"Where am I?" "In the Village." "What do you want?" "Information." "Whose side are you on?" "That would be telling. We want information. Information. Information." "You won't get it!" "By hook or by crook, we will." "Who are you?" "The new Number 2." "Who is Number 1?" "You are Number 6." "I am not a number! I am a free man!" "Ha! Ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha!"Filmed in the coastal Welsh community of Portmeirion in 1967-8, The Prisoner is a unique, 17-episode television series starring Patrick McGoohan as a man trapped in a bizarre village from which escape is said to be impossible. McGoohan was also the creator and producer of The Prisoner, and in these and many other respects, it was a highly personal television series for him, the popular portrayer of the lead characters in the 1960s British television shows, Danger Man and Secret Agent. It is believed by many appreciators of Prisoner lore that McGoohan's character in The Prisoner is John Drake, the intrepid English spy to whom the title of Secret Agent refers.
McGoohan has in interviews in the many years since production of The Prisoner commented that this, his final television series as a primary, regular character, was to have been the antithesis to his roles in Danger Man and Secret Agent, i.e. the suave, establishment-oriented protector of British and Western-Hemisphere security. In The Prisoner, McGoohan is a man in a sensitive position of responsibility- a secret agent very probably, who has angrily repudiated the organisation for which he has worked during all of his adult life. He resigns from his job, for reasons undisclosed, and intends to voyage far, far away from the assigned routines which have been stifling to his personal identity, rather like an actor would wish to separate himself from the on-screen persona with which he is associated in the minds of multitudes of adoring viewers and to which he is expected to conform at all times, his public and private life inseparable. However, escaping such expectation is impossible in the Global Village that is the modern world, and thus may the Village in The Prisoner be a symbol for that world and McGoohan's character an allegory for every individual confined by the dictates of society at large in a life not of his choosing.
The Prisoner's seventeen one-hour episodes were produced by ITC Entertainment, whose other televisual properties of the 1960s and 1970s included both of McGoohan's earlier opuses, The Saint, Thunderbirds, The Protectors, Space: 1999, and The Muppet Show. ITC Entertainment's top executive was Sir Lew Grade, who liked McGoohan's ideas- and profited handsomely from the popularity of McGoohan's characters in Danger Man and Secret Agent. McGoohan's proposal for The Prisoner was for it to be a television miniseries of only seven episodes, but Grade was so intrigued by the concept that he wanted a full season of 24 episodes. McGoohan doubted that there would be enough story material for that many instalments, and there was a compromise of a 17-episode series length.
The seven episodes that McGoohan first envisioned would be filmed as "Arrival", "Free For All", "Dance of the Dead", "Chimes of Big Ben", "The General", "Once Upon a Time", and "Fall Out". The other ten were written as extensions of the essential notion of The Prisoner, sometimes parodying it amusingly in dreamy fantasy, other times elaborating further on the impossibility of escape by having McGoohan's character appear to achieve his freedom, but the liberty is fleeting, if it really existed at all.
The first episode, "Arrival", commences with the abrupt and unexplained quitting by McGoohan's "man of mystery" of his employment with the British government. He drives his self-designed sports car into the Parliament building area of London and angrily walks into an office. Accompanied by sounds of thunder claps (the wrath of God?) are slams of his fist on a desk, and he hands to a clerk an envelope containing his official resignation. He "storms" out of the office and drives his speedy vehicle home, followed by what would appear to be a top-hatted undertaker-chauffeur of a hearse. McGoohan's character arrives at his apartment in central London and begins packing his clothes and prized belongings for an extended vacation as evidenced by the travel brochures that he places inside of his suitcase. Suddenly, a gas pours through the keyhole of his door, and he is overcome by the gas and collapses.
After an indeterminate time period of unconsciousness, he awakens in what looks like his apartment, but when he goes to a window, he sees not London but a bizarre village. Everyone whom he meets is sheepishly pleasant, saying, "Be seeing you," with a right hand, thumb-index-finger gesture encircling their right eye. Nobody will tell to him his geographical location, only that he is in "the Village". The map that he requests to see in the Village Store shows only the Village and its perimeters, which are mountains and the sea.
Returning to the replica of his apartment, McGoohan's character is contacted by telephone by someone called Number 2, who requests of him a visit at "the Green Dome", a building with a green, dome-shaped roof, inside of which is a weird, circular room, with a huge screen showing what seems to be amniotic fluid, and chairs that ascend from below the floor. Here, McGoohan's character meets Number 2, a mannerly Englishman attended by a diminutive butler and sitting inside of a black sphere. Number 6 (as McGoohan's character is now called) is informed by Number 2 that he was brought to this Village because his resignation and its unstated reason has aroused the curiosity of many important people on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Number 6 is an unwavering individualist who loathes the Village's lifestyle, in which everyone is referred to and addressed as a number, not a name, and under constant observation and expected to conform to Village directives for the cause of communal harmony. He assesses it to be contrary to the higher aspirations of the human spirit, refuses to reveal his reasons for resigning, and declines Number 2's invitation to join in the slavishly harmonious lifestyle of the Village.
Number 2 and his superior, an unseen Number 1, want for Number 6 to openly state his reason for his resignation, and
in return he will be given opportunity to command the Village and its
complacent, multinational populace. Number 6 remains firm in his conviction.
