Patrick McGoohan, star of the most brilliantly obscure TV series of all time, The Prisoner, has died at the age of 80.
Growing up in the state-controlled Britain of the 1970s, the series resonated with me. I often felt like I was living in The Village. Nor was I the only one; I remember the comic John Sessions comparing the famous title sequence dialogue to the frustration of dealing with state-controlled directory inquiries (the equivalent of dialing 411):
Operator: What do you want?
Operator: You won’t get it.
You: But I dialled 411*
Operator: I am not a number!**
So it is with mixed feelings that I learn that a remake, or rather a re-imagining, is being planned. While the 60s series centered around sinister forces you don’t quite understand controlling your life and frustrating your ambitions at every step of the way, from the report, this one seems as if it will be more about Gitmo and Reality TV (although it is possible that is the writer projecting). If it is, the 60s series will remain essential viewing, and I hope the new series is good enough to inspire more people to watch the old one.
By the way, you can watch the original series for free online at AMC. Time for me to visit Harmony again, and raise a toast to a great actor.
* I can’t remember the old GPO number
** Yes, I am aware that the roles are reversed. This is a very Prisoner idea.