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March 2017: The Vale of Evesham

September is surely one of the best times to see the Vale of Evesham. Given that the area is often dubbed ‘England’s fruit basket’ it ...More
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The Prisoner

Year: 1971
Director: Patrick McGoohan, Don Chaffey, Pat Jackson, Robert Asher, Peter Graham Scott, David Tomblin
Cast: Lead: Patrick McGoohan
Lead Guest Players (Male): George Baker, Guy Doleman, Paul Eddington , Peter Swanwick, Eric Portman, Peter Wyngarde, Ronald Radd, George Coulouris, Basil Dignam, Alan White, Richard Wattis, Leo McKern, Finlay Currie, Anton Rodgers, Derren Nesbitt, Martin Miller, Andre Van Gyseghem, Mark Eden, John Sharp, George Pravda, Colin Gordon, Peter Bowles, Peter Howell, Conrad Phillips, John Castle, Basil Hoskins, Victor Maddern, Norman Scace, Donald Sinden , Patrick Cargill, Brian Worth, Clifford Evens, Nigel Stock, John Wentworth, Alexis Kanner, David Bauer, Gordon Tanner, Renneth Griffith, Angelo Muscat (as The Butler).
Lead Guest Players (Female): Rachel Herbert, Stephanie Randall, Patricia Jessel, Rosalie Crutchley, Shivaun O'Casey, Mary Morris, Norma West, Camilla Hasse, Denise Buckley, Nadia Gray, Jane Merrow, Annette Andre, Angela Browne, Katherine Kath, Annette Carell, Betty McDowall, Hilary Dwyer, Georgina Cookson, Zena Walker, Valerie French, Justine Lord, Virginia Maskell.
Set Locations:
Wales: Shot at Port Merion in North Wales
Patrick McGoohan wrote the stories and took the lead role in what is probably one of the 1960s’ most iconic TV series. Arty, intriguing and sometimes downright confusing, the series captivated the minds of the British nation. When the final episode was screened for the first time, it is said that the whole country was silent; as everyone was at home in front of their television set.

Patrick McGoohan plays a secret agent who resigns, only to find himself abducted and taken to a mysterious village; where everyone is given a number rather than a name. McGoohan’s character is given the number six, but he rejects this saying ‘I am not a number, I am a free man’. Throughout the series we see several ‘number twos’ attempting to break number six and get him to accept his fate. All of them fail, but you never get to see ‘number one’. This forces the powers that be to take drastic action as the series winds up to its climax. The last episode is rather confusing and did not really provide the answers the viewers were looking for. This is perhaps because McGoohan did not write the last episode until a few days before it was due to be filmed. It seems that the length of the series was not fully known at the outset and that it actually went beyond the number of episodes that McGoohan had envisaged. Thus there was no guiding direction for the series that would lead to a predetermined conclusion.

Some of the early scenes take place in London , where the agent lives before being abducted. The majority of the series is filmed at the Hotel Portmeirion, Penrhyndeudraeth, North Wales. McGoohan filmed some episodes of his previous hit series ‘Danger Man’ there and this appears to have been part of the inspiration for the series. The resort of Portmeirion is on the Snowdonia Coast in Gwynedd. It has an Italian styling influence and its designer was said to have based it on the Italian village of Portofino. The designer denied that this was the case, saying that it was meant simply to capture the Mediterranean flavour, whilst at the same time admitting to have been smitten by the village of Portofino!

The village today retains much of the look from the series, most of it having remained unchanged in the forty years since the filming. There are regular conventions and a souvenir shop dedicated to the Prisoner series.

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On this day:
Battle of Margate - 1387, Elizabeth I dies - 1603, The Real Great Escape - 1944, Dark Side of the Moon Released - 1973
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