife and I could have watched the episode last Tuesday which would be in keeping with the public announcement made 30 minutes into the episode.
        There is no date for Appreciation Day, and yet there is an announcement; “Good afternoon everyone, good afternoon, I’ve some exciting news for you. Your citizens council has officially proclaimed Thursday, the day after tomorrow as Appreciation Day, the day when we pay due honour to those brave and noble men who govern us so wisely. You will all be delighted to hear that proceedings will opened by Number 2 himself, and concluded by the unveiling of our new Appreciation Day monument, there’ll be speeches, thrills and excitement.” Where the announcer got the idea that there would be “thrills and excitement.” I don’t know, perhaps she was intimating about when the bomb in the Great Seal of Office would be detonated!

    It was also difficult to decide whether or not this episode should precede ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ in the screening order because of No.6’s “jamming” activities. Either Number 6 was the original jammer carrying out all kinds of mischief against Number 2 in ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ or he learned about jamming from the eccentric artist Number 118. And if the latter is the case, then ‘It’s Your Funeral’ should be placed before ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ in the screening order, and that would make it right. Except for the fact that in ‘It’s Your Funeral’ Number 6 doesn’t appear to know what a jammer is, or if he does he’s not letting on, hence Number 118 explains to Number 6 what a jammers are, and what they do. The problem is, we only hear part of the conversation, we do not know what is said to bring about 118 explaining about jammers to Number 6. Indeed Number 6 might have inwardly demonstrated surprise at hearing about jammers from Number 118. Because as a good friend once wrote to me agreeing with me that No.6 may well have been the original jammer, having come up with the idea himself in ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’ But then in ‘It’s Your Funeral’ he didn’t know about the existence of jammers. No.6’s activities in ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ may not have gone unnoticed by certain citizens of this community, and soon after there came a spate of so called “jamming” activities, as citizens followed No.6’s example. They call it jamming because their nonexistent plans simply jam up the works of the Village administration. There is also the similarity between the words “Hammer” and “Jammer!”
   During the visual prognosis report of No.6’s daily activities he buys a copy of The Tally Ho from a kiosk. In episodes in which The Tally Ho appears there is always a close-up of the village broadsheet. However in this episode No.6 is quick to roll the paper up and secure it under his arm, making it virtually impossible to make out the content of the front page. It is possible to make out the headline is made up by three words, the first word is long enough to be “Appreciation.” So in turn I came up with the following headline. 
       During the daily prognosis report gathered on No.6 in ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ he leaves the café and goes to the kiosk where he buys a copy of The Tally Ho. Sadly it’s impossible to read the headline of the broadsheet. However the headline is made up of three words which excludes it from being one of the earlier editions seen in previous episodes. So it is one produced for ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ But whether or not the headline has anything to do with Appreciation Day is impossible to say not being able to read it. Also we don’t know how far back the daily prognosis goes, as there is no indication of when No.6 bought that copy of The Tally Ho, it might have been a day ago, it might have been weeks. If we consider the café for a moment, where No.6 has been drinking tea or coffee, before he goes to the kiosk, that café is first seen in ‘The General.’ So the headline might have absolutely nothing to do with Appreciation Day, and could be anything at all. It’s also intriguing that an edition of the Tally Ho was produced especially for ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ and yet the television viewer doesn’t get to see the headline! Why, what was there to hide?
   This episode enjoys an interim No.2, displaying two possible interims before him, who have been standing in while No.2 in office has been away on leave. He returns to the village just in time for his retirement, a No.2 who No.6 does not recognize. But then perhaps this No.2 has been too busy working behind the scenes for the good of the village and its community. He has certainly been a very industrious No.2, his achievements are well known, as are the plans he laid down for future projects. So this new No.2 freshly appointed, would he have remained in his current position, or would he have taken over from where his predecessor left off, working in the background on projects laid down by his predecessor?