"I'm not going to make any deals with you. I've resigned. I will not be pushed,
filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my
Number 2 disagrees. He shows to Number 6 an extensive file that has been compiled on Number 6's "private" life and says that the remaining information required to complete the file will in time be voluntarily provided by Number 6. Number 2 escorts Number 6 on a helicopter ride above the Village to show to him that escape is impossible as the Village is "sealed" from the outside. Rover, a balloon-like sphere with a ghastly roar, materialises out of bubbles from a water fountain or from the sea bottom and overtakes any assuming escapee, covering over his or her nose and mouth to render unconscious or suffocate the person, and drag his or her body to a stretcher party. Number 6 will not be discouraged, and attempts to escape first by sea, then by air, but Rover stops his first attempt, and a new Number 2 remote-commandeers Number 6's stolen helicopter and brings it to a landing in the Village square. Thus, Number 6 is, for all intents and purposes, the title character, The Prisoner.
Number 6, the Prisoner, cannot determine which "side" of
the Iron Curtain that is detaining him. The Village seems Communist in its
assigning of depersonalising numbers, in its governing body that "looks after"
people for as long as they live and requires labour and submission, and in a
public announcement system with complacency-inducing propaganda. But there are
democratic elections for Citizens' Council and for the office of Number 2. Each
Number 2 is determined to sway the Prisoner to his or her way of thinking. One
of the most charismatic Number 2s, played by Leo McKern, explains that both
sides of the Cold War are becoming identical, and that the Village is a perfect
blueprint for world order to be used once the two "sides" opposing each other,
"...realise they are both looking into a mirror...", and that a new
socio-political pattern for the future is needed.
The Prisoner is resolute. He will not allow Number 2 to indoctrinate him. Through this 17-episode television series, various Number 2s attempt, with increasingly fantastic methods, to confuse, trick, demoralise, or compel Number 6 into revealing his reasons for resigning and to persuade him to join the Village as its leader, and Number 6 attempts escape several times. He is tricked by one Number 2 into declaring candidacy for election, to himself become Number 2, on the mistaken belief that he will be able to lead the Village populace to freedom. Another Number 2 allows him to "escape" the Village in a crate and arrive in what he thinks is London to be interrogated by his superior on why he resigned, but he suspects that he is still in the Village before revealing anything. A further Number 2 utilises technology and drugs to "stage" and observe Number 6's dreams. Yet another Number 2 orders the Village deserted and permits the Prisoner to escape for real, return to London, organise an investigative search for the Village, and finish his sojourn as Prisoner in the Village again, with every other Villager returned there. Still another Number 2 drugs him into thinking that he is in the Wild West as a resigning sheriff who is being asked to wear "the badge" in a "good" but in-need-of-guidance town called Harmony, from where escape is also impossible. His soul is placed into another man's body and returned home to London, where he cannot convince his colleagues that he is who he says he is. Surgery is performed upon his brain in a bogus scheme to quell his aggressive tendencies and to convince him that he is "a changed man" who need resist the Village no longer. A look-alike usurps his place as Number 6, and a Number 2 tries to convince him to his confusion that he is a Number 12 assigned to "break" the impostor Number 6.
By the later episodes, Number 6 has decided to stop attempting escape and to
instead try to destroy the Village from within it by rendering one Number 2
paranoid with suspicions and giving to another Number 2 cause to think (wrongly,
of course) that he (Number 6) will reveal something about his resignation to a
group of young children in telling to them a story about himself as a secret
agent assigned to follow a deadly lady to the cavernous lair of a resurrected
Napoleon, who is plotting London's destruction.
As the television series progresses, it becomes clear that The Prisoner is not meant to be regarded superficially or literally. The Village does not have a specific geographic location. It is in the mind of McGoohan's character. Number 1 is not an objective villain like those in the James Bond films, but an abstraction, an aspect of Number 6's own self. And the final episode, which one would expect to all-revealing, is actually quite cryptic. Watched superficially, it looks nonsensical. The whole series seems a farce if viewed literally, but it is complex and engaging if looked upon as symbolic of the predicaments and conflicts within the mind of a man.
Patrick McGoohan's Number 6 and Number 2's little butler (played by Angelo Muscat) are the only characters to appear in all episodes. One Number 2, a blustery laugher played by Leo McKern, is in three episodes, "Chimes of Big Ben", "Once Upon a Time", and "Fall Out". Another Number 2, a pacing, bespectacled milk-drinker, played by Colin Gordon, appears in two instalments, "The General" and "A. B. and C". Another recurring character is a quiet but volatile, red-headed young man played by Alexis Kanner. In "Living in Harmony", Kanner is a lustful, heavy-drinking jailer and Number 6's opponent in a Wild West gun-draw. He appears again in "The Girl Who Was Death" as an amusement park attendee with jealous affections for a woman who, from a distance, looks like Sonia, the lethal lady to whom the episode's title refers. Then, Kanner's character is seen in the final episode, "Fall Out", on trial for failing to obey the directives of the Village. He and the Leo McKern Number 2, who have both become rebels like Number 6, help Number 6 to finally "break out" of the Village and return to London, after Number 1 is blasted on a rocket into space- and possibly to the Moon (says Number 6 to Number 2 in "Chimes of Big Ben": "I'd like to be the first man on the Moon.").
The notion of alternate self, or double, arises often in the series. Its most salient instance is in "The Schizoid Man", in which Number 6 confronts his look-alike who has stolen his identity. The notion of a man being two parts, a body and soul, is used in "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling", where the Prisoner's mind is separated from his body; he is essentially split into two parts. In "Free For All", when Number 6 "runs" for election against Number 2, the graphic on the Village news depicts these two opponents as part of one body, with one the shadow of the other; thus, it would seem that Number 2 is a problematic persona in opposition to the Prisoner, representing every man's urge to conform to societal norms for acceptance, to live complacently, or to lead or dominate a complacent world. The depiction in "Free For All" of Number 2 as a shadowy counterpart to the Prisoner suggests duality of identity of some kind. Finally, in "Fall Out", the final episode, everyone in the crowd is wearing a mask with two halves, one white, one black, rather similar to the alien make-up in the racist-themed third season Star Trek episode. "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". And when the Prisoner enters a rocket and confronts Number 1, he removes the black-white mask and first finds underneath of it an ape, representing the brute from which man evolved and from which he has inherited his instincts of aggression, and then, behind the ape mask, is himself as an impish doppelganger, who is sent to space via the rocket.
