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Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Village!

    “I’m glad you came to see me Colonel.”
    “It was made perfectly plain to me, that I had no choice in the matter General.”
    “Really, well no matter, you’re here now. Do sit down.”
    “Why am I here.”
    “Why am I here......sir.”
    “Why am I here General.”
    “The war is over.”
    “Yes General.”
    “No, it’s not, the war rages on, but its turned cold. There’s a Russian winter on the way, and we’re not prepared for it!”
    “Best dress up warm then.”
    “There’s no point being flippant, that does no good, and does you no credit Colonel.”
    “So why am I here?”
    “There are a large number of undesirables in
Britain, did you know that Colonel?”
    “Russians?”
    “I don’t believe I said Russians did I Colonel?”
    “No General.”
    The door opens and a middle aged woman wearing a pinafore enters carrying a tray.
    “Ah, good, tea.”
    The woman places the tray on the desk and makes to leave the office.
    “Just a minute!”
    The woman stops and turns “What is it now?”
    “Where are the biscuits?”
    “There are no biscuits.”
    “We had biscuits yesterday.”
    “Yes and the day before that, that’s why there are no biscuits today!”
    The woman leaves the office closing the door behind her.
    “Tea Colonel?”
    A few moments were spent pouring out the tea, before the current business was resumed.
    “So what are we to do with these undesirables?”
    “Deport them? Send them back where they came from.”
    “Oh no” said the General stirring his tea “We cannot possibly let that happen. You never know who we would be getting rid of, and possible secrets in the process. But I have the solution.”
    “Good” the Colonel said finishing his tea.
    “You are going to deal with them.”
    “I am?”
    “You will take up office in
Whitehall where you will become head of your department within British Intelligence. But don’t worry no-one will bother you, I’ll see to that. Your task will be to gather information. It doesn’t matter who has what information, it will not matter which side they are on. You will extract all information.”
   “I will?”
   “Well not personally, you will have specialists in your department. But first all undesirables will be gathered up, and sent to The Village.”
    “The Village?”
    “The sole purpose will be to confine, contain, and gather information. Information which will either be extracted or protected, depending on who has it.”
    The General dropped a file on the desk, the Colonel glanced at the heading “The Village,” he picked up the file.
    “It’s Italianate.”
    “A mixture of architecture certainly.”
    “And its location?”
    “It’s in the file, but it’s not on British soil.”
    The Colonel closed the file and placed it in his briefcase.
    “This is the last time we shall meet Colonel. Sir Charles Portland will be your future point of contact.”
    “Sir Charles?”
    “You have a problem with that?”
    “No General.”
    “Oh by the way, we might well end up sending people of our own to The Village.”
    “In other words no-one is immune.”
    “The Village may well end up as a self-contained unit of society, self contained, self-sufficient, and independent of the homeland.”
    “We used to exile prisoners to penal colonies.”
    “In less civilized times yes, now they’ll exiled to The Village, which is basically the same thing!”
    The Village is a place where people have been turning up for a very long time.

Be seeing you

A Man Who Feels Happier As Himself!

   This is the Colonel but with the mind of ZM73. He might not act the part but at least he looks it, dressed in those clothes. However he doesn’t stay dressed like that for long. He changes into flannel trousers, a double breasted blazer, shirt and tie, as he was on the day of the Colonel’s arrival in The Village. Strange ZM73 should do this, not that I’m suggesting that he always went about dressed in a charcoal grey suit and black polo shirt.
   But now he’s dressed more like the Colonel, and less recognizable as  ZM73, or perhaps it was a question of Nigel Stock feeling happier as himself rather than Patrick McGoohan!


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Quote For The Day

   “Is your Number Six?”
    “Yes.”
                      {The telephone operator and the Prisoner – Arrival}
    “Is your number Six?” I’ve always thought that a clever ruse, I mean the telephone operator knew exactly which number she was calling, and a neat way of getting the Prisoner to acknowledge his number for the first time. Well that’s the way I like to look at the scene. Although there is a more mundane way of looking at it, and which is in all likelihood the right way, is that when the Prisoner is asked by the telephone operator “Is your number 6?” he glanced down and looked at the number on the telephone dial, it was six, so what else was he bound to say except “Yes.” Especially having seen the number of his cottage on the sign post outside, ‘6 Private,’ so he naturally thought 6 was the number of the cottage he was in, and not as his personal number. Because at that time he didn’t know that everyone in The Village was known by a number and not a name!


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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Caught On Camera!

   Touché! When Number 6 presented the Rook with an aerial for the radio transmitter the Rook asked him where he got it. He told him he’d broken the aerial off one of the taxis. Had he, because Mini-Mokes aren’t generally fitted with aerials let alone radios. So where did Number 6 really get that aerial? However he did break it off one of the taxis just as he said. Pictorial study has proved that The Village taxis were fitted with aerials, if not with radios. In both ‘Arrival’ and ‘Checkmate’ an aerial is attached to the off-side mudguard which would be right. However the Mini-Moke driven by the white Queen-Number 8 has its aerial attached to the off-side of the bonnet just behind the clip that secures the bonnet. This looks very suspicious, and is a possible indication that the actual aerials are fitted simply for aesthetic reasons, also so that Number 6 could break an aerial off one of the taxis in Checkmate. This is backed up by the fact that the Mini-Moke HLT 709C, which was only used for filming in ‘Living In Harmony,’ has no aerial! And let us not forget, radio receivers are not permitted in The Village, it’s against the rules!


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Given A Voice Over?

   It is the case that a number of actors playing the role of Number 2 were given a voice over by Robert Rietty during the opening sequence. This was simply to save time filming each actor in same opening scene. However that excuse cannot be used in the case of Christopher Benjamin having been given a voice over, when assistant to Number 2 during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben,’ as this was not the case in his role as the Labour Exchange Manager in ‘Arrival.’