    When it comes to ‘It’s Your Funeral’ there are two things which link it to that of ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ Kosho and the actor Bob Hoskins. Which begs the question for which episode was the Kosho sequence filmed for? Because there is far more of that sequence used in this episode than that of ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’ And was Bob Hoskins supposed to be been assistant to No.2 in both episodes? Because the actor, Mark Burns who plays No.22 in ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ does bear a sticking resemblance to Bob Hoskins, what’s more the two characters are dressed identically. I read in Andrew Pixley’s complete production guide to ‘the Prisoner,’ how the revised script introduced the game of Kosho played by No.6 and a “well built opponent.” Basil Hoskins can be seen as No.6’s opponent during the action of the Kosho sequence for ‘It’s Your Funeral.” In ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ its No.14 {Basil Hoskins} who says he would like to dust No.6 down, and accepts No.6 challenge to a bout of Kosho. Again reading from Andrew Pixley’s book “The game of Kosho from ‘It’s Your Funeral’ reappeared in act three as No.6 faced off against No.14. So I take it that Kosho was filmed for ‘It’s Your Funeral’ in which No.14 played by Basil Hoskins appears in some shots as No.6’s opponent. So why didn’t Basil appear in the rest of the episode? Perhaps he was unable to for some reason, due to other acting commitments, or illness. That would certainly explain Mark Burns’ appearance in the episode as No.22. But not why the two characters are dressed identically. If it wasn’t for the game of Kosho appearing in both episodes it wouldn’t matter.
    I placed ‘Its’ Your Funeral’ after ‘A Change of Mind’ because its clear that No.6’s gymnasium apparatus, seen during the daily prognosis report on No.6, was established in or at a time before ‘A Change of mind,’ but clearly before ‘It’s Your Funeral.’ Should this episode have followed ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ simply on the grounds of Kosho? It could, but I chose to ignore the Kosho connection for No.6’s gymnasium!
   So Appreciation Day is on Thursday, today is Thursday so it must be appreciation Day. I suppose the episode could have been watched on Tuesday that would make it right with that public announcement. But I think Thursday, any Thursday, is more fitting. Mind you I don’t see standing listening to a lot of boring officials making their speeches as being all that exciting, and there wouldn’t be too many thrills either. Perhaps that’s the reason why the female announcer was doing her best to make Appreciation Day sound exciting. Unless of course she knew something most people didn’t!
    “This is the moment ladies and gentleman, the great moment when we can all show our appreciation of our respective Number 2’s.” By the use of the word “respective” the official means “proper to each.” For example the retiring Number 2 isn’t Number 6’s Number 2, that’s the interim Number 2. I say that because when Number 6 pays a call on the retiring Number 2, he doesn’t appear to know who he is. In fact he asks to see Number 2, and Number 2 has to tell him who he is!
   “Respective” can also be “several,” and ‘It’s Your Funeral’ appears to have enjoyed four Number 2’s. The two on the screen having the appearance of two former Number 2’s, of  which Number 6 is very sceptical. Because he thinks the two clips may have been doctored. But even if the two films of Number 2 had been doctored, it doesn’t stop them from having served terms of office in The Village. Perhaps he never met these Number 2’s either, having never had any dealings with them. Which could be said as being strange, but then he hadn’t had any dealings with the retiring Number 2, not until a couple of days before Appreciation Day.
    No.2 was something of a realist, he knew that they would get him eventually, that they’ll find him wherever he goes. Is that why the alouette helicopter turns back at the end of the episode, and why the new No.2 cannot believe his eyes. That the escaping No.2 had changed his mind, and ordered the helicopter pilot to return to the village, much to the surprise of the new No.2!

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Tuesday 5 May 2020


   It would seem No.6 is a dab hand at sewing, having made himself a punch bag. No doubt the sand used to give the bag weight was filled with sand from the beach, but where did he get the all rags which would have made up the bulk of the punch bag?

   The punch bag is hung from a rope made from hemp, and there is also a climbing rope. I imagine he obtained those from the maintenance workshop, and not stolen from part of the rigging of the Stone Boat. However the ropes securing the supports for the high bar are secured by the use of dead creepers like the ones which grew up this tree.
  The creeper would have been stripped from the tree, in fact you can see a frayed end of the creeper which has a cut straight edge where it’s been cut, which is an indication of No.6’s work. Then the strands of the dead creeper plant would have been braided together in order to give them strength as a rope. Whatever one might think of our friend No.6, you have to admire him for his skill and ingenuity!

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