Another recurring motif is celestial space versus a terrestrial milieu, seen most often in the control room, with constellations painted on the upper walls and Earthly terrains mapped beneath, on the top of floor panels, and the parallel dichotomy in the human mind between things spiritual and physical, best depicted in the final shot of every episode, with the Prisoner's face (symbolising his soul) ascending out of the Village (symbolising the material Earthly world), and being barred from passage into the realm above, perhaps because he has not spiritually separated his entire psyche from its bond with Earth. His aggressive self is not as yet separated from terra firma; so, even after he sends his "double" to space, or to the Moon, he remains a prisoner on Earth.
Another motif is Napoleon. Number 2, played by Clifford Evans, assumes a Napoleonic pose as he is speaking to the Colonel in "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling", and the Number 2 played by Kenneth Griffith in "The Girl Who Was Death", in his Dr. Schnipps role in the Prisoner's fairy tale, dresses and acts like Napoleon in every way as he prepares to launch his own rocket, not into space, but toward London in a world-dominating scheme. Number 2 is Napoleonic in his wish to see the world as one Village, governed by one man, and this Napoleonic urge is endemic to Earth society, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Perhaps these two "sides" also denote the awareness in the mind of a human duality, but the duality relates not to populations of people separated on two sides of the Earth by an artificial barrier. The real duality is in the mind.
Number 2's comment that "both sides" are becoming identical suggests an important turning point in the human consciousness, but that turning point is itself dual, depending on which way that the soul is inclined- to a lofty destiny or to a Napoleonic wish to live complacently in an Earthly world dominated by the "Alpha Male". Number 6, and by extension Number 1, is that "Alpha Male" whom the complacent people in the Village want to lead them, and if he agrees to do so, he will be nothing but a Napoleon like Number 2. If Number 2 is a spiritual counterpart to Number 6, who is also Number 1, then this Napoleonic urge must be in Number 6 and 1 as well, and it must be overcome and transcended for the spirit to be free of its Earthly limitations. The rocket and the Prisoner's ascending face both represent transcendence away from the spiritually confining dream of world domination most commonly associated with Napoleon. And Number 1, the Prisoner's "other half", in the rocket has globes of the Earth. He hands to the Prisoner a globe-shaped mirror, with an opposite self reflected from inside of the Earth, suggesting that he is at this point still motivated, though he has not been conscious of it, by the inferior desire to possess the whole Earth in his hands and is handing it to the Prisoner as a proposition just like Number 2's to join in the complacent domination of Earth; the Prisoner exposes his other half and sends it into space, to the heavens, releasing it from Earth to be redeemed, while he, by staying on Earth, has now become the "other side" of himself, bound to Earth and remaining a prisoner.
Spheres of all kinds in the television series, the stone globe of the Earth being held on the shoulders of a statue in the Village, the globes of the world in the rocket, and the crystal mirror globe held by Number 1, could represent the Earth and the part of man bound to it and to the desire to live on or dominate it complacently. So too might Rover have this symbolism. Each time that it prevents the Prisoner from escaping the Village (or the Earthly world), his "other self", still fixated on Earth, is pulling him down to be close to the beginnings of human life on mother Earth; it emerges from the water as life did in its origins. After the rocket is "blasted off", Rover, representing the inferior urges in the psyche, disintegrates into the Earth, saying, "I like you veeery much," because Rover, symbolising the urge to regress into the Earth, has been "left behind" by the other half of the Prisoner blasted into space.
Such an interpretation is only one (this writer's), and the appeal of The Prisoner is that it yields many different ways of looking at it. McGoohan himself intended for it to depict his struggle as a private individual against the expectations imposed upon his life off-camera by fans of his prior acting assignments. As an actor feeling at odds with the identity foisted upon him by producers and by adoring masses of fans, McGoohan reportedly intended for The Prisoner to show how every person is intolerably constrained by the expectations of others and how little freedom that people have in the technological Global Village that is the world. The version of himself which he sends to space, or to the Moon, could be his on-screen persona, which he is jettisoning, in hope that he can be "his own man" on Earth.
However one wishes to look at the television series, there is no denying its uniqueness. How many television programmes would have the audacity to show people being used as pieces on a giant chess board, people walking about in sunny weather with checker-coloured umbrellas and saying, "Be seeing you," or a candidate in an election being drugged to say what certain people want for him to say, or revealing an entire episodic scenario to be a drug-induced hallucination or a story told to a group of children, which McGoohan implies to represent the television audience when he says, looking into the camera, "Good night, children. Everywhere."?
The following is a complete Prisoner episode guide.
