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Sunday, 28 June 2020

THE TALLY HO

             “I Didn’t Do It! Says Butler”

                              by our own reporter 

   So the butler says he didn’t do it. And yet since the writing of murder mysteries there has been the expression “The butler did it,” which is used to describe an ending or resolution to a fictional mystery that is stereotypical, predictable, or contrived. It is based on the murder mystery cliché of revealing that the butler was the one who committed the murder. The concept of "the butler did it" is commonly attributed to Mary Roberts Rinehart. Her otherwise forgettable 1930 novel, “The Door,” is notable for the ending, in which the butler actually is the villain. However the actual phrase “the butler did it,” never appears in the text.
    We know absolutely nothing about the butler which makes him the most enigmatic character in ‘the Prisoner. He serves each new No.2 with an unquestioning loyalty, and carries out his duties impeccably, he can also pilot a helicopter. He is thought to be mute because he is never heard to utter one single word in the entire series, but perhaps he has nothing to say for himself, or has nothing interesting to say. And yet he must speak on at least two occasions, the first in ‘A B and C’ when No.2 is speaking on the telephone “Is he. Send him in.” it’s the butler who shows No.6 into the office so it must follow that it must have been the butler speaking to No.2 on the telephone informing him of No.6's visit. And again in ‘Its Your Funeral’ when No.6 goes calling on No.2 he said “I thought I told you that I didn't want to be disturbed. Tell him to go away.” Who else is there to tell No.6 to go away but the butler!
   The butler has something in common with No.6, he doesn’t wear a numbered badge, and wears his own clothes, well at least he is not forced to wear the usual colourful attire, although he does wear a cape…inside out, perhaps because he doesn’t want to look ridiculous! Symbolically the butler is seen to be the “silent majority” those citizens who do not have a voice. And yet he is always at the heart of things, such as the award ceremony at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, and can be described as being “the Keeper of the Great Seal of Office,” seeing as it’s the butler  who presents the Great Seal of Office on a crimson cushion during the Appreciation Day ceremony. He also enjoys a game of chess, as in ‘Checkmate’ he follows the game which uses human chess pieces, from the top of the bandstand reproducing the moves on his own chessboard. Some people have come up with the idea that it’s the butler who is manipulating the moves on the human chessboard as he makes the moves first on his own board! And ‘A Change of Mind’ no doubt it was the butler who set out the tables in the committee chamber, and when the Chairman of the committee said “Gentlemen its time, I think we’re more than ready for a tea break,” in all probability it’s the butler who has made the tea! During the week in the Embryo Room the butler is there alongside his master, cooking meals, keeping the cage neat and tidy, as well as serving his master, as No.2 and No.6 carry out their deliberations. And then there’s ‘Fall Out.’ The butler seems to know a great deal about what’s going on, he sees the former No.6 as being his new master, so he’s quick to see its time to change sides judging by the way he takes part in the violent and bloody revolution. Not only does he kill with a Thompson machine gun, but at one point in the rocket, he can be seen strangling someone with his gloved hands! And the question has to be asked, how did the butler know about that Scammell Highwayman transporter? At the very least the foot pedals of accelerator, brake, and clutch would have had to have been adapted in some way in order to suit the Butler's size, ordinarily his feet would not have reached the pedals. Or if they did he wouldn’t have been able to see over the steering wheel, meaning no disrespect to our diminutive friend. And then back in London the butler accompanies his new master to his home in London, and as he stands on the steps of No.1 Buckingham Place the front door opens automatically and the butler goes inside the house. It is because of this that people have arrived at the conclusion that the butler did it, and had been No.1 all the time.

Be seeing you

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Caught On Camera!

    Here we have an agent working for the village, he is generally dressed as an undertaker, and drives a black hearse. We saw him earlier in the episode ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’ as a waiter working at Janet’s birthday party. He later followed both ZM73 and Potter to the barbers shop in Kandersfeld where he encountered ZM73 and Potter fighting in the basement. But who is this agent supposed to be now? I thought he looked rather like a chauffeur, suggested by the peaked cap. But then who would he be chauffeuring? My wife suggested that he’s probably posing as a coach driver driving tourists on a tour of Austria. Looking at that jacket she could be right. What’s more he’d need a bus to take everyone back to the village, Professor Seltzman, ZM73, as well as Potter. Unless of course Potter was left behind after all he wasn’t all that important. But if he were left behind, unconscious in the basement, when he eventually arrived back in London he would certainly have some explaining to do to Sir Charles Portland! As for the coach driver here, how he got at least two bodies out of the barbers and into a coach or other such vehicle in broad daylight without being seen without questions being asked by passers-by, will forever remain a mystery!

Be seeing you

Back On The Chessboard!

