Search This Blog

Thursday 30 July 2020

The Therapy Zone

   And so the great day was nearly over, it went off rather well Number 6 thought, better than planned in fact. And then the new Number 2 could look forward to his own retirement, and Number 6 is sure they will arrange something equally suitable for him when the day comes.
   “Be seeing you…won’t I?” said Number 6, there is a question mark over that, oh not like the word Security in The Tally Ho, but will Number 6 actually see this new Number 2 again? Because he had never met the previous Number 2 before the onset of Appreciation Day. He was trying to prevent his assassination, which of course he did. More than that Number 6 managed to orchestrate the retired Number 2’s escape, knowing that he could not have put the detonator to his own advantage.
   So where does that leave this retired Number 2? Because as the new Number 2 looked to the sky, the helicopter was turning back towards the village, but on whose authority? Had Number 1 intervened? Had the Supervisor ordered the pilot to return to the village? The helicopter might have been taken under remote control as in ‘Arrival’ when Number 6 had attempted to escape by helicopter. More likely it was on the word of the retried Number 2, because he was all too well aware that they would catch up with him eventually wherever he went. And everyday he would be looking over his shoulder. So to save him all that grief perhaps Number 2 decided to return to The Village. After all he had nothing to fear, it was not his fault that Plan Division Q had failed. Perhaps Number 2 saw this as an opportunity to be able to return to the village and live out the rest of his life in quiet retirement in the Old People’s Home.

Be seeing you

Caught On Camera!

   In ‘Many Happy Returns,’ No.6 obtained a fisherman’s Guernsey. He had no Guernsey of his own; there was no Guernsey he could have borrowed. So when acquiring one he put it on and went about the construction of his sea-going raft. A fisherman’s Guernsey is a hardwearing, hand knitted, woollen jumper which has been worn by fishermen around the coast of Britain for many years. A tough weatherproof garment, usually navy blue, its purpose was more than just to keep the fishermen warm and dry, as in a fishing accident the owner could be traced by the specific knitted pattern.

  The only question is, from where did No.6 obtain that Guernsey?

Be seeing you

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Tales From The Village

    “Good afternoon everyone, good afternoon, I have an announcement to make. Your local council have organized a photographic competition. There will be five categories, landscape, seascape, portraits, the natural world, and finally architecture. The competition is just 4 weeks today, so get snapping!”
    “Did you hear that 113b?”
    “The announcement about the competition you mean.”
    “You know you should enter that.”
    “There’s bound to be a prize.”
    “I could make Number 2 my subject and do a photographic portrait study of him.”
    “Don’t be daft, remember that exhibition of arts and crafts, almost everyone created a piece of art based on Number 2, and who was it won the prize of prizes?”
    “Number 6!”
    “You want excitement, a touch of the dramatic, and the unusual.”

    Several clicks of the camera later, and No.113b waited to see what would develop!
    It was with some eagerness that 113 waited for No.113b to emerge from the dark room.
    “So what’s this one, not bad, the café, I like the shadow cast by the tree.”
    “What have we here, ah the Stone Boat, fair enough. What happened to the dinghy?” 
    “No2 refused to have it put back after the time when two citizens tried to escape in it.”
    “These pictures are alright, but they’re like these others, the Green Dome, the bandstand, the village green, piazza there are no people in them.”
    “Of course not, I had to get up very early in the morning to take these photographs. Mind you there was one person out and about with a camera, you might find this next photograph interesting.”

   “What was No.6 doing out and about the village at that hour of the day?”
   “Taking pictures of the village, so we decided to take a picture of each other taking a photograph, clever don’t you think. And then for a touch of surrealism……..”

    “A photograph of 6 Private.”
    “From an unusual perspective.”
    “Does No.6 know his cottage has been changed round, I except Number 2 will have something to say about it!”
    “And for a touch of the dramatic a seascape.”
    “How on earth did you manage to take that photograph?”
    “With extreme difficulty let me tell you, I shall enter this photograph in the Seascape category.”
    “Well what about this portrait study of Number 6, why did you take that?”
    “Because it’s so unusual.”
    “What’s so unusual about it?”
    “He’s smiling!”

