That’s right: Patrick McGoohan died yesterday. I know he had other roles (but I didn’t recognize him as King Edward I in Braveheart), but like so many other fans, for me he was iconic as #6.
I barely recall catching some episodes of The Prisoner during its original run; I saw it largely because my aunts and uncles watched it. It was visually weird, but I liked the music. When MAL reintroduced me to the series a few years back, I remembered the music before I recalled the show—except for its signature line, of course. I had wondered if there was a method to the show’s surreal madness; the article confirms that there was:
McGoohan co-created and executive-produced the series [The Prisoner], which ran for only 17 episodes, as well as wrote and directed several episodes.
In a 1967 interview with The Times, he described the series as "Brave New World" stuff.
"Nobody has a name, everyone wears a number," he said. "It's a reflection of the pressure on all of us today to be numbered, to give up our individualism. This is a contemporary subject, not science fiction. I hope these things will be recognized by the audience. It's not meant to be subtle. It's meant to say: This little village is our world."
Of the enduring cult status of the series, McGoohan once said: "Mel [Gibson] will always be Mad Max, and me, I will always be a number."
I wonder how McGoohan felt about the apparent failure of the series to drive its point home sufficiently to its audience. Perhaps that isn’t a fair charge to lay at the series’ door—but it is certainly true that the trends weren’t much slowed by the show. It is still worth watching, in my opinion: the series was very well done, and little of it seemed dated to my senses.
Thank you, Mr. McGoohan, for intelligently entertaining and stimulating us.