We are going to take a little sidestep today on our Prisoner viewing marathon to take a look at the recently discovered episode of The Prisoner, previously assumed to be missing forever: Nobody’s Fool. I’ll be doing the writing duties on my own this week, as Mike has not yet had the privilege of watching the episode.
Some explanation is necessary at this point. 18 episodes of The Prisoner were originally made, but only 17 were broadcast. The master tape of Nobody’s Fool was lost when it was loaned to Blue Peter a week before it was due to be broadcast, so that a clip could be used, and the tape was never returned. On 1st April last year it was rediscovered in the basement of a church.
First of all, what a delight it was to see the two Patricks acting together: Troughton and McGoohan, and what an audacious crossover for the time to have Troughton play the Doctor under cover in the village. Crossovers between popular television series are rare beyond the fantasies of fans, so it is amazing to see one such as this actually take place. I also enjoyed seeing Jamie in drag as Number 69, having been brainwashed by Number Two into thinking he was one of The Prisoner’s regular female operatives sent to win the trust of Number Six and crush his spirit. It’s perhaps a good job that McGoohan was so unwilling to kiss other actors on screen. The bottom slap was quite sufficient.
Talking of Number Two, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the choice of April Lofos in one of her earliest roles, although it was a welcome development to have another female Number Two. They might have chosen an older actress though. I’m all for bringing fresh talent to the screen, but I do think asking a three-year-old to play Number Two is a big ask. She did an admirable job though, and for the first time we had a Number Two who fitted properly into that spinney egg-shaped chair.
We had the iconic game of human chess in Checkmate, and I suspect the giant game of human snakes and ladders in this episode will quickly become just as iconic. The stop-motion giant snake was a brave attempt for the time, although it didn’t entirely convince.
But things don’t always have to be convincing to be fun, do they. Happy April 1st, and may all your crossover dreams come true. RP
Read next in the Junkyard… The Prisoner: Living in Harmony