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Village Life!

    “What are you doing here?”
    “I might ask you the same thing.”
    “We’re the beach patrol.”
    “The beach patrol?”
    “Yes, it’s our job to make sure the beach is safe.”
    “Safe from what? I had no idea it was in danger.”
    “You trying to be funny?”
    “Obviously not.”
    “What were you doing lurking about in the sand dunes?”
    “Mmmmm, my badge, it came off and I was looking for it in the sand.”
    “Really, that could be dangerous. Someone might come walking along and prick themselves in the foot by the pin of the badge you dropped.”
    “Yeah, we don’t like people dropping litter on the beach.”
    “Oh your mate.......”
    “What about him?”
    “……….He does speak then!”
   “Look mister we don’t like silly beggars lurking about on the beach, especially in the dunes, they might be up to no good.”
   “I’m not neither silly or a beggar!”
   “Oh get in the Moke.”
   “Why?”
   “We’ll give you a ride home.”
   “You don’t know where I live.”
   “The Village should be close enough, you can walk from there.”
   “Thanks very much!”
   “Think yourself lucky we’re taking you that far.”
   “Yeah, we’re not a blooming taxi service you know.”
   “What about the Professor?”
   “Up the Professor that’s what I say.”
   “I couldn’t agree more!”
   “Here what’s your game?”
   “Chess what’s yours?!”
   “A pint, we’ll call in at the Cat and Mouse on the way home!”


Be seeing you

Prisoneresque

Cape Wrath
   Welcome to Cape Wrath…. a psychological thriller set in a 21st century suburban paradise, and called the Prisoner of its day. Underneath the pleasant façade lies such a rich seam of unsettling secrets where everyone has something to hide. On the run from the past, the Brogan family are sent to Meadowlands to create a new life as part of a protective custody programme, and arrive blindfolded. But as they get to know their neighbours and settle into this mysterious world they begin to realize that everything is not what it seems.
    The 2007 television series ‘Cape Wrath’ can be described as being Prisoneresque, indeed at the time it was considered to be ‘the Prisoner’ of its day, even if less subtle in its brutality and sexual content. But it is more comparable to the second series of THEPRIS6
NER-2009 rather then the first. Cape Wrath at the time was described as being a cross between ‘the Prisoner’ and ‘Twin Peaks.’
   Meadowlands can be described as a typical
New England town, and rather like The Village. Everyone is there for life, no-one is allowed to leave, and there is no escape. When Evelyn Brogan and her daughter Zoe decide to go shopping in the nearest town they call in at the local petrol station. There was no membranic Guardian to stop them from leaving Meadowlands, no supervisor to issue a yellow alert, no warning to Post Fourteen of the prisoners approaching the outer zone in their vehicle. But there was an out post of a kind, in the form of a petrol station. As Mrs. Brogan was paying for her petrol, a young girl Kerry, approached her daughter Zoe pretending to be a friend of hers, and using her real name Nicky Foy. Kerry upset Zoe so much, that Evelyn Brogan turned the car around and drove her daughter home. Thus effectively having stopped the pair from leaving Meadowlands! Later when Danny Brogan goes to call on Samantha at the Motel, Kerry emerges out of room 111 telling Mark she cannot permit access without scheduling an appointment. Then Samantha comes out of the room. Danny complains to Samantha about the local Police detective knowing all about him. Samantha tells him he’s safe, that Meadowlands is the safest place on Earth. Why is it so safe? Meadowlands is controlled from room 111 in the Motel which is actually the administration building. There is a large wall screen showing Meadowlands and the surrounding area. As for Samantha she is a cross between No.2 and a Supervisor. For a “midnight football match” Danny Grogan is given the number 6 yellow tabard, an in-joke perhaps?
   The thing about Meadowlands is everyone there is there as part of the protective custody programme, for their own protection, and everyone has their secrets, secrets they would prefer no-one else to know. The good people of Meadowlands may have been given completely new identities but no-one can change what is in their minds, they are still the same people they were before being taken to Meadowlands. A sexual predator, Jack Donnelly, is always a sexual predator, well he is until he’s battered and strangled to death, and buried in a muddy hole by Danny Grogan and his cross-dressing son Mark! After that the local police detective, Bernard Wintersgill, starts asking questions about the whereabouts of Jack Donnelly, there follows an investigation. But Samantha tells Wintersgill that it really isn’t his problem, at least she admits there’s a problem, but as she sees it as a number of curious incidents do not mean Wintersgill can conduct a full police inquiry. He’s to go back and just carry on with his job, which is to police Meadowlands and whatever curious incidents it happens to throw his way! As Samantha tells Wintersgill, no-one leaves Meadowlands, which to Wintersgill means Jack Donnelly is still there…somewhere, and he means to find the body and prove that Danny Grogan is the murderer, and will go to any lengths in order to prove it.
   As a soap opera ‘Cape Wrath’ continues in this vein, with murderous intrigue, infidelity, family life, lies, deceit, loves, hates, friendships, relationships just the content of everyday life in which people deal with everyday problems. But eventually Brogan’s brutal murder of Jack Donnely is brought to light, to the attention of Samantha, who even has photographs taken by Freddie, a young man who works for Samantha, whose remit is to see new residents settle in, but who misused his skills. What he did to Danny Grogan was to turn him into a murderer by using an auto suggestion technique, associating something which Danny knew to be true, Jack’s death, with something he wanted Danny to forget….Cape Wrath! Danny wants to know what it is he and his family have been brought to.
   Back in
London to Samantha’s masters Cape Wrath appears to be a white elephant, it would appear that Samantha’s accelerated process seems to be an unequivocal failure, and yet she confirms to her masters that her father’s theories do work!
   Danny has a plan to escape Meadowlands, and stocks up with petrol bought at the local petrol station. Watched by the petrol attendant he is allowed to fill up his car, but when he attempts to fill a petrol can the fuel to the pump is cut off! He doesn’t know what’s real anymore, who’s trying to get inside his head! So to fool Samantha he appears to be happy and settled, too happy and too settled, and that makes Samantha suspicious, as people in Meadowlands are under as much surveillance as those citizens in The Village! But Danny’s family do not want to leave Meadowlands, they want to stay, Evelyn thinks Danny is being paranoid, that everyone in Meadowlands are against them, against him! He has money, food, and petrol, and organizes a party to which he has invited everyone, this will be his only chance to get out of Meadowlands, and his wife and two children are going with him! But Mark Brogan tells his sister Zoe the trouble with Meadowlands is, the more you struggle the more you get tangled up.
   What was it Danny Grogan said with great optimism on the day of his family’s arrival “A new house, a new life, new us.” That would be all very well, if it wasn’t for that fact that no matter where we go, we take our problems with us! And that is another parallel between ‘
Cape Wrath’ and THEPRIS6NER, both places are filled with broken people!
   So Danny Brogan leaves his family behind and drives as fast as he can away from Meadowlands and out into the countryside {as No.6 does in Many Happy Returns} trying the radio to pick up any broadcasting radio station, there’s nothing but radio static. Then eyes wide open Danny stops the car, gets out, climbs to the top of a rocky hill and stands there looking out over a desolate landscape of hills, mountains and desert, a wasteland with nothing for thousands of miles in all directions, and in the middle….. the fertile oasis of Meadowlands!
           This final scene is similar to a scene in THEPRIS6NER, when in ‘Arrival’ Six first drives out into the mountains and the desert stretches for thousands of miles in all directions!

