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The Prisoner

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
The Prisoner: Miss Freedom The Prisoner
Miss Freedom
Novel
Written by Andrew Cartmel
Published by Powys Media

(The page numbers come from the second printing, September 2017)

 

British agents attempt to rescue Number 6 from his incarceration in the Village.

 

Characters appearing in this novel

 

Number 6 (ZM-73)

The Informant (possibly Number 2)

Agent 59/06 (Miss Freedom)

Rover

Number 2 (possibly the Informant)

helicopter pilot (Number 2's wife)

Number 39 (dies in this novel)

The Butler

The Chef

Number 81 (Sweet Lady)

Wing Commander (Number 144)

Contact w/ Tyrolean hat

Hotel owner (dies in this novel)

Hotel owner's daughter (dies in this novel)

Giede

Number 666

Number 97 (sister of Number 39)

David "Demon" Granger (Captain Heroic; fictional version of Number 6)

Reverend Pyecroft

Hector Macato

Jimmond (Jim Drummond)

Melinda Ebert

Doris

Colonel Draper

Miss Freedom (Agent 59/06)

Dorina Albertson

Major Dobbs 

 

 

 

Notes from the Prisoner chronology

 

It seems possible that the events of this novel take place after the final episode of the TV series, "Fall Out". Near the end of the novel, Number 6 refers to the Village as being to the east of Dover, which may be a callback to "Fall Out", in which the Village is implied to be not far from London and the A20 highway, probably on the eastern coastline of England, south of London; Dover is, in fact, southeast of London, along the English east coast. Number 6 wouldn't have known this unless he'd already lived through the events of "Fall Out". Also, the earlier novel I Am Not a Number! seems to reset Number 6 into the Village after the events of "Fall Out", with our hero free in London, but with his past memories altered, living a slightly different life than his original one and with the Butler as his own butler, and with no memory of his time in the Village; he soon wakes up in the Village and he gradually learns he has been in the Village before and seeks to regain his memories and escape. The later two novels Number Two and A Day in the Life seem to follow I Am Not a Number!, so we've chosen to place Miss Freedom after all of them.

 

Didja Know?

 

This novel was first published in a very limited edition by Powys Media in 2008. A print on demand version was made available by Powys through Lulu in 2017.

 

The book is written in the style of a 1960s spy novel.

 

With part of the novel being Number 6 telling a fictitious spy story of his own, it resembles the TV series episode "The Girl Who Was Death".

 

Didja Notice?

 

On the back cover of the second printing of the book, the second mention of "Number 6" mistakenly has the "n" in lower-case.

 

Possibly the title of the novel, Miss Freedom, represents not only the character who goes by that code name in the novel, but also stands for Number 6's state of mind since finding himself in the Village...as in, "(I) miss freedom."

 

Prologue: Freedom of Information

 

    The prologue of this book presents a document released with some details removed, as restricted pursuant to the Official Secrets Act. The intelligence agency that authored the document is not identified, but it would appear to not be the same agency that ZM-73 (Number 6) worked for before retiring (agency name redacted).

    The Official Secrets Act is legislation covering the United Kingdom and a number of its current or former colonies in regards to state secrets and confidential information.

 

On page 1, the informant makes contact with the document's agency's office in Berlin (presumably Berlin, West Germany).

 

The name of the lost operative (Number 6) is redacted. In McGoohan's previous TV series, Danger Man, he played secret agent John Drake, whom many Prisoner fans think is the actual identity of Number 6; the novels Number Two and A Day in the Life also refer to Number 6 specifically as John Drake.

 

    The document presents five speculations of what most likely happened to the missing operative (Number 6): 1) subject had been taken against his will by an enemy power, 2) subject had willingly defected to an enemy power, 3) subject had been taken by one of his nation's own intelligence units without authorization and against established protocols, 4) the subject's own agency had made him disappear for unknown reasons, 5) subject could have made himself disappear.

    The document states that scenario 5 seems the most likely, given the subject's recent dissatisfaction with the agency, headstrong nature, individualistic streak, and repressed bohemian tendencies, with their psychologists concluding he had "most likely grown a beard and was living a barefoot existence on a beach somewhere in the tropics." In "Arrival", Number 6 packs his briefcase for a trip, including a file folder of photos of what appears to be a tropical beach location; it would seem he was planning to flee there, so maybe he was planning to lose himself (although, if so, what about his fiancé, Janet Portland, revealed in "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling"? Was he planning to abandon her forever, without a word?).

