Thursday, 26 May 2011


    I received a couple of letters the other day asking if I ever discuss, debate, theorise, put forward ideas on what the Prisoner means, is, and might be? I have to say that in the past, I have done all that. Indeed I've contributed to journals and newsletters from Alert to Free For All, all of which have been dedicated to the Prisoner in their time. I've stacks of yellow, faded, and crumpled papers in my flat, which contain hand written and typed personal notes, ideas, and theories on the Prisoner, which has taken years to amass.
  For years I was a long standing member of 6of1 The Prisoner Appreciation Society, and joined in with debates on the series at Prisoner Conventions at Portmeirion.
    But I don't discuss, or theorise the Prisoner series as much as I used to. All the passed theorising, debate, discussion, and speculation has turned the Prisoner on it's head, inside out, and back again! I feel that anything that can be said about the series has been said. That all that can be written, has been written, although my good friend Dave Stimspon persists in squeezing just that little bit more out of the Prisoner. He's a prolific writer on the subject of the Prisoner, and although he doesn't always get it right, I feel he is to be congratulated for his work and persistance with the subject.
    These days I am more than happy to show my appreciation for the Prisoner and I'm talking about both series, by simply sitting back in my globe chair in my flat, and watching both seris of the Prisoner for its pure entertainment and escapism, especially THEPRISONER 2009.
   What has surprised me in recent years, is the clarity of the Prisoner. In that I mean the times that the actual film of  episodes of the Prisoner that has been put through the re-mastering process, at least three times to my knowledge, and that's not counting High Definition! And to my way of thinking that's wrong, because such clarity shows up all the blemishes of the Prisoner. The line down the middle of the television screen in The Schizoid Man when the two No.6's face each other in the cottage. Not to mention the different lighting on either side of the screen. And then there are the painted back drops of Portmeirion used in the later episodes of the series, namely Hammer Into Anvil, It's Your Funeral, and A Change of Mind. Me, I much perfer to use my old Channel 5 videos from 1986-87, which still play as good today as they did when they were first issued. And sometimes, I turn off the colour and watch the Prisoner as I first did, in black and white.
   An old, old friend of mine telephoned me one evening, and we were talking in general about the Prisoner, and he said that he'd been watching the series recently. So I asked him if he'd noticed then the different magazines in the Tally Ho newspaper rack in the General Store. Namely Village Weekly, and the magazine with the picture of that chap from the 1960's series Time Tunnel........James Darren? Or The Village Journal which is on sale at a kiosk in It's Your Funeral? My friend said that he hadn't, which I found strange, because he has the Prisoner in High Definition, and watches the series on a 44 inch television, and he's missed these small details!!!!!!!!!! It appears to me, that life-time fans of the Prisoner have a different degree of observational skills, as well as differing understandings of the series.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Prisoner Of The Prisoner!

    Why is it I cannot escape the Prisoner, and why should I want to in the first place? There's not a day go by when I don't think about the Prisoner, or write something about the series, either series for that matter. I'm of the opinion that the Village is all in the mind, well my minds full of it! I told my doctor this, and all he had to say was that I'm round the twist to be such an obssessive. Take a holday he said, go somewhere quiet, somewhere different. "Portmeirion" I suggested. "Portmeirion, why there?" "Because that's where they filmed the Prisoner" I told him. "No, no, no. Go somewhere else" he insisted. "There's always Swakopmund" I said. "Swakopmund, where's that?" he asked., It's a holiday resort in Namibia" I told him. He said that's the perfect place, to go and get away from it all. Pack immediately, and just go. "Fine" I said "Because that's where they filmed the 2009 series of THEPRISONER. As I left my doctors surgery he was banging his head upon his desk!
    I suppose it's all that Patrick McGoohan's fault really. If he'd left well along after resigning as Danger Man, in not having such a fanciful idea of creating the Prisoner, but simply gone on to appear in Coronation Street like most actors and actresses do these days, I wouldn't be like I am today. Patrick McGoohan made me the way I am, a single minded obssessive, who only has one thing on his mind. For me the Prisoner is a life sentence, just as it was for No.2 and No.6. But even then No.2 managed to escape by suffering a Village death in Once Upon A Time. For the Prisoner it took him slightly longer, another forty-two years!
   I suppose I could always throw my piped blazer in the dustibun, or give it to charity. Sell all my Prisoner collection on ebay, get rid of it all, as I know some fans have done. But it would still be in there, in my mind. So here I am, doing a life-time sentence. And I suppose when all is said and done there are worse things to be, so why not a Prisoner of the Prisoner?
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 12 May 2011

My Lava Lamps Gone Cloudy!

