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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

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