There's a game of human chess about to start on the Village lawn and No.6 is invited to join in. He will be the "Queen's pawn". During the game, No 6 attempts to get information from the "Queen" but she's as evasive as everyone else. The game continues, overseen by No 2 and the supervisor in the control room. The moves are called by opposing Villagers perched on stepladders but suddenly the "Rook", clearly unhappy with the pedestrian and predictable way the game is being played, makes a series of moves of his own and calls out "Check !" He is immediately removed from the board on a stretcher and the "Queen" explains that he exhibited the "cult of the individual" which is not allowed in the Village.
After the game, No.6 talks with No.14, the "Man with the stick" who believes that one can separate "black from white" and distinguish between prisoners and warders by their attitude of either subservience or arrogance. Inmates would do as they were told, warders would not. This would provide a simple test of who could be trusted and who could not.
No.6 meets up with No. 2 and enquires as to the wellbeing of the "Rook". They go to the hospital where the hapless "Rook" is being rehabilitated with aversion therapy. Later, when he's been released, he's accosted by No. 6 who senses that the man is still a rebel, treatment or no treatment, and would make a good escape partner. They start to plan but the Village authorities are suspicious and brainwash the "Queen" into falling in love with No.6. She is given a homing device disguised as a locket, the idea being that she will follow him everywhere and enable the controller to track her and therefore No. 6 at all times.
In the meantime, No.6 has enlisted some allies, using the subservience/aggression test. The "Rook" builds a radio and they send a distress signal, pretending they are in a plane which is about to crash. A boat soon answers their call. Leaving the "Rook" by the shore to wait for its arrival, the other conspirators put the searchlight tower out of action. No.6 runs back to the beach but nobody is to be seen.
After a moment of hesitation, he leaves on his own and is eventually brought on board the rescue boat. He receives a unexpected surprise when a television monitor shows the face of No.2 and realises he's been set up. No. 2 explains that it was the "Rook" who foiled the plan. No.6 has been caught in his own trap by showing too much arrogance and the others therefore believed him to be a warder attempting to trick them.
Gerald Kelsey (Writer)
Don Chaffey (Director)|
Peter Wyngarde (Number Two)|
Ronald Radd (Rook)
George Coulouris (Man with Stick)
Rosalie Crutchley (Queen)
Patricia Jessel (Psychiatrist)
Bee Duffell (Psychiatrist)
Basil Dignam (Supervisor)
Danvers Walker (Painter)|
Denis Shaw (Shopkeeper)
Victor Platt (Asst Supervisor)
Shivaun O'Casey (Nurse)
Geoffrey Reed (Skipper)
Terence Donovan (Sailor)
Joe Dunne (Guard)
Romo Gorrara (Guard)
Yet another "one-off" episode utilising ideas, locations and situations never to be seen again. One of the original four episodes to be filmed, it contains dialogue more appropriate for an earlier showing in the series as Number Six is obviously still coming to terms with his environment. The working title was "The Queen's Pawn". George Colouris, who played the "Man With The Stick" is reported to have said that all anyone ever wanted to talk to him about was "Citizen Kane" - this film being generally regarded as one of the most influential ever made.
We see the interior of the Watchtower for the first (and last) time and those who have had the dubious privilege of going inside the real thing will smile at this point. The real tower is just wide enough to accomodate a rickety ladder with only a narrow ledge at the top to stand on. (Left-click the thumbnail alongside to get a picture of the view from the top, looking down) The stairs and searchlight area seen in the episode are very much poetic licence and filmed on a studio set. The stock shots of the ship at sea and the mock-up of it's deck were also used in "Many Happy Returns".
The reason for everyone "freezing" when Rover bounces past the Chessboard area is because the only way they could get the balloon to go in a specific direction was by starting from the end point, letting the balloon blow away and then showing the film in reverse! Any movement from the Villagers would have given the game away. Similarly in "Arrival" there's that great shot of Rover bouncing down the hill towards the helicopter to round up Number Six - spoiled only by the smoke of the distant buildings going down the chimney!
Patrick McGoohan did many of the uncredited "voice-overs" throughout the series. In this episode he provides the voice for the chess-player opposing George Colouris' character.