Season 1 "Arrival" Having resigned from his job, driven his car to his home, and been gassed and rendered unconscious, the Prisoner awakens to find himself in the bizarre Village. He meets its submissive citizens, all of whom are in the Village because they know too much about their country's secrets, learns of the intention of Number 2 to persuade him to reveal his reason for resigning, hears Number 2's offer of a position of authority, and instantly dislikes the place. He refuses to accept the Number 6 designation assigned to him, will not tolerate a personal maid in his Village home (a replica of his apartment in London), and is determined to prove that the Village cannot contain his free spirit or render him as docile and subservient as the "cabbages" that almost entirely comprise its citizen body. He insists that he will not be "broken". After attempting to escape the strange Village and being stopped in this act by the roaring balloon, Rover, he meets a long-time friend and colleague in the Village Hospital, who supposedly kills himself by jumping out of a window. The Prisoner encounters a woman grieving for the "dead" man and asks for her help in escaping. She gives to him a wrist watch that keeps Rover away from him and enables him to pilot a helicopter, but a new Number 2 operates a remote control to return Number 6 and the helicopter to the Village. The Prisoner's old friend is not really dead and is a part of the Village's bizarre movement. Guest stars: Guy Doleman (Number 2), Virginia Maskell (Woman), George Baker (Second Number 2), Paul Eddington (Cobb). "Dance of the Dead" A female Number 2 invites Number 6 to attend the Village's annual carnival, in which citizens dress as historical or fictional characters. Number 6 finds another colleague of bygone days, who is being used by Number 2 to demonstrate the futility of resistance. The colleague is resigned to his fate as a disposable quisling and urges Number 6 to cooperate. Number 6 also finds a body on the seashore, with a radio playing World War II messages. Number 2's intention is to substitute the body for that of the Prisoner, who, like everyone else in the Village, is dead to the outside world. When Number 6 secrets the radio only to be discovered with it on his person by Number 2, he is placed on trial at the carnival for his defiance and sentenced to death. Chased by the carnival goers, he seeks refuge in a room, where Number 2 joins him and informs him that he is already "dead". Guest stars: Mary Morris (Number 2), Norma West (Girl Bo Peep), Duncan MacRae (Doctor), Alan White (Dutton), Aubrey Morris (Town Crier). "Free For All" The Prisoner decides to compete in an election against the current, male Number 2, since by winning, Number 1 will no longer be a mystery to him and he will be able to command the populace to leave the Village and be free. The election campaign proceeds like an exaggerated popularity contest with marching bands, placards depicting Number 6's face, and crowds cheering, "6 for 2!" Followed to the extent of harassment by his personal assistant, Number 58, a woman who speaks a strange language, Number 6 tries to escape the Village by stealing a motorboat, but is captured by Rover, drugged, divested of his individualistic fervour, and caused to say what the Village Council wants for him to say, that if he is elected, the welfare of the Village as it exists will be his sole concern. He wins the election, comes out of his stupor, and tries to deactivate all Village controls to allow everyone to escape. But he is assaulted by a group of thugs and discovers that the foreign-language woman speaks perfect English and is now Number 2 on his behalf. She orders him carried on a stretcher back to his replica-home in the Village. He remains a prisoner. Guest stars: Eric Portman (Number 2), Rachel Herbert (Number 58/Number 2), George Benson (Labour Exchange Manager). "Checkmate" The Prisoner is invited to participate in a game of chess, with human chess pieces. The Prisoner is the Queen's Pawn. He meets a Rook with the same rebellious spirit as himself and approaches the Rook with an escape plan. He and the Rook search through the Village for others who share their wish to leave it and plan to sail under cover of darkness to join a nearby tugboat, which they believe will help them to escape the Village so that they can inform the Western authorities of the Village's existence and its people can be freed. The acting Number 2 has the chess Queen brainwashed to fall deeply in love with Number 6 and to follow him around, her heartbeat transmitting signals via an electronic locket that contains Number 6's picture. Number 6 suspects that the Queen's locket is a transmitter of some kind and asks for the Queen to give it to him, which she adoringly and cooperatively does. He uses the transmitter in the locket, combined with equipment that he and the Rook have stolen, to contact the tugboat with a mayday call. Evading the advances of the lovelorn Queen, Number 6 joins his fellow hopeful escapees. But Number 2 has checkmated their move, revealing that the tugboat they wish to reach belongs to the Village and that the Prisoner and his captured cohorts will return to the Village chess board as pawns. The Prisoner fights with the Village guardians on the tugboat, but Rover arrives, and Number 6 knows that he cannot defeat the roaring sphere. Guest stars: Peter Wyngarde (Number 2), Ronald Radd (Rook), Patricia Jessel (Psychiatrist), Rosalie Crutchley (Queen). "Chimes of Big Ben" A new Number 8, a woman from Estonia, arrives in the Village as a fellow prisoner to Number 6. The current Number 2 asks that Number 6 befriend Number 8 to determine why she has attempted to swim away from the Village. Number 8, whose real name is Nadia, tells to Number 6 that she knows the precise location of the Village, and it was for this reason that she was brought to the Village as a prisoner. According to her, the Village is in Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. With this information, Number 6 decides to attempt to escape to Danzig and from there fly by jet to England. He believes that he has hoodwinked Number 2 into thinking that his tree-cutting and woodcarving is for an abstract art project for the Village exhibition. He builds the constituent parts to a boat, arranges them to look like a bizarre Church steeple, and assigns so compelling an interpretation to his wood-carved exhibit that he is awarded a prize of two thousand work units, by which he purchases the crafted work of a Villager, a tapestry with Number 2's face on it, that he intends to use as a sail. At night, Number 6 and Nadia assemble their boat and sail away. A male Polish contact of Nadia's gun-shoots paralysing bullets into Rover and nails Number 6 and Nadia into crates