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Since its debut, The Prisoner series' enduring popularity has led to its influencing and being referenced in a range of other media, such as the film The Truman Show,[1][2] and the television shows Lost[2][3] and The X-Files. The producer of The X-Files called The Prisoner "the Gone with the Wind of its genre."[1] The Guardian wrote that "Without The Prisoner, we'd never have had cryptic, mindbending TV series like Twin Peaks or Lost. It's the Citizen Kane of British TV – a programme that changed the landscape."[4]

Comics

Main article: Shattered Visage

Shattered Visage is a four-issue comic book mini-series based on The Prisoner published by DC Comics. Illustrated by Mister X creator Dean Motter and co-written with Mark Askwith, this sequel series was later collected as a 208-page trade paperback, with the addition of a new prologue. The trade paperback remains in print.

  • Jack Kirby fashioned a Prisoner homage in Fantastic Four #84-87, "The Power and the Pride", March 1969—87, June 1969, involving Doctor Doom's kingdom of Latveria.[5] Kirby also attempted a comic book adaptation of the series in the early 1970s; it was never published, but surviving panels have been reproduced in the magazine The Jack Kirby Collector. The surviving artwork suggests that the first issue, at least, would have been an adaptation of "Arrival."
  • Grant Morrison's graphic novel The Invisibles, about a group of revolutionaries rebelling against a secret world-controlling authority, contains several references to The Prisoner. In the collection Entropy in the UK, Invisibles leader King Mob is captured by government agent Sir Miles Delacourt; they exchange the show's famous opening lines: "What do you want?" "Information." "You won't get it." "By hook or by crook, we will."[6] A major character in the series referred to as "Mr. 6".
  • In the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier by Alan Moore, the Village is referenced as an installation of the Thought Police during the Big Brother regime, the government having put out a contract for "dream inducers and killer balloons for some Welsh set-up", alluding to the series’s real-life location.
  • In Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, V confronts Lewis Prothero with a recreation of the Larkhill Death Camp that he once ran, which resembles the minimal set against black drapes used by Number Two to recreate Number Six's childhood in "Once Upon a Time".
  • The Prisoner is parodied in the story 'Zero Zone' in issues 106-107 of Sonic the Comic, where Sonic the Hedgehog is taken to a zone resembling the Village and brainwashed into believing he is 'Citizen Seven'. The zone features a pink bouncing ball that immobilises and incapacitates Sonic when he tries to escape. It is revealed at the end of the story that the zone's ruler, 'Citizen One', was actually a computer program designed by Dr. Robotnik who broke free of its programming and created the fake reality due to loneliness.[7]
  • In Barry Windsor-Smith's "Weapon X", Wolverine is presented as a secret agent (driving a Lotus Seven) who resigns and is subsequently knocked out by agents and taken to an undisclosed location.

Books

Novels

  • In Charles Stross's science fiction novel Glasshouse, one short scene takes place at a venue called the Village Cafe where an automated public address system, which cannot be turned off, makes regular loud announcements. The one reported in the text begins "Good afternoon! It's another beautiful day ..." and then goes on to inform listeners of the day's ice cream flavours and ends with a weather forecast, echoing a sequence from the TV series' opening episode.
  • Xavier Mauméjean's short story "Be Seeing You!", from the second volume of the Tales of the Shadowmen anthology series, describes the origin of the Village in 1912, including the original Number 1 (Winston Churchill), Number 2 (Denis Nayland Smith), Number 6 (Sherlock Holmes), and Rover.
  • In Stephen King's novella Hearts in Atlantis, The Prisoner is referenced many times by characters. King notes in the afterword that the usage is intentionally anachronistic because the story was set in 1966, before the series aired.
  • There are references to The Prisoner in several spin-off novels of the BBC TV series Doctor Who. In The Man in the Velvet Mask by Daniel O'Mahony, a parallel universe version of the Marquis de Sade (referred to as Monsieur le 6) repeats the "I am not a number" catchphrase, after earlier reversing it as "I am not a free man, I am le 6". In Ben Aaronovitch's The Also People, a character scrawls the graffito "I AM NOT A NUMBER, I AM A FREEWHEELING UNICYCLE!" In Dead Romance by Lawrence Miles, the Time Lord colony Simia KK98 is similar to The Village.

Ace

Ace Books in the United States published three original novels based upon the television series. They are notable for stating explicitly that Number Six is John Drake from Danger Man.[8]

Main article: The Prisoner: I Am Not a Number!
  • The Prisoner (later republished as I Am Not a Number!) by Thomas M. Disch, issued in 1969,[9] details the recapture of the Prisoner after he had been brainwashed to forget his original experience in the Village, and his struggles to remember what was taken from him and to escape.
Main article: The Prisoner: Number Two
Main article: The Prisoner: A Day in the Life

Roger Langley

In the 1980s, Roger Langley of the Prisoner Appreciation Society wrote three fan novellas based upon the series. These books were made available through the fan club, and at the Prisoner Shop in Portmeirion and are long out of print individually. They were reissued and revised in one volume as the Prisoner Trilogy, available from the Prisoner Shop in Portmeirion as well as from online sources. They are:

  • Charmed Life
  • Think Tank
  • When in Rome

Powys Media

Independent UK publisher that obtained the rights to The Prisoner (and Space: 1999) in the early 2000s. Its books were primarily available by mail-order only.