 Be seeing you

Sunday, 10 December 2017

As In Village Life We Are In Death!

   It would appear that in The Village citizens and citizenesses take their number to the grave. Does this mean that any such number etched on a headstone for the dead, that number no longer exists in the Village amongst the living? Number 13 for example, you will no doubt recall how Number 2 told the Supervisor that Number 113 doesn’t exist, she was an old woman who died a month ago. Is it the old woman who no longer exists in The Village, or the number?


Be seeing you

Quote For The Day

    “I told you.”
    “Don’t worry you did your best. I’ll stress it in my report.”
                               {No.2 and Nadia – The Chimes of Big Ben}
    So Number 2 did his best did he, what did he do? Very little as far as I can see, he wasn’t part of the main plot, all he did was to see that Number 6’s escape plan went off without a hitch. If anything, Number 2 is guilty of aiding and abetting a prisoner to escape! In fact he went so far as to wink a blind surveillance eye when it came to Number 6’s illicit handmade tools, those being outside the pale of the law.
    Of course I’m only too aware that it was all part of the master plan, but the master plan didn’t work. Number 6 soon saw through the masquerade of the prefabricated
London office. But it wasn’t Number 2’s fault, he carried out his part of the plan to the letter. Because Number 6 did escape The Village, and he was made to believe that the 12 hour journey to London actually took place. But it was a lesson learned by Number 6, who now knows there is no-one in the world he can trust, and to never get too close to anyone, especially in The Village!


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The Prisoner – Village Day 2018 Calendar

   In true Village style the calendar is presented in both black and white, as well as colour at no extra cost. This is to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the production of the art house film ‘The Prisoner – Village Day.’





    Feel free to save and print with my compliments, should you wish to do so.

