The Prisoner

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The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series first broadcast in the UK from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968.[1][2] Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama.

The series follows a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious seaside village where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although sold as a thriller in the mould of McGoohan's previous series, Danger Man (called Secret Agent in its U.S. release), the show's combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surreal setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general.

A TV miniseries remake aired on the U.S. cable channel AMC 15–17 November 2009.[3] Additionally, Christopher Nolan has been widely reported to be considering a film version.[4]

Contents

Origins and production

The show was co-created by Patrick McGoohan and George Markstein. Markstein, script editor of Danger Man, remembered that during World War II some people were incarcerated in a resort-like prison. A documented situation with some similarities was Operation Epsilon: German atomic scientists were detained post-war in relatively comfortable isolation in a mansion in England, while their conversations were recorded. Markstein suggested that the Danger Man lead, John Drake, could suddenly resign, and be kidnapped and sent to such a location. Markstein subsequently wrote a novel, The Cooler, in 1974 about such a prison for spies who had suffered mental breakdowns.

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