Main article: The Prisoner: The Prisoner's Dilemma
Main article: Miss Freedom

Additional titles were announced by Powys, but as 2015 have yet to be published.

Non-fiction

  • (1988) Number Six: The Prisoner Book (A Files Magazine Special). Los Angeles, Calif.: Schuster & Schuster. ISBN 1-55698-158-9. 
  • (1988) The Official Prisoner Companion. New York, N.Y.: Hachette Book Group USA. ISBN 978-0-446-38744-6. 
  • Rogers, Dave (1992). The Prisoner & Danger Man. London: Boxtree. ISBN 978-1-85283-260-5. 
  • Fairclough, Robert (2002). The Prisoner: The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series. iBooks. ISBN 978-1842224342. 
  • Fairclough, Robert (2005). The Prisoner: The Original Scripts Vol. 1. Richmond, Surrey: Reynolds and Hearn. ISBN 1-903111-76-5. 
  • Fairclough, Robert (2006). The Prisoner: The Original Scripts Vol. 2. Richmond, Surrey: Reynolds and Hearn. ISBN 1-903111-81-1. 
  • (2007) The Prisoner Handbook. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-53028-7. 

Computer games

  • Edu-Ware produced two unofficial computer games based upon the series for the Apple II computer. The first, titled simply, The Prisoner, was released in 1980. The game incorporates the show's themes about the loss of individuality in a technological, controlling society but the game's documentation states that "it is not meant to be an adaption of the television series". The player's role is that of an intelligence agent who has resigned from his job for reasons known only to himself, and who has been abducted to an isolated island community that seems designed to be his own personal prison. The island's authorities will use any means—including coercion, disorientation, deception, and frustration—to learn why their prisoner has resigned, and every character, location, and apparent escape route seem to be part of a grand scheme to trick the player into revealing a code number representing the prisoner's reason for resigning. The game occasionally breaks the fourth wall by acknowledging that a game is being played. onsidered unique among interactive fiction games of its era, The Prisoner was reportedly used as a training tool by the Central Intelligence Agency. The game's documentation explained Edu-Ware's view that the Prisoner television series was "a political and social statement concerning the problem of keeping one's individuality and personal freedom in a technological society... [which] is a collective prison and [where] each one of us is, in fact, a prisoner." With the year 1984 looming only four years away from the date of the game's publication, Edu-Ware held that many of the issues raised in the 1969 television series were as relevant as ever, and thus it was "appropriate that a show concerned with the theme of loss of individuality and influence over... [our] own lives should inspire a game to be played on a computer." The game begins with the player being told that # has resigned from his job for reasons known only to him. The player is given a three-digit number signifying #'s reason for resigning. The player is warned never to reveal this number, for the game will make numerous attempts to trick the player into doing so, which will cause one to lose the game. # is then taken to an airport where he is asked to choose from several tropical island destinations. Regardless of the choice made, he is always taken to the Island. The game's designer, David Mullich, strove to incorporate elements of Franz Kafka's The Castle. #'s home on the Island is called the Castle and it takes the form of a randomly generated maze from which the player must escape. After leaving the Castle, the player can explore twenty locations on the Island in order to find clues about how to escape. Only four of these are displayed onscreen at any time, and in the center of the screen is another display providing information often of little value, with the exception of a running tally of credits the player has in the bank. The locations are rearranged each time # returns to the Castle, and some may even disappear periodically. Some locations require the player to have certain possessions before entering, while some are entirely inaccessible at certain times. Each of the locations offers a different gameplay experience:
    • Hospital, where # is administered psychological tests.
    • Caretaker's Residence, where # carries on an ELIZA-style conversation with the leader of the Island (during which it is possible to nearly replicate the "Where am I?"/"In the Village" dialog from the opening of most Prisoner episodes).
    • Town Hall, where # can spend time running the Island in a fashion quite similar to (but long predating) Sim City. Running the Island successfully (the definition of "success" being very broad) results in # receiving a gold watch.
    • Great Chair, where # can fulfill the initial assignment given to him by an underground resistance group called the Brotherhood. (Their final assignment, given the dystopian situation, is not unpredictable.)
    • Carnival, where # can use a see-saw in an escape attempt, or fulfill an assignment from the Brotherhood.
    • Castle, where # returns after each failed escape attempt—literally being sent back to square one. Arrival in the Castle corresponds with a new day or adventure on the Island. To exit the Castle, the player must correctly identify himself/herself (the correct answer is # but it's possible to be tricked into selecting the resignation code).
    • Bank, where # can deposit or withdraw money, or take out a loan after going on a scavenger hunt to retrieve items representative of business success.
    • Courthouse, where # can play a game of hangman based on words about freedom and individuality.
    • Theater, which shows propaganda films incorporating nursery rhymes, but is also a meeting place for the Brotherhood.
    • General Store, where # can purchase items required to enter buildings or fulfill quests.