 

The informant has stipulated that the location of the Village remain secret as, if the location were to be revealed "the gates of Hell would open." I don't know if author Cartmel incorporated other licensed Prisoner writings into his story, but would the reference to "gates of Hell" be a reference the groups known as the Archangels and the Gods in the 1989 DC Comics mini-series Shattered Visage?

 

Chapter 1: The Pilot

 

Page 7 describes the hidden cameras in his cottage as one of Number 6's bête noirés. Bête noir is French for "black beast" and has become an idiom for something that is strongly disliked or to be avoided.

 

    Page 9 identifies the Village helicopter as an Alouette II. This is the copter model seen in several episodes of the series. It goes on to say the copter has a Turbomeca Artouste gas turbine engine with maximum speed of nearly 200 kilometers an hour. This type of engine was actually used in Alouette II helicopters. Turbomeca is now known as Safran Helicopter Engines.

    Number 6 reflects that he had first flown an Alouette II in Indochina ten years ago. If The Prisoner TV series takes place in 1967-68 as commonly assumed, he would have been in Indochina around 1957-58. He was probably part of British forces for the second Indochina War of 1955-1975.

 

Through observation, Number 6 has determined there are six helicopter pilots in a loose rotation.

 

By the time of the events of this novel, Number 6 has determined that most new residents to the Village do not arrive by helicopter, as often larger numbers than the four-plus-pilot that would fit in an Alouette II would arrive at once. To him, additional routes of arrival means additional routes of possible escape.

 

Page 11 describes the surface of Rover as similar to latex, but stronger, and curiously warm to the touch. Could the warmth indicate it as an organic organism? In the original edit of "Arrival" found as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray boxed set of The Prisoner, the appearances of Rover are accompanied by the sound of deep breathing and what may be a heartbeat instead of the semi-roaring sound Rover is known for in televised episodes of the series, possibly suggesting Rover is some kind of living organism.

 

As Number 6 exits his cottage in the morning on page 11, a taxi is waiting for him, driven by an Asiatic woman with dark hair in a ponytail (identified later in the novel as Number 39). Another Asiatic woman, Number 16, drove him through the Village in "Arrival". Number 16 spoke English, but the woman here does not speak to him, maybe does not speak English, only gives him the "be seeing you" sign at his destination.

 

Page 14 reveals that Number 6 has joined a creative writing group in the Village, but his story is not following the designated theme of "spy story". Instead, he has written a story of incarceration, escape, and adventure in the mold of The Man in the Iron Mask. The Man in the Iron Mask is the third part of the Alexandre Dumas novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later (1847) about a man whose head is kept locked behind an iron mask in his imprisonment during the reign of French king Louis XIV.

 

On page 18, Number 6 thinks that Number 81's spy story is an overheated romance about an outlandish femme fatale who would have put Mata Hari to shame. Mata Hari was an exotic dancer in France who was convicted and executed as a spy for Germany in WWI.

 

On page 21, Number 6 remarks that he might be made the Judas goat for discovering the blind spots in Village surveillance. A Judas goat is a goat trained to lead sheep or cattle to the slaughterhouse (named for the Biblical traitor of Jesus, Judas Iscariot).

 

Chapter 2: Impossible Clock Positions

 

On page 25, the Sweet Lady reveals that cigarettes have recently been banned in the Village when the Wing Commander tries to buy some from her. The Wing Commander asks for Players Perfectos Finos or Benson and Hedges or even Woodbines. These are all real world brands of British cigarettes. Perfectos Finos were a classier brand and Woodbines cheap.

 

Before his incarceration in the Village, Number 6 (ZM-73) had met the Wing Commander on an operation in Paris. Page 26 mentions several places in Paris: the Latin Quarter, the Marais, and the bookstalls along the River Seine. These are all components of the city; the edge of the Seine is known for the small bookstalls selling all kinds of books.

 

The Wing Commander wears a Rolex watch.

 

    On page 27, ZM-73 and the Wing Commander drive an Aston-Martin DB5 to the Chamonix ski resort in the French Alps. The DB5 is the car James Bond drove in the 1964 film Goldfinger.

    On page 28, ZM-73 reflects that the DB5 has the same Superleggra (sic) coachwork as the DB4 and has Wilton pile carpeting and seats with leather hides tanned in Lancashire. Superleggera is an Italian coach building company. Wilton is a high quality type of pile carpeting. Lancashire is a county in northern England. 

