The Prisoner

(United Kingdom | ITV | 1967 – 1968)

The Prisoner
Series Background

Arguably one of the most debated and puzzling television programmes of all time, The Prisoner first appeared on screen in October 1967 with Patrick McGoohan playing the unnamed Prisoner. The start of most episodes showed him resigning from his job before being gassed and subsequently waking up in a mysterious Village — a picturesque dumping ground for people who may just know too much for comfort.

Re-named Number 6, he found himself facing constant questions as to the reason for his sudden resignation — usually from Number 2, the person in charge of goings-on in the Village. It should be said that Number 2 was merely a designation, as the actor playing the part was changed for most episodes.

As to who Number 1 was, well that was one of the great mysteries of the programme.

Other notable aspects of the show included the Village itself (actually Portmeirion in North Wales), the sinister, white Rover that acted as a guard and the fact that it's just so damn different from anything else!

The final episode saw the Number 6 finally obtaining his freedom from the Village in an anarchic hour of television. The closing scene saw him entering his own home. And as the door closed behind him, it was to the same sound as the doors in the Village, leaving viewers to wonder if he really was free...

After several years of rumours, ITV formally announced in June 2008 that they would be filming a brand-new six-part series for transmission in 2009. American actor Jim Caviezel was cast in the role of Number 6, while Sir Ian McKellen play Number 2. The series finally aired on ITV1 in April 2010.
DVD Releases

The Prisoner has been released on Blu-ray and DVD in both the UK and the United States.
The Prisoner: The Original Scripts — Volume 1

Edited
by
Robert Fairclough
Cover image: The Prisoner, The Original Scripts - Volume 1, Reynolds & Hearn (2005)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Reynolds & Hearn
Publication Date 2005
Original Price 19.99
ISBN 1903111765

The Original Scripts — Volume 1 contains the original scripts to the first eight episodes of the television series.

Television Episodes
60 Minutes | ITV | Colour
All dates are for ATV Midlands.

29/09/67 Arrival George Markstein and David Tomblin
06/10/67 The Chimes of Big Ben Vincent Tilsley
13/10/67 A, B and C Anthony Skene
20/10/67 Free for All Paddy Fitz (a.k.a. Patrick McGoohan)
27/10/67 The Schizoid Man Terence Feely
03/11/67 The General Joshua Adam (a.k.a. Lewis Greifer)
10/11/67 Many Happy Returns Joseph Serf (a.k.a. Patrick McGoohan)
17/11/67 Dance of the Dead Anthony Skene
Notes
  • The book includes an introduction by Lewis Greifer, whose pseudonymous script to the The General was his only contribution to the television series.
  • As well as containing the scripts to the first eight episodes of the television series, the book also includes The Outsider, an unproduced script written by Moris Farhi. Synopses for two other unrpodcued scripts are also included: Ticket to Eternity and Friend of Foe, both by Eric Mival. Other notable features include extensive notes on changes to the episodes beween the script and screen, and the original writers' guide to The Prisoner, which was compiled by George Markstein.

    As should be expected from a book of this type, details of the television episodes are also included, including cast, transmission dates and music details.

    Copies of all of the scripts featured in the book, including the unproduced ones, were subsequently included as PDF documents on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the complete series from Network DVD.
  • The Prisoner wasn't the only UK sci-fi TV series which Moris Farhi was to work on. In 1964 he was commissioned to write a six-part story for Doctor Who titled Farewell Great Macedon, although it ultimately wasn't to be produced. The complete script to the story was made available as a print-on-demand book in 2009. He also wrote Xanadu, the penultimate episode to the third and final season of Into the Labyrinth in 1982.
The Prisoner: The Original Scripts — Volume 2

Edited
by
Robert Fairclough
Cover image: The Prisoner, The Original Scripts - Volume 2, Reynolds & Hearn (2006)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher Reynolds & Hearn
Publication Date 2006
Original Price 24.99
ISBN 1903111811

The Original Scripts — Volume 2 contains the original scripts to the final nine episodes of the television series.

In the Press
  • TV Zone #202
    Review: p92, Andrew Pixley, 9/10
Television Episodes
60 Minutes | ITV | Colour
All dates are for ATV Midlands.

