Thursday, 28 July 2011

Never Trust A Woman - Not Even Of The Four Legged Variety!

   Last Tuesday was once again the last Tuesday in  the month, and that meant the monthly meeting of the Prisoner Local Group at the Goat and Compasses. This month's meeting saw the attendance of my sister, Jenny Prisoner, along with Tommy Moke. Drinks were ordered, and we all sat in the usual corner booth of the lounge bar. Tommy expressed his dislike of my new Village blazer. He saw my wearing of it as an insult to the original series. I was sorry Tommy felt like that, but assured him that I had not given up on the original series of the Prisoner, having appreciation for both series, unlike Tommy Moke!
   However the presence of my sister Jenny Prisoner, brought about a fresh discussion for Tommy and I, what is it that attracts the fairer sex to what is generally thought to be a masculine televsion series, the Prisoner? Three actresses play the role of No.2, Rachel Herbert, Georgina Cookson and Mary Morris. Other actresses play supporting roles, or bit parts within the series. So what is it about the Prisoner that attracts women to the series? Jenny Prisoner explains - 'Now I can't speak for woman-kind as a whole, only myself, and other female fans I have known. The Prisoner tends to be thought of as a 'Boys Own' series, but why shouldn't women enjoy such adventures too? Afterall, as a child I was a fan of 'Dan Dare,' albeit playing the part of Proffessor Joselyn Peabody with my brother and his friends. But to return to the Prisoner. I have found that most women fans are initially drawn to the hero No.6. Patrick McGoohan oozes tostesterone in the series, and appeals to most women. We fantasize of being in the Village with him, of perhaps being Nadia, living in close proximity, maybe even becoming his soul-mate succeeding in this where so many others have been spurned!
    As I understand it, at more recent Prisoner conventions held at Portmeirion, the roles of No.6 and No.2 in the election re-enactment from Free For All have been played by young women. This rather turns my idea on it's head. J.P asked me why young women would want to play these very masculine roles. The answer is......I have no idea.'
    Well thank you Jenny for your thoughts on the subject. I'm sure that readers will find it very interesting reading, and perhaps female readers have an opinion of their own, and might like to comment. However over the years, young women have also played the role of No.6 in music videos, and continue to do so today. And it's not just young women, those of a more mature age go about as male characters from the Prisoner. When I used to attend Prisoner conventions, there was one woman who went about dressed as No.48, in top hat, white boots, and all. And as I understand it, this woman, who is now in her sixties, is still attending Prisoner conventions dressed as No.48, who is supposed to be symbolic of rebellious that one out if you will!
   In the Prisoner women play roles of authority within the Administrative Office for the Village. Or doctors who want to do nasty things to No.6, or at the very least, to find his breaking point! But generally, it is the role of the woman to betray No.6, having first attracted him to her by the ruse of being a damsel in distress, whom No.6 can never resist! Nadia, if indeed that is her name, is a plausable enough woman, but by the end of The Chimes of Big Ben it is quite apparent that you cannot believe one single word that woman utters! The same goes for the white Queen-No.8 of Checkmate, who has often helped others with their escape plans, yet none of which ever succeeded! And what about No.9 in Arrival, she was good at her job. She succoured No.6 in, and who could believe her story about her and Cobb planning to escape together? It's no wonder No.2 of The Girl Who Was Death was under the impression that No.6 wouldn't drop his guard with his own grandmother, and probably with good reason!
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 21 July 2011

New Village!

   Well now, how do you like the new blazer folks? I purchased it from a store called T-K-Max for £15, the original price £29.99p I know Tommy Moke will not like it, as he didn't take to the THEPRIS6NER at all. Nor would those of Six of One like my attending a Prisoner convention, I would stir up things far too much, as the members of that society are still old Village, while I am new Village, able to change, and adapt to something new and exciting. Anyway I sent Tommy Moke a picture of myself in my new blazer, and the comment came back that I look like that character 11-12 in THEPRIS6NER! Just a minute, just a minute.....11-12 doesn't really exist in the series! He was but a figment of his mother, M2's, imagination, dreamt up in her subconscious....bloody cheek!
I'm well pleased this week, as I've now located a source of refills for my Six of One-the Prisoner pens celebrating 30 years of the Prisoner, and 20 years of Six of One. Also there is this pen, which is something of a collectors item, an original Prisoner pen from the mid 1980's, well you can't buy them anymore.
Such a pen also reads I Am Not A Number I Am A Free Man
      This morning I read of the death of film director Pat Jackson, who died at the age of 95, who was the last surviving director who had worked on the Prisoner, having directed A B & C, The Schizoid Man, Hammer Into Anvil, and Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling. It would seem that the old Village has not yet dispensed with my services!
I'm Johnny Prisoner - in whichever Village!

