Be Seeing You Number 6: Patrick McGoohan, RIP

14 Jan

The man behind my favorite ever TV show, The Prisoner, passed away earlier today in LA.  He was 80. If you’ve not seen it, check it out before AMC comes out with the (cynic mode on) undoubedly rubbish remake.  Netflix has the original:  you can’t beat perfection, though Sir Ian McKellan’s involvement in the new version gives me a little hope.

If you’re not familiar, it’s a 17 episode story of a former secret service operative imprisoned on a mysterious island after quitting his job as a spy.  The opening credits (below) show a heated exchange between he and his superior, ending with him angrily turning in his resignation.  He is then swiftly abducted (but by who?) and when he wakes up he’s on a mysterious, holiday camp island called “The Village”.

Known only as Number 6, the show chronicles his efforts to uncover why he’s there, who’s keeping him there, and in one of the show’s refrains who Number 1 is…. “who is Number 1… you are Number 6… I am not a number, I am a free man….”  More quotes here.

The Village is actually the Welsh town of Portmeirion.  If you’re a fan of the show it’s well worth a visit, looks almost exactly as it does in the show.  There’s even a giant chess board, though the giant rover bubbles are sadly absent (fans of the show will understand!).

Now almost 42 years old, the special effects look somewhat dated (tho not as dated as you’d expect), but the strength of the story, and McGoohan’s powerful presence in particular, mean it stands the test of time.  It’s one of the best and most influential shows that has ever been made, and McGoohan was the brains behind it, wrote and directed episodes and was its star.  He famously turned down the roles of both James Bond (thinking the character was a dullard who mistreated women, opening the door for Sean Connery) and The Saint. I’m very sad he’s gone.

Be seeing you.

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2 Responses to “Be Seeing You Number 6: Patrick McGoohan, RIP”

  1. dermoth January 15, 2009 at 6:48 am #

    Terrible news, obviously, but the thing that really upsets me is that they’re doing a retread of The Prisoner, which is surely one of the least appropriate shows of all time for a remake. Modern television audiences may well be capable of dealing with a show that is so deliberately obtuse, but they won’t get one; odds-on that the remake will feature hand-holding PREVIOUSLY ON THE PRISONER segments after every ad-break, and the worst possible scenario is that it ends up being more like Lost than the original Prisoner. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Lost, of course).

    I don’t even want to think about what they’ll do to the music. Brrrrr.

    Anyway, RIP, PMC. Let’s hope they don’t piss on your legacy too much.

  2. kaimac January 16, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Well said. Fingers crossed that SIM keeps them in check. He’s a good thing, obv.

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