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Prismatic Reflection

   Village Day, it was 20 years ago this year that the film went into pre-production. It was on January 19th 1997 at a work-in for Six of One The Prisoner Appreciation Society, that I and Dave Barrie {Founder of the society} made the announcement that a film based on ‘the Prisoner’ was going to be produced. And that we would be looking for people to work behind the camera and act in front of it. An advertisement was placed in an issue of In The Village the society magazine. As Executive Producer, with the aid of Morag, we decided the film would be produced under the name SCREEN SIX. A good deal of time was taken up with writing letters to those who came forward wanting to help produce the film. There was also the task of acquiring a script, and so people were asked to submit either a brief synopsis or indeed a full script. These ranged from a full script based on ‘Danger Man,’ in fact it had once been submitted to Patrick McGoohan for consideration. But I rejected the script on the grounds that it would be impossible to stage the first scene, which incorporated a multi car crash! One synopsis dealt with the green question, The Village having become grid-locked with traffic, while another had a team of Navy Seals going to The Village in order to extract Number 6. Another was based on the symbolic birth of the Prisoner. Several synopses eventually arrived at the SCREEN SIX office, but none of them were really suitable.
   Dave Barrie had the idea of producing the film through a committee. However I could see that wasn’t going to work, if every decision to be made had to be discussed in committee first! The first pre-production meeting was held on April 26th, attended by 23 people, in a small cottage, but everyone found somewhere to sit. It was a good and productive meeting, everyone enthusiastic about working on the film. Plus there were people who had previous experience of working on other film productions, while others had skills that would be invaluable. A small committee was formed in order to deal with the selection of a script, these included some of those who had submitted a script or synopsis which included one written by myself under the pseudonym of Tony Elliot entitled ‘Village Day.’ The idea was for me to send all the synopses to the first person  on the list. They would read them, make their selection, and post them on to the next person on the list. I had planned to hold a SCREEN SIX meeting at the Prisoner
Convention in August 97, which would give the committee nearly four months for the synopses to be circulated and read by everyone on the committee. The meeting was duly held on the Sunday evening of the Convention, I asked those in attendance if they had all read the synopses and chosen the one they preferred. All but one person looked completely blank! It transpired that the first person to receive them claimed not to have realized that they were supposed to pass
them on! So all this time had elapsed and we were not one iota further forward! After the meeting, Dave Barrie asked Morag and I to come with him for a drink at the hotel with Roger Parkes and his wife. The weather was hot, we had taken part in 15 re-enactments over the weekend, we were exhausted and dishevelled, but he was so insistent that we went. He was discussing the production of the film with Roger Parkes,  and just as we arrived we heard Roger Parkes say “Surely you’re not producing it by committee, you’ll get nothing done!” From that moment Dave Barrie went right off the idea of a committee! 
    It wasn’t until a meeting held at the January work-in in Birmingham that the script was eventually chosen, with Village Day being the runaway favourite. One person who had submitted a full script could not believe that it had not been chosen, and demanded to see the voting forms.
   A second pre-production meeting was held at our home, in March 1998. We wondered if whether anyone would actually attend it as the entire country was snowed under. However Six of One members are hardy souls, and about a dozen people turned up, one coming nearly 200 miles!    All seemed to be going well, and auditions were set up for the end of April 1998.
   After the script had been chosen in January I dissolved the committee completely, and by popular demand was made the Executive Producer, as I was already doing the job anyway. Then came the April work-in. The same person who had objected so violently to their script not being chosen firstly demanded why the committee had been dissolved, and secondly why they had not been chosen to direct the film. Tempers got very heated, and resulted in a blazing row in front of everyone at the work-in. the result being that this person did all within their power to disrupt the filming when it eventually went into production in Portmeirion.
    So we had a synopsis which was turned into a script by the project’s first choice director, although he didn’t run the course, and neither did the assistant director for that matter. PolyGram {copyright holders of the Prisoner at the time} had given me permission to produce a film, just as long as I stuck to four simple stipulations. 1} the film must keep to the idea of the original series, 2} that it must not make fun of the Prisoner. 3} the film must be kept within Six of One The Prisoner Appreciation Society, and not go outside it. 4} the film must be produced by members of the society, no outside professional actors or film crews could be used. I gave Polygram my word that I would keep to those stipulations. However Roger Langley, co-ordinator of Six of One, took it upon himself to send me a four A4 page letter in which he laid down the law to me as what I could and could not do with producing a film, I chose to ignore Roger Langley and his law making. After all it was Polygram who were the copyright holders not a jumped up Six of One co-ordinator who thought he owned the Prisoner!
    In October 1997, I was contacted by musician Bruce Stringer, a Six of One member in
Australia who said he would like to produce all the music for the film. An email was despatched on my behalf, and in mid November a letter and tape containing a selection of Bruce Stringer’s music. It was quite obvious that Bruce had the musical talent needed and was made the film’s music director. It wasn’t until a few years after that Bruce actually paid Morag and I a visit at our home. Apart from the delight of meeting him, it also afforded the opportunity to thank him properly for all his hard work in producing the Village Day theme music, and all the incidental music.
   Several problems cropped up during this period of pre-production, one of them being the question of funding the film. Having to keep the film within Six of One, meant I couldn’t look outside the society for funding. I did initially approach co-ordinator Roger Langley, but he told me that there were no society funds available for such a project. Okay, so an appeal was made to the membership of Six of One, asking for individual sponsorship, and boy how the members did respond! Not only from all parts of the Britain, but from society members all around the globe.
   The film had a title, a script, and funds, but not a director. The initial director and assistant director were fine, they both had experience in film production, they were ideal. However the director could never get to any pre-production meetings, what’s more he said he couldn’t get to the 1998 Prisoner Convention when the filming at Portmeirion was due to take place. He eventually sacked himself from the production, and said on the telephone that he understood he had upset the Executive Producer. So the assistant director was appointed director, and I was happy with that.

    Auditions for parts in the film were held and the {then} assistant director was there, he was pleased with the people who auditioned, saying they could all act and the script was good. But then when he was made full director it was as though he had suffered a sudden brainstorm! He told me that none of those who auditioned for parts could act, the script was awful and he would re-write no matter what I thought about that, and he would circulate it to members of the cast, and he would use professional actors and production crew. As for filming at Portmeirion during the 98 Prisoner Convention, he said he would bring the cameras but could only be there on the Saturday and Sunday morning, and on the Sunday afternoon would leave and take the cameras with him! I pointed out that to film all the necessary scenes would take the best part of a week, he said it could all be shot in a day and a half! He was wrong, and I was proved right, as not only was it extremely difficult to find “windows” during the convention, but it poured with rain all day Sunday. So a few things had to be pointed out to the director, as to what was possible and what wasn’t. He gave me an ultimatum, saying I either agreed to what he wanted, as he said the film could not possibly succeed without him, or he would resign. I wrote to him accepting his resignation, and in order to save myself from any further grief, I made myself the director!

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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Village Life!

    “If only I had just a little bit more time…..”
    “We’re running late as it is!”
    “I know that...better than anybody.”
    “And you know why we’re behind, because you can’t get up in the mornings!”
    “The Alarm clock didn’t go off!”
    “And why was that?”
    “I forgot to set it...alright!”
    “I said at the time it wasn’t a good idea recruiting a former SS officer. The other week we had a KGB man as Number Two.”
    “What happened to him?”
    “I wouldn’t like to say, but I hope you’ve still got your cyanide pill that’s all!”