News Stand, which provides game clues and where # can fulfill an assignment for the Brotherhood involving changing a newspaper headline.

    • Library, where # is tested for susceptibility to propaganda, including subliminals, traditional values, and advertising techniques. Losing the test results in a book being burned, while winning is rewarded with a reference to a page in the Applesoft manual that contains a clue for winning the game.
    • Schoolhouse, where correctly remembering number sequences will reward # with a diploma.
    • Cat and Mouse Bar, where # can play a game of ping pong to win drinks. After consuming too many drinks, # will suffer hallucinations, including one that results in being accused of murder.
    • Church, where the player can engage in another ELIZA-style conversation with a priest, be rewarded with a cross, or be absolved of murder.
    • Clothing Store, where # can purchase clothing required to enter buildings or fulfill quests.
    • Milgram Experiment, where # is asked to participate in the infamous Milgram experiment, in which he and the Caretaker switch identities and # is required to give electric shocks to his prisoner in an attempt to elicit the resignation code.
    • Recreation Hall, where # can go through several obstacle courses to escape into the wilderness area surrounding the Island. Here the player will be captured by "Rover" and sent back to the Castle unless he can make it to a train station, which offers a chance at escape.
    • Gemini Diner, where for 10,000 credits, # can make a clone of himself for use in an escape attempt.
    • Slot Machines, which can win # possessions, clues, or a chance at escape.

In addition, each section of the map has a central kiosk where the player can check inventory and other statistics. Very few of these locations provide any sort of instructions about how to proceed, particularly the Great Chair and the Cat and Mouse Bar. Several locations are analogous to episodes in the TV series. For example, the Milgram Experiment building is thematically similar to the episode "Once Upon a Time"; the Gemini Diner references clones whereas the TV series has No. 6 encountering duplicates; the Town Hall sees # placed in charge of the Island much as No. 6 is briefly in charge of the Village in "Free for All." Different graphic styles are used throughout. The game is usually displayed in a top-down perspective, showing representations of the different locations while the player is represented by the # symbol. Several segments of the game make use of all-text screens with limited ASCII animation, while other segments use either the Apple II's low-resolution or high-resolution graphics modes. The game continually tries to trick the player into revealing the secret three-digit code. One of the most nefarious attempts (which occurs in Prisoner 2) is a simulated game crash which includes the error message "Syntax error in line ###", where the line number is the player's resignation code. This was a common error message in the Apple II's BASIC programming language, and the logical step for users of the time would be to review the erroneous line of code with the command "List ###" (again substituting the specific number in question). Typing the secret three-digit code at any time resulted in the game being lost, however, and that included typing such a BASIC command since, unknown to the player, the game was actually still running. Ironically, being able to list the program's code from within it was one way to solve and win the game by means of analyzing the program and deducing a solution. Yet such a solution was entirely within the spirit of the game, as its clues and ultimate solution sometimes broke the fourth wall with an acknowledgement that a computer game was being played. There are also times where the escape key cannot be used, and doing so causes the message "Such thoughts are punishable" to appear onscreen and # may be returned to the Castle. At other times, pressing the escape key helps the player. Such constant flux in the game's rules are a purposeful attempt to frustrate the player. Some differences with the actual series are:

    • The television show's protagonist is called Number 6, while the game's protagonist is referred to as # (the "number sign" in the United States and Canada).

The setting of the TV series is known as The Village, whereas the game's setting is called The Island.