Be seeing you

Saturday 25 July 2020

The Tally Ho

by our own reporter

    The day would have been much the same as any other had it not been for the sudden lock-down of the village! I woke up this morning put on my dressing gown, carried out my bathroom ablutions, by which time the housemaid had generally arrived with my breakfast, but this morning she was conspicuous by her absence. I didn’t think I had done anything wrong to have that particular privilege removed, but then you can never tell. So I retired to the kitchen, I switched on the kettle, brought a cup and saucer, tea caddy, sugar bowl from a cupboard, and a small jug of milk from the fridge. The kettle boiled I warmed the pot, emptied it, then put in three caddy spoons of tea, one for the pot, one for me, and one for luck, poured in the hot water and let it brew for a few moments. Then poured out the tea, and it was very nice, at which point the telephone began to bleep. Instantly I knew it was the editor by the impatient tone of the bleeps! I picked up the receiver. “Is that you Number 46?” You called this number, so who else would it be? “I can’t get out!” Out of where? “My flat of course!” I know, I can’t get out of my cottage, and the housemaid failed to bring me my breakfast this morning. “A housemaid brings you your breakfast; you know what you are, don’t you 46?” No what? “Decadent! Look 46 why are we locked in like this?” I really couldn’t say. “What can you see out of the window?” I drew back the blind, the village, I said, what else? “You can’t see anyone out and about?” I looked out of the window again, no there’s no-one. “This needs investigating 46.” And pray tell me how I’m supposed to do that? “Well after they let us out then.” You think they’ll let us out? “Well what do you think?” Perhaps the village has been evacuated, and somehow we have been forgotten and left behind! “Heaven forbid!” the editor said and put down the receiver. I did try and call No.2 for a quote, but he wasn’t answering the phone, not even the operator! And that’s how it was during the two day lock-down, which I found most irksome due to the fact that half-way through the second day I had run out of tobacco!
   And then on the morning of the third day I heard the electronic lock of the cottage door release and I found I could open the door and go out. I went out and met and talked to other citizens who didn’t seem to be bemused at all after the current lock-down, in fact they asked me “What lock-down?” And they said they felt nothing but refreshed after a long nights sleep. Puzzled I called in at the General Store where I found the portly shopkeeper clearing up some broken glass. What’s the matter I asked? “I’ve had a break-in, and some stock has been stolen, but I know who did it.” Who? I asked. “Number 6!” How do you know that? “He had the blooming cheek to write out an I.O.U for 964 units and signed it Number 6!” I bought half an ounce of ready rub tobacco and a box of matches then stood outside the General Store filling my pipe. It was then that I saw the village dustcart with three bin-men in it. Basically the dustcart is a grubby looking Mini-Moke towing a trailer filled with rubbish, but in this instance the trailer was empty and the dustcart was being driven at speed. “I wonder where they are going in such a hurry?” I said to myself. “Probably down to the quayside to clear away all the rubbish there” a passer-by said. Lighting my pipe strolling through the village I made my way down to the quayside, The Tally Ho photographer was already on the scene. The Dust-cart was parked on the slipway, that being as close to the quay as they could get. There were a number of large logs piled up, three empty steel oil barrels, lengths of rope, and wood chippings scattered about, and an axe had been left on the scene. “I’d like to catch up with whoever dumped this lot here!” one bin-man grumbled to himself lifting a barrel and carrying it off while the other two set about clearing the long logs away. The bin-men had to carry the debris away all along the quay, passed the swimming pool to the slipway where the Dustcart was parked, a matter of about 100 yards give or take a yard or two. The strange thing is, apart from the debris left on the quayside, is the fact that No.6 wasn’t seen in the village at all for well over a month. Then one morning I woke up to find the door of my cottage locked. I washed and dressed, made the tea, and it was when I was filling my pipe that I looked out of the widow I was sure I saw No.6 walk passed wearing a flying suit!                   

Be seeing you                   

Friday 24 July 2020

Watching The Prisoner - A B and C

    Following after ‘The General’ is ‘A B and C’ and I really think these two episodes cannot be separated and should run consecutively, and so No.2’s term in office is extended even though there is a question mark over his health. The poor chap is suffering from a stomach ulcer, hence the need to drink milk in order to sooth the pain.
   Like the ‘The General,’ and other episodes of ‘the Prisoner’ this episode takes place over three days, however at the same time ‘A B and C’ is unique in that the episode is clearly defined as a play in three acts. That makes it possible to watch ‘A B and C’ in its three acts over three days, which is just what my wife and I shall be doing. This evening the first act ‘A’ is watched for 13 minutes and 52 seconds. Tomorrow the second act ‘B’ is watched from 13 minutes 52 seconds until 27 minutes 13 seconds, and the day after act ‘C’ from 27 minutes 13 seconds to 48 minutes 30 seconds. I doubt very much that this episode will have been watched in this format before.
   No.14’s copy of the Tally Ho has a date Feb 10th which coincidentally is the same date of The Tally Ho in ‘The Schizoid Man,’ and ‘Free For All.’ This lead to a curious theory which was first voiced back in the late 1980’s, that because the two episodes share the same date there is only one way both episodes could take place at the same time, if there were two villages….ridiculous! And yet if The General links the episode of the same name to ‘The Schizoid Man’ then the date of The Tally Ho Feb 10th not also gives ‘A B and C’ a connection to ‘The Schizoid Man,’ and vice versa because of the headline, but also date-wise to ‘Free For All’!
    And when it comes to other connections there is of course Mrs. Butterworth turning up in No.6’s dreamy party, she knows it’s his lucky number! Well you mostly put people in your dreams who you know or have met, so as No.6 met Mrs. Butterworth previously in ‘Many Happy Returns’ it seems quite reasonable. However if ‘Many Happy Returns’ precedes ‘A B and C’ as is the case in the screening order, then it becomes another matter!
    A favourite scene is when No.2 watches No.6 walking along a cobbled path. It’s an uncomplicated little scene, there’s Number 2 having not long got out of bed in a room somewhere in the labyrinth under The Village. He had a bad night, he said he couldn’t sleep, perhaps he hadn’t drunk his nightcap! He wanted to know what that Number 6 was doing. It’s nice to know that No.2’s first waking thought is of No. 6; well much of No.6 depends upon No.2’s future.
    No.2 told the doctor-No.14 that they had researched and computed No.6’s whole life, and in using the word “computed” I cannot help but think that it was the General No.2 used in computing No.6’s whole life. However in this screening order that’s impossible because by this time the General has been destroyed!
    Unlike No.2, No. 6 has been up for some hours; presumably he did drink his nightcap, and has been on his early morning walk around The Village. He knows he’s under close surveillance, but it doesn’t worry him, in fact he pauses to salute into a camera knowing full well that Number 2 is watching.
    “Irritating man, he’s always walking.”
    “Be seeing you.”
    “No,” No. 2 replies “I’ll be seeing you!”
    I think this is mere coincidence, Number 6 did once accuse Number 2 of spending his time spying, after all, all his predecessors did. But no, No.2 doesn’t spend all his time spying. He’s very much preoccupied with the idea of extracting the reason behind No. 6’s resignation, and he’s running out of time! He doesn’t even have a week, only three days which equates to the three doses of the doctor’s drug!

Be seeing you

Thursday 23 July 2020

Farewell Moonyeenn Lee

   Some sad news reached me this week, Moonyeenn Lee, The PRIS6NER’s South African casting director, recently passed away from COVID-19 Complications.
  As well as working on the 2009 production of THEPRIS6
NER Moonyeenn Lee also worked on a number of Hollywood productions.

Rest In Peace Moonyeenn


Wednesday 22 July 2020

Code Breaking!

