Prisoner Logo

“I am not a number... I am a free man!”

Perhaps the most original, challenging and enigmatic television series ever produced, ‘The Prisoner’ follows the struggle for freedom faced by a man known only as ‘Number 6’.

It begins when a secret agent angrily resigns from his job and then returns home to pack for a much-needed holiday. He is followed by two sinister undertakers, who pump gas through the keyhole of the door to his house, rendering him unconscious. When the agent awakes, he finds himself in an exact replica of his room, in the middle of a remote, architecturally bizarre Village. The villagers are identified by numbers, and the agent is told by Number 2, the Village leader, that he is Number 6 - but who is Number 1?

Episodes usually involve Number 6’s attempts to escape his prison, to keep his identity and sanity in the face of the eccentricities of Village life, and to resist the devious plans of each new Number 2, whose task it is to wear him down in order to discover why he resigned from his job.

‘The Prisoner’ was the creation of Patrick McGoohan, who not only played Number 6, but who also took the role of Executive Producer, as well as writing and directing several episodes. Location filming took place in the village of Portmeirion in Wales, a bizarre and eclectic mix of architecture that gave a unique style to the show. The stories are strange, disturbing and exciting; the writing is ingenious and compelling. Explanations are rarely given, and the programme challenges the viewer to think for themselves and to reach their own conclusions.

It is probable that ‘The Prisoner’ was originally meant to be made up of an initial thirteen episodes, with another series to follow later. However, when George Markstein left due to personal differences with Patrick McGoohan, the decision was made to cancel the show. The episodes that were then in various stages of production were allowed to be completed, and the episode ‘Fallout’ was hastily written to conclude the series. This final episode asks more questions than it answers, but still remains a brilliant piece of television. Fans of the show discuss it enthusiastically, while those that haven’t seen it yet should most definitely do so, as they have a rare treat in store for them!

(It is worth noting that a new, six-part “radical reinvention” of ‘The Prisoner’ was shown in November 2009, made by AMC and starring Jim Caveizel as Number Six and Ian McKellen as Number Two. However, despite being eagerly awaited by fans, the show was a massive disappointment, extremely dull, and best forgotten…)

Be seeing you…

The Prisoner - Season 1
The Prisoner - Novels and Comics

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Legal Bit: 'The Prisoner' is a registered trademark of Carlton International Media Ltd.; the 'Prisoner' logo and all images from the television series are copyright Carlton International Media Ltd. unless otherwise stated; music is copyright the original composers and producers; no copyright infringement is intended. All specially created images and text are copyright © Clive Banks; please do not use these without my permission. All rights reserved. No profit is made from this website, and any revenue made from using the banner-links featured goes straight back into the costs of maintaining it, which comes out of my own pocket in the first place. No profit advertising is accepted. This website was created purely to entertain and amuse, and any references to persons living, dead, comatose, in suspended animation, not born yet, imprisoned, or a figment of someone's imagination is purely coincidental. All opinions expressed are my own, so there...

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