to be shipped and flown to London via Gedansk, Danzig, and Copenhagen. Inside the crates, they believe that they are being transported to London, and when the crates are opened, they find themselves in what looks like the office of Number 6's superior in British Intelligence. Number 6 is interrogated by his boss, Colonel J, who accuses Number 6 of defecting to the Eastern Bloc and returning to spy on Britain. He demands that Number 6 reveal his reasons for resigning, but suddenly, Number 6 realises that the chimes of Big Ben do not tally with the proper time difference on the wrist watch given to him by the Polish man who helped him and Nadia. He discovers that the Big Ben chimes are on a concealed audiotape machine, then walks out of the room to see that he is back in the Village. The whole "escape" was manipulated by Number 2, by Colonel J, and by Nadia, too. Number 6 finally knows that he can trust no one in the Village, not even a newcomer. Guest stars: Leo McKern (Number 2), Nadia Gray (Nadia), Finlay Currie (the General), Kevin Stoney (Colonel J). "The General" The Village is the testing ground for a revolutionary new teaching method called Speed-Learn, which involves subliminal bulk conveyance of facts transmitted in seconds via television and retained in full detail by everyone who experiences it. A professor and his wife have been brought to the Village to implement the process, under the directive of "the General". Number 6 perceives the danger of such a process being utilised to indoctrinate masses of people to a revisionist history or to an absolute, militaristic government's way of thinking, and he decides to thwart Speed-Learn. His attempt to seize control of the hypnotic mechanism that enables the subliminal messages to be transmitted, is discovered by a milk- drinking Number 2, who captures Number 6 and presents him to "the General", a computer that Number 2 insists is infallible. Number 6 asks to be allowed to pose a question to the computer, and he is permitted to do so. He feeds the question into the computer's drive, and the enormous machine self-destructs, killing the Speed-Learn professor. Number 2 demands to know what question Number 6 asked of the computer, and Number 6 replies that it was an insoluble, "Why?" Guest stars: Colin Gordon (Number 2), John Castle (Number 12), Peter Howell (Professor). "A. B. and C" A female psychologist with a means of projecting a man's dreams onto a television screen and using drugs to render him susceptible to the suggestions of a machine capable of implanting images and sounds into the dream, is brought to the Village to practice her techniques upon Number 6. The milk-drinking Number 2 orders her to instill into Number 6 a dream about a party where he is to meet, one-by-one, three operatives from the Eastern Bloc to whom he may have been on the verge of "selling out" after his resignation. Number 2 is intent on discovering which agent that Number 6 was going to meet and to whom he had planned to "sell himself". Number 2 and the psychologist project two dreams into Number 6's mind and thence onto their screen, in which Number 6 meets agent A, a moustached man who had defected from the West and wants for Number 6 to join him, then agent B, a female agent who invites 6 to drink and unsuccessfully begs of him to provide information on his resignation to prevent her employers from killing her. Number 6 suspects that his dreams are being "staged" and manipulated and, with the third dream pending due to a necessary 24-hour interval, he follows the psychologist to her dream analysis laboratory and enters it through an air shaft after she has departed it for her report to Number 2. He discovers the equipment, the files on A, B, and C, and the drug syringes. He empties the third and last syringe, replacing the contents with water, and pretends to go to sleep and dream under the influence of the third syringe, purposefully "staging" the party at which he meets agent C, who guides him to a mystery man for a clandestine meeting to give to the man his top secret cipher papers. Number 2 and the psychologist watch eagerly to see to whom Number 6 was going to "sell out", and are flabbergasted to find that the mystery man in the dream is Number 2! Inside his "dream", Number 6 enters the dream analysis laboratory and hands his papers, travel brochures, to Number 2. He was going on holiday. He was not going to "sell out". That was not why he resigned. Guest stars: Colin Gordon (Number 2), Katherine Kath (Madame Engardine), Peter Bowles (A), Georgina Cookson (Woman at Party). "The Schizoid Man" Number 6 finds that he has an interesting mental link with a Village girl whose birth name is Allison. She is able to correctly guess the symbols on cards held by Number 6. Number 2 has devised another scheme to induce Number 6 into revealing the desired information. By night, Number 6 is hypnotised, held in limbo for a period long enough to grow a moustache, and given electric shocks to turn him left-handed and instill in him a taste for flapjacks. He is placed in a strange apartment, with a calendar indicating that only one night has passed. When he awakes in the strange apartment and discovers his moustache, he automatically suspects a Number 2 scheme and decides to play along when he is telephoned by Number 2 and asked to come to the Green Dome. Number 2 refers to him as Number 12 (Double 6!), treats him like another guardian and not as the Prisoner, and tells to him that he has been assigned by their "masters" to break the mind of "Number 6" (a man who looks like him) by causing "Number 6" to doubt his identity! Essentially, he is "assigned" to do to his lookalike what his lookalike has really been hired to do to him. He is shaven and escorted by Number 2 to meet his lookalike, who now lives in his former abode! The man masquerading as Number 6 has all of his mannerisms, his taste in cigars, his defiance, and his right-handed shooting, fencing, and fighting skills, and he, with his awkward, conditioned left-handedness, is bested by his impostor. Allison, who is a party to Number 2's scheme, correctly guesses the symbols on cards held by the impostor. The real Number 6 starts questioning his identity, but an accidental electric shock to his left hand causes him to start remembering his conditioning to left-handedness, flapjacks, and non-smoking of cigars. He electrically shocks his left hand again, and his right-handedness returns. He goes to his original Village apartment and confronts his usurper, and after Number 6 wins the resulting fist fight, he orders the impostor to reveal the password to identify himself to Number 2 as a guardian, and his name, Curtis. When Curtis flees the apartment, he is killed by Rover! Number 6 sees his opportunity and pretends to be