episode guide

First UK showing: Friday the 19th January 1968 at 19:35 on ATV Midlands
A storybook is open and we begin with a game of cricket. The bowler bowls, the batsman bats, and the ball ends up in the bushes. A beautiful woman, dressed in white, switches the ball with another. It looks the same and bowls the same, except it explodes - killing the unfortunate batsman. Colonel "Hawke-English", the deceased batsman, was investigating the activities of a mad scientist called Schnipps who is building a rocket to destroy London and this is why he is killed.

A new man is appointed to carry on where the Colonel left off. Looking suspiciously like our friend No. 6, he finds himself on the same cricket ground and about to bat. The bowler bowls, the batsman bats, and the ball ends up in the bushes. Again, the ball is replaced with a deadly doppelganger and bowled but No.6, suspicious, catches it and manages to throw it away before it explodes. Checking the bushes he finds a message written on a handkerchief : "Let's meet again...at your local pub".

He goes into the bar and orders a drink, as his glass empties, a message is revealed - "You have just been poisoned". He quickly orders a veritable cocktail of many different drinks which quickly sends him to the washroom to vomit. Written on the roller towel is another message, directing him to the "Turkish Baths". We see him inside a steam chamber and, as the temperature soars, a womans hand inserts a broom handle to stop the doors from opening but he manages to break out. Inexplicably he's fully dressed and costumed as Sherlock Holmes. He is then directed to a fairground, takes part in a boxing match, Justine Lordis led to the "tunnel of love" and to a ride, now in pursuit of a girl clad in white. She evades him and drives away and he follows her in his own car. Over the radio he hears her voice as she taunts him with talk of love and of death.

They end up in a deserted village named "Witchwood" and, taunting him again through a loudspeaker system, the girl guides him into a series of deadly traps set in the butcher's, the baker's and the candlestick maker's shops. He manages to evade death each time, eventually finding himself cornered by the girl who fires at him from a tower. He commandeers a bulldozer for protection but the girl blows up the machine using a rocket launcher. The girl inspects the wreckage and leaves, but as the smoke clears we see that No. 6 is still alive, having taken refuge down a handy manhole. He follows the girl and clings onto the helicopter in which she is leaving.

Following her into a network of underground tunnels, he finds a military establishment in the style of a Napoleonic encampment (the operative word here being "camp"), with the soldiers all dressed as Napoleon. He knocks out one of the soldiers and sabotages the weapons he sees around him. Dr Schnipps, father of the girl whose real name is Sonia and also dressed as Napoleon, inspects his soldiers, telling them he is about to fulfil his dream and destroy London. They notice that one of their colleagues is missing and go to look for him. They fight with No.6 and are finally defeated when their sabotaged rifles backfire. Ascending to the top of the lighthouse, No. 6 is captured by Sonia and tied to a chair.

It's revealed that the lighthouse is actually the rocket, shortly to launch and with him as the passenger. As Schnipps and Sonia are busy packing their files, No.6 manages to free himself. He resets the rocket's controls and escapes by climbing down the outside of the lighthouse/rocket. As he reaches the motorboat, Sonia and Schnipps appear at the door and throw mortar bombs at him but these are the ones he's sabotaged and the handles explode in their hands. As he skims away, the rocket explodes.

"And that is how I saved London from the mad scientist", says No. 6. He's been reading the story to two Village children. In the "Green Dome", Schnipps is revealed as No.2 with Sonia as his assistant. They have been listening to the whole story, hoping that the Prisoner would drop his guard with children around and reveal his secrets. As ever, he disappoints and as he leaves he turns to the monitoring camera and says: "Goodnight children...everywhere".

Terence Feely (Writer)

Kenneth Griffiths (Schnipps)
Justine Lord (Sonia)
Christopher Benjamin (Potter)
Michael Brennan (Killer Karminski)
Harold Berens (Boxing M.C.)
Sheena Marsh (Barmaid)
David Tomblin (Director)

Max Faulkner (Scots Napoleon)
John Rees (Welsh Napoleon)
Joe Gladwin (Yorks Napoleon)
John Drake (Bowler)
Gaynor Steward (Little Girl)
Graham Steward (Little Boy)
Stephen How (Little Boy)

This is a sort of "Danger Man meets The Avengers" pastiche with McGoohan appearing initially in typical "Danger Man" garb. Also making an appearance Is Christopher Benjamin recreating one of his "Danger Man" characters, Potter. This character had appeared as John Drake's contact man in "Koroshi" and "Shinda Shima".

John Drake The cricket match which opens the episode was filmed at the village of Meopham, Kent although this is stock footage with the closeups being filmed near the studios at Borehamwood. The bowler is played by an actor whose real name is - John Drake (above right). Drake said in an interview in later years that he didn't think that his name had anything to do with his casting, although another in-joke by McGoohan can't be ruled out.

Kenneth Griffith was originally going to play his "Schnipps" character as Hitler. In an interview later he said that McGoohan "Didn't think that was funny at all" and made him change it to Napoleon.

Joe Gladwin is cast as the "Yorkshire Napoleon" and indeed his rich Yorkshire accent has graced many a Hovis commercial and TV series (most famously in 'Last Of The Summer Wine'). Odd therefore that we never get to hear it, and whatever he was singing just before Number Six clobbered him was over-dubbed by someone else doing "Danny Boy", in an Irish accent. The onscreen mismatch is ludicrous as the mouth sings something totally different. Maybe they were originally going to do "By Ilkley Moor Baht 'at" (USA readers can REALLY switch off here!) and it was thought too regional for a global audience.

McGoohan did not do any of the location filming at the fairground (the Kursaal Fun Fair at Southend, Sussex), his character was played by Frank Maher, apart from the closeups which were done in the studio against a back projection of the scene. Making an uncredited appearance as the Fairground Photographer is Alexis Kanner (left).

Much of the other location work was done close to the studios. The street where Potter has his shoeshine stand and where Sonia appears in the shop window is Borehamwood High Street and both the fashion shop and record shop exteriors are still there, albeit in different hands now. The "Eastenders" set is halfway up this road on the same side (this won't mean anything to USA readers, sorry) with the Elstree film studios on the other side, as is the old GEC building which they used as Number Six's HQ in "Do Not Forsake Me".

The "local pub" is (was) the Thatched Barn Motel, now demolished. It was quite close to the studios at the far end of Borehamwood High Street. The Mops and Brooms pub which the cars chase around is also a real establishment close to Borehamwood, although the "Witchwood" village where the chase ends is a studio backlot.

The lighthouse where Schnipps and his Napoleon gang hide out is the Beachyhead lighthouse, although the one which explodes is a model (I hope). This is the same lighthouse we see in "Many Happy Returns" when No. 6 scales the cliffs during his escape.

The countdown mechanism and control desk (which also appear in "Fallout") were originally built for the "Thunderbirds" puppet TV series. The count-down sequence itself is a stock shot and used in "Thunderbirds" and also in "Captain Scarlet" and "Joe 90".
Previous page
Home Page
Next page