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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!

Be seeing you

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