   It was the black gloved hand of the butler which returned the pawn {symbolizing No.6} to the chessboard. However others were not so lucky. The shopkeeper No.19 is replaced by the time of the following episode ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’ Perhaps they decided to carry out an audit of his books, and found some discrepancies! No.14, the ex-Count, he’s another one from ‘Checkmate’ never seen to be seen again in the village. No doubt he paid the price for teaching No.6 how to tell between guardians and the prisoners! I sometimes wonder if No.14 had once attempted his own teaching himself, and for some reason it had not worked. But perhaps he thought if he taught the trick to No.6 he might have better luck, and manage to carry out an escape plan successfully. But every plan has its flaw, on this occasion it was No.6’s own air of authority that let him down!
   No.8, I hope they reversed the hypnotism, poor woman. Although something must have happened to see her wiped from the board, we do not see her again in the village. Although she can be seen during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ following No.6 as usual! Also she is the last No.8 we see in the village before No.8 of ‘Living In Harmony.’
    As for the chessboard, it’s taken away almost as quickly as it’s laid down on the village green. Perhaps it’s taken up as No.14 is taken away, after all he’ll have no further use for it!
   Some have it that the butler is the instigator of the chess match, that the players actually follow the moves the butler makes on his chessboard. Personally I do not subscribe to that theory, as the butler is merely following the moves on his own chessboard, being a student of the game!


Be seeing you

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Tales From The Village

    The man lying on the couch opened his eyes, and sat there looking  about the room. Standing up he opened the blinds and looked out of the window at what he expected to be the house across the street. But instead the view was one more picturesque than that of the house opposite. He spun round, he was in the lounge of his London home, yet not in London. He crossed the room and opening the doors stepped out into the village!
    “I know him” the bald-headed man said staring at the wall screen.
    No.2 glanced at the Supervisor “I should think you do, he’s been here before.”
    “Why has he been brought back, is he on assignment?”
    “No” No.2 said pressing a button on the control panel of his desk “He’s resigned his job!”
    “He resigned…….things haven’t gone according to plan then?”
    The camera changed and panning tracked the Prisoner across the lawn, through the Piazza to the café.
    “We’ll be open on a minute, do you want breakfast?” the waiter asked.
    “How very perceptive of you.”
    “Why, what went wrong?” the Supervisor asked.
    On the wall screen the Prisoner and the waiter were seen to be engaged in conversation.
    “We don’t know that’s why he’s been brought back here to discover the reason behind his resignation.”
   “If he’s been here before, why is he so confused?”
   “Surprise I suppose, perhaps he never expected to find himself back here again!”
    “You had best get back to your control room.”
    “Won’t that make your task more difficult?”
    “How do you mean?”
    “Well he’ll have no idea which side runs the village, he’ll think he’s been brought back here to have information extracted, not that he’s supposed to simply tell you why he resigned!”
    No.2 pulled a face “Let me worry about that, just get back to your control room, and let me know the moment he decides to try and escape.”
   The black spherical chair turned and No.2 looked at the man standing in front of his desk “Do you remember your first day here?”
    The memory was still painful even after so many years.
    “It wasn’t what you thought it was going to be was it?”
    “No Number 2.”
    “You were a mediocre Civil Servant back in those days, but you soon grew into the part.”
    The steel doors closed, the man stood at the top of the ramp.
    “Ah good, there you are. Would you like tea or coffee?” offered No.2.
    The man walked slowly down the ramp and across the floor. Standing at the grey curved desk he looked at the man sat in the black spherical chair.
    “Neither!”
    “I realize how you must be feeling.”
    “No you don’t.”
    “Believe me I do, because there was a time when I stood in your shoes.”
    The man changed his mind, and poured himself a cup of coffee, adding just two lumps of sugar.
    “Tell me now, why did you resign?”
    “Why should I tell you, why should I tell you anything?” the man asked stirring his coffee.
    “No reason, no reason at all, only if you tell me now it will go much easier for you.”
    “I’m over whelmed by your kindness.”
    “People like you are brought here because they have a certain kind of knowledge inside their heads, knowledge that is to be either extracted, or protected.”
    The man sipped his coffee “Which category do I fall under?
    “You have been here before.”
    “Yes, it wasn’t a nice experience as I recall.”
    “That’s why you said you would work for us, rather than spend the rest of your life here, in the village.”
    “I would have agreed to anything just to get out of here.”
    “And yet here you are” No.2 said menacingly “your mistake was to resign your job.”
    “Well if one can’t chuck up a job things have come to a pretty pass” the man said finishing his coffee.
    “Your only value to us was for you to remain in your position. From there to gather information, and stand in readiness should we call upon your services in other capacities” No.2 instructed.
    “I took against my new masters.”
    “Is that why you resigned?”
    “If you like” the man said placing his cup and saucer on the desk.
    “Now you are here, here you will stay. We have no need for a rogue agent.”
    “You don’t think I can escape?”
    “Ask Number 8, she can at least tell you what not to try” No.2 informed him “Good day Number 5.”
    No.5 turned his back and walked across the floor, up the ramp and through the opening steel door. In the way out he passed a tall fair-haired man entering No.2’s office. They glanced at each other but that was all.
    “Is that him?” No.14 asked approaching the desk.
    “Yes. I want you to keep an eye on him.”
    “I’m surprised they had him sent back here. You realize he could have turned.”
    “Gone over you mean to the other side.”
    “Resigned and planted here in the village!”
    “A double agent you mean.”
    “It’s an idea” No.14 said happy with his suggestion.
    “Then what does he do?” 2 asked.
    “What?”
    “Then what does he do?”
    “He reports back.”
    “How?”
    14 thought for a moment then said “That’s his problem!”
    “It’s true that the village has been the object of another department’s desire. They have at least once attempted to have it shut down, simply because they couldn’t get their hands on it.”
    “Perhaps this plant will attempt to bring the village down from within.”
    “Well he’s told me why he resigned, and that’s all we really wanted to know. So if he were to suffer a fatal accident, there’s no-one here will ask any embarrassing questions.”
    At that moment the red ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep. No.2 did not hesitate to pick it up “Number 2 here………yes sir……..I understand sir…….of course sir. That was a stupid idea!” No.2 said putting the intercom back on the desk.
    “I don’t think you should say things like that sir” 14 said “you never know who might be listening!”
    No.2 looked at the intercom then at No.14 “Yours is the stupid idea 14, nothing is to happen to Number 5. If anything happens to him our masters will get to hear about it and we’ll both be for the high jump!”
    No.5 wasn’t a plant, double agent or anything like that. Nor did he have the wit or the ability to escape. Instead he spent the rest of his life in the village. Prior to his having been brought to the village, he had been a Civil servant who was duty bound to serve without bias no matter which party was in office at the time. It was after a recent General Election that a question was asked in the House of Commons about an installation called the village. His new masters wanted to know all about the village, and it was through his resignation, No.5 had avoided any embarrassing questions.

