The Village - Bizarre seaside resort
on the espionage fantasy series THE PRISONER/CBS/1968. On the surface, "The
Village" is a beautiful seaside peninsula resort enclosed by
mountains and forests, but in reality, it is a prison which held
people who were considered a threat to the British
government...people with information too valuable to let fall into
the hands of the enemy.
The series follows a former British Intelligence officer (played
by Patrick McGoohan) who was taken to The Village under duress (he was gassed) for
interrogation. Waking in the Village, the "Prisoner" was
stripped of his name and all individuality and given the name of
All residents in the village wear a patch with the sketch of
bicycle with a large front wheel (penny farthing).
Two, the head of The Village stated on the first episode:
question of your resignation...a lot of people are curious
about...why you suddenly left? The information in your head is
priceless. A man like you is worth a great deal on the open market.
It's my job to check your motives."
Despite a number of bizarre and
often dangerous interrogation techniques, the Prisoner escaped and
became a free man once more on the final episode.
The location of
the Village was never revealed but in episode No. 7 entitled "Many
Happy Returns," Number Six escaped The Village by sea. During his
twenty-five day journey to London, he plotted his location (via star
navigation) to be west of Morocco and Southwest of Portugal and
Spain. However, he was reluctantly returned to the resort.
final episode No. 17 "Fall Out", the Prisoner and three others escape
the Village in a truck through an underground tunnel as The Village
is destroyed. As the truck approaches civilization, it passes a road
sign on the A20 Freeway indicating London is only 27 miles way.
reality, the Village was a popular resort town in North Wales on the
Cardigan Bay called the Hotel Portmeirion. It was designed by Sir
Clough Williams-Ellis and features every type of architectural style
you could imagine. The resort was a favorite retreat for Bertrand
Russell, Noel Coward and of course, Patrick McGoohan, the series
creator/star who used it as a backdrop for his offbeat (and now
cult) espionage series. The surreal architecture of this Welsh
resort town attracts some 250,000 visitors a year.
facility may actually exist according to some investigators. George Markstein, the script editor for THE PRISONER revealed that while
reporting during World War II he heard of an organization known as
the Inter Services Research Bureau (ISRB) who ran an espionage
internment camp in Scotland that "housed" certain people who
possessed information that was just too confidential. Visitors to
this exclusive "club" were treated to deluxe accommodations and a
luxurious lifestyle but in the end, they could never leave.
TRIVIA NOTE: A possible inspiration for THE PRISONER series was a 1964
episode of the spy drama SECRET AGENT (a.k.a. DANGER
MAN)/CBS/1961-66 starring Patrick McGoohan as agent John Drake.
The episode featured a secret village disguised to look like the
English Village of Hamden. The Villagers were trained to live,
breath and act British. After three years at the spy school they
were released into the field as undercover agents. If they changed
their mind and tried to escape the village...they were liquidated.
Agent Drake infiltrated the village and was told by its keepers
"No one in the village can ever leave. It's like being in the zoo.
The animals are very well cared for." See also -"Rover"
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