Curtis, using the name and password, Schizoid Man, that he had learned from Curtis before Curtis died. But Number 2 and Allison both suspect that he is really Number 6, and Number 2 baits him to falter by talking of Curtis' wife, Susan, whom Number 6 does not know died a year previous. Number 6's escape is thwarted when he speaks of Susan as still being alive. Guest stars: Anton Rodgers (Number 2), Jane Merrow (Allison). "Many Happy Returns" The Prisoner awakes one morning to find the Village deserted and its mechanical systems deactivated. Seizing his opportunity, he cuts down trees to build a raft, with a large cloth for a sail. He uses a Village camera to snapshoot photographs of the Village buildings, "borrows" some food from the Village store, in addition to odds and ends with which to build a compass, and departs. He endures 25 days at sea with 4 hours sleep each night on a northeasterly course on his sail-raft before being intercepted by a German trawler crewed by two gunrunners. The Prisoner gains temporary control of the trawler and directs it toward a lighthouse. Escaping the firing guns of the two angry gunrunners whom he had tied, he swims ashore to the lighthouse and meets a Gypsy family who direct him to a road, where he crawls into an empty horse trailer being driven through a police roadblock. Some time later, the sound of a siren causes him to jump out of the trailer, and he finds himself in London! Checking at his old apartment, of which the number on the door is 1, he meets a kind, older woman named Mrs. Butterworth, who says that she purchased his apartment when it had been on sale, following his disappearance from London. She tells to him she has kept all of his clothes and his sports car. Cleanly dressed, he drives his car into the same office which he had visited to hand-deliver his letter of resignation before the whole Village ordeal began- a compelling deja-vu. He demands to see his friend and colleague known only as the Colonel and the Colonel's assistant, Thorpe. The two have difficulty believing his story, considering the possibility that he defected to the other "side" of the Iron Curtain. He replies that he also has a problem; he does not know, "...which side runs this Village". But it is a problem that he is determined to solve, one way or another. The Colonel agrees to help him, and the location of the Village is estimated as being in the vicinity of Spain and Morocco. Flown in a reconnaissance aeroplane to the area in question on his birthday, the Prisoner is ejected from the aeroplane by the pilot (who says the Village slogan, "Be seeing you.") and is parachuted back into the Village, where everybody has returned and all systems have been reactivated. Number 6 is wished, "Many happy returns," by the new Number 2, who is Mrs. Butterworth from London! She has baked for him a birthday cake! Guest stars: Donald Sinden (the Colonel), Patrick Cargill (Thorpe), Georgina Cookson (Mrs. Butterworth/Number 2). "It's Your Funeral" The Village is still "home" to the Prisoner. He can trust no one in the Village. So, when a strange woman comes to his door and asks for his help in preventing an assassination, he refuses to listen to her and orders her to leave his house. But circumstances bring him together with her again, and she tells him of a plot to assassinate Number 2, a plot in which her father, a watchmaker, is involved. Fearing reprisals from other powers in the Village, Number 1 in particular, upon the general Village population for such a heinous act, Number 6 warns the current Number 2 of the plot, and Number 2 scoffs at this. The Prisoner does not yet know that the assassination plot is not directed at the current Number 2 but at the previous Number 2, with the current Number 2 as the instigator. Number 6 interrogates the watchmaker to learn of the current Number 2's scheme, which he successfully hastens to stop. Guest stars: Derren Nesbitt (Number 2), Annette Andre (Watchmaker's Daughter), Mark Eden (Number 100), Martin Miller (Watchmaker). "A Change of Mind" Number 6 is under investigation by the Village Council for his aggressively individualistic tendencies and declared "unmutual", to be shunned by everybody in the Village. Number 2 arranges for Number 6 to be surgically divested of brain tissues that cause his aggressive, "unmutual" behaviour. Number 6 is drugged, and an operation on him is shown to everyone in the Village. Actually, no such operation occurs. Number 6 is drugged, rendered docile, and told that he has been operated upon. But he realises that the operation was a sham, cleverly disposes of the coffee containing the apathy- causing drugs, and pretends to be docile. He goes to Number 2 and asks to be able to address the Village's people to tell to them that he has now accepted the complacent, collectivist ways of the Village, but instead says to the Village populace that Number 2 is "unmutual" for being in a position of authority and holding an office above the people. Unable to instantly refute Number 6's accusation, the current Number 2 is discredited and ousted from office. Guest stars: John Sharpe (Number 2), Angela Browne (Number 86), George Pravda (Doctor). "Hammer into Anvil" Number 6 perceives that the current Number 2 is physically violent and in all probability mentally unfit for his position. So, Number 6 attempts to undermine this Number 2 by pretending to be in collusion with outside authorities to observe Number 2 under suspicion of instability. Number 6 asks of the Village Store clerk to provide to him all six copies of the same L'Arlesiene recording, all exactly identical, for him to hear. This prompts a curious Number 2, who is informed by the clerk of Number 6's unusual musical request, to infer that there must be a code on one of the records discernible only to Number 6. Number 2's paranoia grows when he receives a piece of paper on which Number 6 has written a message, observable only under x-ray, stating that Number 2 is potentially unstable and will continue to be investigated. Number 2 thus believes he is the victim of a conspiracy and interprets a series of strange actions on Number 6's part as evidence that Number 6 has powerful contacts who want him replaced. Number 2 starts suspecting everyone of being involved with Number 6 in seeking to prove him unsuitable, verbally abusing several Village operatives and thereby isolating himself, which fuels his paranoia even more. Finally Number 6 visits Number 2 and tells him that the plot against him was imagined, that he has proven himself unfit, and that he should report his own personality faults to Number 1 as reason for his dismissal from the "office" of Number 2. Guest stars: Patrick Cargill (Number 2), Basil Hoskins (Number 14), Victor Maddern (Band Master), Hilary Dwyer (Number 73).