Be seeing you

A Favourite Scene

    The scene in ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ with Number 2 and the Head of the Psychiatric Department Number 249. Number 2 has discovered that Number 6 had telephoned the doctor, and went to great pains in order to prove it via voice recognition. So having proved that it was Number 6 who telephoned Number 249 all Number 2 needs to know now is why? At one point Number 2 asked the psychiatrist if Number 6 is mad, to which he replied not according to our records, to which Number 2 said then he had a reason for telephoning the psychiatrist,   
    “What was it?”
    “Why don’t you ask him” the psychiatrist suggested.
    “Would you like to sit in that chair?” Number 2 barked out loudly.
    “I was only suggesting.....”
    “Don’t tell me what to do!” Number 2 again barked out.
   At one point Number 2 asked the psychiatrist if he would say if Number 6 is mad, to which he replied “Not according to our records.”
    So there is a psychiatric report on Number 6. He may not be mad, but certainly there is always a reason for what he does, and it’s plain to see what the reason was this time. I wonder what the psychiatric report would read like after the meeting between Number 2 and the Head of Psychiatrics? I’m sure there would be amendments made to it! Number 6 may not be mad, but Number 2 is damned close to being so!


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Village Taxi – HLT 709C

What a Fantastic Restoration Job!
   In July 2011 the Prisoner Mini-Moke HLT 709C was found in a barn on a farm in the Netherlands by Olivier and Christiaan Bos who planned to restore the Moke to her former glory. However their plans were not fulfilled, and eventually the Moke was put up for auction at Classic Car Auctions in August 2015 and sold
for the sum of £13,750.

    How HLT709C was taken from MGM film studios after the filming of ‘the Prisoner,’ and ended up being used as a farm run-about possibly transporting animal feed, bails of hay, and probably buckets of pig swill, which would be very menial work for such a once proud Moke, is unknown. But certainly she was in a very poor condition when she was found. {Pictured right} The barn was open to all weathers, the paint work grubby, and rusting. The canopy in a very shabby state, the back seats were missing, the wood panelling rotting away, and the Penny Farthing on the bonnet faded. With a flat tyre never repaired, the spare and wheel cover missing, she was abandoned to the back of the barn, left rotting and uncared for.


   The new owner turned out to be an old friend. What a fantastic restoration job has been carried out during the past two years. HLT 709C was one of four Mini-Mokes produced in such livery for ‘the Prisoner,’ however she did not go to Portmeirion for the filming in September 1966, instead was confined to the MGM film studios, appearing in the episode ‘Living In Harmony.’ HLT 709C certainly looks her part once again, pictured {top and above} at Portmeirion for the Prisoner’s 50th anniversary, having now been restored to her former glory.        
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Citizen No.56

    A forthright and forceful woman, someone you wouldn’t argue against, so it’s easy to see how she came to be Chairwoman of the ladies sub-appeal Committee. In fact its possible to see that it wouldn’t have taken Number 56 long to get on in The Village. Certainly she took an instant dislike to Number 6. She saw that it was far too early to offer Number 6 any help, there being no sign of any contrition from the man. She might be a feminist, judging by the way she defended Number 42, sighting her moral courage, when Number 6 suggested how quickly she had joined the ladies sub Appeal Committee, so soon after having faced the Committee herself, as well as being a member of the social group for being disharmonious. Number 42 certainly gets around!
    Then it came for Number 6’s Instant social Conversion, and he was to have been, well not exactly paraded through the streets to the hospital, more manhandled and dragged there! But that was after Number 6 had been set upon, attacked by the righteous citizens. This Number 56 was most rigorous in the brandishing of her umbrella, and using it to hit Number 6, and with such vigorous veracity, and venom. Number 56 really had it in for Number 6!


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Friday, 8 December 2017

Obituary: Victor Platt

      Devotees of ‘the Prisoner’ will of course recognize Victor as Number 269, the assistant to the Supervisor-Number 56 in the episode ‘Checkmate.’

Victor Platt was born on October 30th 1920, and died on January 30th 2017, aged 96.

  For his obituary click on the link below.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Favourite Scene

  It’s a small scene in ‘A B And C,’ in which Number 14 is buying a bunch of flowers. I’ve wondered who is Number 14 buying the flowers for? Her husband, boyfriend, her lover, or one of the patients at the hospital? The last seems unlikely, the others highly improbable. So she is buying the flowers for herself, how sad.
  The flower seller says she knows everyone, who is ill, and who is getting better. But it’s a strange place for a flower seller to have set up her stall just about outside 6 Private. Usually flower sellers set up for business outside the hospital, that way they are sure of a continuous trade, or in the centre of The Village. And yet had this little scene taken place outside the hospital, or anywhere else for that matter, Number 6 couldn’t have come to the door of his cottage to see Number 14 outside. Because it was seeing Number 14 at the flower stall that triggered his memory of the night before, hence his sudden look at his wrist to discover the bruised needle mark!


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Exhibition of Arts And Crafts

                 “You ain’t seen me, right!”
BCNU

A Pair of Six’s!