Be seeing you

Friday, 19 June 2020

Out of the Archive!

    Having had a few hectic days working with ‘the Prisoner’ I decided to take a couple of days off in order to clear my mind, and have a rummage in the archive. I was looking for a particular file containing the following advertisements.

   From April, through May and June 1996 ‘Lombard Business Finance’ ran an advertising campaign with a number of different newspaper advertisements using images and text from ‘the Prisoner.’ These appeared in ‘The Times,’ ‘The Financial Times,’ and ‘The Daily Telegraph’ newspapers.
   Over that three month period I managed to collect all of them. I have trawled the World-Wide web and could find not trace of them, either image or text.
   There was a time when I used to collect anything and everything connected with ‘the Prisoner’ I found in newspapers and magazines. I don’t know if anyone recalls these advertisements, for all I know I might be the only ‘Prisoner’ enthusiast with copies of them. I’ve certainly not heard of anyone mentioning them before.

Be seeing you

The Therapy Zone?

    “You…of all people, I’d never have believed it.”
    “Roland Walter Dutton!”
    “Who was he?” 
    “His body was washed up on the shore, how long have you been here?”
    “You don’t know?”
    “Would I ask?”
    “It’s difficult to say, a couple of months……and you?”
    “Quite recently.”
    “How’s
London?”
    “About the same.”
    “Places don’t change, only people.”
    “Some people.”
    “I want to talk about it anyway.”
    “Let’s go inside.”
    “I told them.”
    “What?”
    “Everything I know, the irony of it is they don’t believe me, you know I didn’t have access to the vital stuff.”
    “Yes.”
    “They’ll take me back to the hospital….and by the time they realize I’m telling the truth it’ll be too late.”
    “When?”
    “They’ve released me for 72 hours so that I can reconsider in the peaceful atmosphere of the….of the village.”
    “Still hope.”
    “No my friend not for me, such noble thoughts are long dead. Soon…… Roland Walter Dutton……will cease to exist.”
    I like the way the interior of the cave has been paved over, much like the interior of the cave, the Therapy Zone’ in ‘Free For All.’ In fact the interior of both caves are mostly likely the same, it’s just the location that’s slightly different.
    Dutton is like Cobb in a way, it being difficult to say just how long they have been in the village. No.6 knows because he’s only quite recently arrived, and hasn’t undergone interrogation techniques like Dutton and Cobb. At first, Dutton seeing his old colleague and one time friend, he must have thought he must be one of them, perhaps being assigned to him. Otherwise what’s ZM73 doing there? And I’m afraid Dutton got it quite wrong, places do change, and not always for the better.


Be seeing you

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Woodworking Project!

    Since having watched ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ on May 28th its now three weeks until the Exhibition of Arts And Crafts, and three weeks since No.6 and No.8 were brought to together by careful manipulation on the part of No.2. Six weeks is a long time in the village, however No.6 has a plan, if only he knew the location of the village he could calculate where he could sail to by boat! Lucky for him then that Nadia knows the location having briefly seen a file on the village.
   So No.6 has a plan, he has calculated where he is sailing to, because he knows where he is sailing from, now all he needs is a boat! No doubt he sat in his cottage one day, or during the evening, drawing up a plan for a boat, then cleverly developing the pieces that go to make the craft and to make up the form of an abstract sculpture. Then all he had to do was make his own tools and get to work on his woodwork project which he promised No.2 he would do.    
    But six seeks is a long time, and it makes me wonder what Nadia was doing in all that time? Did she and No.6 develop a friendship? She went round the No.6’s cottage that morning and made his breakfast for him, might she have done that every morning after? One can imagine that if they were to escape together they would have spent more time in each others company. Unless of course Nadia left No.6 to it as she did during the episode, after all I cannot see Nadia sitting in the woods all day watching No.6 do some woodwork, she would soon get bored. But perhaps as a variation there were times when she sat with No.2 in his office watching No.6 doing some woodwork on the wall screen instead, and becoming equally bored!
    Six weeks is a long time for Nadia to wait for No.6 to complete his boat I mean sculpture! I can imagine her attending the regular brass band concerts, perhaps having coffee at the café, perhaps calling round to see No.6 in the mornings and evenings. She might sunbathe on the beach, or go for a swim in swimming pool or indeed the sea because after that confrontation with the Guardian the sea would be safe for her now. But seeing as she didn’t physically help No.6 with his woodwork project, as he spent most of his time in the woods, it does bring into question how Nadia spent her time in the village when not in No.6’s company.