    • In the television show, Number 6 is kidnapped from his home. In the game, # is taken from an airport to the Island.
    • The protagonist's residence in the Village is in a building with the numeral 6 on a sign in front of the door. The analogous building on the Island is called the Castle, and it too is labeled with the number 6.
    • The authority figure in the Village is called Number 2. On the Island he is called the Caretaker, and the building in which he is encountered is labeled with the number 2.
  • A remake the Edu-Ware game called Prisoner 2 was released in 1982. with color and improved graphics (all high-resolution now) that replaced the original's top-down perspective with a first-person view. In addition to the Apple II, this version was also available on the Atari 8-bit and IBM PC platforms. Sometimes incorrectly considered a sequel due to its title, Prisoner 2 was essentially the same as the first Prisoner game, only with updated graphics and a limited number of design changes, several of which referenced other games:
    • A fence (which the player may attempt to jump over) now surrounds the Island.
    • Rover's appearance was changed from a white ball to that of an entity resembling Pac-Man.
    • The Hospital is now home to the Milgram Experiment, which is now a special event that occurs periodically.
    • The Free Information display was moved to the Town Hall, which still houses the Run the Island task, but only as a special event occurring periodically.
    • The Recreation Hall has expanded obstacle courses.
    • The Great Chair has been moved into a multi-roomed building called the Switchyard. Most rooms are identical to each other except for a single letter on the wall, which together spell out "Rubik's Cube". Three rooms are special: the Great Chair room itself, the switch room (with a switch to disable the music that accompanies the scrolling game text), and the exit.
    • The Library sends the player on literary-themed quests for the Wicked Witch of the West's broomstick or Injun Joe's treasure (from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), if he chooses not to burn books.
    • The building that formerly housed the Milgram Experiment is renamed Grail Hall and contains items for the Library quests. It is a maze of rooms, including some that mimick the look of Scott Adams' adventure games, or that reference adventure games such as Colossal Cave Adventure (a cave with the word "PLUGH" written on the wall), Wizard and the Princess (a castle, whereupon arrival, the player is sent back to the Castle), and Mystery House (whereupon arrival, the player is told "He's killed Ken!" [a reference to Ken Williams of Sierra On-Line] and is accused of murder until granted absolution in the Church).

Another nod to the video game industry is a newspaper headline that reads "ZONING COMMISSION WILL NOT BUDGE TO ALLOW PINBALL IN BARS", an apparent reference to Bill Budge, creator of Pinball Construction Set.

  • In the point-and-click adventure computer game Simon the Sorcerer II, when Simon is registering to enter the contest for Court Wizard, Simon quotes the "I am not a number" line. When he is told that he is number nine, his response is "I am not a number, I am a free man!", prompting the official who is helping him to remark "I hate people who can shamelessly quote in public".
  • MMORPG RuneScape includes a 'random event' where the player is taken to an island, where several Prisoner references are made, including "I am not a number, I am a free man!"
  • In the first-person shooter computer game The Operative: No One Lives Forever, it is possible to overhear two guards discussing their favourite spy TV shows and movies, including The Prisoner. Other works mentioned include Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the Matt Helm films The Silencers and The Ambushers.
  • In the very early 1980s, Edu-Ware published two adventure games based on The Prisoner in which the player was 6, and had to find a way to escape.
  • In the console game Aliens vs Predator (2010), the protagonist on the Alien single player campaign is called "Number Six"
  • In the point-and-click adventure The Dream Machine (2012), the main character carries around a badge with a pennyfarthing on it, as well as the number 6.

Role-playing games

Steve Jackson Games' popular role-playing game system GURPS released a (now out of print) world book for The Prisoner. It included maps, episode synopses, details of the Village and its inhabitants, and much other material. For instance, it has suggestions for game scenarios with the premise interpretation for outer space, heroic fantasy, horror and even complete inversion into something akin to Hogan's Heroes.[10]

Movies

"Although short-lived, it was credited with setting a thematic, at times surreal template for such films as The Truman Show (1998) with Jim Carrey and the current ABC series Lost."[2]
  • The 1994 film Killing Zoe includes a scene where the bankrobbers discuss the episode "A. B. and C. (1967 episode)" philosophically.
  • The 1998 movie Double Team has a similar setting where counter terrorist agent Jack Quinn (Jean-Claude Van Damme) after being unconscious from an explosion wakes up in 'the Colony', an inescapable, invisible penal institution island for secret agents reminiscent of the Village.
  • In High Fidelity (2000), the characters Rob Gordon (John Cusack) and Marie de Salle (Lisa Bonet) briefly mention both loving the show, and Barry (Jack Black) remembers that the lead was Patrick McGoohan.
  • In Shrek (2001), the entrance of Shrek and Donkey at the seemingly deserted village of Duloc echoes Number 6's Arrival in the Village. The font on the village's signs in Shrek is the same as in The Prisoner's Village, and the architecture of the buildings is similar as well.
  • In Alan Moore's 1986 graphic novel Watchmen, Rorschach says "Be seeing you" to several characters. This was carried over into the 2009 film adaptation.
  • In David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Mrs Tremond's grandson covers his face with a mask and then removes it to reveal the face of a monkey in much the same way as Number Six removes Number One's masks in "Fall Out".
  • In The Matrix as Neo is running from Agent Smith in an apartment building, we see an elderly lady in one of the rooms; while Agent Smith transports inside her and launches a knife at Neo we see that she was watching an episode from the series.

