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Archive for August 10th, 2009

This is how the prisoner starts with its iconic opening sequence.   Lasting just one series of 17 episodes the prisoner was ahead of its time. It combined elements of science fiction with a spy thriller. The series was co-created and stared Patrick McGoohan (who sadly died recently) and filmed Welsh resort village of Portmeirion, McGoohan was inspired by the location while filming episodes of Danger Man there.

Number 6

For those who don’t know what it is all about:  McGoohan’s charter who is never actually named quits his job goes home and is knocked out by gas.  He wakes up in “The Village” a strange place where everyone is known by a number not a name.  The location of the village is not disclosed but escape is seemingly impossible.  The seventeen episodes explore various stories within the village as well as Number Six’s assorted escape attempts.  During the opening credits McGoohan drives an iconic Lotus Seven, although it isn’t really used in the program itself this car will always be associated with the prisoner and is actually how I first heard of the program when I saw one of the cars from the program at a classic car show when I was a kid. 

KAR 120C

 

McGoohan had previously stared in Danger Man in which he also stared as a spy. It has been suggested that this was the origin of the Prisoner. There was an episode of Danger Man called Colony Three in which John Drake (McGoohan) infiltrates an Eastern European spy school that has a lot of themes in common with the prisoner. There have even been suggestions by many fans that John Drake is the same character as Number Six. The connection will never be confirmed as none of the producers of the prisoner owned any of the rights to the character so the link will only ever be theoretical and artistic. A little trivia to keep the rumours going, there is an episode of The Prisoner that takes a rare outing and is set outside The Village, it is called The Girl Who Was Death and was an adaptation of an unused Danger Man script. In this episode a spy who appears to be Number Six meets Potter (John Drake’s contact) played by Christopher Benjamin in both programs. 

So why am I telling you all this? It is the latest classic TV show to get “reboot” treatment.  Below is the promo trailer that is a whole 9 minutes long.  It looks completely different with a more tropical looking setting and what appears to be a new story.  Many people in the village appear to have no knowledge of the outside world unlike in the original they just refuse to talk about it.  The casting is interesting with what appears to be a permanent number 2 played by Ian Mckellen (in the original number 2 changed frequently).  Number six Jim Caviezel.  It will consist of six one hour episodes and will be broadcast in America later this year.  No announcement has been made about anyone in the UK picking it up yet.  This gives anyone who hasn’t already seen it the chance to catch up on the 60’s classic.

 

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