Be seeing you 

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

A Question of Angles!

   On the morning I was about to note down the dialogue for the previous piece of blog, something caught my eye. Why I had never observed this before I don’t know, possibly I just accepted it as it is. When No.22, Mark Burns, enters the office, with Andre Van Gyseghem as No.2 35 minutes into the episode, he does so from the right of the chamber! Just a minute I thought, that’s not right at all, because when No.6 enters No.2’s office in ‘Arrival’ he does so from the left of the chamber, and I checked that to be right. So I checked the rest of ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ and found when No.8 Wanda Ventham, enters No.2’s office she does so from the right, as does No.6 when he pays a call on No.2, Derren Nesbit, to warn him of an assassination plot. For a time I thought they’ve changed things round, the pair of doors now on the opposite side of the chamber because that is how it appeared to me. I attempted to show this to my wife, but she could not see it, I showed her the film of the Prisoner entering No.6’s office from the left of the chamber, and then No.22 entering the chamber from the right. She didn’t see what I meant, and I couldn’t understand why she didn’t see what I saw, to me it was as plain as a pikestaff! Morag said it’s a question of camera angles, and went on to explain that when No.22 enters No.2’s office they are filming him from left to right, when they film the Prisoner entering the chamber in ‘Arrival’ he’s filmed right to left. I still didn’t see it, and tried to force my point, to make Morag see what I saw. For her part she drew two diagrams of the two scenes, as the Prisoner enters No.2’s office in ‘Arrival’ and as No.22 enters the chamber to explain what I’m seeing. I said that’s all well and good, but the wall screen, what about he wall screen? My wife said what about he wall screen? When No.2, Andre van Gyseghem watching No.6 and Monique at the café on the screen it’s on the opposite side of the chamber, opposite the pair of doors! Well that’s how it appeared to me. And we even acted out the scene two or three times, so we could each make our point, with the television as the wall screen, and the coffee table as No.2’s desk, the lounge door as the pair of steel doors. And we were still of differing opinions.
   As for the wall screen in the office, yes it’s a different wall screen to the one which appears in earlier episodes. But it wasn’t on the opposite side of the chamber; it was where it should have been. And then the penny finally dropped! The door had not been moved, for all the scenes in No.2’s office the right to left camera angle was used, instead of right to left. However this misunderstanding on my part does raise one interesting point. The fact that the right to left camera angle as people enter No.2’s office is only used in ‘Its Your Funeral’ and in no other episode! I wonder why? Perhaps it was to give No.2’s office a different aspect simply by using a reverse camera angle. In the end I had over thought it; an idea stuck inside my head and I could not see beyond it, I was reading more into the scene that was actually there. And yet it has raised an interesting technical point, and demonstrates how sometimes articles for my blog are physically worked out!


See you soon.

The Bureau of Visual Records

     No.2, who is due to retire on Appreciation day, has been watching and listening to No.6 and No.50 talking together at the café, on the wall screen in his office. The pair of steel doors open and the tall, lean figure of his assistant No.22 enters the domed office.
    No.22 “Did you call?”
    “Yes…..send someone to the bureau of visual records, there’s a tape I want to review.”
    “At once, Subject?”
    “Subject, warning of an assassination plot, persons Number 6 and my successor………..well get on with it.”
    “It would be a waste of time there is no recording of that description.”
    “How strange.”
    “You must be misinformed.”
    “Strange although you have no function in the bureau of visual records that you can state instantly and with total assurance that the records I require are non-existent…..please explain.”
    “No Number 2 I am not able to.”
    “I understand, that fact that you won’t explain explains everything.”
    No.22 inclines his head; his demeanour is one of regret as he leaves the office.
   It must have been difficult for No.22 assisting two masters, not that he was of any help to either of them all that much. He seems to regret what is due to happen to No.2 on the day he retires, and the fact he is powerless to do anything about it.


