“The Prisoner” microPodcast [The Arrival]


Kurt Halfyard & Nat Almirall swap their togas for khakis, white piped jackets, the occasional blue turtleneck, and suave buttons to bring you another microcast, this time focusing on the celebrated, allegorical, and surreal 1967 series The Prisoner.

Conceived by the enigmatic Patrick McGoohan, “The Prisoner” follows a British ex-spy who ‘privately, personally, and by hand’ resigns his post only to be gassed and spirited to a bizarre Village, a place where all the other peculiar inhabitants are identified by numbers and overseen by an ominous, but ever revolving Number 2. As the spy, now renamed Number 6, seeks an escape, Number 2, ‘by hook or by crook,’ attempts to uncover the reason for Number 6’s resignation.

Join Numbers K & N as they break down each of the 17 episodes, unraveling the metaphors, tracking Number 6 on the Dickishness Behavior Scale, engaging in a bit of the ultra passive-aggressiveness, and lavishing praise on the monolithic Leo McKern.

What do the Cold War, Lewis Carroll, Gay Barry Goldwater, and Lava Lamps(tm) have in common? What is the best way to escape from being tied to a chair? How do you make a Village Iced Tea? And what is up with those umbrellas? Listen in, and then you will know everything…

The first three episodes are available now for streaming (see table of contents below) or in the RowThree podcast feed to send to whatever listening device you prefer:


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Robert Reineke

The first episode is pretty emblematic of the series. And it ends just when you can see they’re running out of ideas. The final episode is one of the great WTF endings of any series.


The other interesting thread is deciding which sequence of episodes is best watched in what order. You could go numerous ways based on direction, location, and narrative. Some of the episodes make it painfully obvious.


I’ve heard all about The prisoner before, I’ve just never been interested enough to actually go and watch it. When I heard on The cinecast you were doing the Prisoner breakdown I figured I’d give it a shot.

Boy am I glad I did, this show is amazing, right from the opening credits I was glued and I knew I was going to love the show. It looks amazing for its age and it’s well beyond its time in so many ways. I am watching an episode a day as well as listening to the podcast for that episode and it’s fantastic stuff.

I just wanted to say thanks for getting me to watch one of the most intriguing shows I’ve ever seen.

Kurt Halfyard

Thank-You! This comment just made the show a worth-while endeavour! Cheers.

Robert Reineke

I’ll be finishing up the last episodes soon, but I’ve really enjoyed the whole series.

There have been a couple attempts to follow up the series in comic book form. The first was by Jack Kirby in the 1970s. He never got further than working on an adaptation of Arrival, but you can view pages at http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2014/03/read-jack-kirbys-prisoner.html and they’re fairly interesting. Kirby did manage to do a followup to 2001 of all things, so it would have been interesting if he had been given a chance to tell original stories with the material. (I note that Kirby’s Mister Miracle, about the universe’s greatest escape artist, covered similar thematic ground as The Prisoner.)

The other was Dean Motter’s 1988 followup Shattered Visage which received official approval from McGoohan. It does its best to give a non-surreal explanation for the events of the last episode and has its moments. Still, the surreality is part of the appeal of the series so while there’s some decent craft involved, the core idea is a bit flawed. Still, if you’re a fan of the show it’s worth a look. Unlike the AMC miniseries reboot which was just awful.