 

   On page 32, the Wing Commander tells ZM-73 that the hotel owner had brandished an old Mauser pistol with a wooden stock that doubles as the holster, "no doubt hoarded it from one of the late Hunnish onslaughts against democracy." He must be referring to the German-made Mauser C96 with broomhandle stock (1896).
   The "Hun" reference is not as well-recognized today, but "Hun" was a term sometimes used (especially in Allied propaganda) for the Germans during WWII, comparing them to the "barbarian hordes" of Attila the Hun, the 5th Century warlord.
Mauser C96 with broomhandle stock

 

The Wing Commander claims the incident with the hotel owner and his daughter was like something out of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe(1809-1849) was a classic American writer of mystery and the macabre.

 

ZM-73 reports to his mission liaisons in Brussels, two Old Etonians, that he is sure the Wing Commander is the one who killed the hotel owner and his daughter. "Old Etonians" is a term for former pupils of Eton College in England.

 

On page 33, ZM-73 gets a new assignment in Luxembourg.

 

At the night club in Luxembourg, German singer Caterina Valente performs with the Johnny Keating orchestra. Both are real world performers. Keating passed away in 2015.

 

Caterina performs "My Funny Valentine" at the club. This is a song from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms.

 

Page 35 describes ZM-73 as not the type to carry a gun. The same was true of Patrick McGoohan's character of John Drake on Danger Man, possibly meant as a hint that Cartmel also subscribes to the Drake-as-Number-6 theory.

 

On page 38, the Wing Commander's murderous tendencies are compared to those of Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper was an unidentified serial killer of women in London in the late 1880s.

 

Chapter 3: A Girl Called 666

 

The credit cards and their reader devices in the novel seem to be more sophisticated than in the TV series, where it was just a hole punch card system. On page 40, Number 6 wonders if the reading device could be used in some fashion to abet an escape attempt. The device is not described in any detail, but it sounds ahead of its time (late '60s), perhaps something like the magnetic stripe readers of the 1980s and up.

 

The new girl in the Village, Number 666, is described as dark-haired and beautiful. When she emerges from the sea after a swim, she is compared to Venus in Number 6's mind. Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

 

Number 6 reflects to himself that, with her attractiveness, it's no wonder "they" decided to call her 666...she had a diabolical power. 666 is the number of the beast in the Bible's Book of Revelation.

 

On page 44, after Number 6 kicks the beautiful and vulnerable Number 666 out of his cottage when she shows up in the middle of the night, Number 2 asks him if he is a Puritan . "Puritan" is a term that has come to mean "against pleasure" in 20th-21st Century expressions.

 

On page 45, when Number 2 again claims to be able to help Number 6 escape and that Number 6's people had been willing to meet the price, Number 6 asks him if they offered thirty pieces of silver. This is a reference to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver in the New Testament of the Bible.

 

Chapter 5: The Tango Competition

 

Page 55 mentions Technicolor. Technicolor is a process of shooting and processing motion picture film to make color movies.

 

On page 56, a black cat saunters across the path in front of Numbers 6 and 666. Is it the same black cat that appeared in "Dance of the Dead", "Many Happy Returns", Number Two, and The Prisoner's Dilemma? Number 6 does not mention it.

 

Chapter 6: The Parachutist

 

In Number 6's story for the creative writing group, he names his hero, who bears some resemblance to himself, David "Demon" Granger. Might this be another hint by author Cartmel that 6's real name is John Drake from Danger Man? "Granger" rhymes with "danger". And some fans of the Danger Man series refer to it as "D-Man"...demon?

 

On page 61, Granger reflects on times he was shot at, notably in Bayswater and Beirut. Presumably, these are referring to the area of London called Bayswater and the city of Beirut, Lebanon.

 

Granger learns to parachute in Cambridgeshire. He sleeps in a Nissen hut during his training. A Nissen hut is a prefabricated structure made mostly of corrugated steel, very similar, but smaller, to a Quonset hut in the U.S.

 

Reverend Pyecroft gives Granger half of a French chocolate bar and Granger admits that it is a cut above the average Kit Kat. Kit Kat is a chocolate-covered wafer confection originally made in the UK by Rowntree, now produced internationally by Nestlé.

 

Page 65 states that Reverend Pyecroft earned the George Cross in WWII while fighting with the guerrillas in Malaysia. The George Cross is a medal awarded in the UK for great heroism or courage, whether military or civilian. Much of Malaysia was occupied by the Japanese Army during WWII.

 

Granger's spy organization is based in an office building in Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury is an area of the London borough of Camden. Euston Road, Covent Garden, and Russell Square are all contained within Bloomsbury as indicated.

 

On page 66, Granger pulls into an underground car park in Bloomsbury, perhaps meant to suggest it is the same car park Number 6 pulled into at the beginning of "Arrival" to deliver his resignation. (Though, according to the audio commentary of "Arrival" on the Blu-Ray disk, the parking garage Number 6 pulls into was under Hyde Park, next to Buckingham Palace, London...of course, fictionally, it could be another location.)

