Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Prisoner Local Group Meeting

    Tuesday 28th was the last Tuesday of the month, which meant a meeting of the Prisoner Local Group, at the Goat & Compasses public house. The meeting was due to commence at 7pm, and there was a one hundred percent turn out. Namely myself and Tommy Moke. After ordering two pints of best bitter, two packets of cheese and onion crisps, a packet of salted nuts, and pork scratchings, we settled down at a corner table in the lounge bar. I had arrived armed with two copies of the Prisoner based newsletter The Tally Ho, to which I have the honour to contribute, having brought one copy for Tommy. And it was while we sipped our beer that we thumbed through the newspaper, Tommy then setting his copy to one side, saying that he would enjoy reading it later that night with a cup of coffee. For readers here, I reproduce, with the kind permission of the editor, the front page of the latest issue of The Tally Ho. As it happens my latest article for this newsletter is quite controversial for me, and I will include a copy posted at the end of this piece of blog.
 Tommy came to the meeting with a copy of Rupert Booth's biography 'Not A Number; Patrick McGoohan A Life. Tommy said that there is little or nothing in the biography which he didn't know about McGoohan, save for the fact that he was done for drink driving in 1964, Patrick McGoohan that is, not Tommy Moke, and had spent six days in prison. The trouble is, Tommy added, that there is no mention of which prison McGoohan had spent those six days, and as far as Tommy could read, it is not at all substantiated by Booth in his book. Tommy told me to thumb through the book, and let me know my preliminary thoughts. Well I could tell that much of the text had been taken from newspapers and magazines, prior interviews with Patrick McGoohan on television, or video, and Rupert Booth makes no pains in hiding the fact. All in all I don't think I would be buying a copy of this book, and told Tommy as much. In reply Tommy said that he didn't actually buy the book, but borrowed it through his local library. We both came to the same conclusion, that even though we are fans of both Danger Man and the Prisoner, the cover of the biography on the life of Patrick McGoohan is very P*** poor! Even I could have come up with a better design than that. After all what has the front cover got, the image of a fictional character the Prisoner-No.6, and that is Tommy and my point in a nut shell, it's always that, and not Patrick McGoohan the man himself! What follows is my article for the latest issue of The Tally Ho. I hope you enjoy it, and perhaps find it somewhat controvertial, as was the idea behind it.
            We ordered more drinks, and went on to discuss the situation as it is today with appreciation for the Prisoner. I think it was The Tally Ho which had us thinking back to the heyday of Prisoner appreciation. There used to be numerous newsletters and magazines produced on the subject of the Prisoner. Local groups sprang up the length and breadth of England and Scotland. This of course was between 1979 and the early 1990's. Of course nearly all of the local groups have gone, as have the newsletters and magazines, The Tally Ho being one of the remaining two left, as far as Tommy and I are aware. The reader of this may of course know different. Even Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society is a poor shadow of it's former self. Today appreciation for the Prisoner is made up with fans mostly meeting up on line in forum groups and the like, which is good, because it means that a fan, like myself, can reach out to all four corners of the globe, something which I could not do through Six of One even. But there we were, Tommy Moke and I, flying the flag for the prisoner at a local group meeting. Even if we did look a bit strange to other regulars, dressed as I was in regular piped blazer, straw boater, and deckshoes. While Tommy wore his colourful striped cape, which he used to wear on the chessboard at Prisoner conventions at Portmeirion, but not made perhaps for the outside world!
    The meeting continued through the evening, talking about all things Prisoner, at one point discussing our favourite episodes, and those which were not so favourite. In fact we both came to the same conclusion, that the Prisoner would have been better if the series had stopped at seven episodes! Tommy remarked that originally there was to have been twenty-six or even thirty-six episodes for the series. I said they struggled to produce seventeen, so what price all those others? No price at all!
    Then we came to No.2, who was the best and worst. We both agreed that lLo McKern made the best No.2, and that perhaps that Clifford Evans or David Bauer made the worst No.2. Tommy said that he felt sorry for No.2 of Hammer Into Anvil, after all had he trusted in those about him more, then No.6 would never have got the upper hand, and put the question of what might have happened to that particular No.2? I said that it seems likely to me, that No.2 having reported the breakdown in control, in all probability, spent the rest of his life in the psychiatric ward of the hospital, before being retired into the Old People's Home!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

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