    It's a devil when that happens, your Mathmos Lava lamp goes cloudy, why does it do that? I've tried all the recommended tricks in order to try and reverse this action, but none of them have worked. It's so bad, is the clouded oil within the lamp, it's like milk with sediment of wax mixed in, that I can no longer see if the wax itself is rising or not! What's more I think the seal has worn out, because I'm pretty sure that the oil is also evaporating, because the oil was almost to the top of the glass, now it's just below the metal cap of the lamp!
   Yes, my highly prized and favourite Mathmos Lava  Lamp is in a poor state of health. I've different types of Lava Lamp, and their oil is as clear as the day I first purchased them, and that's a good few years ago, unlike my Mathmos Lava Lamp which is more recent.
    It's a common complaint I understand, with Mathomos Lava Lamps having their oil go cloudy after a time. I suppose I could send the Lava Lamp back to Mathmos to resolve the situation, but that's going to be damned expensive. The only way I can see myself getting my Mathmos back in good working order is to empty the oil, gain two cheap lava lamps, if small, and refill the Mathmos with their oil. Ah, but then what to seal the screw top with to stop evaporation? If I cannot resolve the situation, I could always cough up the money and buy a new Mathomos Lava Lamp, but then I know perfectly well, that sometime in the future, the exact same thing will happen to a new one. So personally I cannot see the point in that.
I'm 'a despondent' Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Prisoner

    I've been a fan of the Prisoner for much of my life. In fact I was ten when I first watched the Prisoner series on television back in 1967. Before that there was Danger Man, with Patrick McGoohan as John Drake, first of NATO Security, and later of M9, I always took M9 to be MI9, that they dropped the 'Intelligence' bit for the Danger Man series!
    John Drake as the Prisoner-No.6, well I suppose he could be, No.6 could be anyone really, so on that basis you cannot really rule out him being John Drake.
    They say, although I'm not entirely sure who 'they' are, that John Drake resigned from M9, the only trouble with that is, I don't remember John Drake actually resigning in Danger Man. Yes, the Prisoner resigned, and Patrick McGoohan resigned from the role of John Drake, because he thought the plot lines in the series were getting a bit thin. Actually when I view the 50 minute episodes today, I see how repatative some of the plot lines are. But in others, I see an element of truth about them, as in Under The Lake, and Don't Nail Him Yet, and several of the episodes set in any African country.
    So, John Drake had little truck with women. He kept them at arms length, well for most of the time. As for No.6, well he's a succour for a damsel in distress. Especially if she claims to know where the Village is, and if she tells No.6 like Nadia did, then he knows where he's sailing from, and therefore sailing to. But in Many Happy Returns, No.6 builds himself a Kon Tiki style raft. And really it is a voyage of faith, because No.6 still doesn't know where he is sailing to, because he doesn't know where he is sailing from! However, by the end of Mnay Happy Returns No.6 does know the location of the Village, because he has found it during the aerial search for the Village. So why is it, that when No.6 has drawn that map of the Village, adding north, south, east and west, he doesn't add both longitude and latitude to the map? If only they had added a little continuity between the episodes, then the Prisoner would have been a little more understandable, if you see what I mean. I feel that the Prisoner suffers from the too many writers syndrome!
    So what of the Prisoner today? What is it that keeps me a Prisoner of a forty-four year old television series? Well really I suppose it's the fact that I've perhaps been a fan far too long. I hate to say it, having been a fan for so long a time, but the Prisoner did become to be a little stale. An awful thing to have to admit to, but I felt that my appreciation for the Prisoner was on the wane. On the wane until that is THEPRIS6NER 2009 series came along. THEPRIS6NER with Jim Caviezel as Six, and Ian Mckellen as Two. With the Village set in Swakopmund in Namibia, instead of Portmeirion in North Wales, which many fans found to be unthinkable. But not me. Many fans in both America and here in the United Kingdom, took against the 2009 series of THEPRIS6NER, but not I. Because to me THEPRIS6NER 2009 series is refreshing. Okay, there's not quite the quirkiness of the original. There's not so many questions. The viewer is under no illusion what is happening, once you've picked up on all the clues along the way. And of course by the end of the final episode Checkmate, you know excatly what THEPRIS6NER is all about. And I think the 2009 series is all the better for having one scriptwriter, and only six episodes. It would have been better for the original series of the Prisoner to have had only seven episodes, which was Patrick McGoohan's idea.
   But there we are. We have what we have with the Prisoner of both series. I'm one of the lucky ones, I have appreciation for both series. I'm excited about the Prisoner again. And thanks to 2009 series my appreciation is renewed.
I'm Johnny Prisoner