Music

"The Prisoner’s musical shadow stretches further into pop culture... Artists as different as Iron Maiden, Supergrass, Roy Harper, The Clash, Michael Penn, XTC, Dhani Harrison and more have riffed directly or indirectly off of The Prisoner."[11]
  • Iron Maiden
    • "The Prisoner" from album The Number of the Beast. Inspired by the series, it features dialogue from the title sequence: the band's manager, Rod Smallwood, had to contact Patrick McGoohan to ask permission to use it for the song.[12] According to witnesses, the usually calm Smallwood was completely star-struck during the conversation. McGoohan was reported to have said, "What did you say the name was? Iron Maiden? Do it."
    • "Back in the Village", on the album Powerslave, contained lyrics referencing the series, such as "I'm back in the village", "I see sixes all the way", "Questions are a burden, and answers a prison for oneself" (quoting a sign seen in "Arrival)" or the final line, "I don't have a number, I'm a name", a tweaked version of the catchphrase "I am not a number, I am a free man".[13]
  • Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson's second solo album 1994's Balls to Picasso features the dedications "Inspired by number 6" & "Be Seeing you" within the cover. Dickinson's song Broken from his The Best of Bruce Dickinson compilation features the "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped" quote within the lyrics, and Dickinson can also be seen discussing the influence the series had on him in VH1's Classic Albums documentary on The Number of the Beast.
  • George Harrison's son Dhani is the founder of a band called The New No. 2.
  • Dr. Feelgood released the 1977 album Be Seeing You referencing the series. It claimed to be "produced by Number 2 for Number 6", and sleeve photos featured band members wearing piped blazers and scarves. A compilation album issued in 2013 entitled "Taking No Prisoners" has a photo of the band members wearing Prisoner-style piped blazers on the front cover.[14]
  • Scottish pop band Altered Images made a music video to their 1982 single "See Those Eyes", which was filmed in Portmeirion, and featured the band's male members dressed in Village-style clothing. As the video progresses, each member is seen resigning from their previous jobs.
  • The official promo for "Alright" by Supergrass is filmed in Portmeirion and features many iconic images from the series.
  • The British pop group The Times had an early-1980s radio hit titled "I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape". The album also features their version of the Danger Man theme.
  • The cover of the live album Hullabaloo Soundtrack by Muse references The Prisoner.
  • The series of chess moves called out during the first chess game in "Checkmate" appears in the Michael Nyman opera, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat during the game of mental chess.
  • British pop-rock band XTC performed two music videos ("The Meeting Place" and "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul") wearing costumes from the show.
  • Colourbox, an English electronic musical group's song "Just Give 'Em Whiskey" samples The Prisoner dialogue.
  • Slovenian Avant Garde group, Devil Doll, released the album, The Girl Who Was... Death in 1989. The title references the 15th episode of the series and contains lyrical references to the show as well as a cover of the show's theme song.
  • Mick Jones titled an early b-side "The Prisoner" by The Clash after the series, though the lyrical connection is only a thematic one.
  • The cover of Michael Penn's 1997 album Resigned visually references the drawer in the opening sequence, and the film clip for the album's single "Try" ends on a shot of a door with the number "2" on it.[15] His previous album was titled Free-for-All.
  • Roy Harper
    • "McGoohan's Blues".[16]
    • The lyrics of his song "Woman" contain the line "I am not a number, I am a free... woman".
    • "Circle" from 1967 album "Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith" uses an extract from the episode "Free For All".
  • The cover of the Manic Street Preachers 1998 album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours was taken on Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog, a beach location in the series.
  • In 2001 Future Legend Records (London, UK) released the album Another Number by Australian composer Carmel Morris. This album was composed entirely of new music inspired by the series and also pays homage to Ron Grainer and the other composers who provided incidental music in the original series. David Nettheim added guest voice over (he played the character of the Doctor in The Prisoner episode "Schizoid Man"). The album is still available on iTunes. Music videos shot at Portmeirion aired on UK television in 2002. The album was re-issued by IODA in 2010. Music videos can be found on YouTube.
  • British band Mansun referenced The Prisoner many times on their album Six. Not only was the album called Six, but certain song titles were named after episodes such as their song "Fall Out". Paul Draper openly admits to being a big fan of the show as a child.
  • Samples of dialog are featured in Kaki King's song "The Betrayer" from her 2010 spy/espionage themed album Junior.[17]
  • Information, the first album by Toenut, features an altered photo of Number Six's face encased within Rover as its cover art; one of its tracks, "Information/32nd Theme Song," contains audio samples taken from the show's opening sequence.[18]
  • The Man In The Moon, a song by the band Imperial Drag, starts with a soundbite taken from the episode Dance of the Dead.
  • Howard Jones released a remix of his song "The Prisoner" titled "The Portmeirion Mix" (a reference to the show's filming location).
  • Italian rapper Caparezza in the video for his song "Fuori Dal Tunnel" is seen running away from Rover in many scenes.
  • The DJ & producer breakbeat duo, Dominic Butler and Mark Yardley, known as Stanton Warriors produced a song called "Prisoner" that includes familiar dialog from the series' title sequence sprinkled throughout.[19]
  • "Escape From The Village", from Blitzkrieg's 2006 album Sins and Greed.
  • "Speedlearn", by Higher Intelligence Agency samples parts of the series.