 

Granger reflects on having spent Sunday listening to loud music at the Round House (sic) in Chalk Farm and in the bedroom of Melinda Ebert overlooking the lock in Camden. The Roundhouse is an actual performing art venue in Chalk Farm, a small district of northwest London. Camden Lock exists near there.

 

Within Number 6's "spy story", Colonel Draper is presented as merely a figurehead of the agency Granger works for; the real leader is a woman (Doris) who acts as if she's his secretary for purposes of security. Is this the case for Number 6's agency? Different individuals referred to as "the Colonel" within his agency are seen in "The Chimes of Big Ben" and "Many Happy Returns".

 

On page 67, Colonel Draper looks out his office window towards the Post Office Tower overlooking Tottenham Court Road. This is an actual building, now known as BT Tower.

 

On page 70, Granger's car is shot at on Southampton Row. This is a major street in Bloomsbury.

 

On page 72, Jimmond kills Draper with a Tomiska "Little Tom" 6.35mm pistol. This is a real world gun produced from 1909-1929. The gun's inventor, Alois Tomiska, was apprenticed to a Viennese gun maker in the 1890s, as implied later on page 89.

 

Chapter 7: The Interrogation

 

On page 76, Number 2 tells Number 666 that the powers-that-be tried a similar, more elaborate and sophisticated tactic to hers to get Number 6 to subconsciously reveal his secrets. This is probably a reference to the events of "A. B. and C."

 

On page 81, Pyecroft uses an SAFN rifle. The SAFN stands for semi-automatic Fabrique Nationale (the firearms manufacturer now known as Fabrique Nationale Herstal).

 

On page 82, Number 2 sarcastically remarks to 666 that Number 6 has not given them any more useful information than he can find in a Christmas cracker. In the UK and countries of the British Commonwealth, a Christmas cracker is a toy given out at Christmas time, a paper-wrapped cardboard tube that is meant to be pulled apart by two people, with a prize of some kind in a small chamber in the larger end (sort like the custom of pulling apart a turkey wishbone)...the person with the chambered side gets to keep the prize.

 

Chapter 8: Miss Freedom

 

On page 85, Granger speeds across Waterloo Bridge over the Thames along Kingsway, through Cartwright Gardens and past King's Cross Station, then Euston Station. These are all real parts of London.

 

Page 86 mentions Colonel Draper attempting to reread the complex works of Trollope. Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was an English novelist.

On page 87, Miss Freedom is depicted wearing Beatle boots. These are a boot style made for the members of the rock band the Beatles, a variant on the Chelsea boot.

 

After turning traitor, Draper is taken away by the agency in a Humber Super Snipe. This was a car produced by the British manufacturear Humber Limited from 1938-1967.

 

Page 91 mentions Number 6 being in deep REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement and refers to the rapid back-and-forth movement of the eyeballs under a sleeping person's closed lids when they enter dream sleep.

 

On page 93, Granger and Miss Freedom train at the pool at University College. This presumably refers to University College London.

 

On page 94, Granger takes Miss Freedom to Soho and a small Greek restaurant on Frith Street. Soho is an area of West London, of which Frith Street is a part.

 

Chapter 9: The Chelsea Ripper

 

On page 98, the Wing Commander remarks that he knows a skilled dentist in Holland Park who can fix his damaged smile. Holland Park is a district in West London.

 

On page 100, Granger and Miss Freedom emerge from Soho onto Shaftesbury Avenue and head towards Chinatown and Leicester Square. These are accurate landmarks in the Soho area.

 

On page 101, Granger and Miss Freedom take the Piccadilly Line train west to South Kensington station, than make their way to Markham Street where the miss's safe house flat is located, with the fashionable King's Road at the far end of Markham. This is an accurate layout of the area.

 

On page 102, Miss Freedom puts a shilling in the gas meter of the flat to light the stove. Coin-operated gas meters were well-known in the UK at the time, especially for rental residences. She makes tea from Ty-phoo tea bags, serving it in Clarice Cliff teacups. Typhoo is a real world brand of tea made in England. Clarice Cliff (1879-1972) was a ceramic artist famous for her hand-painted pottery.

 

On page 105, the policeman says that Dorina Albertson managed to call 999 after being assaulted by the Chelsea Ripper in her flat. 999 is the emergency call number in the UK.

 

Chapter 10: Go Status

 

On page 108, the Wing Commander uses the term "rozzers". This is British slang for "police".