    Two No.6’s in The Village it doesn’t bear thinking about! I wonder where they found him? He certainly makes for a better No.6 than No.6 does! But since when did No. 6 smoke cigars, and to have his favourite brand delivered to the Village is a privilege, but you never see No.6 smoking, yet his nicotine stained fingers smack of a chain smoker. When the Prisoner first arrived in the Village they took away his name, his very identity and gave him a number. Well if that wasn’t bad enough, they then took away his number, and his identity with it, and gave him new ones, as well as likes and dislikes. I’ve seen the film footage when No.12 went to have breakfast that morning with No.2, pancakes, not flapjacks, had been prepared for him, seeing as it was his favourite dish. Why then did he just break off a piece of pancake and nibble on it, why not tuck in? After all that’s what No.6 had been conditioned to do! The idea of someone going about impersonating No.6 is a good one, but the idea was flawed. Firstly both 6’s should have been wearing the same coloured blazer. No.2 gave No.12 a password Gemini, so that when they got started even he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the pair of 6’s. That’s ridiculous, I had no trouble in distinguishing between the two. Who’s stupid idea was it to change the colour of one of the blazers in the first place? There was a bit of cosmetic surgery required, the removal of the mole on No.6’s left wrist, and the addition of a false one on to the left wrist of No.12. And yet they failed to give him a bruised fingernail, that turned out to be lucky for No.6.
    The idea was to establish No.6’s identity, he certainly doesn’t need to wear a badge to remind him that he is their No.6, where as two-times 6 did wear his numbered badge, this was an error. Did no-one tell him that No.6 never wears a badge, and only does so when it suits him to do so? Mind you No.6 did profess his identity and with some force, “I am Number Six, Number Six, Number Six, Six, Six, Six.” I suppose it’s always the way in a case of identity theft, its always the case that the victim has to prove their identity, and that’s difficult to do when there’s someone going about impersonating you. Shooting,
fencing, even boxing, he’s better than you at all of them. He’s even got your thumb print, how did he manage that? Its science you see, as No.6 said, it can be perverted. So that’s where Alison I mean No.24 comes in, along with that mental link she shares with No.6. It must be very difficult to call out the wrong card four times out of five, No.24 might have called out the correct cards by mistake, had she not known what they are. No.6 of course was helping No.24 with her mind reading act in time for the Village Festival. How that would help her I’m not sure, unless No.6 was going to help 24 with her act at the festival itself. Which to all intents and purposes he did, only there was no mental link, it was staged. Signals passed between No.24 and No.6, just like that time in No.2’s office when No.6 was using 24 to establish his identity. And yet there was a far simpler way, and I’m not talking about the mole on No.6’s left wrist, or the bruise fingernail, but the Polaroid photograph 24 took of No.6. How can a man go about with that photograph of No.6 wearing a dark piped jacket in his pocket, and claim it to be him when he stands there wearing a white blazer? At that point No.6 seemed to have lost any wits he was born with, because that photograph on its own should have disproved No.6’s No.12’s identity, and confirmed the identity of No.6. At that moment this elaborate plan should have failed, but for
some reason it didn’t! No.6 is still struggling with his identity, in fact he’s beginning to crack under the strain, so it won’t be long now! Sometimes in my dreams I’m somebody else “Who?” I don’t know, sometimes in my dreams I’ve resigned my job. “Why did you resign your job in your dream?” Sometimes I’m here in my dreams, then I come back. I wonder now, who am I, why am I here? Why indeed, if someone can’t chuck up a jog things have come to a pretty pass. And as for the reason why the Prisoner resigned his job, he isn’t under any obligation to tell them. But it seems to be important to them for some reason, if only to complete his personal file, well they do like to know everything. But in any case the plan didn’t work, No.6 has a strong sense of identity, and yet sometimes he has luck on his side. Had it not been for that accident with the soda siphon and his bruised fingernail, the General’s plan may have succeeded!        


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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Citizen No.66!

    You’re dressed the part I’ll give you that, but you’re not the ex-Admiral who plays chess with Number 6. Admittedly your are the first ex-Admiral we see, down by the stone boat, your with your Flag officer, or is she Number 1? And here we are by the Free Sea with you and First Officer sailing plastic boats. So why are there two of you, two ex-Admirals dressed exactly the same and with the same number? The other claimed to have sailed the Stone Boat many a time, said she’s good in any weather. Is he just having a laugh, or is there some Admiralty knowledge behind what he says? Anyway we’ll leave you to your plastic boats.


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Village Life!

   “I don’t know what things are coming to. He wouldn’t answer my questions, refused to fill in the questionnaire, then smashed my construction set to pieces!”
   “Think yourself lucky there wasn’t a cup and saucer on the desk!”


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The Screening Order Debate Revisited - Again!

   If there’s something I like to do from time to time, its having a rummage through my Prisoner collection. It was while I was going through papers in one of my ESCAPE files the other day that I came across a crumpled, yellowish, coffee stained sheet of paper upon which at some point in the past I had scribbled my own idea for the screening order of the Prisoner. With there being both a screening order for the Prisoner and the film library order as according to film editor for the Prisoner Tony Sloman, there has always been a question amongst fans of what is the correct screening order for the series? This is the first time I have entered this debate, and publish my own listing for the first time. I realise that there are several different facts to factor in when considering what order to put the episodes in, but these facts although help define a screening order, they can also conflict with each other. For example both ‘A B and C’ and ‘The Schizoid Man’ take place at the same time according to the date of The Tally Ho newspaper. Also ‘Dance of The Dead’ is supposed to be the second episode and precedes ‘Free For All.’ How can it be that in having dispensed with an irritation like democracy, then they later hold local elections in ‘Free For All? So I decided to ignore all the facts, and place the Prisoner episodes in correct alphabetical order. It was then that I hit upon the first of two problems. First it would make ‘A B and C’ the first episode that obviously wasn’t going to work. The second problem ‘Fall Out’ would be placed 8th in the order and that wouldn’t do. So I had to make three exceptions, ‘Arrival’ had to be first, ‘Fall Out’ last, with ‘Once Upon A Time’ the prequel to the conclusion. But 14 episodes in between have been placed in correct alphabetical order ignoring ‘the’ of course. So my list is as follows.
  1] Arrival, this has to be the first episode.
  2] A B and C
  3] A Change of Mind

