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The Prisoner
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TV Series
    (October 1, 1967-February 4, 1968)
    Aired on ITV
    Starred Patrick McGoohan as Number Six
    Created by McGoohan and George Markstein
    Premise: A former secret agent is held captive in a strange seaside village and attempts to escape while resisting efforts to break his will
    McGoohan insisted that Number Six and the secret agent he played in 'Danger Man,' John Drake, were different characters, and 'Danger Man' creator Ralph Smart received no credit or payment for 'The Prisoner.'
    However, two authorized novels spun off from 'The Prisoner' explicitly state that Number Six is Drake.
    McGoohan said, 'I thought the concept for the thing would sustain for only seven [episodes],' but he extended the show to 17 episodes at the insistance of producer Lew Grade.
    In one episode, Number Six's mind was transplanted into another man's body so McGoohan could go to America to film 'Ice Station Zero.'
    The final episode was so confusing, McGoohan went into hiding to avoid viewers demanding an explanation.
    Series co-creator Markstein said of the finale, 'I think it was bit of gross self-indulgence.'
    McGoohan was inspired in part by the surreal appearance of the Welsh resort of Portmeiron, which now hosts an annual fan convention.
    Several episodes delve into psychological themes, such as the conflict between authority and freedom.
    McGoohan said he did not want a typical James Bond ending for the series, and he succeeded in spades.
    McGoohan appeared in an episode of The Simpsons that parodied 'The Prisoner.'
    A survey of movie and rock stars by 'Uncut' magazine listing the films, books, music and TV that changed the world featured 'The Prisoner' at #10, the highest ranking for any television show (2006).

Credit: C. Fishel


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