Thursday, 30 December 2010
It has been stated in ITC's publiclity notes for the hour Danger Man episodes, that there was a change in John Drake's character, in his attitude towards women. Previously in the 25 minute episodes, his attitude towards women was guarded. He was not afraid of them, but afraid of falling in love.A man of his character would never treat romance in a lighthearted manner. He avoided entanglement because he felt that the dangerous life he led would make it unfair to expect any woman to suffer the anxieties of being married to him. Marriage would also be unfair to him. With the responsibiltiy of a wife and later possibly children, he would inevitably feel more cautious in risking his life which was otherwise entirely his own, no-one left to suffer if he were killed in the line of work he did for Military Intelligence. Marriage would ultimately effect his work.
"John Drake realises that he is getting older and not yet married," McGoohan's own words. "Basically he would like the security of a home, marriage and a family, and he is beginning to feel that time is approaching when he must consider this before it is too late. He intends, however, to give up his job before he takes this step."
A very telling sentence, but I suppose you would have to be of the opinion that the characters of the Prisoner and John Drake are one and the same, before you decide to take this seriously. However I am of the opinion that they are, and there are those who worked on the production team of the Prisoner, who have confirmed this as fact, the Prisoner and John Drake being one and the same character.
John Drake was getting older, and Secret Agents have only so long a life span. And Drake wanted security, a marriage and a family of his own before it was too late. The Prisoner, as we discover in the episode Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, is engaged to one Janet Portland, the daughter of Sir Charles Portland who is head of the department in Military Intelligence for whom the Prisoner works.
Sir Charles was pruning his Baccara roses when the Priosner asked to marry his daughter. It must have come as a shock to Sir Charles that anyone would wish to marry his daughter, because he dropped his secateurs! But perhaps he was going to get his daughter off his hands at last. What's more, perhaps for Janet Portland, a one time debutante, it was her last chance of marriage!
So the Prisoner resigned his job, just as John Drake had eventually intended to do. But was Janet Portland the right woman for him? Janet is basically a homely woman, but she would love him. Take care of him, bear his children, and perhaps most importnat of all, give him a secure life. Because perhaps Sir Charles would then give his son-in-law a desk job. The Prisoner would then be at home every evening, all nice and cosy. Possibly with the social round of parties from time to time, something Janet Portland would lap up, but perhaps not so enjoyed by her husband. Not that the Prisoner was not used to socialising. You will recall how he used to attend Madame Engadine's celebrated parties in Paris.
I would have though that Janet Portland was not really the Prisoner's type at all, much more No.8-Nadia Rakovsky. But with Janet comes a possible promotion for the Prisoner, and a possible desk job. Ah, but I'm forgetting, the Prisoner resigned his job! Why, and did he tell Janet he was going to do this? And wherever the Prisoner was going in such a hurry, after tendering his letter of resignation, was he taking Janet Portland with him? It looks extremely doubtful to me.
I'm Piet Hein
Friday, 24 December 2010
All this rigmarole to try and extract the reason behind the Prisoner's resignation. To try and break him. Isolate him. Promote him. Put him in dangerous situations, and all for nothing. What 'they' should have done is to ask someone in the know. Like the recipient of the Prisoner's letter of resignation. That baldheaded, bespectacled man sat behind a desk, who the Priosner ranted and raved at. Or the Colonel, he would certainly have read the Prisoners letter of resignation. That's who they should have asked, the Colonel when he was brought to the village during The Chimes of Big Ben. For the answer to why the Prisoner resigned, is in that letter.
Mind you the Prisoner did tell No.2 why he resigned during that one to one situation of Once Upon A Time. But No.2 wasn't listening at the time, and asked to be told again. But the Prisoner wasn't one for having to repeat himself....."You've been told!" he said. And so were you at the time, or were you not listening also?
I'm Piet Hein
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
He sleeps only four out of each twenty-four hours, which in itself is quite remarkable. But finally, having collapsed with exhaustion, his raft is siezed by gun-runners, who he has to overcome. Then forced to abandon ship, he swims towards a light in the distance, the Prisoner is washed up on a beach. He wakes up, and scales the chalky cliffs at one point where there has been recent cliff erosion. The Prisoner is then faced with a long walk, during which he is helped by a young gypsy woman, who gives him some broth, and directions to a road.
