Most Requested Figures:
The Prisoner

Since I’m running things in Noisy’s absence, I’m taking it upon myself to pick another obscure pick for this week’s Most Requested article. This suggestion, courtesy of reader dwaltrip, may not be the most remembered classic TV show, but the The Prisoner is not to be forgotten.

I don’t blame you if you don’t know what The Prisoner is, or if the first thing that popped into your head is the AMC miniseries remake with Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen. I didn’t know what it was for the majority of my life either, but that was a mistake I’m glad has been rectified. The Prisoner is a 1967 British television series starring Patrick McGoohan. McGoohan plays a secret agent who quits the service for unknown reasons, only to find himself drugged and held captive in the ultimate planned community – The Village. None of the inhabitants of The Village have names, instead they go by numbers. McGoohan’s character becomes known as Number Six. The Village is run by various people who are replaced throughout the show with the title of Number Two. The goal of these various Number Twos is to discover the information that Six knows. They use various means of torture, mostly psychological but sometimes physical, to try and break Six’s willpower and individuality.

What makes this series unique among TV shows in general is its sense of meta-fiction outlined by plots concerning social themes. Storylines involving mind control, identity theft, dream manipulation, and hallucinogens were used to expand upon the ideas of individualism versus collectivism. Is the self more important than the group? Another main meta-theme running throughout the show is the idea that even if Number Six did escape from the Village, he would always be a prisoner of his own circumstances, choices, and knowledge. The same can be said for everyone. Ultimately, we are trapped in the conclusions of our actions. Lastly, another main theme of the series was Number Six’s discovery of who was Number One? Who was calling the shots? Who is in control? This again is reflective of reality. Am I in control of my own life or am I just reacting to the control others have over me? Do I make my own decisions, or are my thoughts dictated by circumstance?

With its surreal storylines and thick layers of meta-fiction, it’s no wonder The Prisoner has had such an impact on other forms of entertainment and creators? Prisoner references can be seen in Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four, Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, and Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The writers of The Simpsons have featured allusions to the famous British show more than a few times. Stephen King, Doctor Who, Shrek, Lost, and even SpongeBob SquarePants have jumped onto the bandwagon with their own Prisoner callbacks. And this is just a small example of the many references to this much revered show.

So, I think it’s about time for Number Six to break into the action figure arena. Patrick McGoohan in his classic dark brown jacket with off-white piping, blue sweater, and tan slacks. And don’t forget his removable number 6 identification badge. Sure, it’s not much, but he can keep his collected cool while giving the steely-eyed silent treatment to whichever other figure I pick to be Number Two that day. Also, he should come with an accessory: Rover, a little white balloon that inflates to about six inches. That way I’ll know he won’t ever make it too far from his place on my shelf. MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!

19 thoughts on “Most Requested Figures:
The Prisoner

    1. I was really excited to give the remake a shot when it came out…but it just didn’t do it for me. I guess I had such high expectations with the original, that it would have been hard to top. And I believe, the reason the original was only 17 episodes, was because Patrick McGoohan wanted to end it then, and not drag it on longer. I believe the network wanted it to keep on going.

      1. McGoohan originally wanted the series to be something like 7 episodes, but ITC (the studio producing the series) refused. That’s why a few of the episodes in the middle feel a little like treading water (at least to me, they do).

        An interesting “sequel” was produced by DC Comics in the late 1980s, called “Shattered Visage”. Good stuff.

  1. Yes….that’s what I am talking about. I have been wanting a Prisoner figure for 10 years now. I can’t believe there hasn’t been one yet. I know it may be a reach in the figure world, but I have seen many lesser known characters make it to the action figure world. So why not The Prisoner??

    I love your idea that you could use a diffent figure every day for a new #2. Plus a rover would be a perfect accessory.

    1. Thanks dwal! I was hoping you’d approve of my write up of your suggestion.

      And you’re right, there are way more obscure characters made as toys out. There’s really no reason the Prisoner shouldn’t be on too. Maybe Underground Toys, the company that makes Doctor Who, would consider doing one?

  2. I’d be down for some Patrick McGoohan toys! Number Six, Longshanks, the old Phantom, and John Drake! Though the latter could be considered redundant! Actually, I’m surprised you didn’t mention Danger Man, Vault! That’s one of the coolest unexplained parts of The Prisoner lore.

    1. I was thinking about mentioning the Danger Man connection, but decided I wanted to focus specifically on The Prisoner.

      I do love that ambiguous connection though. It makes the question of why Number Six is in the Village, and why he quit, even more intriguing.

    2. You know what would make an excellent McGoohan figure…..The Scarecrow (of Romney Marsh, i.e. Dr Syn). I would be all over that.

      And as far as Secret Agent Man/Danger Man….those are both great series if you are ever looking for something to kill some time with.

      1. I tried to watch the new one, but it just didn’t keep my interest – and I like Caviezel & McKellan! The old show sounds much better.

  3. I feel so stupid! I never made that connection!! John Drake is number six??? That’s bloody genius. I noticed some of the actors were the same, but the show never directly drew that parallel. Wow, my appreciation for this show just ratcheted up. Awesome.

    1. Supposedly, McG had no rights to Drake so the show was never able to directly make the correction or they would’ve owed the Danger Man people. Simple times, huh?

      1. McGoohan emphatically stated time and again that Number Six was not John Drake. In the few interviews where this topic surfaced, he wished that people wouldn’t draw that conclusion.

  4. I’d be all over these! Great call on rotating out number two! Finally a use for all those Doctor Who nobodies!

  5. I don’t see this selling too well. Maybe just Number 6 as part of a larger wave of something else. Underground Toys would be my first pick.

    1. Yeah, for sure….it would be very hard sell to do a full ‘The Prisoner’ line, but as one figure part of a mixed line….I think it would work well.

  6. How about a genericish Number Two body with interchangeable heads? I realize that there were more dramatic changes in Number 2’s identity than that, but it would work for more than half of the actors that played the role.

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