  4] Checkmate
  5] Chimes of Big Ben
  6] Dance of The Dead
  7] Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling
  8] Free For All
  9] General
10] Girl Who Was Death
 11] Hammer Into Anvi
 12] It’s Your Funeral
 13] Living In Harmony
 14]Many Happy Returns
 15] Schizoid Man
 16] Once Upon A Time, this episode has to
       precede ‘Fall Out.’
 17] Fall Out, obviously this has to be the final episode.                                                        
                                                                           The Jailbird – Steve Matt 1986
 18] Village Day ----- At least I do not have to give 14 individual reasons why I have placed said 14 episodes within the order I have. I am also aware that certain situations do not function well as I have broken my mantra regarding ‘Dance of The Dead’ and Free For All.’
    Also by the time of the 7th episode No.6 has already been in the village for a year, and subsequently both the events of ‘Many Happy Returns’ and ‘Schizoid Man’ would take place in 1968. And what’s that edition, an 18th episode? Back in the 1980’s and 90’s fans would talk about the 18th episode to the Prisoner, so I’ve thrown the film ‘Village Day’ {produced 1998-99} into the mix. Why, because in my opinion the film is extremely fitting to be called the 18th episode of ‘the Prisoner.’ I don’t know how many reading this have seen the film, but I will say this much, there’s a new No.6 in the village who makes a terrible discovery. Although the screening order debate has been going for a very long time, no-one has ever been able to arrive at a definitive order, each as different to any other. And yet there will be those who would argue the correct screening order to ‘the Prisoner’ is the one we are all familiar with, used for television screenings as well as videos and DVD’s. But that’s never stopped fans from juggling with the order of the episodes.  

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Page 6

    I am sometimes asked what it means, ‘the Prisoner.’ I tell them it means what it is, whatever it is you want it to be. But these are the basic facts, a man who once worked for British Military Intelligence resigns his job. Not being able to simply walk away like that, he’s put on ice in The Village. There he is given the number 6, and put through a number of ordeals in order to test both his physical and mental strength, not to mention his skills and  ingenuity. He survives, he escapes, and at the end he’s just as much a prisoner as he was at the beginning! We are not too sure of the location of The Village, or which department of British Intelligence runs it. Rover is the Guardian but that’s all we know of it. The Village is international, cosmopolitan, Italianate, although it has a mixture of architecture. The language spoken is mostly English, sign posts are also in English.  Now feed those basic facts into the General and get it to figure out all the rest for you!


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Exhibition of Arts And Crafts

                                 “The Tower”
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THE TALLY HO

    What Are Facts Behind Town Hall?                                 by our own reporter

   What are facts behind Town Hall? Town Hall, Town Council of which No. 6 could have been a member its democratically elected once a year. I realize that Number 6 once stood for election as the new No.2, but that’s not quite the same as being elected onto the Town Council as one of those “brainwashed imbeciles,” that “bunch of tailors dummies” as No.6 described them. Each one of the sub-divided numbers 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, 2g, 2h, 2i, 2j, 2k, 2l each being a former No.2. I suppose technically No.6 could be described as being a former No.2 despite his short term in office, and therefore eligible to hold a position on the Town Council. To become one of those brainwashed imbeciles, being incapable of laughing, crying, or thinking! When No.6 was invited by No.2 to witness the dissolution of the Town Council No.6 was given the opportunity to question them. Little good it did him, perhaps they didn’t like the questions and how they were put. Its is not known how one is elected onto the Town Council, or whether the twelve members of the council actually have a voice. But it should be plain that they represent The Village, and that’s where their immediate allegiances lie. As for whose side are they one, well its not No.6’s! With the dissolution of this Town Council there must be more of those tailors dummies waiting to take their place, and had No.6 been co-opted onto the Town Council, he would have ended up just like one of those brainwashed imbeciles. But it doesn’t matter, because soon the Town Council, together with the democratic process, would be dispensed with. No opposition, no elections, even its best friends agree democracy is remarkably inefficient. So the Town Council chamber having become vacant, was given over to the Board of Education during the educational experiment called Speedlearn. The board was made up of Top Hat administrative officials the Chairman being No.2 who couldn’t take a step forward with Speedlearn until such lectures had been passed by the board. However the destruction of the General brought about a sudden end to the Speedlearn experiment. With the chamber having become vacant for a second time it was then given over to the committee looking into the question of Unmutuals.
   On the face of it there does appear to be three large domed chambers beneath the Town Hall, when in fact there are only two. And yet two extremely deep pits were excavated, the earth then used to landscape the surrounding area that would become The Village, and the underground chambers constructed deep enough for them to have domes placed upon them. The one a Council Chamber, the other the Control Room. There is another domed construction in The Village, the Green Dome, described as No.2’s residence, only No.2 does not live there, it is nothing more than an office. While Number 2 is quartered in a suite of rooms in the Town Hall as seen in ‘Dance of
The Dead,’ such a room is redecorated for each new incumbent No.2. At one time it was decorated in 18th century style.
   Security is key, the Town Hall being secured by electrical force fields because its fussy who it lets in! But once in, the most sensitive areas are protected by checkpoints, these are activated by the use of security pass discs inserted into little black boxes. And yet there are times when the citizens are permitted entry, one time the Town Hall acted as a Polling Station during the local elections. Another time disharmonious citizens are held in the foyer before going before the committee. Top Hat officials of administration who work in the Town Hall are permitted to come and go as required, as are the Control Room personnel, the Supervisors and Observers. Curiously it was during Carnival that a Ball was held in the Town Hall. This is curious as most all other Village events such as the exhibition of arts and crafts and the folk music concert were held in the Recreation Hall. But then Carnival is supposed to be the one day when ordinary citizens may enter the Town Hall. No.2 invited No.6 to go up to the Town Hall {something which No.6 queried as he wasn’t allowed in the day before} No.2 said he may enter that night…...its Carnival. One curiosity regarding the Town Hall, is that a mortuary is located there. This is most unusual, as most mortuaries are located in, or attached to hospitals.
   The Town Hall is the hub of The Village administration from where officials administer every aspect of Village life, decreeing the rules which citizens live by. It is where the General’s office was located, and from where the Professor’s lectures were transmitted via The Village television station. It’s corridors of power are patrolled by “Snowdrops,” military policemen, it could be said that he who holds the Town Hall holds The Village!