Radio

  • In the radio version of impressionist show Dead Ringers, a version of The Prisoner is set within the radio soap opera The Archers. In it, Ambridge is the Village, Joe Grundy is Number 2, and Ruth Archer is Number 1.

Television

"Continuing interest in The Prisoner can be seen in television shows created long after 1967"[20]
  • The Avengers
    • 1969 episode "Wish You Were Here", is influenced by The Prisoner, as Tara goes to visit her uncle and finds him held in a hotel with every attempt at escape thwarted by 'accidents'.[21][22]
  • The Simpsons
    • "Krusty Gets Busted", the animation played on the TV news at the start of Act II recalls The Prisoner's Opening and closing sequences of The Prisoner[23] (as well as the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies opening titles).
    • "The Joy of Sect", Marge flees the "Movementarians" by avoiding various traps. One of these traps is Rover (and a version of The Prisoner theme plays while she runs).[24]
    • "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", Homer is kidnapped after accidentally finding out about a vast conspiracy and placed on "The Island"; Patrick McGoohan provides the voice of a caricature of himself as Number Six, and the reason given as to why he is on "The Island" is because he invented the bottomless peanut bag. He asks Homer what number he is, to which Homer replies "I am not a number, I am a man and don't you ever... Oh wait, I'm number 5". While he is in the "Island", Homer is repeatedly gassed by unexpected objects, a reference to the way Number Six would often be gassed in The Prisoner. Number Six reveals to Homer that he has made an escape raft to flee the Village in, and explicitly states it is big enough to carry them both, but Homer needlessly throws him over the side to steal the raft entirely for himself - to which the annoyed Number Six remarks, "that's the third time that's happened!" During his escape, Homer is chased by Rover, which he easily pops (with a spork).[24]
  • ReBoot
    • pisode "Number 7" makes a number of references to The Prisoner series, including visual references such as Number 2's oval chair, quotes such as McGoohan's line "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!" and a scene that recreates part of the final episode, "Fall Out".
  • The British sitcom 2point4 children
    • "Seven Dials", where one of the central characters is imprisoned in Portmeirion by an opponent Rover.
  • Pinky and the Brain
    • During the 3-part episode "Brainwashed", there is a segment based on The Prisoner, in which the main characters are sent to a village where the residents are only identified by the hats they wear, in addition to other homages to the original series.[25]
  • In the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series (2003-2009), the character of Number Six-;a beautiful Cylon infiltrator played by model Tricia Helfer-;is named as an homage to The Prisoner, according to writer/ producer Ronald D. Moore.[26]
  • The Nowhere Man TV series was heavily influenced by The Prisoner. Its creator, Lawrence Hertzog, speaks at length in the DVD commentaries about how The Prisoner was his favourite show. The protagonist of the series, photojournalist Thomas Veil, is relentlessly pursued for a set of negatives, as The Prisoner's Number Six is similarly pressed to find out the cause of his resignation. Veil finds himself transported to a strange village in episode 105, "Paradise on Your Doorstep", where he is forcibly detained. In episode 119, "Doppelganger", Veil tracks information to a town where a doppelganger Thomas Veil exists, who also works as a photojournalist; this references The Prisoner episode "The Schizoid Man", where there are two identical Number 6 characters.
  • In the episode "Night Lines"[27] of the BBC comedy series Coupling, the opening sequence of The Prisoner is parodied in a dream sequence of Ben Miles' character, Patrick.
  • In 1987, Channel 4 produced The Laughing Prisoner, a comedic homage in which Jools Holland appeared as The Prisoner No. 7. Holland had recently resigned from the Channel 4 music show The Tube. The programme was filmed at Portmeirion and also featured Stephen Fry as Number Two, Hugh Laurie and Stanley Unwin. Several bands, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, performed in the "Village" bandstand.[28]
  • Sci-Fi Channel's The Invisible Man
    • 2001 episode "A Sense of Community", is a homage to The Prisoner that sees the characters in The Community, a resort for spies they are told they can never leave, under constant surveillance and with their apartments duplicated.[20]
  • The credits of the first three series of the Bob Mills vehicle In Bed with Medinner were an homage to the opening credits of The Prisoner, while the set was designed to look like Number Six's flat.
  • Fox's VR.5 has been called "The Prisoner of the 1990s", which also featured mind games and reluctant spies. A direct homage occurs when a character is handed the message "Just call this number and ask for the Prisoner, no names".[20]
  • J.J. Abrams has said that "I loved The Prisoner, which was a very odd sort of hybrid of sci-fi, mystery and character, and certainly there are elements of The Prisoner in both Alias and Lost. ".[29] The iconic bicycle of The Prisoner logo is featured in an episode of the Abrams-produced Fringe where a special agent's memories are reprogrammed. In a later Fringe episode, "Letters of Transit", the character of Walter Bishop calls out "I am not a number, I am a free man" while in a delusional state.[30]
  • G.I. Joe
    • In the 2-part episode titled "There's No Place Like Springfield", Shipwreck wakes up in a small, unassuming town on an island that turns out to be a front for Cobra. Much like Number Six, he is subjected to various brainwashing techniques in order to recover a secret formula implanted within his subconscious. There are additional homages such as Shipwreck's address being revealed as "No. 6 Village Drive". Also, there is a scene where Shipwreck is captured within a giant ball that strongly resembles one of the Rovers.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, episode 130,[31] Mr. Krabs says "Questions are a danger to you and a burden to others." This is a reference to the phrase "Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself”[32] seen on a sign in the Labour Exchange in "Arrival".
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
    • "Stranger in a Strange World", Iolaus is locked in a prison cell and is told he will only be released when his numeral is called. In reference to The Prisoner, Iolaus then exclaims, "I am not a numeral! I am a free man!"
  • The characteristic "be seeing you" phrase and salute are used by several disreputable characters, including Alfred Bester, in Babylon 5.
  • In the Columbo episode, "Identity Crisis", Patrick McGoohan plays an ex-spy who uses the "be seeing you" phrase.
  • In the final episode of The Bionic Woman, On The Run, the title character resigns from her job and tries to escape from her former employers. However, the people in charge decide that she cannot just be allowed to leave and want to put her into a safe community where they can keep their eye on her. The final episode was acknowledged to have been inspired by The Prisoner as Jaime is similarly being pursued by entities concerned about the secret information she possesses.
  • In Megas XLR, the whole episode 210 A Clockwork Megas is a reference to The Prisoner.
  • Santa vs. the Snowman 3D [33] is a computer-animated one-off that aired on December 13, 1997. There is a scene in the Control Room that uses two observers on a rotating see-saw, observing a 360 degree monitor wall similar to the one used in The Prisoner.
  • In the Person of Interest episode, "Booked Solid", James Caviezel (who reprised the role of Number Six) uses the "that would be telling" phrase. Also, a season 1 Person of Interest episode title is "Many Happy Returns" (also an original The Prisoner series episode title) and mention of the "Prisoner" in the season 2 episode "Prisoner's Dilemma". And most recently, a voice-over in the episode "Deus Ex Machina" echoes Number Six's speech with: "When the whole world is watched, filed, indexed, numbered, the only way to disappear is to appear, hiding our true identities inside a seemingly ordinary life. You're not a free man anymore, Harold. You're just a number."
  • In the Mad Men season 6 episode "The Crash", the Draper children watch The Prisoner episode "Free For All".
  • 'Sledge Hammer!' season 1 episode "All Shook Up" features Hammer going undercover in an Elvis Presley impersonator contest as contestant number 6. Alan Spenser's DVD commentary of the episode reveals this was a tribute to The Prisoner.
  • 'Bester' in 'Babylon 5' uses the mocking thumb-and-forefinger salute and the associated phrase "Be seeing you" to imply inside knowledge of a secret plan involving his interlocutor.
  • The Doctor Who episode "Heaven Sent" has the protagonist trapped within a castle within which an unidentified entity uses various methods in order to try and extract secret information from the Doctor.