24/11/67 Checkmate Gerald Kelsey
01/12/67 Hammer Into Anvil Roger Woddis
08/12/67 It's Your Funeral Michael Cramoy
15/12/67 A Change of Mind Roger Parkes
22/12/67 Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling Vincent Tilsley
29/12/67 Living in Harmony David Tomblin, from a story by David Tomblin and Ian L Rakoff
19/01/68 The Girl Who Was Death Terence Feely, from an idea by David Tomblin
26/01/68 Once Upon a Time Patrick McGoohan
02/02/68 Fall Out Patrick McGoohan
Notes
  • The book contains the final nine scripts from the television series, and includes a foreword by Roger Parkes, who scripted A Change of Mind.

    Like the previous volume, each episode is examined in meticulous detail, listing differences between the scripts and the final television episode.

    As far as previously unseen material is concerned, Volume 2 includes two unproduced scripts. The first, Don't Get Yourself Killed, was written by Gerald Kelsey and was intended for The Prisoner, while the second is Noises Off, a script by Lewis Greifer which was written as a pilot to a series which would have been titled The Outsider and which would have starred Patrick McGoohan in a thematic follow-up to The Prisoner.

    With the exception of Noises Off, copies of all of the scripts featured in the book were subsequently included as PDF documents on the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the complete series from Network DVD. And for those who like spotting the differences between scripts, the PDF files include four different drafts of Checkmate, two of Hammer Into Anvil and two of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.
The Prisoner

by
Thomas M Disch
Cover image: The Prisoner, Ace Books (1969)
Country United States
Format Paperback
Publisher Ace Books
Publication Date 1969
Original Price 60¢
ISBN N/A

The Prisoner is an original novel set after the events of Fall Out, the final episode of the television series.

Back Cover Blurb
"I am not a number! I am a man! A FREE MAN!"

When THE PRISONER premiered on U.S. television, it brought forth from viewers more debate and enthusiasm than any other TV show within memory. Not exactly a spy series...not precisely science fiction...still it was acclaimed as the most exciting and imaginative series in television history.

Who is the prisoner known as "Number 6"? Why has he been kidnapped and subtly held captive in the sinister fairy-tale town known only as The Village? What nation, or what secret agency, is behind his abduction? And is he truly a prisoner...or can he be, as he claims, a free man?

Once again these questions become crucial — for, having escaped from The Village for the final time, Number 6 has once more been captured...for the final time?
Inner Cover Blurb
You are a highly trained, top-level secret agent...one of the best your country has. But there comes a time when you want out, when your nature rebels against the entire world of spying.

But they won't let you quit. You know too much, they say.

You quit anyway. They can't force you to work for them, after all. You plan a leisurely retirement in the country.

And one day you awake to discover that you've been captured. You're in a village whose architecture is pleasantly old-fashioned, yet there are ultra-sophisticated eyes and ears monitoring your every move. You've become The Prisoner.

Yet you are still yourself; you still have the skills and determination that made you a successful agent. So you WILL find a way to escape. But...to where?
Other Editions
(The Prisoner)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa | 1969
Translated by Jun Nagai.
Cover image: Le Prisonnier, Presses de la Renaissance (1969) Le Prisonnier
France | Hardback | Presses de la Renaissance | 1969
Translated by Jacqueline Huet.
Cover image: The Prisoner, Hayakawa Bunko (1977) (The Prisoner)
Japan | Paperback | Hayakawa Bunko | 1977
Translated by Jun Nagai.
Cover image: Le Prisonnier, Presses Pocket (1979) Le Prisonnier
France | Paperback | Presses Pocket | 1979 | 2266007491
Translated by Jacqueline Huet.
Cover image: The Prisoner, Dobson Books (1979) The Prisoner
UK | Hardback | Dobson Books | 1979 | 023472059X
First edition in the UK.
Cover image: The Prisoner, New English Library (1980) The Prisoner
UK | Paperback | New English Library | 1980 | 85p | 0450045439

He's a top level agent. Highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out.

They won't let him quit. He quits anyway.

Then suddenly there comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity. A pleasant old-style village that's packed solid with electronic surveillance hardware.

He is the Prisoner.

If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top flight cloak-and-dagger man, is he good enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall?

'Closely based on the extraordinary TV series, far and away the finest thing the medium has done in this genre; while Disch himself is one of the best of the new SF writers.'
OBSERVER

Cover image: Le Prisonnier, Presses Pocket (1992) Le Prisonnier
France | Paperback | Presses Pocket | 1992 | 2266054082
Translated by Jacqueline Huet.
Cover image: The Prisoner, Boxtree Ltd (1992) The Prisoner
UK | Paperback | Boxtree Ltd | October 1992 | 3.99 | 1852837918
This edition was released to tie in with a repeat run of the series on Channel 4. Number Two was also re-issued by Boxtree at the same time.
I AM NOT A NUMBER! I AM A FREE MAN!