Be seeing you

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Tales From The Village

    The regular brass band concert commenced every day at 12 o’clock, and a number of citizens sat on the lawn in front of the bandstand in chairs waiting for the band to being playing. The conductor turned, bowed and taking his baton turned back to face the musicians, and the they began to play the Farandole from the L’Arlessienne suit. No.132 sat in a chair his mind could not have been completely on the music because he kept glancing around, as though looking for someone. And them there she was, an attractive woman, tall, dark hair, wearing a blue trilby hat and colourful striped cape walking down the steps.
    “Sorry I’m late” she said smiling.
    “Not late at all” I said “Did you manage to get it?”
    “It was difficult, but yes, it’s in my bag” and taking a book from her handbag she opened it and pretended to read while at the same time shielded her lips from the cameras.
    “Are you going to give the device to me?”
    “As long as you keep your promise, that you’ll take me with you.”
    The Farandole came to an end, and then the band struck up with “A Life on the ocean wave.”
    “Of course, after all you are my partner in crime, we are a team” he told her.
    “The helicopter arrives at two this afternoon. It stays for a couple of hours, that’s our chance” she said talking into her book.
    “What about the pilot?”
    “He leaves the helicopter and goes on a break, that’s when the Guardian is placed on station.”
    “And this electro pass gadget will get us passed the Guardian?”
    “That’s right, I can let you borrow this book if you wish” she said.
    He followed her lead by replying “Victorian romance isn’t my cup of tea.”
    “The electro pass will synchronise with the alarm system and let us though.”
    “Then all we can do is wait, perhaps a walk down to the Old People’s Home.”
    “That would be delightful” she replied.
    They stood up and taking him by the hand pressed something into his hand, he glanced at it, it was a wrist watch, it was. a quarter of an hour to two o’clock
    No.’s 22 and 33 took a quiet stroll together through the village, in no particular direction, they didn’t wish to attract the attention of the Observers, or for that matter the guardians. They went down a set of steps and paused at the top of the waterfall. On the other side of the estuary a silver grey Alouette helicopter appeared, it flew over the estuary and circled the village before finally landing on the lawn by the sea wall. No.22 and 33 waited a few minutes, then descended further steps to the bottom of the waterfall where again they waited. A Top Hat official of administration carrying a black leather document case got out of the helicopter, followed by the pilot, who after making a few checks walked away from the helicopter. Then the white membranic form of the Guardian appeared on station. No.22 walked forward taking the electro pass out of his jacket pocket. The three hands turned as one synchronising with the alarm system, No.33 walked at his back as they moved forward. The Guardian moved towards and between them and the helicopter, it was in something of an agitated state, it was as though it wanted to make a move against them, but something was holding it back, and now it was quivering on the spot. Reaching the helicopter No.22 turned and looked at the woman.
    “I think this is the moment when I should tell you I can’t actually pilot a helicopter!”
    This came as a shock to No.33 “W….what do you mean?”
    At that point a white Mini-Moke arrived on the scene, and two men in white coats alighted and walked slowly towards the helicopter.
    “You can go with those two men” 22 said “or if you prefer you can tell me who it was who gave you the electro pass.”
    No.33 said nothing, and made no protest as the two medical orderlies each took her by the arms and escorted her to the waiting ambulance. No.22 pocketed the electro pass and climbed into the front passenger seat, it was but a short drive to the hospital.
   
Be seeing you

Acts of Theft!

    In ‘Checkmate’ No.6 steals a Mini-Moke, but No.2 doesn’t want the Superviosr-No.56 to take any action unless he gets the yellow alert because he wants the doctor’s device to have a proper test. This is lucky for No.6, because he picks up the Rook and together they go about the village committing a number of thefts. There’s a surveillance camera mounted on a column, and this is the clever bit, the Rook sets about removing the camera under the very noses of No.56 and 23 as it makes a 90 degree sweep of the central area with both the Supervisor and the doctor-No.23 watching. Surely they should have realized something was wrong before the wall screen went blank the moment the Rook pulled at the cameras wires. When the Rook tilts the camera down, with the lens of the camera pointing downwards the view on the wall screen in the control room would have been altered! One more thing, where did the Rook get that screwdriver? The electrics truck has only just been despatched to repair camera 34! While the electrics truck is on its way the Rook steals a telephone from the telephone booth, then at the crossroads he steals a couple of electrical components and an Ever Ready battery, so where did the Rook get that screwdriver? The electrician should have reported the missing surveillance camera when he found it gone. And the telephone would have been missed, that surely must have been reported, but that seems unlikely, without a telephone in the kiosk! Perhaps the thefts were reported and but no action to be taken, remember we are dealing with a very clever No.2. If he gives No.6 enough rope he will surely hang himself, which he eventually did, him and his air of authority! Where did the Rook get that screwdriver?


