One of the greatest series ever to grace the small screen was The Prisoner. For those that have yet to discover the late 60’s British psychological drama, the series followed a British former secret agent (Patrick McGoohan) who finds himself the resident of a mysterious coastal village resort where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Number 6 quickly determines that the village is isolated from the mainland by mountains and sea. The Village is further secured by numerous monitoring systems and security forces, including a mysterious balloon-like device called Rover that recaptures those who attempt escape.
McGoohan, in a rarely broadcast interview, talked about how the balloon-like device came to be in this clip from the 1984 Channel 4 documentary THE PRISONER FILE, which aired after the final episode “Fall Out”.
The Hotel Portmeirion was the main location used in the filming lending the iconic series to possess a combination of both Orwellian and postmodern themes. In 1994, composer, pianist, bandleader and broadcaster, Jools Holland, visited Portmeirion in Wales for the show, One Foot in the Past. As we find out, the village was designed by Welsh architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in 1926. Interestingly, at Williams-Ellis’ request, the main location for the series was not disclosed until the opening credits of the last episode.
It was part science fiction, part surreal, part fantasy, part pop culture and part spy fiction. It dealt with hypnosis, hallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theft, mind control and dream manipulation. The Prisoner was all genius.