Thursday, 14 July 2011


    What is it about the Prisoner that has turned me, and fans like me, into an obsessive? Well perhaps watching the series three or four times a year, while watching my favourite episodes in between might just about do it. But if that's not enough, there is not a day goes by when I don't think about the Prisoner, or write something about it, either here, for the Tally Ho, or adding to the pile of notes on the series, simply for my own gratification. I've asked questions, debated with other like-minded fans. I've been a member of Six of One: The Prisoner Appreciation Society, but have not for ten years now. I've gone on pilgrimages to Portmeirion, attended the Prisoner conventions there, and walked in the footsteps of McGoohan, but drew the line at sleeping one night on the beach!
    I have a mass of files, I used to collect all manner of newspaper cuttings, magazine articles, and anything remotely connected with the series, Prisoneresque as it became to be known. I've collected many of the newsletters and journals created in appreciation for the prisoner, many of which no longer exist today. All the information one could ever want, is but a click of the mouse away. Or you could read a fellow fans blog, that of David Stimpson, he's far more the obsessive than even I about the Prisoner. My god the stuff he churns out each and everyday......... most prolific of him in my book.
    Fans have talked about so called 'hidden meanings' within the Prisoner series, and do you know, I've spent years and decades watching the Prisoner, but I have yet to discover one single hidden meaning, perhaps because there are none!
    I always go about in deck shoes, piped blazer and scarf. Occasionally I carry either a black and white umbrella or a shooting stick umbrella. I do have a colourful striped cape, as worn by Villagers, but in the outside world there are certain limitations........ even for me!
    I've always managed to keep the Prisoner in mind, I've never forgot him, even in the barren years between 1968 and 1976 when the Prisoner was not shown on television. I, and many like me, had to rely on the memories of the first screening of the series here in Great Britain. But these days, I can watch my favourite television series whenever I like, be it via video or DVD.
   There are a few fans of the series with whom I keep in touch, either by email, or letter. And when I do write, I always use a Prisoner pen or pencil, of which I have a substantial supply. And of course there is the Local Prisoner Gorup which I help organise, with Tommy Moke. There used to be such local groups the length and bredth of the country, but those days have long gone. Only three such groups still survive today, as I understand it.
   I've got posters and framed pictures from the Prisoner on the walls of my flat, the best of which is the Channel 5 video poster from 1986, that is my pride and joy, framed of course. One friend and fellow fan came to my flat, and looking about the walls, commented that it looked like a shrine to the Prisoner! And of course my flat is full of memorabilia for the series. In fact it;'s more an archive really. And quite often I'll sit in my globe chair, going through old Prisoner based newsletters and magazines, going back to the very beginnings of Prisoner appreciation, with the soundtrack to the series playing in the background.
   The hot and cold taps of the shower I have put on the wrong way round, and the door to the bathroom slides to the left!  I drink my tea out of a Prisoner mug, and pancakes are my favourite dish. yes I know in the series No.6 says that flapjacks are his favourite dish, but it's pancakes he eats in The Schizoid Man episode!  In otherwords, I live and breath the Prisoner.
I'm Johnny Prisoner

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Mustn't Damage The Tissue!