Be seeing you

A Favourite Scene In Free For All

    In a cave on the outskirts of the village a man is busy working at his still apparently brewing illicit alcohol.
    “Large or small sir?”
   No.6 enters the cave.
    No.2 “That’s it.”
    “I’ll have a double!”
    “With or without water sir?”
    The sound of No.6’s voice brings No.2 out from under his shawl, he appears to be drunk!
    “Without.”
    “Please take a seat; I’ll be right with you.”
    “A little drop now and then keeps the nerves steady” No.2 explains.
    “Scared aren’t you?”
    “Frankly yes.”
    “Of what?”
    “It may seem improbable to you, but I’m wondering what’s going to happen to you.”
   The brewer brings over two drinks and hands them to his customers.
    “Don’t worry, no surveillance here, this is the Therapy Zone.”
    “Clever aren’t they, clever aren’t you!”
    “They are, damned clever. Think of it, if you want to be an alcoholic you can be one here in perfect privacy, as long as you rejoin the flock in good time.”
    “You don’t approve?”
    “Of the village?”
    “Yeah.”
    “To hell with the village…cheers.”
    No.6 is looking thoughtful “Cheers.”
    “See him?”
    “Yes.”
    “Cheers.”
    “Cheers.”
    “He’s a brilliant scientist, he just does that for a hobby, come with me, I’ll show you something.”
    No.2 takes No.6 into another part of the cave, and they stand in front of a black board on which is a scientific formula.
    “He brews his brew, plays with his chalk, we come down once a week photograph the stuff, clean it up for him so that he can start on another lot ha, ha, ha.”
    “Clever isn’t it, cheers.”
    “Vote for me.”
    “Vote for me.”
    “And I’ll be.”
    “And I’ll be every so comfortee ha, ha, ha.”
    They drain their beakers and No.6 collapses unconscious on the floor. No.2, who isn’t drunk at all removes his shawl.
    “The scientist checks No.6 “Quicker than usual.”
    “I warned you not to make it too strong, we mustn’t damage the tissue.”
    “You needn’t worry, there will be no remembrances. Proportions are exact to take him right through the election.”

    They are clever, damned clever. No.2 isn’t an alcoholic, and that scientist doesn’t live in that cave. They set No.6 up a treat, and he fell for it, clever isn’t the word, stupid might be because No.6 isn’t as clever as he thinks he is.
   If you want to be an alcoholic you can be one in the Therapy Zone just as long as you rejoin the flock in good time. Well that’s all well and good, but if you’re an alcoholic in the cave, you’re still an alcoholic when you rejoin the village!
   I’m always amused when No.2 taps No.6 on the shoulder, and rubbing his nose pointing to the brewer working at his still says “See him?”
   No.6 “Yes.”
   “Cheers.”
   It’s nothing much really, but it does amuse, and makes No.6 wonder judging by the expression on his face. But why the need for this scene, when they could easily have doctored N.6’s drink in the Cat and Mouse nightclub? Simple, because no-one gets drunk in a place that sells no-alcoholic drinks. And yet perhaps they’re not quite as clever as they think, because I think they missed a trick here. Why not get No.6 really drunk, so inebriated that he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from talking his head off. In such a state, with a loosened tongue he might well have even told them the reason behind his resignation!


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Sunday, 7 June 2020

Thought For The Day

    In ‘A B and C’ No.2 wants to know what would have happened to No.6 had they not got to him first. No.6 would have gone to Paris after handing in his letter of resignation. There he would have attended one of Madame Engdine’s celebrated parties, and met with ‘A’ who’s plan was to abduct No.6 to somewhere probably behind the Iron Curtain. And then things would have got seriously bad for No.6 or whatever they would have called him. So it seems, no matter how bad things get for No.6 in the village, they actually saved him from a fate worse than death!
   Although this does provoke the question of how did No.6 know of the events of ‘A B and C?’ It could be suggested that he was playing with No.2, and simply dreamt the whole thing up in his subconscious!