He's a top level agent. Highly trained and ultra-secret. But he wants out.

They won't let him quit. He quits anyway.

Then suddenly there comes the day when he wakes up in captivity. A pleasant old-fashioned Village that's packed with electronic surveillance equipment.

He is the Prisoner.

He was the best in his field, but is he good enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall.

Cover image: The Prisoner, I Books (2002) The Prisoner
United States | Paperback | I Books | 2002 | 074344504X
The I Books edition was also released as an eBook.
WELCOME TO THE VILLAGE, NUMBER 6.

He's a top-level agent, highly skilled and ultra-secret. But he wants out, and they won't let him quit. He quits anyway. Then suddenly there comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity, in a pleasant, old-style seaside town — one packed solid with electronic surveillance equipment.

This is the Village. And he is the Prisoner.

If he was good enough, sharp enough to be a top-flight cloak-and-dagger man, is he good enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall?

Cover image: The Prisoner, Penguin Books (2009) The Prisoner
United States | Paperback | Penguin Books | October 2009 | 978-0143117223
Released to tie in with the broadcast of the six-episode re-make of The Prisoner on the AMC channel.
Cover image: The Prisoner, Penguin Books (2010) The Prisoner
UK | Paperback | Penguin Books | April 2010 | 7.99 | 978-0141049403
Released to tie in with the broadcast of the six-episode re-make of The Prisoner on ITV1. An eBook edition was released at the same time.
'I am not Number 6. I am not a prisoner. I am a free man.'

This is the classic novel of the TV series The Prisoner, by cult author Thomas M. Disch. First published in 1968, this new edition celebrates the long-awaited remake of the series, from ITV1 and the producers of Mad Men, starring Sir Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel. Combining the power of a great spy thriller with Orwellian science fiction, The Prisoner follows a former British secret agent who has quit the force, only to find himself trapped in an anonymous place called the Village. Known only as 'Number 6,' he struggles to maintain his identity in the face of the nameless powers-that-be, who use increasingly sophisticated and terrifying methods to extract his secrets.
The Prisoner was also released by Carlton Books in 2002 as part of the Prisoner Omnibus.
Notes
  • The Prisoner was the first of three original novels to be published in the wake of the television series, all of them being written for American publisher Ace Books.
Back cover and inner cover blurbs of the Ace Books edition supplied by Stephen Barker
Back cover of the New English Library edition supplied by Stephen Barker
The Prisoner: Number Two

by
David McDaniel
Cover image: The Prisoner, Number Two, Ace Books (1969)
Country United States
Format Paperback
Publisher Ace Books
Publication Date 1969
Original Price 60¢
ISBN N/A
Book Number 2

Number Two is an original novel which continues from the conclusion of the previous novel, The Prisoner by Thomas M Disch.

Back Cover Blurb
He was free — within the Village

Free to busy himself or to do nothing. Free to socialise or to keep himself to himself. Free to ask questions and listen to the gently plausible answers.

Free even to try to escape. But not to leave. The Guardians saw to that. Intercepted him and shepherded him back, carefully but firmly, to be reprimanded more in sorrow than anger. Left him to try again and fail again.

Why? Why this tolerance of his endless attempts to get away?

Was he, unwittingly, doing just what they wanted? Continuously testing out the defences, showing up the weak spots. Were all his probings and schemings simply improving the security of their system?

Would giving up be the only true rebellion he could muster?
Other Editions
The Prisoner: Who is Number Two?
UK | Hardback | Dobson Books | 1981
Evidence of this edition actually having been published is thin on the ground. If anyone can prove its existence, or even supply a cover scan, please get in contact via the email address on the front page of the site.
Cover image: The Prisoner, Who is Number Two?, New English Library (1982) The Prisoner: Who is Number Two?
UK | Paperback | New English Library | 1982 | 0450052877

Home Sweet Home
— in the Village?


The man known as "Number 6" had been a top-level secret agent — until he had suddenly and mysteriously resigned from his post. Then, just as inexplicably, he had been kidnapped and held prisoner in a bizarre old-fashioned Village where electronic eyes monitored his every move.