    ZM73 goes to Walters World Cameras shop on the Victoria Colonnade in London, where he collects a number of slides which have been made up from a roll of photographic negatives. He returns home, sets up a slide projector, and screen, then closed the blinds. Taking a red coloured pen from his jacket pocket he writes down the letters of Setlzman on a large pad.

    5     20
S  E  L  T
   13     14
Z  M  A  N

The original script has the professor’s name was Saltzman, however that would not have been right when it comes to the code because then there would have been 2 A’s, but then what difference would that have made? None really, because the A being 1 is not used, so they could equally have used the first A being 1 instead of E5. But perhaps that would have made it too easy for ZM73 to calculate, he wouldn’t have had to count the letter A of the alphabet on the finger of one hand, as he does the other three letters. But then again even if they had Saltzman’s name this way, they have to use the ‘A’ in the code, they could equally have used the ‘S’ ‘L’ or ‘N,’ even the ‘Z’ what difference would it have made? It wouldn’t have made any difference what letters were used, the television viewer would never have known!
I’m surprised at No.6, I shouldn’t have thought a man like him would have needed to count the numbers of the alphabet, I would have expected he would know them automatically, seeing as he was adept at using codes which he demonstrated in ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’ Hands up those of you reading this who know the numbers of the alphabet without having to count them out as ZM73 does? And who would need to be able to do so? Code breakers for one, people like those who worked at Bletchley Park during WWII for example.
   After attributing a slide to each of the four numbers he turns on the projector, then one at a time he inserts the fours slides into the slide mount of the projector one after the other. I didn’t think this was possible, that you could only fit one slide at a time into the slide mount, but apparently it is because ZM 73 did it. As he places the slides into the projector at one point he takes his spectacles from the breast pocket of his blazer, and covers the lenses with two different coloured lenses {those of the type which at the time were used to turn ordinary spectacles into sunglasses} these enable ZM73 to discern the message on the screen. Those spectacles are not those belonging to No.6…….just a minute, just a minute…….No.6 doesn’t wear spectacles, and even in his guise of the Colonel ZM73 would not need to wear spectacles his eyes sight would have remained the same wouldn’t it, like his handwriting. So why the sudden need, and where did he get them? And later in the episode, when ZM73 goes to collect the transparencies from the camera shop he’s changed his clothes. No longer dressed in charcoal grey two-piece suit and black polo shirt, he’s in white shirt, tie, grey flannel trousers and double-breasted blazer. Just like the time in ‘Fall Out’ when No.6 was given a change of clothes, the supervisor suggesting to No.6 that they felt he’d feel happier as himself, Nigel Stock changed his clothes as he felt happier as himself, and less uncomfortable as Patrick McGoohan!

Be seeing you

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Watching The Prisoner - The General

    I have placed ‘The General before ‘A B and C’ in my screening order, on the basis of what is said during the opening sequence when No.2 says “I am the new Number 2.” Whereas in the opening sequence to ‘A B and C’ No.2 “I am Number 2.” I realize that later in the episode No.2 tells madam professor that he and No.6 are old friends; however sometimes one has to ignore certain things in order to make things fit. Otherwise that would put ‘The General’ after ‘A B and C’ and then that would make it wrong on the grounds of what No.2 says in the opening sequences!
   Just how long the Professor and his wife have been in the village is clearly impossible to determine. However there might be a clue in that bust of No.2 from ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ Its clearly one of the busts seen at the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, and being an artist what could be more natural than for Madam Professor to enter that exhibition. Which makes it, according to my own particular screening order, that it was about three months since the Professor and his wife were brought to the village.
   We do not know the names of the Professor and his wife, nor do we know their numbers, as they do not wear a numbered badge. Also they are permitted to wear their own clothes! This is possibly because they are not allowed out into the village, but remain under a form of house arrest, or life in a “safe house” cut off from outside influences, and vice versa. Indeed the only times the Professor is allowed out of the house is when he’s in the General’s office typing up and processing his lectures in readiness for their transmission.
   It’s also impossible to determine when the educational experiment of Speed Learn began, as by the time No.6 is sitting at the café in the opening scene;
   Number 6 is sitting at the Café drinking a cup of coffee. A helicopter is circling above, he looks as though he is wondering who is just arriving, or maybe he remembers the time when he piloted the helicopter for a short time. But the truth of the matter is, the pilot of the helicopter is searching for someone, as it turns out it’s the Professor they are looking for. 
    There comes a public announcement
Number 6 asks for another cup of coffee, but the Cafe is closing, he did hear the announcement......
    “Another coffee please.”
    “Sorry sir, we’re closing……… did hear the announcement sir…..about the Professor.”
    “I’m not one of his students.”
    “One coffee sir…two credit units if you please……’re never too old to learn sir.”
    “Who told you that, the Professor?”
    “No sir, the General!”
    “The General?”
    “Best of luck with your exams sir.”
    “Thank you.”
    Number 6 doesn’t seem to be aware of either the Professor or the General, which begs the questions where has Number 6 been all this time? After all the Speed Learn experiment didn’t just begin over night, judging by the students and the announcement, Speed Learn has been running for quite some time. Or at least that is the impression I get!
   This episode appears to have a link to ‘The Schizoid Man.’
    No.2 “Have you thought any more about that proposition I put to you when I arrived?”
    No.6 “Sorry, I’ve had no time.”
    “But you must have some views?”
    “I’m afraid not.”
    “Look old chap, we’ve been through some scrapes before, but we’ve never fallen out over them. The General’s not going to behead you!”
    “We won’t know until I’ve reported to the General, will we?”
    “Report to the General? That’s a new one!”
    So in this episode we get to meet the General, and turns out to be a computer! If this is correct its no wonder No.2 thought it was a strange thing for Curtis to say “We won’t know until I’ve reported to the General, will we?” Whether or not we are to believe the General mentioned in ‘The Schizoid Man’ is the same General as in the computer, is up to the individual. But it would make sense of No.2’s reaction “Report to the General? That’s a new one!”

