With yet another unsettling American re-make looming on the horizon this Sunday on, as they say, another network, I thought it only fitting to pay tribute to one of the all-time classic series from the 60’s, or for that matter, anytime — THE PRISONER.
Created by and starring Patrick McGoohan as No. 6, the series tracks a British secret agent who is held captive in “The Village”, run by No. 2, who desperately needs to know why he resigned his position. Just to add to the complexity of the series, the identity of No. 2 changed from week to week. Numerous well-known actors had guest roles in the series including Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey), Peter Bowles (To the Manor Born) and Paul Eddington (Good Life and Yes, Minister).
Originally broadcast during 1967-68 and even counting The Beatles as avid fans, this brilliant series’ location filming was done mostly in Portmeirion in North Wales. If you’re packing your bags, that’s 1 and 1/2 miles south of Porthmadog and 1 and 1/2 miles west of Penrhyndeudraeth, just off the main road at Minffordd. Should be easy enough for you to find with these parameters, don’t you think?
The cool thing about Portmeirion is that it still remains today true to “the village” look of the series. The surreal architecture and Mediterranean feel of the village was the vision of Welsh architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who acquired the desolate coastal village in 1926 for 5,000 pounds. You can stay at the Portmeirion Hotel, stroll through gardens and dine in numerous restaurants.If you decide to leave, however, make sure you know just where the bouncing ball is. Kind of like Hotel California. You can checkout any time you like but you can never leave. Or maybe the Overlook?
I remember the first time I watched the series in its’ entirety, I sat there with a “WTH” look on my face wondering what just happened during the 17 episodes I had just seen. Even though it was created over 40 years ago, it has stood the test of time and remains one of the best series ever made. I’ll try and watch the remake beginning this Sunday, but even with Ian McKellen as No. 2, I don’t know. I hope they prove me wrong.