THE GIRL WHO WAS DEATH
"I AM NOT
Not much is needed to realise that the story is actually far-fetched and nothing else than pure fantasy. In the end how and why become evident: It's a fairy-tale told by Number Six to a number of children. Joyfully he salutes into the surveillance camera wishing everyone a "good night" while in the control room Number Two becomes upset about this failed attempt at catching Number Six off guard in an innocent situation thus trying to get INFORMATION from him. Both Number Two and his assistent looking exactly like Schnipps and Sonia respectively...
"The Girl Who Was Death" is light fare, the last but one that went into production and the last but two according to the British standard screening order. It is one episode of four filmed after production work had resumed in 1967. The basis of the episode is one unused story for DANGER MAN. The script is by Terence Feely who also provided us with the first-rate episode "The Schizoid Man". David Tomblin was the director. Christopher Benjamin (the labour exchange manager in "Arrival") reprises his role as Potter from DANGER MAN. Unlike episodes such as "The General" or "It's Your Funeral", not particularly cherished by people like Ian L. Rakoff, this story is full of commitment, a veritable joke realised in part as a cartoon that is mocking McGoohan's precursor series DANGER MAN in particular but thereby JAMES BOND movies as well as the contemporary spy genre of the cinema and on television.
In a way both THE PRISONER and the DANGER MAN series are merged here, the characters of Number Six and John Drake are amalgamated to the degree of becoming almost one and the same.
Light fare? Although the narrative tone is indeed light like that of a fairy tale, as everyone knows, fairly-tales often contain gruesome actions. The story that Number Six is telling children is that of the mad Schnipps whose plan it is to nonchalantly nuke London from this planet because, as a German, he is out on seeking revenge for having lost in WWII. We are allowed to be treated to that amount of stereotype, sure.
Six of Schnipps, half a Drax of the other? Chris Gregory opines that this episode is an indication the basic PRISONER scenario could have been transposed into a variety of genres (once a second season had been conceived), a post-modern transfer. As is known the western genre was one accomplished very successfully: "Harmony" is the most American episode, "The Girl Who Was Death" being the antipode is the most British episode. There is a match as for their contrariness. We've got Colonel Hawke-Englishe here, the character with the speaking name, and the cricket game, it hardly gets to be more typically british. On the other hand and proto-typically american, there's the wild west and the nameless cowboy, pistols 'n petticoats .
WHICH IS WHICH?
LEFT: JAMES BOND THUNDERBALL - RIGHT: THE PRISONER "THE GIRL WHO WAS DEATH"
There's a wealth of cross-references or even overt citations to power-obsessed, would-be world dominators known from many popular cinema or TV adventures in "The Girl Who Was Death" while Patrick McGoohan chose not to reveal a similar JAMES BOND evil rogue type in the finale of THE PRISONER. It is unclear whether or not it is the result of Feely's work or perhaps Tomblin's.
TB: lt’s quite an iconic look Sonia has, the white helmet that everyone admires, the white jeans and the whole white ensemble’, very popular with our member. Where did that come from?
And, Gregory writes : "It can be argued that to some extent the elements present in "The Girl Who Was Death" prepare us for what happens in the final two episodes."
In London, as told by Potter, Number Six walks into a record shop where he receives his instructions on his mission to detect Professor Schnipps. The way he gets the information, via a record, is an exact match on that of the US TV series MISSION IMPOSSIBLE . Schnipps' annihilation plan could well have been lifted from Ian Fleming's MOONRAKER novel where Bond adversary Drax also aims at destroying London. In the film of the same title the action is about saving the whole of mankind. The scene in the Turkish bath is a barely veiled transfer from the BOND film THUNDERBALL the only difference being it isn't Bond but his opponent sitting in the sweat box locked with a broom stick.
Musical rocket. Already the second encounter of THE PRISONER and Stanley Kubrick. After Number Six has entered the underground rocket base we hear a piece of music, only briefly, which is very much reminiscent, almost a cover version of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home". The title is "They are coming" composed by Mel Young (aka Harry Arnold Persson from Sweden). Kubrick, in his 1964 film DR. STRANGELOVE, underscored the ever escalating tension of the scene, also known as "the bomb run", with the damaged B52 bomber on its way to delivering its deadly nuclear load into the Russian target area by using the marching instrumental version of the song from the American Civil War.