Be seeing you

Sunday 19 July 2020

Tales From The Village

     No.2 sat in his black spherical chair behind a grey curved desk. Leaning forward he pressed a button on the Control panel switching on the large wall screen. The view was not one of the village but of the Guardian perpetually moving in its confinement area somewhere on the seabed. In one respect it seemed to be malevolent, as though it would do you serious harm if it were to get out. And it would, the effects have been witnessed. But confined as it is it has a calming, soothing effect, it relaxes one almost to the point of sleep. No.2 often sat watching this Guardian when he felt stressed. The Guardian its job to care and protect, and yet it is confined and just as much a prisoner in the village as anyone. Worse, it’s a slave forced to police the village, to round up and subdue escapees even to kill if necessary.
    The pair of steel doors opened and a gaunt looking man in a white coat walked down the ramp.
    “Good morning Number 2” the doctor said.
    No.2 made no recognition of the man.
    “Number 2, you wanted to see me.”
    No.2 finally looked away from the screen and at the man in the white coat “Fascinating don’t you think?”
    The doctor looked at the screen “Currently we are conducting experiments using that Guardian in therapy techniques; also it’s possible that through the Guardian we can carry out indoctrinations on patients.”
    “To what ends?”
    “We do not know as yet, it’s very early days. You wanted to see me to ask about our friend Number 6.”
    “Yes doctor, how are things in that department?”
    “He’s given us quite a lot of information, most of it we already knew. He’s playing with us. I shall have to use more extreme measures in order to get him to give up the more vital information.”
    “Perhaps there is another way doctor……….”
    No.6 was eventually discharged from the hospital and allowed to return home. You know how it is when you’ve spent a long time in a hospital the outside world seems crowded and noisy. Well the village was anything but that, quiet yes, and there seemed to be no-one about. The taxi had dropped him off outside his cottage, which was at the back of the row of terraced cottages. He opened the door and went through into the lounge opening the French window he stepped out onto the small balcony.
    “Aren’t you going to offer me a drink?” a voice asked.
    No.6 turned round to see the figure of a man in the lounge. He was about 5 feet ten inches tall, with greying hair, 53 years of age with a thin moustache.
    “Doyle what the devil are you doing here?”
    “Get me that drink and I’ll tell you.”
    No.8 poured out two large whiskies, looks the same tastes the same but it won’t get you tiddly no matter how much you drink of the stuff!
    “Bottoms up as we say in the Navy.”
    “I could ask the same of you.”
    “You’re the last person I thought to see here.”
    “What do you mean by that?”
    “Too clever by half you are or were. I never thought the other side would catch up with you.”
    “And what about you?”
    “Oh you know me, I wasn’t that high up in the Admiralty, just about good enough to transport some secret plans of the Navy’s new guided torpedo. I was on a train in a locked compartment. I must have dozed off, I woke up here, and the plans……..well you can guess.”
    “I’m surprised they took you if all they wanted was the plans.”
    “Yes I wondered about that they don’t seem to believe me when I tell them I’m just a minor bureaucrat. Nevertheless they keep asking me questions about files I have seen, the projects I know about.”
    “You’ve told them?”
    “What do you think?”
    They drained their glasses and No.6 refilled them.
    “So why have you come to see me?”
    “I guess I’ve been sent here as a guide, to show you that you can expect the worst of it.”
    “Believe me I’ve already had the worst of it, you name it and they have just about done it to me.”
    Doyle thought for a moment “A man like you should be able to break out of here easy.”
    “Believe me Doyle it’s not so easy, I’ve tried.”
    “Perhaps we could try together.”
    “Why, do you have a plan?”
    “No, I thought you might?”
    “I’m fresh out of ideas. Really why are you here?”
    “I told you?”
    “Did Number 2 send you?”
    “How do you mean?”
    “I haven’t forgotten, we never did find out who the leak was in navy Intelligence.”
    “You think it was me!”
    No.6 threw his glass of whisky into Doyle’s face.
    “You were always a bit of a blister. It’s no wonder no-one could stand you!”
    “Get out!”
    “Don’t you worry, just wait until I file my report with Number 2.”
    “I’m sure he’s already well apprised of the situation, and you’re still nothing more than a lap dog!”
    “Why you scumbag!”
    The two men began to grapple with each other exchanging punch for punch, throwing each other about the cottage, upsetting table lamps picking up ornaments to throw at each other and smashing against a wall when they missed! The fight was brutally hard fought Doyle was thrown against shelves in an alcove his body receiving a number of blows. But he managed to throw his adversary off and lunged at him hurling him to the floor; No.6 hit the back of his head on the coffee table and slumped on the carpet, unmoving.
   No.6 was dead! The terraced cottage of 6 Private was cleared of all the furnishing, fixtures and fittings, and then closed up ready for a new occupant. Doyle who had gone too far with No.6, was held to account in
London by his masters. A few weeks later he arrived back in the village…….as a prisoner!

Be seeing you

Thursday 16 July 2020

Drink It Up Before It Gets Cold!

