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Topic: The Prisoner - A Discussion

I have come to value the many varied opinions of the users of this board.  I love the fact that we intelligently debate things that most times have no right or wrong answers. 

I also know that by looking at your signatures that many of you have enjoyed, and continue to enjoy the old 1968 TV series "The Prisoner".  I stumbled on the series back when I was 12 in 1980.  (Yes, do the math -yours truly is turning 40 this year.)  This Christmas I received the 40th Anniversary DVD collection for the series and I've had a chance to view most of them.

So, I guess I'm curious.  To the Prisoner fans on the board, answer me two questions...

1)  Why do you think No. 6 resigned?
2)  Who do you think No. 1 actually is?

Of course there are no right or wrong answers, I am just really interested in hearing some of your thoughts on this amazing series.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Why The Prisoner resigned isn't really important although it is suggested it was over a "matter of conscience". If you watch all the "Secret Agent" or "Danger Man" episodes, you will find a few where Drake challenges his goverment and goes "rogue" over matter of principle. Number 6 is a very close cousin of Drake with many of the same charecter traits.

The truth is that at the end of the series, Number 6 is on his way to resign.....

Number 6 IS Number 1, a convincing case can be made that the whole series was an allegory for Number 6's internal conflicts. Of course it was also a TV series, and as many of the episodes were "fill" it's hard to distinguish the serious episodes from the cobbled together efforts "Paddy Fitz" cranked out to make Sir Lew Grade happy.

Anyway you look at it, McGoohan was/is a genius - his "Danger Man/ Secret Agent" shows are first rate, and often more Bond-like than Eon Bonds. "The Prisoner" was inspired and way better than TV has any right to be.

I was lucky enough to see the shows during there first run in the US, they were fantastic!!!! I too have the full set of DVD's - wonderful stuff!!!!

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Interesting Theories 7289.

I guess I never stated what I thought happened during the series.

Firstly his resignation -I think The Prisoner as an agent came to the same realization that Bond did in the novel Casino Royale.  He no longer worked for a government that was entirely good as there was now no longer a good vs. evil.  The determination of "good" or "evil" is reached depending on the goals your government has set vs the other governments in the world.  You are correct, that it really isn't important why 6 resigned, but I've always been curious about it after all he gets asked in almost every episode.

Number 1 - To me, No. 1 was always the man dressed as the judge we saw in the final episode.  I don't get nearly as heady about the final epsiode as most viewers do.  The organization that held 6 captive ran out of methods to break the man.  So he was given a choice of ultimate power in the organization(so they could use him to break others -just like they did with the current No.2) or "freedom."  Of course his freedom would never come because the organization would kill him if he chose it.  When No. 6 chose the keys, and money and freedom the organization sent him "to meet a  No. 1" and they were going to ambush and kill him in the room where he saw his double.  He of course escaped completely after that.

I've always said the judge was No. 1 because he is the only man in the last episode who shows true power and contol.  Even after No. 6 takes the podium, it wasn't until the judge raised his hand that the "black and whites" actually stopped chanting at him -this also shows that the organizations offer of true power to No. 6 was a ruse.  Also, the judge was the only one who mimicked being able to hear what that No. 1 light on the wall was thinking.  He ran the whole inauguration proceedings and everyone there listened to him.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

It is LeChiffre in "Casino Royale" who blathers on about the nature of "good and evil". At the end of the novel James Bond makes a personal committment to destory the "evil" that is SMERSH. Bond never desires to resign because of a disagreement over goverment policy.

We really do know why No. 6 resigns, its that matter of conscience - but there is no point of 6 revealing anything to his captors - they wouldn't believe him in any event.

McGoohan has given a few interviews on "Fallout" and flatly stated that No. 6 IS No. 1, he rejected a "James Bond" ending where No. 1 is a man with a cat (or a judges wig), and wanted to have the last episode metaphorical and vague - probably as much to baffle and confuse the audiance as for any artistic reasons.

"The Prisoner" evolved while in production, and is further confused because there were only intended to be six or seven episodes, but McGoohan (aka Paddy Fitz) had to come up with more stories, like his "Western" and "The Girl who was Death" which are pretty contrived - but still fun.

I have heard a lot of theory that No. 1 was the butler, but never the "judge". That's a clever notion!!

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

7289 wrote:

Number 6 IS Number 1, a convincing case can be made that the whole series was an allegory for Number 6's internal conflicts.