Having gained an unsolicited ride in the back of a van, he suddenly hears the sound of a siren, and then risks all by leaping out of the back of the van and into the road of busy London traffic! I mean to say, the Prisoner could have been knocked down by a taxi, or killed by being run over by a bus!! He then finally makes his way back to his London home, to find one Mrs. Butterworth is now living in his home, which had still six months to run on the lease. What's more this Mrs. Butterworth has apparently bought the Prisoners Lotus 7!!
Then the prisoner has two calls to make, one in town, the other in the country, and a meeting with the Colonel and Thorpe. So having convinced the Colonel enough to have every detail of their ex-colleagues report checked, and with the cards stacked heavily in favour of the Prisoner, a search area for the village is calculated, and so the Prisoner goes in search of the village, via Gibratar, where the Gloster Meteor jet is refuelled.
However not all goes according to the Prisoners plan, as the one time pilot of the Group Captain, has been replaced with an agent of the village, and so having been ejected out of the jet aircraft, the Prisoner is unceremoniously returned to the village at the end of a parachute! There is still no-one about in the village, it appears still to be as deserted as it was on the day he set sail abord his sea-going raft. So having returned to his cottage, Mrs. Butterworth, now No.2, arrives with a birthday cake for him. She wishes No.6 many happy returns, with a smarmy smile on her face. No.6 had gone to so much effort to get away from the village, and to be brought back so easily.........but the Prisoner takes it all in his stride, and looks out of a window to see that life in the village has suddenly returned to normal, almost instantly so. If that had been me, I don't think I could have taken it so calmly as No.6 did. I'd want to smack No.2 for one thing, so to wipe that smarmy look off her face!
I'm Piet Hein
Monday, 20 December 2010
But No.6 is part of the community, and the community must live and so must No.6. He palys chess with No.6 an ex-Admiral by all account, and of whom I believe there is much more to than first meets the eye. I first took the ex-Admiral as a fool, who had been in the village far too long. But then to have been so, he must have done well to have survived for so long. It took me a while before his comment to No.6, about the Stone Boat, became fully understood. I just thought the ex-Admiral was being daft, a symtom of his senile mind when he said to No.6 in Arrival, "Try the boat. She's good in any weather. Sailed her many a time. Have a good trip!" I mean the Stone Boat cannot go anywhere, and after a little research I disovered what a Stone Boat actually is, and why it doesn't go anywhere!
No.6 is also a sucker for a damsel in distress. Nadia-No.8 was a damsel in distress during The Chimes of Big Ben. Monique-No.50, a damsel who went looking for help from No.6 in It's Your Funeral, whom No.6 could not resist, once he'd found out the reason for her coming to him in the first place. Alison-No.24 wasn't exactly a damsel in distress, but he was helping her with her mind reading act in time for the village festival. And they always turned on him, save for Monique, these so called 'damsel's in distress,' betraying No.6 to No.2. Alison said to No.6 that if given a second chance she wouldn't do it again. So why do it the first time!
In the end, liife in the village comes down to manipulation, the manipulation of the citizens. And the final manipulation for No.6 was Fall Out. A last throw of the dice to try and break No.6. But in the end it was nothing more than a falling out. Because once No.6 had returned to London, and as soon as he could, he was off to tender his resignation, and therefore the Prisoner began all over again, the series being nothing more than a vicious circle. The Prisoner setting in motion a continuous act of self-persecution!
I'm Piet Hein
Sunday, 19 December 2010
If you have been a reader of The Tally Ho on MySpace, you will know that I am a keen fan of the Prisoner, that 1960's television series starring Patrick McGoohan in the title role. More than that, I've a keen appreciation for the 2009 interpretation of THEPRISONER starring Ian McKellen as Two, and Jim Caviezel as Six.
So after this introduction, I look forward to writing Prisoner based blog here from time to time, as part of David's blogging team.
I'm Piet Hein