 

Chapter 11: Meeting the Pilot

 

On page 119, Major Dobbs is reading the latest issue of Punch. This was a weekly humor and satire magazine in England from 1841-1992.

 

On page 120, Doris wishes Granger "the best of British luck" on his mission. This phrase is used in the UK to wish someone luck when it doesn't seem there is much chance for success.

 

    Also on page 120, Number 6 cuts through the fruit and vegetable market in Covent Garden. A thriving such market existed in the central square of Covent Garden at the time this story takes place (late 1960s), but was converted into a more standard shopping and tourist market in the 1970s.

    Continuing through Covent Garden, Number 6 heads down via the Aldwych to the Embankment and the Strand, catching the District Line west to Tower Hill. These are all actual locations in London.

 

On page 121, Granger meets Miss Freedom at a pub called The Blackfriars and buys her a half pint of Guinness. The Blackfriar is an actual pub in London.

 

Miss Freedom tells Granger that she bought her clothing at Peter Jones.

 

On page 122, the Wing Commander remarks that getting Village surveillance tapes from the Green Dome was like trying to sign something out of the special collection at the British Library. The British Library is the national library of the UK and the largest library in the world, with over 170 million items from countries all over the world.

 

The Wing Commander also remarks that Number 6's story puts Dick Barton to shame. Dick Barton – Special Agent was a British radio program from 1946-1951.

 

On page 123, Granger and Miss Freedom catch the tube to Baron's Court and walk down the streets of West Kensington to a house near some posh tennis courts where pre-Wimbledon matches are contested. These are actual locations in London. Wimbledon refers to The Championships, Wimbledon, the oldest, most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.

 

On page 125, Granger sees a buddleia vine rising out of a crack and invading a London wall. Buddleia (or Buddleja) is a flowering plant of Asia, Africa, and the Americas, transported to Great Britain around the 17th Century.

 

On page 126, Granger and Miss Freedom meet at Dover Castle overlooking the English Channel on a Kentish summer evening. Dover is a port town in the county of Kent.

 

On page 127, Granger and Miss Freedom drive to Ladywell and past a pub called The White Horse. Ladywell is a neighborhood in Dover and there is an actual pub called The White Horse there.

 

    The Pilot drives Granger and Miss Freedom past the Royal Marine barracks in Dover and then what Granger surmises as due east. Presumably, the Royal Marine barracks refers to the Connaught Barracks, constructed during WWI to assemble men and supplies for shipment to the European front, later becoming the home of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment in 1970.

    The reference to driving east may be a callback to "Fall Out", where the truck taken from the Village by Number 6, the Butler, and Number 48 drives along the A20, suggesting that the Village is not far from London and the A20, probably on the eastern coastline of England, south of London. Dover is, in fact, southeast of London, along the English east coast. This may suggest that the novel takes place after the events of "Fall Out" since Number 6 would not have knowledge of an English east coast location for the Village until then, even though he "seems" to have escaped the Village in that episode. Of course, in the PopApostle chronology of The Prisoner, the novel I Am Not a Number! also takes place after "Fall Out", with our hero free in London, but with his past memories altered, living a slightly different life than his original one and with the Butler as his own butler, and with no memory of his time in the Village; he soon wakes up in the Village and he gradually learns he has been in the Village before and seeks to regain his memories and escape.

    The trio then arrive at an airport that Granger is sure must be Manston airport. Manston airport was a real airport for joint military and civilian use near Dover at the time, since closed.

 

Chapter 12: Relieved

 

On page 140, the Wing Commander comments on "Granger" disappearing from Number 6's story, "like something out of Brigadoon." Brigadoon is a 1947 musical play by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe about a strange Scottish village that appears for one day only once every 100 years, then disappears again.

 

Chapter 13: Alone Together

 

On page 144, Number 666 finds a coffee table book of paintings by Dalí in Number 6's cottage. Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) was a Spanish artist known particularly for his surrealist paintings.

 

Chapter 14: Be Seeing You

 

On page 154, the Village band is playing the theme of the film, The Great Escape. This is a film about an escape of British prisoners of war from a German POW camp, released in 1963.

 

Chapter 15: On the Beach

 

The woman with the raft that Number 6 and Number 666 knocked out on the beach and left in a cave is the real 666. The 666 that Number 6 is working with is actually Agent 59/06.

 

Epilogue: Information of Freedom

 

Page 170 mentions someone (seemingly the writer of the report) facing artillery barrage, face down in the mud of the Somme. This is a reference to the River Somme in France and probably to the Battle of the Somme fought by British and French forces against the Germans during WWI. 

 

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