Season 2 "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling" Both the officials in British Intelligence and those of the Village are eager to learn the whereabouts of Prof. Jacob Seltzman, an aged expert in the study of thought transference who has perfected a mechanical means of transmitting the psyche of one man into another and vice versa. The Village has acquired Seltzman's machine and plans to exploit it to position the minds of people committed to the Village's cause into the bodies of trusted persons in various governments to "break" the security of nations and hasten the end of the divided world. What the Village lacks and desperately wants is Seltzman's reversal process, the means by which swapped psyches can be restored to their original bodies. Number 6 was the last man to have a trace on Seltzman's location. So, Number 2 decides to use Number 6. He summons a Colonel to the Village, sedates Number 6, and puts Number 6's mind into the Colonel's body, erases all memories of the Village from his mind, and places him back in his apartment in London. Number 6, thinking that he has awakened to a routine day one year earlier, looks into a mirror and finds himself in a strange body. His fiancee, Janet Portman, daughter of a senior member in British Intelligence, after a faithful vigil for a year in hope that her lover would return from wherever he disappeared to, comes to the apartment and is perplexed by the strange man claiming to be a friend to her lover. Number 6 drives his car into the headquarters of British Intelligence and demands to speak to Janet's father, who is not prepared to accept without irrefutable proof that Number 6 is the man engaged to his daughter. Number 6 decides to by himself visit Seltzman, finds Seltzman's Austrian location in cryptic film slides, and goes to see him, the only man with the knowledge to return him to his original body. When he meets with Seltzman, they are both captured and helicoptered to the Village, where Seltzman is obliged to perform the reversal process to return Number 6's psyche to Number 6's body, under observation by Number 2, who wants to know every detail to the process. But Seltzman tricks Number 2. He rigs the equipment so that it does not produce exactly the desired result. He restores Number 6's mind to Number 6's body but does a switch of his own psyche into the Colonel's body, with the Colonel's mind going into his old, dying body, which does not survive the procedure. In the Colonel's body, Seltzman escapes the Village, taking his knowledge of the one-to-one reversal process with him. Guest stars: Zena Walker (Janet Portman), Nigel Stock (the Colonel), Clifford Evans (Number 2), Hugo Schuster (Seltzman), John Wentworth (Sir Charles Portman). "Living in Harmony" A Western setting parody of the Prisoner's predicament. A man who looks like the Prisoner rides into a town on a horse, throws his sheriff badge on a desk, removes his gun belt, and places it on the desk too, watched by the town Marshal, who is perturbed by his sheriff's resignation. Walking away from the town, the ex-sheriff is ambushed by a group of men, knocked unconscious, and brought to another town, called Harmony. Harmony's judge explains that he has heard of the ex- sheriff's resignation and wants for the ex-sheriff to work for him. When the ex-sheriff declines the job and tries to leave Harmony, he is placed in "protective custody" and jailed. The judge is determined to have the ex-sheriff work for Harmony, and hopes to motivate him thusly with a beautiful barmaid, Kathy, who is lustfully pursued by a drunken, volatile, youthful gunslinger known as the Kid, who works under the judge as the town jailer. When the Kid murders a man and the judge arranges for another man to be killed to prove to the ex-sheriff that Harmony is in need of his services, the ex-sheriff decides to wear "the badge" for the town's sake, but not a gun. To demonstrate to his new sheriff that a gun is needed to perform the sheriff's job, the judge arranges for a group of men to attack him, but he defeats the judge's men by his fists. When the sheriff arranges with Kathy to sneak out of town at sundown, the Kid prevents Kathy from leaving the bar and kills her in a drunken rage. Finding Kathy's body, the sheriff dons his gun and confronts the Kid in a showdown. He kills the Kid and goes to the Harmony saloon to confront the judge, who, he suspects, ordered the Kid to do harm to Kathy. Sheriff informs judge that he is leaving town and that no one can stop him this time. But the judge commands his sheriff to stay, or be killed. The sheriff manages to "gun down" all of the judge's men, but is gunshot several times by the judge and falls to the saloon floor. He then finds himself in the Prisoner's clothes, with earphones, and laying in a saloon mock-up. Rising, he finds cardboard cut-outs of the judge and the Kid. He then hears the familiar band music of the Village and quits the Western set to go to the Village's Green Dome to see Number 2. The judge was Number 2, and both the Kid and Kathy are alive and well, as Village guardians at Number 2's side. It was all a scheme by Number 2 involving hallucinatory drugs, Western sets, and microphones, to try to induce Number 6 to consent to joining Harmony/the Village and reveal his reasons for resigning his job in London. The Kid pursues Kathy in the saloon set and kills her for real when she resists his advances, and Number 6, hearing her screams, is too late to save her life. The Kid seems to fall to his death from a balcony in the fake saloon. Guest stars: Alexis Kanner (the Kid), David Bauer (Judge/Number 2), Valerie French (Kathy). "The Girl Who Was Death" A Colonel is killed at an English cricket game by an exploding cricket ball, and the Prisoner, seemingly back in his job in England, assumes the place of the deceased as an investigator of a crazed scientist's scheme to destroy London with a super-rocket. The Prisoner's mission is to locate and destroy the rocket being primed for launch by the scientist, Dr. Schnipps. But his search is hampered by a series of deathtraps set by a ravishingly beautiful and elusive woman, who calls herself Death. He is a born survivor; she is a born killer; they were made for each other, says she. She attempts to kill him with another cricket ball bomb, to poison him at a pub, to seal him inside of a brutally hot Turkish bath, to bomb him in a carnival's Tunnel of Love, and to trap him in a building belonging to a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker, with automatic machine guns, mines, electrified spikes, and cyanide candlesticks. She hurls grenades at him as he shelters himself in a bulldozer. Surviving all of her murderous schemes, he grabs hold of the helicopter that she flies to