Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Don't Get Yourself Killed!

Don't Get Yourself Killed is one of two unused script for the Prisoner, written by Gerald Kelsey. A brief synopsis would run as that No.6 encounters the Escape Committee, which consists of a group of villagers who claim the right to vet all escape attempts, much like the escape committees of WWII Prisoner of War camps. No.6 initially shuns them, but is then coerced into joining them.
    Through his meeting with a member of the Escape Committee known as 'the Miner,' who appears to be attempting to dig his way out of the village, No.6 concocts an escape plan which involves the Miner and an oddball of the villages administration referred to as 'HOF', the head of Facility of the Environmental Adjustment Department. It is this bizarre figure who is responsible for the loudspeaker 're-educational lectures' which flood the village, forcing residents to repeat, parrot fashion, nonsensical slogans like "Individuality is the expression of revolt against the Community" as they go about their daily business.
    The plot requires the 'HOF' to defy No.2's orders and bring No.6 in for conditiong when he observes that No.6 is refusing to take part in a lecture. A sequence in which No.6 is brought into the facility on a travelator device, like a parcel mechanically handled in a conveyor.
   No.6 refuses to co-operate with the 'HOF' and later, somewhat unconvincingly, who suddenly declares an interest in joing No.6 and the Miner in an escape attempt, provided that he is paid for his help. As it happens, the Miner has discovered gold in his tunnel and No.6 offers to pay the 'HOF in gold ore.
   Between the three of them, they concoct an escape plan which involves stealing a helicopter from the village's Helicopter Service Depot, but the plot is foiled at the very last moment, thanks to greed of the miner who refuses to take off without his sack of gold.
    Curiously the script of Don't Get Yourself Killed has the grand looking Georgian house as the residence of No.2. This would have been Portmeirion's pink and white Unicorn cottage, which was originally intended for No2's residence, and not the Green Dome. But there was trouble with the the undergrowth, and the large pair of wrought iron gates getting in the way of camera angles. Also there was supposed to have been a gold mine at Portmeirion at the back of the Hotel. However the idea of a 'Helicopter Service Depot' seems ridiculous, and to be able to actually steal a helicopter suggests very lax security.And for there to have been an actual escape committee, surely that would have been stamped out as soon as one had been formed! Yet thinking about it, there are 'Jammers' in the village, as described in the episode It's Your Funeral, but I don't think the two things are the same. Jammers only talk about their plots to create mischief, they don't actually take action against the village, or attempt to escape!
    Anyway the script for Don't Get Yoruself Killed turned into fools gold, and I feel that the Prisoner series would not have been made all the stronger for this scripts inclusion.. However having said that, I found the script worked rather well, certainly better than that of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, and was quite eerie with the re-education lectures, and I liked very much the slogan "Individuality is the expression of revolt against the community," such a slogan would have fitted in nicley in the episode A Change of Mind!
   There were also several ideas floating about at the time for further scripts for the Prisoner, such as a Magicin coming to the village along with a funfair. And when No.6 is placed inside the Magician magic cabinet.....No.6 disappears!
   Next time there's some "pilot error" in the second unused script the Outsider by Moris Farhi.
I'm Piet Hein

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