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Tuesday 3 November 2020

The London Times


    Strange how No.6 who having managed to escape the village, couldn’t wait to return there, rather like Hugh Conway who {in the 1933 novel ‘Lost Horizon’ by James Hilton} having found Shangri La, leaves it, and during the ordeal of the journey in the snow of the Himalayan mountains he eventually ends up in a Chinese mission where a search party is sent to find him. The ordeal has caused him to lose his memory of Shangri-La. On the voyage back to England, he starts remembering everything; he tells his story and then jumps ship. The searchers track him back to the Himalayas, but are unable to follow him any further. Conway succeeds in returning to Shangri-La.
‘Many Happy Returns’ is comparable to a taxi ride in the village, in that you can go anywhere you like, just as long as you end up back in the village in the end!   In the outside world No.6 becomes little more than an escaped prisoner. No.2 in ‘Dance of The Dead’ once said of No.6 that he’ll eventually go back to his room, it’s the only place he can ever go. Well that equally stands when the Prisoner finds himself back in London, because when Mrs. Butterworth leaves No.6 alone in the study he could easily be back in his cottage in the village, hence the Prisoner’s need for certain reassurances, the view from the window, the dialing tone of the telephone, the damp behind the writing bureau which was made good about 6 months ago, and the taps on the shower which were put on the wrong way round………I wonder if the shower taps were put on the wrong way round when they were fitting out the shower room in the Round House for No.6, I bet there isn’t a wall safe hidden behind the television set in the study!
    Observation, Mrs. Butterworth she is the only No.2 to appear wearing her own clothes rather than village attire, but then if she only arrived in the village shortly before No.6, perhaps she had no time to change her clothes!
   Observation, Mrs. Butterworth is the Only No.2 two wear the black badge rather than a white one, and a white 2 rather than the usual red numeral!

Fact, The screen action covers 27 days, so counting backwards No.6 woke up on February 21 to find the village deserted, but would have lasted a few days more had No.6 not been fortunate in his search for the village, to come upon it so soon in the search!

Fact, The name Peter Smith is false, as we know the Prisoner finds it impossible to give his real name away. When he studies the logbook of the Lotus 7 he finds it’s a new one, that there’s no mention of the former owner of the car, but even if there was the Prisoner would never have revealed his name! Which makes me wonder why the need for a new logbook in the first place?
Perhaps the new logbook, which has no name of the former owner of the Lotus is a ploy to show the Prisoner that in the outside world he no longer exists! Certainly there is no place in the outside world for the Prisoner seeing now he is penniless homeless vagrant. At least back in the village he had a home, credit, and would be looked after until the day he dies. No wonder he couldn’t return to the village fast enough.
   London hasn’t changed much since the Prisoner’s abduction; Park Lane is where No.6 leapt out the back of that van. Marble Arch is where he gets a sudden shock “Hold it!” But not to worry, it’s just someone taking a photograph of a young girl. And gradually he makes his way across London to arrive home to Buckingham Place. I wonder what was going through his mind at the time; after all there was the question of his car. The last time he saw his Lotus 7 it was parked outside his home, so where is it now? Parked on a yellow line, it would most likely have been towed away and placed in a compound until it was collected or broken up! And yet the Lotus had been taken care of, and now it’s in the hands of Mrs. Butterworth, who kindly allows the Prisoner the loan of his own car. And then to use the words of the High Court in ‘Fall Out’ he went and gone again, and when he did what happened to his car then? One can only assume his former employers looked after it for him and had it garaged until he eventually returned once more in ‘Do Not Forsake Oh My Darling.’ Which in turn begs the question……why didn’t No.6 go running back to his fiancée rather than his ex-colleagues? Indeed wouldn’t it have been better had No.6 gone to see the top man in Sir Charles Portland rather than Colonel James? And for a man who resigned his job he does still reply on his ex-colleagues, because this is the second occasion he has gone running back to them. The first time he learned he couldn’t trust either the Colonel or Fotheringay, so why chance his arm a second time when there was always the possibility that he might end up back in that office he knows very well, being de-briefed by that oaf of a Colonel, as he was during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben!’ But then perhaps the Colonel’s failure to extract the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation was enough for his own removal from that position {in much the same way as No.2 is replaced after a failure} once he had returned to London. As for Fotheringay, perhaps he couldn’t avoid those “embarrassing questions” No.2 talked about! But at least ‘Many Happy Returns’ afforded George Markstein the opportunity to reprise his cameo role as the bureaucrat the Prisoner handed his letter of resignation to.
   As for the Prisoner, when he looks out of his cottage window the impression given is that he appears to have arrived back in the village just in time for Carnival!

Be seeing you

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