Time after time he had escaped, but each time he had been brought back. Yet he still persisted in his attempts to be a free man, for he had a force of will an ingenuity that his captors had never seen before. How long could they hold him there?

Unlesss...unless, somehow, The Prisoner might come to enjoy life in his prison...

Cover image: The Prisoner, Who is No. 2?, Boxtree Ltd (1992) The Prisoner: Who is No. 2?
UK | Paperback | Boxtree Ltd | October 1992 | 3.99 | 1852838302
This edition was released to tie in with a repeat run of the series on Channel 4. The first novel, The Prisoner, was also re-issued by Boxtree at the same time.
HOME SWEET HOME — IN THE VILLAGE?

The man known as "Number 6" had been a top-level agent until he had suddenly and mysteriously resigned from his post. Then, just as inexplicably, he had been kidnapped and held prisoner in a sinister fairy tale Village where electronic eyes monitored his every move.

Time after time he had escaped, but each time he had been brought back. Yet still his he persisted in his attempts to be a free man, with a determination and ingenuity that his captors had never seen before. How long could they hold him there?

Unless, somehow, the Prisoner might come to enjoy life in his prison...
Number Two was also released by Carlton Books in 2002 as part of the Prisoner Omnibus.
Notes
  • Number Two was the second of three original novels to be published in the wake of the television series, all of them being written for American publisher Ace Books.
  • David McDaniel also wrote six novels based on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. for Ace Books during the 1960s.

    Cover image: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Dagger Affair, Ace Books (1966) Cover image: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Vampire Affair, Ace Books (1966) Cover image: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Monster Wheel Affair, Ace Books (1966) Cover image: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Rainbow Affair, Ace Books (1967) Cover image: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Utopia Affair, Ace Books (1968) Cover image: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Hollow Crown Affair, Ace Books (1969)
Back cover of the New English Library edition supplied by Stephen Barker
The Prisoner: A Day in the Life

by
Hank Stine
Cover image: The Prisoner, A Day in the Life, Ace Books (1970)
Country United States
Format Paperback
Publisher Ace Books
Publication Date 1970
Original Price 60¢
ISBN N/A
Book Number 3

A Day in the Life is an original novel which carries on from the previous novel, Number Two by David McDaniel.

Back Cover Blurb
In the Village there is:
a beach
a theater
a tennis court
and an underground chamber from which mysterious men monitor every move

Each day is like another in the Village:
a trip to the grocer's
a conversation with a Number
an escape attempt.

The Village — a sinister Disneyland for people who know too much about critical government projects and so can never be set free.

And YOU are there.
Other Editions
Cover image: The Prisoner, A Day in the Life, Dobson Books (1979) The Prisoner: Who is Number Two?
UK | Hardback | Dobson Books | 1979 | 0234721677
First edition in the UK.
Cover image: The Prisoner, A Day in the Life, New English Library (1981) The Prisoner: A Day in the Life
UK | Paperback | New English Library | 1981 | 0450051064

"There are no lives anymore, only statistics. And statistics can be sacrificed..."

Every day in the village is just like any other.

There's the beach and the theatre, and the tennis court... and the mysterious underground chamber where every move is watched.

In this sinister wonderland for those who know too much ever to know freedom, the average day is just a trip to the grocer's, a conversation with a Number... and a chance to escape...

Cover image: The Prisoner, A Day in the Life, I Books (2003) The Prisoner: A Day in the Life
United States | Paperback | I Books | 2003 | 0743452755
The I Books edition was also released as an eBook.
Number Two was also released by Carlton Books in 2002 as part of the Prisoner Omnibus.
Notes
  • A Day in the Life was the third and final original novel to be published in the wake of the television series, all of them being written for American publisher Ace Books. It would be a further thirty-five years before Powys Media would acquire a licence to publish original Prisoner novels and released The Prisoner's Dilemma.
Back cover blurb of the Ace Books edition supplied by Stephen Barker
The Prisoner: The Prisoner's Dilemma

by
Jonathan Blum
and
Rupert Booth
Cover image: The Prisoner, The Prisoner's Dilemma, Powys Media (2005)
Country United States
Format Paperback
Publisher Powys Media
Publication Date 2005
Original Price $14.95
ISBN UNKNOWN

The Prisoner's Dilemma is an original novel, but unlike the three published between 1969 and 1970 it is set during the timeframe of the original television series.