Advertising

LBC used various concepts from The Prisoner, in an advertising campaign in the mid 1980s reflecting London's role as a 'village' for its residents and commuters.

Festival

The main character of The Prisoner, Number Six inspired the name of Festival N°6 which takes place since 2012 at the village of Portmeirion. This music and art festival is celebrating each year Number Six's way of thinking, that is reflection and independence of mind.

Soundtracks

Silva Screen Records released two editions of soundtrack CDs, a three-volume set in the early 1990s, and another three-volume set in the early 2000s subtitled "Files" that included music not included in the previous issue along with dialogue excerpts.

[File 1]

Original music from the Episodes: Arrival • The Chimes of Big Ben • A. B. and C.

  • Main Titles
  • What's the Name of this Place?
  • The Cottage Maid is Seen
  • The Band Appears (Radetski March)
  • I Suppose You're Wondering...
  • Number 6 in the Cottage
  • The Band Concert
  • Afternoon Concert
  • I Will Not Make Any Deals With You
  • Helicopter Escape Bid
  • Subejct Shows Great Enthusiasm
  • Unused Title Theme
  • I am not a Number
  • Number 6 Hates the Tune
  • Night-Time Drink
  • Do You Still Think You Can Escape, Number 6?
  • Number 8 Swims Off
  • Number 6 Chops Down the Tree
  • Village Curfew
  • There Are Some People Who Talk
  • Exhibition Hall
  • The Dinghy Casts Off
  • The Village is a Place Where People Turn Up
  • Crate Journey
  • Back to the Cottage
  • Engadine's Party
  • Number 6 Dances With "B"
  • Number 6 is Drugged
  • Dreamy Party
  • End Titles