    In the dinette of ‘6 Private’ No.8 is busy making No.6 his nightcap of cocoa, her demeanour is of a very happy woman. She is pompomming the nursery rhyme “Pop goes the weasel.” In the shower room No.6 is curious about who else is in his cottage. It’s certainly not the housemaid, as I suspect she was sent away by No.8 saying she would make No.6 his nightcap. I wonder if she obligingly drugged the cocoa as well, unwittingly she probably did if the sedative is in the tap water!
    No.6 “Hello.”
    No.8“Hurry up before it gets cold.”
    “Nothing like a cup of hot chocolate for a good nights sleep.”
    “Had a hard day?”
    “No worse no better.
    “Anything you’d like to tell me?”
    “Yes….how’d you get in here?”
    “Oh the usual way by the door…It’s so wonderful to be with you.”
    “It’s a warm feeling.”
    “On a cold night!”
    “Its nice chocolate.”
    “Oh you like it?”
    “Very nice.”
    “Would you like some more?”
    “No, no, thank you very much indeed but it was a kind thought though.”
    “You’re the one that’s kind.”
    “To allow me to be with you.”
    An announcement “Curfew Time, ten minutes, all citizens ten minutes to curfew, sleep well.”
    “If only you care a little I’d be happy.”
    “I do care, who put you up to this?”
    No.6 helps himself to more chocolate “Who put you up to it?”
    “Then get out!”
    “Nobody put me up to it, I only want to help you.”
    “Get out!” he shouts in anger.
    “I only want to help you.”
    “Everybody wants to help me!”
    No.8 begins to cry.
    “What’s the matter?”
    “Nothing, nothings the matter.”
    “Stop crying.”
    “Sorry to bother you.”
    “It’s alright. Not bothering me.”
    “I’m not bothering you?”
    “Do you like me?”
    “Yes” he smiles, his angry demeanour has collapsed.
    “Oh you’re so good to me.”
    “Thank you” No.8 says shaking his hands.
    “That’s alright, that’s fine, that’s okay.”
    “Would you like some more chocolate?”
    “Chocolate no, no I I’ve got some.”
    “Will I see you again?”
    “Oh yes I’m here all the time.”
    “Thank you…ever so much.”
    The door to the cottage opens and No.8 dashes out into the night, she stops, turns and waves at No.6 who returns her wave with a casual village salute the way he does, which is barely a salute nor a wave. The door closes leaving No.6 wondering……..
   Just a minute! The door opened automatically before No.8 was anywhere near it, how did it know to do that? The door usually only opens automatically for No.6 or for someone important like No.2, or sometimes for the housemaids who have their hands full carrying a breakfast tray. True the door did open for Monique that time she went to call on No.6, but then the door was programmed to open for her, unless it was an Observer in the control room who opened the door for her, because whenever anyone knocks on his door No.6 doesn’t always answer. I recall when Nadia called on No.6 one evening during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ the door didn’t open for her, she had to ring the door bell of ‘6 Private.’ It seems there are two important people in the village; you can tell who they are because the doors to the Green Dome and ‘6 Private’ open automatically. A far as I can tell most other cottage doors has to be opened manually!

Be seeing you

Monday 13 July 2020

The Village Motor Pool!

   My modest collection of model cars of the type which feature in both series of the Prisoner, three Lotus 7’s or should that be Loti? A Caterham Seven does appear in the 2009 series. The ‘E’ type jaguar, the Ford/Lotus Cortina, and three Mini-Mokes, just one more and I have the full village fleet. Two of them need new canopies, previously I made three types which became rather old and tatty. The candy striped canopy, orange and white, and one black and white for the village hearse.
   For the 2009 series there’s the Renault Dauphine which served as the village taxi. Also the Morris Minor, the black
Bedford van which acted at the village ambulance which took patients to the Clinic or to an even worse place! And amongst others the Volkswagen camper van which appears in both series not to forget the “Bubble Car” the Isetta. Not amongst them is the Scammell Highwayman Transporter complete with cage, that’s in a box in the archive, as is the Alouette, and Bell Ten helicopters, as well as a London Route Master bus. I used to have them all on display, but not so much these days. In fact it was collecting the model cars for the 2009 series of ‘the Prisoner’ that rekindled my enthusiasm for collecting ‘Prisoner related model cars. There are still a few model cars I should like relating to the 2009 Pris6ner series, but it’s difficult to identify some of them, as they have no distinguishing makers marks or badges on the cars in the series. I think one of the buses used is a Mercedes, but I’m not sure!

Be seeing you

Caught On Camera!

  This is a frame from a film shot by a member of the public who was either staying, or visiting Portmeirion in September 1966, at the time when the location shoot for four episodes of ‘the Prisoner’ were being filmed. As far as I am aware the short piece of amateur film footage is all there is of the Village helicopter, a French Alouette, landing on the water of the estuary at Portmeirion. Had the production crew filmed the helicopter with its floats landing on the water in ‘Free For All’ after No.6 had been attacked by the Guardian, there would have been no need to repeat the type of scene in which three Guardians rescue Nadia during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’ For a change they could have recovered No.6 using the helicopter instead of the three Guardians again. In fact the picture does have the look of a scene in ‘Free For All’ when No.6 was floundering in the water, doesn’t it readers?

