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Monday, 22 January 2018

Page 7

    I thought to use a different number for this page, well I find 6 is an overrated number, one can tire of it given enough time. And don’t you find it’s all about 6, ‘the Prisoner’ I mean, all that fuss simply because he’s chucked up a job. If he will answer one simple question....why did he resign? Perhaps it would have been much better had Number 6 told them from the start, but no, he would not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered his life was his own! Laughable isn’t it? No-one’s life is their own, we all belong to someone, share our lives with other people. And let us not forget Number 6 was engaged to be married, oh I know that’s not made clear until ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ and is something of a contrivance, but nevertheless an engagement is an engagement, and I bet old Sir Charles Portland couldn’t believe his luck when ZM73 asked him for his daughter’s hand in marriage, it’s no wonder he dropped his secateurs! And ZM73 he’s a rather conventional fellow, to go and ask Sir Charles for his daughter’s hand, after all those were the 1960’s when everyone seemed to be dropping out, hanging out, and enjoying free love. Women were liberated, they went about burning their bras, or so it appeared, although I imagine less of all that sort of thing actually went on outside London. And I couldn’t imagine Janet Portland having burned her bra, she far too conventional! Anyway it’s not about her, it’s all about that Number 6, everything in The Village seems to revolve around him, and when it doesn’t, there he is poking his nose in where it has no business. I bet no-one else had been given the opportunity to stand for election like Number 6 had, mind you they’ve not had a man of his calibre before, and there you go you see, no-one of Number 6’s calibre he’s just the kind of candidate they needed. And Number 6 fell for it, hook, line, and sinker, such was the overweening feeling of his self-importance! And we don’t even know his name. Peter Smith, it’s not a very imaginative name for an ex-Secret Agent. But then Secret Agents, spies, and counter Agents are supposed to be, look, and behave just like anyone else, trained not to break their cover. So Peter Smith is as good a name as any I suppose. I wonder if Peter was his real name? After all secret agents do use their real first name, it’s the one they’re most used to and more importantly it’s a name they respond to, so to use it saves any embarrassing situations. If using a false first name an agent might forget himself for a moment and respond to his real name by accident instead of his false name. Peter Smith, John Drake, Duval, Schmitt, ZM73, what’s in a name real or otherwise, it’s all about Number 6 everything revolves around him, and that goes for ‘Checkmate.’ He just had to take charge didn’t he, there’s something about Number 6 that’s really irritating, but that time he was hoisted by his own petard.....I had to smile!


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The Therapy Zone

    We know the great list of achievements made by the retiring  Number 2, and judging by that list, he was entitled to that retirement, to be looked after in the Old People’s Home for as long as he lived. Well that’s my guess what happened when the helicopter returned him to The Village at the end of ‘It’s Your Funeral.’
   But what had The Village administration achieved with Number 6? Not forgetting what Number 2 once told Number 6 “We never fail.” And yet despite everything they put Number 6 through he was just as much himself at the end as he was at the beginning, in other words they failed, and they do not like failure in The Village. Perhaps they should have used some of those “extreme measures” they were not too keen on using against Number 6. Or perhaps too high a value had been placed on his head, too important say our masters, why he mustn’t be damaged, or broken, to end up with nothing more than a man of fragments! That there are other ways. Perhaps they should have employed some of those extreme measures they didn’t want to use on Number 6, but then they didn’t want to damage him permanently! What Number 2 achieved in question to Number 6, no matter what guise of person, how intricate or elaborate the plan, is absolutely nothing! Is that why it all had to begin again, or was ‘Fall Out’ just the beginning?


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Chimes of Big Ben

    This episode has my favourite Number 2, and it’s said that the reason why there are so many Number 2’s is so that Number 6 cannot strike up a relationship with just one single Number 2. Well to my mind Number 6 and Number 2 appear to be sharing something, if not a relationship then certainly there is a rapport between them. And didn’t Number 2 say in ‘Once Upon A Time’ that he was beginning to like Number 6, yes he did. And my how angry Number 6 is at the end at the death of Number 2! Mind you on the whole Number 2 isn’t around long enough for Number 6 to strike up a rapport with them, some last a week at most, one as little as three days, whilst others are gone almost as soon as they arrive. Well that’s how it appears, the reality of it is, their term in office takes place in the episodes we do not see, between the ones we are so familiar with!
    Poor old Number 6, he has a weakness for a damsel in distress, and that is a chink in his armour. He in his eagerness allows himself to be taken in by a woman, he doesn’t stop to ask himself some basic questions about Nadia. He goes to so much trouble to escape, and without showing one blister upon his hands after chopping down that tree, clearing it of all its branches, and then carving out the hull of the boat! He fails to escape, he’s been betrayed by those who he was pleased to call colleagues, so what is he to think? That it’s his own people who put Number 6 in The Village, that its run by British Military Intelligence. Or is it? If Fotheringay doesn’t get back to
London quick sharp some embarrassing questions could be asked, by whom? Both Fotheringay and the Colonel are working for The Village, are they former prisoners brought back for this assignment? And what is Fotheringay’s next assignment? He’s keen I’ll give him that, and the Colonel will give him further instructions when he returns to London, his instructions, where will they come from, the General?


