In a sense this is a question that will never be answered. Ultimately it is probably a fusion of two talents. On the one hand, as a consensus view has it, is Markstein, with his intelligence background, his knowledge of Inverlair Lodge (a home for spies who knew too much) and onthe other hand is McGoohan, who had long been fascinated with the idea of the 'man in isolation'. Possibly Markstein came up with
the general concept but it was McGoohan who saw the potential, as a vehicle for propounding ideas.
"One man wanted a spy series,
the other wanted
an escape from a spy series."
The Guinnes Book Of Cult TV
With the birth of Six of One both men were quick to respond to our invitation to discuss their respective roles in THE PRISONER. McGoohan cabled us almost immediately whilst Markstein responded, on the same day, to a message on his answer phone.
A number of those involved with the series have expressed surprise that the two men even worked together. Author of two episodes Vincent Tilsey, in an interview with Tom Pointon has said: "With someone as sensitive as Markstein around, it was inevitable they would argue - I can't think how they got together in the first place." In Six Into One: The PRISONER File writer of "The General" Lewis Griefer says: "There was a tension between George and Pat. Pat kept introducing girnmicks. That's what made the series memorable. With George it would be a very good spy series, Pat made it more."
THE SPY WHO LEFT ME
Lets hear, briefly, what the two men have to say. First George Markstein: "I typed a couple of pages (referring to 'his concept') and it was about a secret agent who quit with no reason, just as McGoohan quit from Danger Man with no apparent reason" ...in the script editor's hands "is the ethos of the series" and Number 1? "the man in charge" (Six Into One: The PRISONER File). George's idea, he says, was to take THE PRISONER "out into the world and that "Many Happy Returns" "was the way to go".
always thought it odd that if Markstein wanted to contain the ideas
within the format of an off-beat spy series that he and Tomblin
should co-write "Arrival". It does, as Markstein says,
"set the scene". But what are we to make of the surrealism
that is already evident. The gardener and the electrician being
played by the same actor? The scene in the hospital where the bald
man is uttering gibberish as he watohes a ping-pong ball atop a
colurnn of water? And, more particularly, why is he wearing Number
6's suit after Number 6 was told his clothes had been burnt? One
can't help but conjecture that Markstein's creative
input was less than McGoohan's. Markstein's job was to
ÜBER GEORGE MARKSTEIN (D)
ABOUT GEORGE MARKSTEIN (E)
CHRIS RODLEY: INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE MARKSTEIN (D)
CHRIS RODLEY: DAS EISBERG-SYNDROM
ROGER LANGLEY: GEORGE MARKSTEIN - COOL CUSTOMER
DAVE BARRIE: SEVEN FROM SIX
commission scripts and to edit thern. Writers such as Anthony Skene, Vincent Tilsey and Roger Parkes all offered scripts that contained their own ideas and plot. It is true that writers were cornmissioned to write stories around plots given to them, but McGoohan maintains that he and Tomblin devised them.
one takes McGoohan's first offering, "Free For All", we
must remember that it was not only one ofthe first four scripts
to go into production but as McGoohan wrote it, his ideas and themes
were already hing exhibited in a powerful way. "Free For All"
is described as a satire on democracy and the media. It contains
memorable scenes and dialogue. Consider the election address, the
encounter with the two newspaper reporters, the speech in the council
chamber or his meeting with the labour exchange manager. Dialogue
that crackles: "Honesty attracts confidences, and confidences
are the core of our business, see how honest I'm being with you."
or "Everyhing you think here is in the strictest confidence."
"Free For All" has a first class plot. It is swift moving,
a biting comment on the nature of democracy, elections, individual
freedom, apathy and social issues. It fairly bums with intensity.
McGoohan's very soul is being portrayed.
For my money McGoohan was the driving force from very early on. In Six Into One: The PRISONER File David Tomblin says that McGoohan came to him and said "I've seen Lew (Grade), I've got the money.. ." for "that idea that we've talked about for years."
THE BONES ARE YOURS DAD
to McGoohan (from the same programme): "The
germ of the idea? How long had it been in my head? Since I was about
7 years old. The individual against the establishment. The individual
against bureaucracy. The church? Almost impossible to do anything
without some form of sin." And on visiting Portmeirion
in 1960 for filming of DANGER MAN. "I can remember precisely;
here was a setting beautiful enough, mysterious enough, a base for
our man in isolation." Markstein, as we know, left after
thirteen episodes, unhappy with the way the series was heading.
Undoubtedly it took McGoohan, with his drive, ideas, imagination,
ambition, perfectionism, to create and ensure the series had 'classic'
beitrag ist aus der von Dave Barrie 1996 organisierten veranstaltung "The Long And Winding Road" entstanden und wurde von SIX OF ONE 1996 als sonderpublikation herausgegeben.
Dave Barrie gründete 1977 die PRISONER Appreciation Society SIX OF ONE.