Be seeing you

Friday 10 July 2020

Tales From The Village

    It was a warm pleasant day, the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and citizens in the village went about their daily lives as usual. And those who were not otherwise occupied promenaded themselves in the Piazza, while others amused themselves by playing Croquet on the village green. No.36, an old woman with a blue rinse, emerged from the general store clutching a bag of sweets. It was midday when the brass band began their concert with music drifting on the breeze.
    No.256 wasn’t doing anything much at all he simply wandered about the village wondering what to do next. He didn’t like it in the village, and as far as he could see he had committed no crime, if chucking up your job is a crime then he was guilty of that but no more than that. No.2 is a very charming woman, but she persists with her questions, “Why did you resign?....tell me why…did…you…resign obviously you have no loyalty towards your previous colleagues so where is the danger?” I could not tell her where the danger is, but I had a fair idea, she wanted me to tell her about the department I worked for, of my colleagues, the people I had met, and of the files that had passed across my desk. The worst thing is, it will not be long before I tell her.
   No.256 was of medium height, dark hair, a well set man who had once upon a time held a high position within the department. He was not a man in the field, he was a desk jockey. He collated, he administered, it was his job to send men into the field, mostly behind the Iron Curtain. But he was not a man without imagination, and was capable of thinking in broad concepts. The brass band was still playing, “The Awkward Squad” as he returned to his cottage.
    The housemaid was humming a tune as he entered his cottage, she was busy flicking a feather duster about the lounge.
    “You seem happy in your work” he said closing the door.
    The young woman paused in her work and turned to face him, the black badge pinned to her white frilly apron displayed the white number 42, she smiled at him, “That’s because I am” she said.
    “What’s that?”
    “Oh that’s your lunch, a ham salad, there’s a bottle of pale ale.”
    “No, that” he said pointing to the thing on the coffee table.
    “I don’t know, it was here when I arrived” she told him.
    The doll was naked13 inch tall and made out of wood, as its name “Peg Wooden” would suggest. Its face and chest and jointed arms and legs were painted pink, with white lower arms and legs. The doll’s hair was painted black and there was a benign expression on its face, he didn’t like it “I want you to get rid of it.”
    “What harm is it doing?”
    “None, I just don’t like it, take it with you when you go.”
    “That’s strange!”
    “There’s nothing strange about it, it’s just weird!”
    “No, I mean when I arrived it was on your writing desk, now it’s on the coffee table.”
    “Well just get rid of it.”
    “What shall I do with it?”
    “I don’t know, give it to someone you don’t like, keep it yourself, throw the damned thing in the dustbin for all I care…..just get rid of it!”
    “Very well, if it upsets you that much.”
    He pulled himself together “It doesn’t upset me.”
    “You could have fooled me” the housemaid said picking up the Peg Wooden Doll and slipping it into her apron pocket “same time tomorrow sir?”
    “I expect so, thank you for the lunch.”
    “A pleasure sir” the housemaid said closing the cottage door behind her.
    The next day was much the same as any other and all No.256 had to do was decide how to spend it, and then he saw it. Sitting on the coffee table  the Peg Wooden doll! He stared at it, and it stared back at him, although the once benign expression now replaced by one more severe. He was about to pick the doll up when the door to his cottage opened and the housemaid whilst carrying a breakfast tray, struggling to open the door, finally entered the cottage.
   “I do wish you would answer the door when I knock, or get an automatic door” the housemaid complained carrying the breakfast tray into the dinette.
    “I suppose you think that’s funny!”
    The housemaid put the tray down and looked at him “Funny?”
    “Well the joke’s over!”
    “I’m sorry I’m not with you.”
    “You brought it back, why did you do that?”
    “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
    He grabbed her arm and led her into the lounge and pointed at the Peg Wooden doll perched on the coffee table.
    “I don’t understand” she said “I didn’t put it there; I’ve only just brought your breakfast. In any case it’s not the same one, it has a different expression on its face to the other one.”
    “I know, it’s changed its expression!”
    “Perhaps it didn’t like you getting rid of it.”
    “I didn’t, you did, or was supposed to have, so the curse should be on you!”
    “I gave the doll to a friend.”
    “Then how do you account for it being back here?”
    “I can’t!”
    “Someone must have brought it back here.”
    “Well it wasn’t me!” the housemaid protested slamming the door on her way out!
    In the control room an Observer had been watching ‘256 Private.’
    “Supervisor Number 256 seems to have got out of bed the wrong side this morning.”
    The bald-headed bespectacled Supervisor turned his attention to the Observer “How do you mean?”
    “He’s just upset Number 42, something to do with a wooden doll in his cottage.”
    “Let’s have him on the screen” the Supervisor ordered.
    Pictured on the large wall screen, watched by the Supervisor and his assistant, No.256 picked up the 13 inch tall Peg Wooden “If you think you’re going to get the better of me you’ve another think coming!” Crossing the lounge he opened the door and went outside round to the back of the cottage when he lifted the lid of the dustbin and dropping the doll in with all the other the rubbish and slamming down the lid he went back inside to eat his breakfast before it got cold!
    “Strange behaviour” No.60 said “I wonder why he did that?”
    “Who put the doll in 256’s cottage in the first place?”
    “No idea” 60 replied.
    “Go to the Bureau of Visual Records and look through the surveillance tapes of 256’s cottage for yesterday and see who put the doll there.”
    “The maid took the doll away.”
    “Yes, so who put it back?”
    “The maid said she gave it to a friend.”
    “Yes, what friend is that?”   
    No.256 decided to go for a swim, not in the sea but in the swimming pool. The water was stone cold, which made it perfect for clearing the mind. He swam several lengths of the pool watched by three young women wearing swimsuits. He dived below the surface, then surfacing at the end of the pool where the three young women had been. He wiped the water from his eyes and looked up to see the life-size wooden frame of the Peg Wooden doll sitting at the edge of the pool now dressed in a bathing costume! He kicked himself away from the alarming sight and swam to the far end of the pool, hauling himself out he turned and looked back across the swimming pool….the figure of the Peg Wooden had gone. There were only the three young women playing with a beach ball!
    Having changed into his light blue flannel trousers and grey jersey No.256 spent the morning trying to forget the image he had seen, putting it down to a trick of the light. After all it was quite ludicrous to even imagine a 13 inch wooden doll could suddenly become life-size. And there were the three young women, they would surely have seen it, whatever “it” was and screamed their heads off at the very sight of it. So if such a thing could not exist then the problem, whatever it was, was within him. At the kiosk he bought himself a copy of The Tally Ho, then made his way to the café where he decided to have lunch.
    “Yes sir, what can I get you?” the waitress asked with pencil and pad at the ready.
    “I think” No.256 studied the menu “I think I’ll have the beef and ale pie.”
    “Is that with boiled potatoes sir?”
    “Ah no, chips.”
    “Tea or coffee?”
    “Very good sir” the waitress said hurrying away with his order.
    He sat at a table outside the café, it was a reasonable day, and he had put aside the uncanny experience of earlier that morning. He unfolded his copy of The Tally Ho and set about reading how No.2 was proposing to bring about an increase in vigilance in the village.
   “Here we are sir, beef and ale pie, with coffee for two” he heard the waitress say.
   “No, not for two” he said putting his paper down to see the figure sat opposite him.
    It was a shock! He was sure the expression on the Peg Wooden’s face had grown more severe as though it was directing all its anger towards him. Pushing himself from the table he fell backwards in the chair disturbing the customers sat at other tables.
    “What’s wrong with him?” a woman asked.
    “Is he having some kind of fit?” a man asked.
    “Someone call an ambulance” said another.
    256 got to his feet “Don’t you see it, don’t any of you see it?”
    “See what?” the waitress asked.
    “There, sat at my table!”
    Citizens stared at the man in astonishment.
    “He’s off his head” someone said.
