The Cambridge Geek

The Prisoner

ZM-73 is a valuable asset. He's spent a lifetime operating in the heady world of spycraft, and knows an awful lot of things that an awful lot of people will likely pay an awful lot for. As such, it's very important for "someone" to find out just why he resigned from the service, and what he's planning on doing now he has no loyalties. That someone has kidnapped him just as he's got home, and now the trouble begins.

Like the recent Dan Dare, this is another of Big Finish's productions which has been transferred across to BBC Radio. Similar to that, it's again a re-telling, going back to the start of Agent ZM-73's resignation and re-awakening in "The Village" as Number 6.

As such, fans of the series will find much here that is pleasingly nostalgic, with recreations of scenes from the original being excellently done. Though it can't manage the same visual oddity of the TV series, it achieves a matching effect by the different voices used for the parts of the Village's infrastructure and the technologies which were unusual then but are commonplace now. And manages to have a sneaky reveal in the cast list, which was rather impressive. It also has a pleasing description of the Rover, which was somewhat underwhelming in the series, but here gets a more Lovecraftian mode.

Fairly obviously, Patrick McGoohan's presentation of a man attempting to defeat an entire organisation of interrogators is difficult to match, but Mark Elstob makes a decent fist of it, with a voice that's relatively close to McGoohan's. I enjoyed Number 2 significantly more though, particularly when Celia Imrie turned up. She always has a cheerily vicious nature that fits well to the odd jollity of Number 2.

Manages to keep the high tension running throughout, especially helped by the frankly brilliant music. It's been a while since I watched it, so don't actually know how much of it is original and how much is re-purposed, but it's all got a lovely punch to it, and is uniformly well-matched to the ongoing action.

If you're a fan, listening is a no-brainer, and if you've never encountered it, it's not a bad introduction to the world.

Score 5

Tagged: Radio Drama Cast Fiction Adaptation