If you grew up in the UK during the late 1960s you will probably remember a very intriguing TV series named "The Prisoner" (starring and created by Patrick McGoohan). Wikipedia has a very good summary of many of the key aspects of this series (see link). The plot of the series was as follows:
A former British secret agent abruptly resigns from his position, is abducted then held captive in a small village by the sea by an unidentified power that wishes to find out why he resigned. The unnamed prisoner, labelled "Number 6" by his captors, unsuccessfully attempts to escape from or change the authority of "the Village". However, Number 6 has numerous victories of his own, successfully thwarting the various individuals serving as the Village's chief administrator, "Number 2" in their attempts to break him or control the Village, causing a disconcertingly rapid turnover of personnel in the position. Eventually the series reaches its surreal climax: Number 6's tough resistance and his mounting bumps against the administration eventually threaten the viability of the Village itself, which forces its desperate warders to take drastic action. A sample of the very odd, surreal plot can be seen below:
The opening sequence was always a great scene setter for an episode whose direction and plot were almost impossible to imagine.
The series was eventually sold to one of the US TV stations, and to help American audiences understand a documentary was made (see video clip). I have no idea if this made things clear or not.
Many reasons made this series stick in my mind. One reason is that part of the opening sequence was filmed around the corner from my grammar school in Westminster, which so happens to be near Buckingham Palace (the home of Her Majesty the Queen). I recall on more than one occasion seeing the film crew working and thinking "Wow!" as a 12-13 yea-old would. Another reason is that it was filmed in a part of North Wales, Portmeirion (near Penrhyndeudraeth), that I knew very well from a holiday visit (see link). I'm one of those odd Joneses, who is not Welsh, but can speak a bit of Welsh and with my black face was often a thing of mirth in that part of the world famous for its sooty-faced miners.
Apart from the clothes, it is not easy to pinpoint this as a series that is over 40 years old.
For some reason that is utterly unclear to me, I recalled this series over the weekend. It may be associated with all the hoopla for the last James Bond movie, and I might have recalled that the actor who was in The Prisoner had been offered the Bond role before Sean Connery.
Maybe it was a sense of entrapment that comes from many days being housebound under the deluge of rain that has hit the island.
Maybe it was something Freudian to do with the bouncing balls that were sent to corral Number 6 when he went astray.
I'm not at all sure. Whatever it was, the key phrase is often so apt.
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