    I sat watching Free For All the other evening, with a glass of Coca-Cola and a Pizza. I hadn't realised how much No.2 is so hands-on in this episode. Visiting No.6's cottage, and getting there so quickly after speaking to No.6 on the telephone from the Control Room, but through his television set, you can see a piece of the World map on the Control Room wall behind No.2. I mean No.2 appears at the cottage door almost instantly the phone call is over, if No.2 was ever in the Control Room in the first place, it could have been a trick, and one I cannot see how it was done. Certainly he's damned clever to have pulled that one off!
   I said No.2 was hand-on, he walks No.6 right through the election period. From putting the idea in No.6's head to run for electoral office, to the Polling Station, to oversee a landslide victory for No.6. No.2 even pilots the helicopter and goes in pursuit of No.6 when he was trying to escape by Jet Boat. And there he is again, in the therapy Zone, playing the part of an alcoholic. You know I almost believed No.2 when he said to No.6 To hell with the Village! But of course No.2 wasn't an alcoholic, he wasn't even drunk, and neither was No.6. And that's the hell of the Village, you can't buy an alcoholic drink for love nor credit units. You can't drink yourself into a stouper and forget the Village for a few hours. 
    All the way through the episode, there is the reminder that they musn't damage the tissue, either first stage only, or the drug used must be to the exact proportions the carry No.6 right through to the end of the election. Yet by the end of the episode, the tissue had taken a real beating, with No.6 left battered and bruised! But he still didn't talk.
    If No.2 is a statesman style of administrator, then the new No.2 is more direct. She soon dropped that 'little miss nice' routine as No.58, who couldn't even speak English. Yet as the new No.2 she spoke perfect English, and without any hint of an accent. She looked severe, as though she would have anything done to No.6, but within reason, and take pleasure from it. It is a pity that Rachel Herbert, the new No.2 of Fee For All didn't carry on her role into the next episode of The Schizoid Man. But that would be jumping the gun somewhat, because don't forget No.6 was a new No.2 for the shortest term of office in Village history!
    No.6 said to No.2 that everyone votes for a dictator, well he got that one right! Because as it turned out No.6 was no different. No sooner had No.6 attained the position of No.2, did he begin to dictate his will upon the good citizens of the Village. He told them that he has command. That he will imobilise all electronic controls. He told the citizens that they were free, free to go, free, free, free to go! But to No.6's disappointment, as his voice boomed out over the Village, no-one was listening!
    And then there are the inumerable continuity errors. Take No.6 for example, if you watch carefully you see that he changes his blazer as often as he changes scenes in the episode. While in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall witnessing the dissolution of the out-going council, and undergoing the Truth Test in the Labout Exchange Managers office, No.6 is wearing a blazer with broken piping on the lapel. But upon leaving the Labour Exchange, he's wearing a blazer with continuous piping on the lapel! It would seem that on most occasions Patrick McGoohan had one blazer for on-set film work at the MGM Studios, and one for location film work at Portmeirion.
    It was a dead cert that No.6 would 'run for office,' given the opportunity. And 'they' knew all the time what No.6 wouold do if he was elected as the new No.2, so they simply let No.6 get on with it, knowing that there was no chance of his actually organising a mass break out of the Village. Such was there confidence in their own ability to manipulate such a community as the Village.
   Free For All is a pretty straightforward episode, well as straightforward as any episode of the Prisoner can be I suppose. But there are one or two things which I have never been able to fathom out. One is the rotating of the inner wall of the Green Dome, that it reveals a single steel door, which when open leads into a cave. Where did the cave come from? What's more there's a segmant of the Village Guardian in the cave, with four men sat in chairs wearing dark glasses, why? What's going on? Is it some kind of indoctorination the men are going through at the membrane of the Guardian? Is it the Therapy Zone? Or could the men be members of some weird 'Rover' worshipping sect? I suppose, it's a touch of the allegorical, and inexplicable that forced me to draw my own conclusions over the years, and to be satisfied with that.

I'm Johnny Prisoner - A free man, not a number!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Prisoner Mini Moke Discovered in The Netherlands

   Well I could hardly believe it. Just when you think that there is nothing to get excited about the Prisoner anymore, that all the surprises have come and gone, you still find, from time to time, that there is just one more discovery to be made. Such is the Prisoner Mini Moke HLT 709C, which is pictured here.

    The Mini Moke, which is almost complete, despite the lack of the two rear seats, spare tyre and candy striped wheel cover, front seat covers, and inside trim, was discovered in a barn in Holland. And that word barn suggests to me a farm, and by the state of the Mini Moke, it is possible that she was used as a farm run-about for a time. The rear seats having been removed so that she could carry small farm equipment, or bails of straw perhaps, but that is only my own personal speculation, and is not in need to be speculated on. Although this Mini Moke does have a story to tell, if only she could tell it to us. Apparently a Dutch restorer is to restor the Mini Moke to her former glory. The candy striped canopy seems to have survived fairly well, but then that's plastic for you. And there's even the canopied Penny Farthing to be seen on the bonnet. As for the provenance of the Village taxi, well that's as plain as the nose on your face, the license plate proves that very nicely HLT 709C. I have to say that this is a very exciting find, and can only rekindle the thoughts of other items related to the Prisoner, just waiting to be discovered in some long forgotten place.
I'm Johnny Prisoner