[File #2]

Original music from the Episodes: Free For All • The General • Many Happy Returns • Dance of the Dead • Checkmate • Hammer into Anvil • A Change of Mind

[File #3]

Original music from the Episodes: Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling • The Girl Who Was Death • Once upon a Time • Fall Out

A single-LP soundtrack release was issued by Six of One for its membership in the 1980s and is considered a collector's item; titled The Prisoner: Original Soundtrack Music from the TV Series Starring Patrick McGoohan, the album was later issued by Bamcaruso Records (WEBA 066) in a deluxe edition that included The Making of the Prisoner, a booklet on the series by Roger Langley, a map of the Village, and a poster featuring a hand-drawn image of Number 6 being chased by Rover.

In December 2007, it was announced that Network DVD would be releasing a new 3xCD set of the soundtrack, compiled by series music editor Eric Mival, which would include a facsimile of his "music bible" used during the making of the series.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Miller, Toby (2003). Spyscreen: espionage on film and TV from the 1930s to the 1960s. Oxford University Press, 219. ISBN 0-19-815952-8. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Bernstein, Adam (15 January 2009). TV Spy Series Star Brought Complex Programming to U.S.. Retrieved on 2009-10-04. 
  3. Thill, Scott (3 June 2008). Lost Joins Shyamalan’s Pixies Lovefest. Listening Post. Wired. Retrieved on 2009-10-04.
  4. Rose, Steve (14 January 2009). Be seeing you: remembering Patrick McGoohan. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-10-04. 
  5. Hatfield, Charles, "Once Upon a Time: Kirby's Prisoner," The Jack Kirby Collector, #11, August 1996, Two Morrows Publishing.
  6. The Invisibles vol. 1 #17 annotations, The Bomb, Barbelith
  7. http://archive.sonic-hq.net/newsite/comics/issues/comics.php/series.Fleetway/index.90/index.100
  8. All three novels have been reprinted by Ace and other publishers numerous times over the years (Dennis Dobson, London 1979; New English Library, 1979 and others). Most recently the Disch and Stine books were republished in 2002. Additionally, all three books were republished in omnibus form. The reference work The Whole Story: 3000 Years of Sequels & Sequences 2nd edition by John E. Simkin erroneously lists an additional volume by McDaniel entitled Prisoner 3 being released in 1981, but no such book was ever published.
  9. Some editions carry a 1967 copyright date but this refers to the series, not the book).
  10. Steve Jackson Games — The Prisoner, accessed 2008-01-14
  11. Thill, Scott (11 October 2008). The Prisoner’s Sonic Shadow Looms Large. Listening Post. Wired. Retrieved on 2009-10-04.
  12. White, Matthew (1988). The Official Prisoner Companion. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 132. ISBN 0-283-99598-X. 
  13. "Back in the Village" Lyrics"
  14. Moon, Tony (2002). Down By The Jetty - The Dr Feelgood Story, 2nd, Borden, Hants: Northdown Publishing Ltd., 64. ISBN 1-900711-15-X. 
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hox7UOaQffI
  16. Folkjokeopus — CD. Archived from the original on 2008-01-14. Retrieved on 2008-04-30.
  17. Mansun Heaven Discography
  18. Pitchforkmedia.com: Information review
  19. http://www.amazon.com/Prisoner/dp/B002I1Z162
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Britton, Wesley Alan (2004). Spy television, The Praeger television collection. Greenwood Publishing Group, 280. ISBN 0-275-98163-0. 
  21. Chapman, James (2002). Saints and avengers: British adventure series of the 1960s. I.B.Tauris, 282. ISBN 1-86064-753-7. 
  22. Aldgate, Anthony (2000). Windows on the sixties: exploring key texts of media and culture. I.B.Tauris, 194. ISBN 1-86064-383-3. 
  23. BBC Cult—The Simpsons: Season 1 Episode Guide
  24. 24.0 24.1 Booker, M. Keith (2006). Drawn to television: prime-time animation from the Flintstones to Family guy. Greenwood Publishing Group, 191. ISBN 0-275-99019-2. 
  25. Rizzo III, Francis (2007-06-14). Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 3. DVD Talk. Retrieved on 2009-06-27.
  26. Bassom, David (2005). Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion. Titan Books. ISBN 978-1-84576-097-7. 
  27. [1]
  28. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095501/
  29. Malcom, Shawna (11 August 2006). Lost Boss Tackles Star Trek Enterprise. TV Guide. Retrieved on 2009-10-04.
  30. Jensen, Jeff (2012-04-21). 'Fringe' recap: Apocalypse Tomorrow. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2012-04-22.
  31. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqTpZ3cb8_U
  32. http://prisoner.gigacorp.net/quotes.html
  33. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hkeh87yvws&feature=related