I think that's the most accepted theory, and the one that McGoohan favours.  I have an old documentary on VHS that covers most of the theories about The Prisoner.  I have yet to buy the DVD box set so I don't know if it's included in the set, but I imagine there would be something like that in there somewhere.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Paddy Fitz (McGoohan) did a fairly long interview with Canadian TV years back. Probably the one you are referring to. I saw it a couple of times on PBS, but it is not in the DVD set. Too bad because its more than Paddy ever said about the show anywhere else.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

John Drake wrote:
7289 wrote:

Number 6 IS Number 1, a convincing case can be made that the whole series was an allegory for Number 6's internal conflicts.

I think that's the most accepted theory, and the one that McGoohan favours.  I have an old documentary on VHS that covers most of the theories about The Prisoner.  I have yet to buy the DVD box set so I don't know if it's included in the set, but I imagine there would be something like that in there somewhere.

I think I speak for many when I say McGoohan was certainly a genius.  I completely understand the whole "inner conflict" theory. 

There are also those that say the "black and white" men yelling "I! I! I!" represented the audience at home selfishly shouting for a nice, neat, gift wrapped ending they could understand. 

I still think sometimes the last episode is looked at waaaaaaay too deeply and even though he is a genius, McGoohan may be given too much credit as such.   

That's the beauty of Fallout, it works at so many levels.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Smoke_13 wrote:

I still think sometimes the last episode is looked at waaaaaaay too deeply and even though he is a genius, McGoohan may be given too much credit as such.   

That's the beauty of Fallout, it works at so many levels.

An excellent observation and very "spot on" looking back over the years it quite apparent that McGoohan was not above shortcuts and copouts!

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Well if you go by the intro #6 was #1 I make this statement when #6 asked the classic line "Who is #1 " and the reply is "You are (pause) #6" not actually stating but then again stating that #6 will become or is #1 you have to listen to the actors inflection. On a sad note we lost Patrick on Tuesday no further info to follow since I could not find what he died from.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

To hear that McGoohan has passed makes me very, very sad.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

7289 wrote:

To hear that McGoohan has passed makes me very, very sad.

It certainly is, many answers about The Prisoner will have died with him before a really decent interview could be had ajb007/frown

..................http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

I read in the papers that the reason he didn't give him the name John Drake was because he would have had to pay royalties!

BTW I may rent Dangerman aka Secret Agent Man from lovefilm. Series 1 isn't available, but which is the best series would you say? I don't really want to watch them all. I think there's one where he's kidnapped and taken to a Soviet prison or something where I recall English trappings with London buses etc. Am I right?

Last edited by Napoleon Plural (19th Jan 2009 13:05)

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Yes there is an episode in which Drake is taken to a Russian "spy school", like all the "Dangerman" shows it's very good.

Frankly I would encourage you to watch them all! Lots of crossover with Bond films including an absolutely great episode with Bernard Lee! Robert Shaw makes an appearance as well in another episode.

Interestingly enough the very first episode was filmed in "The Village".

It is generally accepted (by me at least) that the Prisoner is indeed John Drake. But since Ralph Smart who created the charecter was not involved in the production of "The Prisoner" he would have indeed been due royalties if they used the name "Drake".

If you watch through all the "Dangerman" epsidoes and then watch "The Prisoner" it is pretty odvious that McGoohan is playing the same charecter.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Hmmm, do you know which series the spy school one is in? It made quite an impression on me as a kid.

Series One is unavailable on lovefilm.com. Then again, going by Wonder Woman and Six Million Dollar Man ,they sometimes take a while to get going anyway.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Watched an episode last night that featured "Q" from the Bond films ..... he played a casino doorman.

I bought the whole set - it's worth it! Normally I don't pay much attention to which series an episode is from. I check tonight for the Russian Episode.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

There is the longest possible trailer, (9 minutes long!) on Youtube for the mini-series. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv24gVSWhj4

It actually looks pretty good.  The new village is considerably different, set in a desert somewhere, but it's nice to see Rover is still around.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Dragging up an old thread, but thought it better than creating a new one.

I was first interested in the series when ITV did a show about their 50 greatest shows in 2005 and I saw clips from The Prisoner. My dad was there and told me he remembered it being a great series, but the thing that really gripped me was "I am not a number - I am a free man!" Several years later I finally got the DVDs and after dragging out watching them (it was just so good I didn't want to have none left!) I have finally watched the last 2 episodes.

I have found the discussion on this thread so far interesting and so am curious as to what current AJBers have to say on it.