a field near a series of caves. He follows her into the caves and encounters a group of Napoleonic soldiers, all under the command of her father, Dr. Schnipps, who is Napoleon resurrected. In a gadget-filled lighthouse atop the caves, Schnipps intends to avenge himself upon England. His rocket, the lighthouse, is ready to launch, but the Prisoner manages to overpower Schnipps' soldiers and cause an explosion of the lighthouse, killing Schnipps and Schnipps' daughter, before the rocket can be launched. Then, a picture-book, marked "Village Storybook", is closed, and Number 6 is shown with a group of boys and girls. All of the events of this episode had been a story told to the children by Number 6. Number 2 (who looks exactly like Schnipps in the story visualised by the Prisoner) and a woman named Sonia (who looks like Schnipps' deadly daughter) had hoped that in having Number 6 tell a story to the children, they would be furnishing him with a means of inadvertently revealing his reason for resigning. But the plan has failed. Another Number 2 has "met his Waterloo", defeated by Number 6. Guest stars: Kenneth Griffith (Schnipps/Napoleon/Number 2), Justine Lord (Sonia), Christopher Benjamin (Potter), Alexis Kanner (Number 48). "Once Upon a Time" Many Number 2s have attempted and failed to sway the Prisoner to Village ideals and induce him to reveal his reasons for resigning. A former Number 2, the most blustery and charismatic, returns to the Green Dome, determined to achieve results with the Prisoner by a procedure called "Degree Absolute". For a week, he and his butler will be sealed in a large room with Number 6 as Number 6 relives every cogent moment of his life, to be observed by Number 2 to find the source of the Prisoner's rebellious spirit and his reason for resigning. Number 6 is hypnotised to mentally revert to babyhood and to essentially "grow up again", with Number 2 assuming the roles of dominant males in Number 6's life: his father, his school headmaster, his fencing coach, his judge, and his commanding officer in the military. With the use of props, several moments in Number 6's life are enacted, with Number 2 continually asking him why he is defiant, why he persists in asserting his individualism over the collectivist whole. As the week comes to a close, Number 2 becomes desperate, knowing that he has "staked" his life on a successful resolution to the question of Number 6's resignation. He begs, he pleads for the Prisoner to confide, but Number 6 locks him in a circus-cage-like, human-comfort cell and watches as he falls to floor dead at the termination of the allotted week. Number 6 is then approached, congratulated, and asked by a Village operative what he most desires. Number 1, he replies. The operative and Number 2's butler agree to escort the Prisoner to at last meet Number 1! Guest star: Leo McKern (Number 2). "Fall Out" Number 6 is brought via elevator deep underground, where he is allowed to wear his original, non-Village clothes. He is guided through a tunnel with jukeboxes playing John Lennon's "All You Need is Love". The tunnel leads to a hangar/ laboratory/auditorium carved out of rock with stalactites, where a rocket marked with a "1" is being readied for launch. Number 6 is greeted by his nemesis, the Number 2 from "The Girl Who Was Death", who is now President of an assembly of people, all wearing half-black-half-white masks and sitting at desks like delegates at the United Nations, each with plates identifying ideological groups (e.g. activists, pacifists, reactionists, anarchists, welfare) that each person represents. Number 6 is seated in a chair of honour and no longer referred to as a number. The President addresses him as "sir". In a mock trial, the President says that three specific instances of revolt will be examined. The Kid from Harmony, Number 48, is interrogated by the President for his youthful defiance of authority and boisterously sings "Dry Bones". The President orders him removed from the assembly, and he is attached to a piston that lowers him into another level of the hangar. The blustery Number 2 who died in "Once Upon a Time" is resuscitated, shaven, and asked to address the assembly. A man "reborn", he seems to have had a "change of heart". He remembers that he was once an authority figure in a government and was one day abducted and brought to the Village, where he resisted the Village indoctrination for too short a time. He vows to be "hypnotised" no longer by Number 1, who apparently is inside the rocket. Spitting at the rocket, Number 2 is ordered removed by the President and descended to where Number 48 is. The third instance of revolt is that of the Prisoner, who is now being honoured by the assembly for his successful resistance of the Village. He is now offered a choice: lead the people of the Village or leave them and go anywhere he wishes. He wants to see Number 1 and is brought by the little butler to the hangar's lower level, where he finds Numbers 2 and 48 in transparent cylinders marked "Orbit 2" and "Orbit 48". He is given entry to the rocket, in which various Earth globes are arranged on a table. A figure in a half-black-half-white mask and a robe marked "1" hands to him a crystal ball, which he drops, causing it to crumble to dust. He pulls Number 1's mask off, and beneath it is an ape's mask. He tears the ape mask away and sees himself, an impish replica, that locks itself in the rocket's nose cone. The Prisoner initiates the rocket's launch sequence and escapes the hangar, with the help of the butler, the released Numbers 2 and 48, and several fire extinguishers and machine guns, which they use against the Villagers in the hangar. The three rebels board Number 2's cell pulled by a truck being driven by the butler, and they are transported out of the Village. The President orders the Village evacuated before the rocket successfully launches into space and Rover disintegrates into the Earth. Number 2 and Number 48 are released from the travelling cell in London as the butler becomes servant to the ex-Number 6, both of whom also leave the cell. Though he now has his London apartment and car back, Ex-Number 6 is still labelled as Prisoner, free through he may appear to be. Guest stars: Leo McKern (Number 2), Alexis Kanner (Number 48), Kenneth Griffith (the President).The Prisoner was released several times on videocassette and laser videodisc in the 1980s and 1990s, and in 2000, New Video Group, a subsidiary of the U.S. A & E cable television channel, began its digital videodisc (DVD) collection of The Prisoner with two box sets consisting of two DVDs each. The Prisoner was later released in high-definition video on Blu-Ray in the U.K. by Network DVD (later called Network Distributing) and in the U.S. by New Video Group.