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The Prisoner; Original Series, & Current Remake


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I'm sure The Prisoner television series is old hat to some around here, especially our British friends. I confess complete ignorance of it's existence up until today. Sadly, it was the passing of Patrick McGoohan that brought this show to my attention. McGoohan was the star of this 1960's British "science fiction, allegory and psychological drama."


I have no idea what expectations I should have for the original series, but the premise certainly peaks my interest. Moreover, reading the Prisoner Wiki reveals that the series is currently being remade and due out this year by the American movie channel AMC. (ironically AMC used to stand for American Movie Classics. :lol )


The entire original series is now available via AMC's website, which is pretty damn cool. At the very least the new remake could be quite interesting. I plan on giving the original series a shot, and I'll certainly be interested in seeing how the remake turns out.

Edited by JTello
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There's a great story about Iron Maiden getting permission to use the "I am am not a number" bit from McGoohan for their song The Prisoner:

[...] the recording of Number Of The Beast, like any Maiden album, also had its lighter moments, none more memorable than the evening Rod sat down to phone actor Patrick McGoohan and ask for his permission to use a recording of his voice on the album. Taking its title from the name of the cult '60s TV series, the band had come up with the idea of prefacing 'The Prisoner' with McGoohan (who played the central character, known simply as Number Six) uttering his famous catchphrase from the show: "I am not a number, I am a free man!" DJ Tommy Vance had helped out by lending them an original recording of the quote from the show, but they still needed McGoohan's permission before they could go ahead.


Steve recalls how, for once, their unflappable manager looked almost star-struck as he nervously dialled on the phone. "Oh, bloody 'ell," Rod moaned later. "It's alright dealing with these arsehole rock stars, but he's a real bona fide superstar actor. I was fucking terrified!" The rest of the band watched and laughed as Rod hesitantly began explaining the details to the actor, who was speaking from his home in Los Angeles. "What was the band's name again?" he asked. "Iron Maiden," Rod replied. "A rock band, you say," McGoohan mused. "Do it!" he snapped in the most imperious manner of his TV character and hung up the phone. So they did.

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The Prisoner was terrific. Real idea driven stuff. It would never get made were it pitched fresh today. It's often completely baffling but it?s a great credit to McGoohan?s name. He wasn?t just the star but conceived, wrote and produced it. I?d love to see a Blu-ray release of the series actually. It must be a good five years since I last watched all the episodes (the AMC online episodes cannot be viewed outside of America it seems)?


The remake (six episodes I believe?) is a co production between ITV and AMC. I?m actually glad there is some American funding as it will have helped the budget (it?s been shot on 35mm which, had it been UK only, probably would not have been the case). I?ve been following it off and on for a while but had forgotten about it until McGoohan?s passing yesterday. With Caviezel and McKellen I think there?s a lot of potential and I think if they?re exploring more modern themes and concerns it could compliment the original series nicely. This has probably killed Christopher Nolan?s desire to make a movie version though.


There was a great Simpsons parody of The Prisoner many years ago where Homer's interest in creating a gossip website saw him end up in 'The Village'... They even got McGoohan to play number six. It had a wonderful moment where Homer bursts Rover with a fork.


ITV used to have the DVD rights to the series (they'll have the home video rights to the new version apparently) but the last DVD release here in the UK, which was a restored special edition boxed set, was from Network who do have some affiliation with ITV but whether it will allow for a Blu-ray release I don?t know. The restoration was done in high def though and what I've seen of it looked good, albeit it one of those "lets suck all the grain out" restorations. The original series was shot on 35mm back in the days when British television wasn?t so cheap. :)

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  • 1 month later...

The original series is indeed Blu-ray bound (on the 27th of April):




I watched a couple of episodes quite recently - SD broadcasts of the restoration and it's definitely one of those Patton/Zulu smudgy grain sucking efforts (some low res comparisons here).


I’m not sure if the BD will be region locked or not.

Edited by Doctor Hoo
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I've seen reruns of this show on a couple of different channels. The show was confusing and weird but had some of the best moments and some funky music. I was perplexed but really enjoyed watching it.


You're right it's a bit too conceptual to get made today, but it was awesome. Glad you found it, and looking forward to the rerelease

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