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Thursday, 4 June 2020

Tales From The Village

    It was a warm sunny afternoon, and a number of citizens were enjoying afternoon tea, either at the café or on the lawn of the Old People’s Home.
    “Would you pass the sugar?”
    “Certainly, if you will pass the milk.”
       “Good afternoon everyone good afternoon, I’ve some exciting news for you. Your citizens council officially proclaims 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 be opened by Number 2 himself and concluded by the unveiling of our new appreciation monument. There’ll be speeches, thrills and excitement.”
    “Did you just hear that announcement?”
    “Couldn’t miss it could you, excuse me miss, but could my friend and I have two more scones?”
    The waitress acknowledged the request and went into the café.
    “You’ll be attending the Appreciation Day ceremony won’t you?”
    The maid returned with two scones on a tray and set them down on the tea plates on the table.
    “A man sitting at another table waved a hand in the air in an attempt to attract the waitress’s attention.
    “Yes sir?”
    “Tea for three please.”
    “But there’s only one of you!”
    “I’m being joined by two friends in a couple of minutes.”
    The waitress took the order and went back inside the café.
    “As I was saying” No.32 said buttering his scone “You’ll be attending the Appreciation Day ceremony.”
    “Why should I want to do a thing like that for?”
    “Don’t be like that whatever you do, it can be seen as being anti social, even disharmonious!”
    “Don’t be daft” No.214 said taking a bite of scone.
    “It’s not being daft man, you never know who might be listening” 32 said glancing about at the people sitting at other tables, and smiling.
    “Look, whatever have they done for us?”
    “All kinds of things.”
    “Go on then, name three things they have ever done for us.”
    “Well there’s the library, the clock golf, and these new café facilities.”
    “Well I’ve never been much of a reader, I don’t play golf…..”
    “No, but you’re enjoying the new café facilities, and I hear rumour that there’s to be a new Appreciation Day monument.”
    “Well I hope it’s better than the last one, remember that?”
    “Oh that was a real monstrosity, Progress they called it. A tall black monolith with the single word etched upon it, the word was PROGRESS!”
    The waitress arrived at the table with tea for three, No.18 paid for it with his credit card, and as the waitress walked away he was joined by his companions.
    “This is a bit public don’t you think?” No.104 said.
    “The more the public the better, and where better to hide than in a crowd”
    “I’m not sure about this at all” 13 said.
    “Stop worrying, and just act nonchalant” 18 said pouring out three hot cups of tea.
    “I don’t feel very nonchalant.”
    “If you’re not careful” No.104 said “the Observers will pick us up,
and before long we’ll be under the close protection of the guardians!”
    “I take it you’ve got all the rotten tomatoes, fruit, and vegetables as you could get?” No.18 asked.
    “Yes, in a box at the back of my cottage” 13 said.
   In the control room the three men sat together at a table at the café came under the eventual gaze of an Observer.
    “Supervisor, three men are sitting together at a table at the café, they look rather suspicious.”
    “Right, let’s have them on the screen…audio. What’s the matter, can’t you get the audio?”
    A crackling sound came over the loud speakers.
    “I think the microphone’s broken sir” the Observer reported.
    “Let’s have them in for questioning” ordered the Supervisor.
    6 guardians were dispatched on foot to the café.
    “You three have to come with us” No.256 ordered.
    No.18 looked at the guardians “What if we don’t?”
    All eyes of the customers and waiters at the café were on the 9 men, wondering what would happen next.
    “I’ll go quietly” No.13 said.
    “And what about you two?” 154 asked.
    “It would seem” 18 said “that capitulation is the better part of valour, on this occasion.”
    The three men were split up and placed in different interrogation rooms. No.106 was assigned to No.18.
    “So what were you planning at the café?”
    “Planning………….I was planning to have a cream bun.”
    “What else?”
    “Another cup of tea.”
    “What was it you were planning?”
    “I’ve told you.”
    No.106 leaned across the table and stared at the prisoner “I can make this hard for you, very hard. I shouldn’t wonder that your two confederates are not squealing by now.”
    “Then why bother with me?”
    “No bother, no bother at all”106 said assuring.
    No.18 sat in a steel framed chair, there were two wires connected to the two back legs of the chair, wires that snaked across the floor.
    “Do you hear that Number 13, that’s Number 18 screaming his head off” No.22 said “Now why don’t you be sensible and tell me what you three were planning?”
    “We were going to have a rag.”
    “A rag.”
    “Yes, we planned to disrupt the Appreciation Day ceremony.”
    “Now why would you want to do something like that?”
    “It was something to do” 13 replied.
    “Alright Number 13 you can go.”
    “Really?”
    No.22 held out his hand indicating the door. Slowly No.13 stood up and walked across the floor to the door. He turned the handle and opened the door, to find two men in white coats standing in the corridor.
    “Number 13 you’re to come with us.”
    “No, you can’t do this, help me someone, I’ve done nothing wrong, it was going to be a bit of a rag that’s all…..let me go.”
    “Do you hear that Number 104, that’s Number 13 being taken away by two men in white coats.”
    “Taken, taken where?”
    “To the hospital for rehabilitation treatment” No.22 said “you
wouldn’t like to go for rehabilitation would you?”
    “Not likely!”
    “I should think not to, there’s nothing wrong with you that a quiet chat won’t sort out” 22 said in somewhat of a quiet manner.
    “What are you going to do with me?”
    “Nothing” 22 said.
    “You’ll forgive me if I fail to believe you.”
    No.18 was led out of the interrogation room and into the corridor where he found his two confederates.
    “Now you three” No.22 began “let us have no more talk about disrupting the Appreciation Day ceremony. You are all free to leave.”
    The three confederates looked at each other, and left the hospital.
    “What was it they did to you?” No.13 asked.
    “To me, nothing.”
    “But I heard you screaming.” 13 said.
    “And what about you 13, they said you were being taken away for rehabilitation” 104 said.
    But it was no good them arguing amongst themselves, tomorrow was Thursday, Appreciation Day.
    Interim No.2 is speaking on intercom “Plan division Q all set its working beautifully, dead on schedule you could say……..no sir, oh no just the way you ordered it………well the people are already gathering it will be very spectacular…………………no nothing can go wrong I…I’ll stake my future on it………….well thank you sir, yes I know you will.”
   Outside the people are indeed gathering for the Appreciation Day ceremony, some are carrying placards of their respective No.2’s, because this is the moment, the great moment when the people can show their appreciation. Today No.2 is saying his farewell to us, and they have the opportunity to pay their tribute to the departing leader and show their gratitude to the man who has governed them so wisely. And in paying respects to the retiring No.2, they can also extend a warm welcome to his successor, their new leader their new No.2. Ladies and gentlemen let us salute our leaders.
   A Top Hat official of administration opens the ceremony listing all of the achievements of the retiring No.2, as well as noting all the plans he had laid down. The retiring No.2 then has the Great Seal of office hung about his neck and shoulders before he gives an emotional speech, and the ceremony is then concluded with the removal of the Great Seal from the retiring No.2, and placed about the neck and shoulders of the new No.2 and a speech from him.
    “And so it’s with great pride I dedicate this magnificent monument which represents our appreciation of this great community.”
   The monument is revealed….ACHIEVEMENT.
    “Well the great day is nearly over” No.18 said with some disappointment.
    “You sound disappointed, and I know how you must be feeling” No.13 said
    “You do?”
    “Yes, I didn’t think the ceremony was all that thrilling, and where was the promised excitement?” No.13 asked.
    “And where was the box of rotten tomatoes, fruit and vegetables?”
    “Oh, the bin men took the box away with the rubbish!”
    “Oh come on!
    “Where are we going?”
    “For a celebratory drink, where else!”