Watching every episode I always felt as though I had no idea what going on. Although the ending would tie up the episode there was still the overall series' questions left - who is number 6, why did he resign, why are 'they' so keen to know why he resigned? I was actually never too concerned about finding out who number 1 was until those final episodes. The final episode left me with more questions than answers and doing some internet research I found out that many in the UK were very unhappy that it didn't tell them everything. After some thought I can see that McGoohan didn't want to give us a traditional Bond-like ending. All the same, I am still left pondering over things.
I find the concept of the Village and the ideas explored in the series fascinating, so what are everyone else's thoughts about it?  ajb007/smile

Relax darling, I'm on top of the situation ajb007/martini

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Some of us 'OLD" AJBers are still wandering loose .... Thanks for bringing this thread momentarily back to life, it was fun reading it again.

I'd say The Prisoner was definately a child of the 1960's. So many of the "Big Brother" fears that drive the show have become part of everyday life. The genius of it all is that our ncarceration is so incremental that it isn't even being noticed .... "be seeing you!"

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Remember an interview with a writer on the show who mapped out the season his ideas were scrubbed because Mcgoohan wanted to be ambiguous or he just didn't know how to end it. It should be posted online somewhere, he said the reason no 6 resigned was because he was behind the idea of the village when he had started out in the agency and later found out it was really created and resigned because of it. Loved the show remember first seeing it on a friday night at midnight on PBS it was episode A,B, & C. I used to think it would have been a great idea to redo the show as a movie with one of the retired James Bonds and all the baggage they brought with them.

1.MoonRaker 2.OHMSS 3.LALD 4.OP 5.FYEO 6.DR. NO 7.YOLT 8.LTK 9.CR 10.AVTAK

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

mmm re The Prisoner (ie the original --1967-8 series and not re more recent and poor, re-make) do go on www.theunmutual.co.uk for lots of news/views/discussions etc etc (incl in London+S/East, frequent, free, location tours). best and BCNU (as they say). BTW do Bond people know that Prisoner star Patrick McGoohn was offered  --at least once ie pre-Sean C and possibly twice (ie post-Sean C, pre-Big Fry and pre-Roger M)--  the Bond role. He always turned it down.

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

davelally wrote:

mmm re The Prisoner (ie the original --1967-8 series and not re more recent and poor, re-make) do go on www.theunmutual.co.uk for lots of news/views/discussions etc etc (incl in London+S/East, frequent, free, location tours). best and BCNU (as they say). BTW do Bond people know that Prisoner star Patrick McGoohn was offered  --at least once ie pre-Sean C and possibly twice (ie post-Sean C, pre-Big Fry and pre-Roger M)--  the Bond role. He always turned it down.

I would think practically everyone on here knows about McGoohan being considered for Bond...and the reasons why he wasn't interested...
I look forward to your further views on Bond  ajb007/martini

YNWA: Justice For The 96

A spectre of my mortal soul

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Timely revival, as the entire series of The Prisoner is being shown over the Bank Hol weekend, starting tomorrow, at London's Prince Charles cinema, from Noon.

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Any Prisoner fan should check out the outstanding BluRay set released by A&E Home Video. In addition to absolutely pristine remasters of each episode the set comes with a ton of behind the scenes material including lots of interviews with surviving cast members and production personnel who get very specific with their reminiscences of their time on the show (and not all their experiences were pleasant).

Here's a link to the Amazon.com page:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Prisoner-Comp … er+blu+ray

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

Here's my literal interpretation (theory) of the last episode's reveal:

In the early sixties, a group of daring but foolish scientists decided to clone the finest secret agent on *our* side in the hopes of creating a super-army of elite agents/soldiers. Their clear choice was John Drake (Bond being just fiction, of course), but in cloning him (without his knowledge), they didn't realize that their clone would be quite mad, and it ended up killing the scientists & thrashing the op. The clone then became obsessed with finding out who his "Original" was, but didn't like the idea meeting him personally. He infiltrated governments, and some year's time ended up creating "The Village" where he could wield his twisted power & keep sight of his doppelganger while supposedly keeping world state secrets safe. When Drake resigned, this fascinated the clone, as giving up such a position of personal power was something he would never do. He seized the opportunity (and Drake) and began his vicious grilling. Drake's ability to resist drove the clone (#1) to the edge, destroying what little sanity he had left. He forsook all else in favour of "their most important member." In "Fall Out" the farcical "transference of power" ceremony we see is actually the clone losing it (even though the participants believe this is another attempt to break #6). Later, after seeing "himself," the clone laughed hysterically as he & the Village would soon be destroyed by the missile that would launch up, then come down to confuse the tracking systems of the day as a wayward unidentified weapon during which the area would be wiped clean. Confronting Drake was just too much for him.

I sometimes think too much, clearly.

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: The Prisoner - A Discussion

No "Wow that's cool" or "Dude that's tripe"? ajb007/lol

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT