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19th September 2014
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My Science Fiction Life

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The Prisoner


TV: The Prisoner

Creator: McGoohan, Markstein


Thought Provokeing TVarrow icon

I bought it on DVD in 2007, I was 19
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Dark and Piercingarrow icon

1995 and i saw a rerun and was hooked. I was 18.
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More recollections...

In Depth

The Prisoner

Patrick McGoohan's bewildering labour of love is the ultimate in cult TV.

After the huge success of the spy series Danger Man, its star, Patrick McGoohan, was given free rein to create a follow-up show. An enigmatic, thoughtful star - something of a moralist - he devised The Prisoner, along with series script editor George Markstein. Four decades later, viewers are still asking, "What does it all mean?"

In the TV series, McGoohan is the titular Prisoner, a former secret agent who is drugged and taken to The Village (in real life, the Welsh village of Portmeirion), where he is addressed only as Number Six. The 17 episodes (there is a dispute over the 'correct' running order, which only adds to the show's cult appeal) mainly concern Number Six's attempts to escape the village, discover the identity of his captors, or outwit Number Two. The series' infamously surreal finale - where the Prisoner finally discovers the identity of the all-powerful Number One, amongst other things - either explains the foregoing action or simply muddies the water, depending on your point of view. For its tearing up of the rulebook, challenging viewers, and positively celebrating loose ends and ambiguity, The Prisoner was evidently ahead of its time.

Repeat runs on Channel 4, BBC Four and other digital channels continue to bring in new 'converts', and the series continues to have an influence on many TV programmes to this day.

Lostinthought recommends...

My Science Fiction Life contributor Lostinthought recommends his favourite stories from the site.

"I enjoyed reading the entries. A lot of them brought a smile to my face and some very fond memories," he says.

Ronsonlighter on Ringworld
Excellent piece on the book and author.

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Made me laugh!

BobSteele on War of the Worlds
A lively review of a fantastic series - RIP.

Sourdust on Blade Runner
Good on why Bladerunner is so influential.

Charliethebloody on Firefly
Shows how fandom grows and brings people together.

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