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A Favourite Scene In A B and C

   He is a man of mystery, the man behind the big door, who likes impressive offices. That being the case why are they meeting on a deserted street in Paris?
    “I didn’t know you existed.”
    “It is often the case with really important people. Anonymity is the best disguise.”
    “You are afraid” No.6 produces an envelope from his jacket pocket “this is very important to me.”
    “It is only a commodity.”
    “No, it’s my future.”
    “You belong to me now, you were told there is no return.”
    “Not until I know who you are, I’ve never liked secrets.”
    Neither does No.2, he wants to see this man of mystery’s face.
    “No-one will ever see me.”
    “I will, I want to know who I’m selling out to, we must all know.”
    “All, aren’t you alone?”
    “No, but you are!”
    “Violence will do no good.”
    “It relieves the feelings.
    No.6 puts his hands up to rip off the man’s mask, who raises his own in defence.
    “Does it matter?”
    “It does to them, we mustn’t disappoint them….the people who are watching.”
    No.6 whips the man’s hat off, spins him around so the man’s back is to the camera, and rips off the mask.
    “I knew of course, now show them!”
    No.6 spins the man round so his face is seen on the screen, its No.2! I have always liked to think that when No.6 says “We mustn’t disappoint them….the people who are watching” he’s not just meaning No.2 and No.14, but he’s including the television viewers who are also watching, and want to know who that man of mystery is.
   I always feel sorry for No.2; it must have been quite a shock being brought face to face with himself like that. It makes me wonder what his own fate may have been for this latest failure!

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Monday, 1 June 2020

A B C and F For Failure!

    One wouldn’t think things could get much worse for this No.2, the trouble is he placed too much faith in both Speed Learn and the General. What’s more he underestimated No.6…….he failed and two men lay dead on the floor, the Professor and No.12, and they do not like failure here. So its surprising then that they gave this No.2 a prolonged term in office, I refrain from writing second term in office because its possible for ‘The General’ to run consecutively with ‘A B and C, or vice versa if one goes by the television screening order of ‘the Prisoner.’ In both ‘The General’ and ‘A B and C’ No.2 drinks milk, this was prescribed at the time for people who suffer from a stomach ulcer, hence The Tally Ho headline “Is No.2 Fit For Further Term.” It’s not a question about this No.2’s ability, but it’s more a question about his health.
    So why not terminate this No.2’s term in office at the end of ‘The General?’ Perhaps it was a question of time, that with the Speed Learn experiment coming to a premature end they had no time to have a replacement No.2 brought in.
    Despite ‘A B and C’ and ‘The General’ being written by two different scriptwriters, Anthony Skene and Joshua Adams respectively, the episodes are similar in the way No.2 oversees two experiments. In ‘A B and C’ the use of No.14’s new drug, and in ‘The General’ the educational experiment of Speed Learn both of which end in failure. Also the character of No.2, {Colin Gordon} is played identically in both episodes, the fact that he’s suffering from a stomach ulcer hence the need to drink milk in order to sooth his suffering. And at the end of both episodes, the reason why No.2 fails is because he underestimates No.6, in that the warder allows himself to be out manoeuvred by the Prisoner!  As an after thought, perhaps it’s Colin Gordon who was suffering from a stomach ulcer at the time and not the character of No.2. And the drinking of milk was simply worked into the scenes.


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A Favourite Scene In The Chimes of Big Ben

    A telephone rings in an office supposedly somewhere in London, possibly in Whitehall, and Fotheringay answers it.
    “Fotheringay here yes…………yes I’ve seen a copy of the deciphered message……….what time would you say?..........good…..oh yes I can’t wait to see him.”
    So who is Fotheringay talking to, and for whose benefit? It could be No.2 on the other end of that phone call, just checking to make sure Fotheringay is ready. Although the red telephone might suggest he’s talking to No.1. However this little scene can only be for the benefit of the television viewer, as there is no need to play out this little scene for those actually taking part in this elaborate plan!
   I like Fotheringay although his scene is only for a few moments, just long enough to help “egg the cake.” It’s just a pity he’s no better than the Colonel, but I expect like No.2, Fotheringay woke up one morning to find himself in the village!


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