    There was no-one sat at his table, no-one or anything thing sat at his table. No.256 stood there, everyone was looking at him, the waitress setting his meal down on the table. He had suddenly lost his appetite, he went home and the first thing he did was look in the dustbin… was empty! He went into his cottage, poured himself a large whisky and sat down in an armchair. In a matter of hours he had experienced not one but two hallucinations. Whether it was something within him, or something in the water he was unsure. Then another thought, perhaps it would turn out to be one of No.2’s little games, if it was then the whole village must be in on it judging by the reaction of the people at the café. The glass then slipped from his fingers, spilling whisky on both his trouser legs and the carpet. For on his writing desk sat the 13 inch naked figure of the Peg Wooden doll!
   No.2, a middle aged man, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with far too much Brylcream on his greying hair, sat in the black global chair he was watching No.6 at the kiosk pictured on the wall screen when the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom bleeped, he picked it up switching off the wall.
    “Yes what is it….is he, send him in.”
    The pair of steel doors slid open and the butler showed No.256 into No.2’s office. He walked down the ramp the steel doors closing behind him.
    “Yes what do you want?”
    As No.256 approached his desk No.2 could see he held something in his hand, that something he placed down on the desk, No.2 sat looking at it.
    “What’s that?”
    “You don’t know?”
    “Would I ask?”
    “I don’t know what the game is, but you’ve set your creatures upon me!” No.256 said accusingly.
    “My creatures…. I don’t understand.”
    “Someone put this thing in my cottage.”
    “Why would anyone do that?”
    “You ask me!”
    “You think it was me?”
    “No, not you personally Number 2, perhaps that assistant of yours.”
    “Why would he do that?”
    “Because you told him to, the worst of it is I can’t get rid of it. The housemaid took it way, it came back. I myself threw it out with the rubbish, but it’s come back. Earlier today this Peg Wooden haunted me twice…in life-size at the swimming pool and the cafe!”
    “And you expect me to believe that, what do you take me for?”
    “But it’s true.”
    “You said this Peg Wooden doll moved from your writing desk to the coffee table. Would it interest you to know that we have you on surveillance moving that doll yourself when the maid wasn’t looking” No.2 glanced down at his copy of The Tally Ho “what game are you playing 256?”
    No.2 rose up out of his chair, he picked up his shooting stick and drew out the slender steel blade and waved it in 256’s face, it made him flinch.
    “I’ll teach you, and others like you, not to get on the wrong side of me.”
   No.2 was about to cut open 256’s left cheek with the blade of his sword when the over-sized red curved telephone began to bleep. He replaced the blade in the shooting stick.
   “Get out!”
   No.256 made for the ramp, the pair to steel doors opening, No.2 picked up the intercom as the pair of steel doors closed.
    “Yes sir…… sir there are no problems, certainly nothing I can’t handle………the new arrival sir, when does she arrive……..I see sir, I have her file. Well I thought she might be able to tell us where her husband has gone………we haven’t been able to locate him. We know the name of the hotel; he’s met the woman Mariah there several times…………he’s disappeared sir..........yes sir, I’m sure I can persuade his wife to tell us.”
   The pair of steel doors opened and the tall, lean, light brown haired figure of No.14 entered the chamber “Who was that leaving a moment or two ago?”
    “Number 256, he’s been telling stories. I want you to pay him a call and put him right.”
    “Yes Number 2.
    “The helicopter when it arrives this afternoon will be bringing a new arrival, we’ll let her settle in, then I want to see her.”
    No.14 turned smartly round and marched across the floor, up the ramp and out through the opening steel doors.
   A white Mini-Moke stopped in the cobbled square; four men alighted and walked along the path to the cottage of ‘256 Private.’ No.14 opened the door and walked in, followed by his three associates. No.256 had been in the dinette making himself a cup of coffee and a sandwich, but went through into the lounge when he heard the cottage door open.
   “What can I do for you gentlemen?”
    No.14 stuck out his chest “You can stop making up stories 256, that’s what you can do!”
   No.256 looked nervous, he was nervous as he looked at the three bully boys 14 had brought with him “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    “Of course you do. You’re a troublemaker 256” 14 told him.
    The three guardians spread themselves about the lounge, looking at the contents. One examined a porcelain statuette; it slipped through his fingers and smashed on the floor. Another cleared the bureau of books and papers, while the third swept the mantelpiece clean of dust, two candlesticks, a brass cannon, a small picture frame, cigarette box and matches.
    “Do you know what I’d like to do Number 256?”
    “To dust you down, I’d really enjoy it.”
    But No14 didn’t break the skin of his knuckles, he allowed the three to give No.256 a thorough going over. They left the cottage with 256 lying, bleeding from the mouth and nose, and unconscious on the floor.
     It was
2 o’clock in the afternoon when the helicopter, bringing a new arrival, arrived at the village. It landed on the lawn by the sea wall, where an ambulance was waiting. Two white coated medical orderlies climbed out and carried a stretcher to the helicopter, the unconscious body of a young woman was carried out of the helicopter and placed onto the stretcher. The two medical orderlies carried the stretcher over to the ambulance and placed the body into the Red Cross trailer. Then driving up the hill into the village drove round to 73 Private,’ carried the young woman on the stretcher into the cottage. She was placed on the bed and allowed to slowly wake up. 
   It was with some relief that the young woman woke up to find she was at home, but it came as quite a heart stopping shock, as she looked out of the window, to discover that the room she now stood in had been transposed to an Italianate village!
    The young woman sat in a chair in the purple walled office in the Green Dome, No.2 sat opposite her behind his desk. She was nervous, frightened, and the hands that held a cup and saucer trembled.
    “There’s no need to be nervous 73.”
    “Why have you brought me here, I’ve done nothing wrong.”
    “We want a little information that’s all.”
    “What sort of information?”
    “About your husband and the kind of work he did.”
    “He never talked about his work.”
    “Oh come now 73 surely you must have known about the kind of work your husband did.”
    She shook her head and drank her tea.
    “We have all the time in the world my dear. I suggest you go about the village, familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, get to know people. And then we can talk again, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
    Life in the village did not suit No.73 at all; she was all alone with no-one to protect her. She had committed no crime, but the reason for her presence in the village was an obvious one. On several occasions she had been interviewed by No.2 and his assistant, and the subject was always been the same…her husband. She has been threatened, frightened, cajoled into talking. She was not a secret agent trained to resist interrogation techniques, she was a frightened and nervous housewife whose husband was somewhere away on business. She was afraid of No.2 and what he might do to her, or have done to her, so much so that her nerve finally broke. She was found lying on her bed in her cottage, she had slashed her wrists in a suicide attempt. Now No.2 had a different question.
    “Why did you slash your wrists 73, aren’t you happy here?”
    73 lay in the hospital bed and shook her head.
    “You’re not being very cooperative my dear.”
    “There’s nothing I can tell you.”
    “Come now, you must know where your husband is.”
    “He’s still over there.”
    “Oh somewhere there, he had some work to finish.”
    “Was he devoted to you?”
    “He is devoted to me.”
    “Oh, so you don’t mind about him and the woman Mariah?”
    “That’s a lie!”
    “Stop protecting your husband’s memory 73, he went to her hotel several times you know. And then there was the villa of course.”
    No.2 unzipped a black document case and took out a photograph.
    “Let me show you just how loyal your dear husband is to you” he stood looking at the photograph smiling to himself “they look quite at home together. Would you like to know the date, place….look.”
    No.2 placed the photograph on the bed, No.72 turned her head to one side and closed her eyes tight shut refusing to look at the photograph. Then No.2’s kindly approach suddenly changed.
    “I’ve wasted enough time!”
   He put the black document case down, with a look on his face that frightened 73, No.2’s demeanour was one of menace as he approached the bed as though he is about to do her harm. No.73 looked terrified, she screamed and screamed then jumped from the bed as No.6 suddenly burst into the room and leapt to her death through the open window………………….