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Friday, 1 December 2017

Bureau of Visual Records

   Number 2 once accused Number 6 for being sorry for everybody. But why is Number 6 sorry for winning the election? Isn’t that what he wanted, that if he could become the new Number 2 he could organize a mass breakout. Or at the very least stir up the citizens into a frenzy so that he could escape unnoticed during the confusion! 
    Even so both Number 2 and Number 6 are magnanimous in both defeat and victory. The one thinking his goal is within reach. The other knowing Number 6 has another think coming!
    It is strange, that in victory there is defeat, and in defeat there is victory, and escape depending on how you look at it!
   Don’t be sorry Number 6, even though you played it according to Hoyle, and despite all cards being on the table, the deck was stacked against you, and Number 2 had an ace up his sleeve in the form of Number 58!


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The Pri50ner - A 50th Anniversary Screening

    September 29th may have been the 50th anniversary of the British screening of ‘the Prisoner,’ but not everyone in Britain watched ‘Arrival’ on that day 50 years ago. Only two regions of ITV’s television network screened the episode, those of ATV Midlands and Grampian. After that day the screening of ‘Arrival’ was staggered {as indeed was the screening of the whole series} by the rest of ITV’s regional network between October 1st and October 27th, by which time ATV Midlands and Grampian were already up to ‘The Schizoid Man’ in the series. I didn’t actually get to see ‘Arrival’ until October 6th, with the rest of the country playing catch up! In order to celebrate the anniversary, myself and my wife have set about watching the series in black and white, thanks to a good old fashioned video player which is capable of turning colour film into black and white. So it all began with ‘Arrival’ on October 6th.With the removal of the colour aspect, viewing the episode in black and white does really concentrate the mind on the action, rather then the eye being distracted by the colourful display of The Village.
  The idea of resolving unanswered questions put right out of our minds, ‘the Prisoner’ on this occasion now pure escapism, action, and adventure.

We’ll be open in a minute
What’s the name of this place?
Your new here aren’t you?
Where?
Do you want breakfast?
Where is this?
The Village?
Yes
I’ll see if coffee’s ready

    As the Prisoner explores The Village so we do with him. We may not be debriefed, but we are briefed about The Village as the Prisoner is treated to an aerial tour. The Village, quite a beautiful place, almost like a world on its own, isolated on the mouth of an estuary, in a nameless country. The Prisoner tells Number 2 that he’ll miss it when he’s gone, but he’ll learn given time, however I doubt The Village will grow on him. Number 2 goes on to explain that they have everything, water, electricity, a gas supply. And what about sewage, is The Village on the mains, or is it covered by a series of cesspits? Oh look, there’s the Council building, or the Town Hall if you prefer. They have their own council democratically elected, you remember them, those brainwashed imbeciles Number 6 encounters in ‘Free For All.’ Apparently they also use the Council building for public meetings, amateur theatricals, well that’s true of most Town Hall buildings. So what about the Palace of Fun marked on The Village Map, that’s never made use of. Later during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ there’s the Recreation Hall,’ is that in place of the Palace of Fun? It all sounds fascinating doesn’t it? There’s the restaurant, but the sign said the café, but either way we’ve already been there. Ah there’s the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for those who have any problems, if the Prisoner takes advantage of that service they’re going to be busy! As for the social club, members only, I don’t really think the Prisoner is one for joining things, even though everybody is very nice!
   There is talk of it being a beautiful day, that ice cream is on sale for the citizens enjoyment. “Here is a warning!” That grabbed the Prisoner’s attention alright, but it was only about the possibility of light intermittent showers later in the day. However the two citizenesses who are just passing by, seem to have taken the public announcer at her word already, see them sharing an umbrella. But no it’s alright, as it’s not an umbrella, it’s a parasol shading them from the sun! The Prisoner is then invited to walk on the grass, a strange sign offering such freedom in a suppressive environment! Eventually the Prisoner finds himself in the manager’s office of the Labour Exchange. Now what kind of employment can they find for an ex-secret agent? Looking after the secret files perhaps, or in charge of Village security! I know, seeing as he built his Lotus 7 kit car with his own hands, announcing that he knows every nut, bolt and cog, he can work as a mechanic maintaining the fleet of Mini-Moke taxis! That way he’ll have less time for trying to escape, poking his nose into business that does not concern him, and general troublemaking! So Number 6 we come to the questionnaire, just fill in your race, religion, hobbies, what you like to read, what you like to eat, what you were, what you want to be, any family illnesses, any politics? Answers came there none! But I wonder, hobbies that would be mechanics as I said before about his Lotus 7, what he likes to eat would be his favourite dish of jugged hare. Any family illnesses, might that be a question towards diabetes seeing that Number 6 gave up sugar 4 years and 3 months ago on medical advice. Never mind being afraid of putting on weight, nor of being reduced, perhaps he was borderline diabetic at the time!
 So the screening of ‘the Prisoner’ has progressed over the weeks reaching the episode ‘Checkmate’ this evening at 8pm, which happens to be my second favourite episode. In ‘Free for All’ Number 6 told the electorate that he intended to discover who the prisoners and who the warders, in ‘Checkmate’ he finally makes that discovery…….little good it does him!

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