Back Cover Blurb
"Everyone's an individual now. Everyone's a rebel. Everyone does their own thing. You've inspired them all. To NOTHING."

Things are changing in the Village. The authorities have found new ways of exploiting community spirit...using a lost pioneer of computer science to put their stamp on the coming Information Age.

But then there's Number 18.

She's a murderer...for the best of reasons. She's a bit of a collaborator, for reasons of her own. She's fiercely protective of herself. And she may be Number 6's best chance of out-thinking the Village, as they pit themselves against the authorities' newest attempt at control. But it all depends on what the Village's masters are really aiming for.

Do they expect him to trust her...or destroy her?
Notes
Cover image: Doctor Who, Seeing I, BBC Books (1998)
  • The Prisoner's Dilemma is the first in a series of novels from Powys Media based on the classic 1960s television series, and the first new one to be published since A Day in the Life in 1970.
  • Jonathan Blum is best known for co-writing the Doctor Who novels Vampire Science, Seeing I and Unnatural History with his wife, Kate Orman, as well as the award-winning Doctor Who novella Fallen Gods.
  • The Prisoner's Dilemma includes a foreword by J Michael Straczynski, the creator of the US sci-fi TV series Babylon 5. One of the most popular recurring characters in the series was the Psi Cop Bester (played by Star Trek's Walter Koenig) who was often to be heard saying "be seeing you", a nod by Straczynski towards The Prisoner. The character was the focus of J Gregory Keys' Psi Corps Trilogy which was released in paperback by Del Rey between 1998 and 1999.
The Prisoner: Miss Freedom

by
Andrew Cartmel
Cover image: The Prisoner, Miss Freedom, Powys Media (2008)
Country United States
Format Paperback
Publisher Powys Media
Publication Date 2008
Original Price $14.95
ISBN 978-0967728087

Miss Freedom is an original novel set during the timeframe of the original television series.

Back Cover Blurb
A team of British secret agents are being trained for a special commando mission. They will parachute by night into a secret location —

The Village.

Here they will infiltrate, locate Number 6, and rescue him and return him to freedom.

But the Village can be a deadly place to visit...
Notes
  • Miss Freedom was initially made available as a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered copies for sale at the Gallifrey and Six-of-One conventions. Although the book was due to be released more widely, there is currently no news as to when (or if) that might occur....

    Technically, Miss Freedom was meant to be the third of six books in the series from Powys Media, however, with Lance Parkin's The Other seemingly delayed indefinitely, it was actually published second.
  • Andrew Cartmel is probably best known for his television work on Doctor Who, where he served as script editor for the final three seasons of the original television series between 1987 and 1989. In the 1990s he wrote a trilogy of Doctor Who novels for Virgin Publishing (Cat's Cradle: Warhead / Warlock / Warchild), and in 2005 penned Atom Bomb Blues, the very final book published in the Previous Doctor Adventures range of Doctor Who novels from BBC Books. In between, he also found time to write the original Doctor Who novella Foreign Devils, released by Telos Publishing in 2002.
The Prisoner Omnibus

by
Thomas M Disch,
David McDaniel
and
Hank Stine
Cover image: The Prisoner Omnibus, Carlton Books (2002)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Carlton Books
Publication Date 2002
Original Price 9.99
ISBN 0842225316

The Prisoner Omnibus contains all three of the original novels released between 1969 and 1970: The Prisoner, Number Two and A Day in the Life.

Back Cover Blurb
'I am not a number. I am a free man.'

The Prisoner Omnibus includes all three classic novels based on the extraordinary cult TV series.

The Prisoner — Thomas M. Disch
He's a top-level agent, but he wants out. They won't let him quit, but he quits anyway. Then suddenly there comes the dawn when he wakes up in captivity. He is a prisoner in a pleasant old-style village that's packed solid with electronic hardware. Is he good enough, sharp enough to escape the men who've chained his life to the wall?

Who is Number Two? — David McDaniel
Free to busy himself or do nothing. Free to ask questions. Free even to try to escape. But not to leave. The Guardians saw to that. Intercepted him, and shepherded him back. Left him to try and fail again. Would giving up be the only true rebellion he could muster?

A Day in the Life — Hank Stine
In this sinister wonderland for those who know too much ever to know freedom, the average day is just a trip to the grocer's, a conversation with a number and a chance to escape.
Back cover blurb supplied by Anthony Forth