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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Shinda Shima

  Continuing the screening of ‘the Prisoner’ for its fiftieth anniversary last night with ‘Danger Man’s – Shinda Shima,’ which is a more adventurous episode than ‘Koroshi.’ More than that, there is a distinct pre-Prisoner feel about it, from Drake’s soft canvas shoes to the clicking of his fingers. Then there’s mister Edward Sharp British security electronics expert of Q department most secret communications operations, a Civil Servant who has resigned his job taking a number of important electrical components with him. Stopped at Tokyo airport and after which impersonated by John Drake. Then there is the uniform worn by the disciples of a revived ancient brotherhood, who deal in murder by the blow of oblivion, a Judo outfit. This uniform is seen in two episodes of ‘the Prisoner,’ first in ‘Arrival’ by people sat on the floor in the Aversion Therapy room, and then by Number 2 {Peter Wyngarde} himself in ‘Checkmate,’ He sits upon the floor, concentrating on a plank of wood laid out before him, as he practices the discipline of the martial art of Karate. Suddenly, swiftly, and with one fatal blow he breaks the plank in twain. He could simply be practicing a karate blow, he could also be practicing the blow of oblivion! Is Number 2 a lost disciple of the ancient brotherhood? It seems highly unlikely, but there is the parallel of the uniform. In fact it’s about as unlikely as Richards {Kenneth Griffiths}, a beachcomber and self imposed exile being Number 2 in ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ especially as he dies later in the episode! Also two members of the ancient brotherhood went on to work in The Village. One as a motor mechanic, the other one of Number 14’s bully boys in ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’
    Impersonating Sharp, Drake infiltrates the complex on the island of Shinda Shima. The man in charge of the complex on the island is the Controller {George Coulouris} , who could be a relative of Number 14 the ex-Count, he could be his identical twin, who wants to break the Unicode, the operations code of the United Nations.


  You have seen these images before, in ‘Many Happy Returns’ as Number 6 finds The Village. So that puts The Village on an island after all, in the far east on the Japanese island of Shinda Shima!
   In setting up the code breaking equipment Drake intercepts a coded message……..To Potter embassy
Tokyo……Drake routine report overdue…….What is his current assignment? Report his whereabouts immediately urgent M9. So Potter also gets a mention! There is also a scene in which Drake and a young Japanese woman are escaping the island by boat, they are being shot at by guards on the island, and have to jump overboard, just like Number 6 and Nadia in desperation to escape the pursuing Guardian. It is a parallel, but no more than any of such parallels noted here. Oh I forgot, the sound effect of the electronically operated doors, also used in The Village. It has been a simple yet interesting exercise, simply because at the time, next on the television drawing board, was ‘the Prisoner.’ However like ‘Koroshi,’ Shinda Shima’ was produced in 1966 but not actually seen until three quarters the way through ‘the Prisoner’ in 1968!

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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Village Life!

    “That’s perfect.”
    “It wasn’t difficult to make. But what is it for?”
    “If I told you, you would know as much as I do friend!”
    “You asked me to make this device, but I still don’t understand.”
    “It’s a remote control device.”
    “Don’t you think I don’t know that, I made it!”
    “It’s going to be a surprise for someone.”
    “Who?”
    “I’m going to fly a helicopter out of here!”
    “Don’t be stupid, you’ll never escape that way....it’s been tried before. Before you get a quarter of a mile away Control will take over the helicopter by remote control and fly it back to The Village.”
    “Precisely friend, but that’s where the surprise comes in.......I’ll be the one with the remote control.”
    “I still don’t.......... well its worth a try I suppose!”
    “This time tomorrow I’ll be free!”
    “Yes that’s what the Rook said!”
   

Be seeing you

Exhibition of Arts And Crafts

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

Arrival

    My most absolute favourite episode, when a man hands in his letter of resignation effectively resigning his job. Why did he resign? Well that’s no business of ours or of anyone else’s as it goes, only of that of The Man With No Name! And why should he have to explain himself? It wouldn’t surprise me if his abduction by the two undertakers had no connection with his resignation! He had been under close surveillance long before his resignation, perhaps he had become suspect, perhaps they were expecting him to go over to the other side like Chambers suddenly late of the Foreign Office!
   I always love to watch ‘the Prisoner’ but especially ‘Arrival, watching the Prisoner wake up in what he imagines to be his own home in
London. But we are where we imagine ourselves to be. I like to watch as he takes his first tentative steps in The Village. At first there seems to be no-one about, but then a figure looking down from the Bell Tower, and the first surreal moment, because there is no sign of the man in the Bell Tower. Perhaps he was never there! He explores The Village, he refuses breakfast at the cafe, doesn’t want any coffee. He wants to know where he is.....in The Village. At the phone box around the corner he attempts to make a telephone call to make a telephone call, to whom, the Colonel back in London? He tries to gain information from an electronic information board, a taxi pulls up, where to sir, the taxi driver speaks to him in French, because French is International, as she thought he might be a Pole or Czech. A map of The Village, either in black or white or colour avails him nothing, and then an invitation to the Green Dome and breakfast with Number 2...... What’s it all about? Well sit down and later in the year I will be in the position of being able to tell you things you didn’t know or realize about ‘the Prisoner,’ starting with ‘Arrival.’


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