Number 6 is the hero and we like to think that we can empathise with his situation. But can we? Don’t forget you are sitting in the comfort of your chair, probably having a cup of coffee as the Prisoner is confronted on the beach by The Village Guardian. And I can think of a few people who would empathise better with Number 2! We cannot really know what it is like as it was for Number 6 to be abducted from our home, to wake up in an alien environment where we do not know anyone. And yet over the centuries that is exactly what has happened to millions of people at one time or another. But thankfully we’re dealing with a television series. Well its highly unlikely that two undertakers would arrive at your home, pump nerve gas into the room, place you in a coffin and abduct you to The Village. And even if they did, what would be your chances for escape? Remember not everyone is possessed by the skills which Number 6 employs. If it was up to me, I’d probably be able to fell a small tree, carve a dug-out canoe out of the trunk of the tree. Then somehow get it down to the beach, but instead of heading off out to sea, I’d head in-land, along the river. Well the Village is situated on the estuary of a river, so why not?
But we wouldn’t wish to see ourselves in Number 6’s canvas deck shoes, would we? Mind you that would be preferable to being in Roland Walter Dutton’s shoes. Or those of Number 8’s for that matter, being used time and time again to infiltrate prisoners escape plans in order to see them fail! You wouldn’t want that to happen to you, would you now? I know I certainly wouldn’t. But then there could be another way, to go to The Village of your own free will, as the Professor and Madam Professor did. But then having arrived, they probably found The Village, and their position in the community wasn’t what they expected it to be. They were just as much prisoners as anybody else. For myself I like gardening. Perhaps I could be a horticulturalist in The Village, “Mind the plants sir, they're new.” Being a gardener seems to me to be ideal. Not getting yourself involved, working in the quiet atmosphere of The Village, and with the good earth. It almost sounds like a place to escape to!
‘The Prisoner’ can be a joy to watch, and possibly ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ is one of the most enjoyable episodes. For the relationship between Nadia and Number 6, plus the rapport between Number 6 and Number 2. The fact that Number 6 thinks he's being so clever in carving that hull of a boat out of a tree trunk, and putting it together with two other pieces, on display at the "Arts & Crafts" exhibition for all the citizens to see, and to hear his remarkable, and off the cuff explanation of his abstract sculpture. Number 6 thought Number 2 didn't know what he was about, but Number 2 was playing Number 6 for a fool, as he knew what Number 6 was about all the time.
If there is anything which can only be fully enjoyed the once during ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ it is the moment Number 6 realises what time it is, that Big Ben has just struck eight, that his watch says eight. The watch given to him by a man in Poland, where there is one hours difference between English and Polish time! And yet there is that moment after the Butler has set out the tea things on the table in Number 2's office - the Butler wheels away his tea trolley, and as he does Number 2 looks at his manservant and shivers - have you noticed that? Well perhaps you will the next time you watch ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’
Be seeing you