Be seeing you

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Rough Justice!

    No.2 has been on the end of some rough justice by No.6, and for what, the death of No.73? It’s not as though he drove her to leap to her death through the open hospital window, she didn’t do that not until No.6 came bursting into the hospital room.
    The pair of steel doors slide open, and No.6 enters the purple walled domed chamber of No.2’s office. No.2 is hanging onto the Penny Farthing bicycle for comfort.
    “What are you doing here?”
    “I’ve come to keep you company, I hear all your friends have deserted you, can’t trust anyone any more, pity…..Odd isn’t it, all this power at your disposal and yet you’re all alone, you do feel alone don’t you.”
    “What do you want?”
    “Talk, to listen.”
    “I have nothing to say.”
    “That’s not like the old Number 2, where is the strong man….the hammer, you have to be hammer or anvil remember?”
    No.2 comes out from behind the Penny Farthing and confronts No.6.
    “I know who you are.”
    “I’m Number 6.”
    “No! D6.”
    “Yes sent here by our masters to spy on me.”
    “Ha, ha, I’m not quite with you.”
    “Oh yes, you can stop acting now you know, I’ve been onto you from the beginning I knew what you were doing, all those messages you sent and all those people you recruited I knew you were a plant, you didn’t fool me!”
    “Maybe you fooled yourself.”
    “What does that mean?”
    “Let us suppose for arguments sake that what you say is true, that I was planted here.”
    “By XO4.”
    “Oh very well by XO4, to check on village security, to check on you.”
    “You were.”

    “What would have been your first duty as a loyal citizen, not to interfere, but you did interfere, you have admitted it yourself there is a name for that sabotage!”
    “Who are you working for Number 2?”
    “For us, for us.”
    “That is not the way it’s going to sound to XO4.”
    “I swear to you….”
    “You could be working for the enemy, or could be a blunderer who’s lost his head either way you’ve failed, and they do not like failure here.”
    No.2 breaks down.
    “You’ve destroyed me!”
    “No, you’ve destroyed yourself, a character flaw, afraid of your masters, a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken.”
    “Don’t, don’t report me.”
    “I don’t intend to, you are going to report yourself.”
    No.6 picks up the large red over-sized intercom and hands it to No.2. No.2 takes it and sits into the black global chair.
    “I have to report a breakdown in control, Number 2 needs to be replaced. Yes this is Number 2 reporting.”
    No.6 leaves the dome’s chamber, and No.2 a broken man.
    No.6 deals out some rough justice of his own, his activities against No.2 could be attributed to jamming. And yet had it not been for No.2’s mental instability, his paranoia, and fear of his masters, No.6 might not have fared so well. Thinking about it all No.2 had to do was place more trust in his assistant No.14 who was after all loyal, well until No.6 had put the poison in!
   What it was that brought about No.2’s paranoia in seeing enemies within the midst of the village as reported in Tally Ho article, will remain a mystery.

    The following paragraph from that article is the most telling one.
   It appears that “jammers” have been active in the village before the advent of ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ and indicates that this No.2 has had more to cope with than No.73. Its doubtful that this No.2 was brought to the village because of No.6, in fact he’d probably had had no dealings with No.6, at least not until he came bursting into that hospital room. From that moment ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ became like ‘Once Upon A Time’ a two handed episode, a duel between No.2 and No.6, the hammer and the anvil!

Be seeing you