Eric Mival [German language] was responsible for selecting the music pieces and the assembling of the score in most of the episodes. He did that here as well. In his autobiography Mival writes: "More so than any of the other directors on the series, David Tomblin was very particular about what music went in where on his episodes and he would double-check everything. I remember for 'The Girl Who Was Death', which he directed, I had to stand my ground to get in what I thought was best. This was the opposite of Pat, who would just pop by and say 'yes, that's fine.'" 
Childhood is at the core of the episode's action in "Once Upon A Time". Now, only here, in "The Girl Who Was Death", we witness actual children in the Village albeit briefly . They are not part of the bedtime story. And so the question arises how did they get there? Were they abducted together with their parents or were they even born in the Village? If the latter, how would they know just what that is, a lighthouse, a cricket game or a record shop of which Number Six' story tells them? It would seem not a matter of course that the Village authorities would want to care about nursery homes and kindergardens and grant students free access to teaching material and contents as this could possibly arouse desires.
The sound stage set of the cavern, kind of preheated here, is the same as in "Fall Out". Kenneth Griffith has a more serious role as the president of the assembly. There's also the rocket disguised as a lighthouse. The final image of the exploding lighthouse is a well made illusion, a special effect created earlier for THUNDERBIRDS, a puppet animation series with science-fiction elements broadcast between 1964 and 1966. Masks alongside the "Tunnel of Love" walls, on the fairground, are a clear hint at the previous episode "Dance Of The Dead", on the other hand they draw upon the prevailing antagonist colour pattern in the series of white (the Village) and black (Number Six). The delegates of "Fall Out" all wear white robes and black-and-white face masks.
Schnipps' daughter Sonia (her name mentioned only in the final credits) appears mostly dressed in white; as a femme fatale donning a huge white hat at the cricket match; in the pub she wears a white raincoat, a hat and has a super long white cigarette tip; in the Turkish bath she is seen Mary Quant style  in a white mini with white rubber boots, and as Josephine, Napoleon's lover, she comes in a frilly dress. Eventually also iconic in style behind a machine gun, of course dressed in a white fancy uniform with a white spiked helmet.
Germanisms in THE PRISONER are something not rarley experienced but only few of them are as striking (and) scholarly as the Goethe quote delivered by Number Two in the episode with the apt title "Hammer Into Anvil". And once again the German dubbing version takes a course of its own.
Take the name Schnipps which obviously is of German origin. You don't have to go far, acoustically speaking, to reach the familiar vilification Fritz for Germans. Maybe that's why in the German dubbing the name becomes "Dr. Smith". Highly inventive. Schnipps is said to have a Napoleon complex. How about that? Possibly best explained because of the century-old animosity between Brits and the French. So, what we have here is a peculiar Franco-German entente. The British Monty Python's Flying Circus comedians would be mocking that Frenchman complex in the film MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975) with their own great delicate sense of humour.
But there's more to it. Schnipps, it is said, would have been Adolf Hitler at one point. The idea, however, was rejected as inappropriate and/or, perhaps because as he related it, Kenneth Griffith had previously played Napoleon on stage and the role was therefore changed. Doubtful, though, whether the Führer variant would have become an appealing contemporary piece in the vein of TO BE OR NOT TO BE (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942). Sonia still wears a white spiked German emperor-style helmet and from the bell tower she throws German hand grenades on Number Six.
Number Six enters a pub for a beer. "You have just been poisoned" says the writing on the - not the wall but on the glass bottom. Yet, the comic aspect of this particular episode enables immediate and obviously effective healing: serious drinking. The antidotes in the order of ingestion by Number Six:
- Tia Maria
- Grand Marnier
* RASPBERRY SPIRIT
Diverting from the original here could be described as domestication. That's supposedly because those four after the vodka were perhaps thought not to be widely known at the time. After all, rasberry spirit may well be considered to suit the Village "flavour of the day" ice-cream best: strawberry.
Eventually Sonia puts an explosive device into Number Six' funhouse cart or vessel. We hear her voice speaking in German: "Auf wiedersehen!" Cobb also says "Auf wiedersehen!" to Number Two in "Arrival" upon his departure. One can in fact interpret a "good bye" salute like "Auf wiedersehen!", by dropping a bomb, as a matter of black humour, sarcasm or else cynicism. But the German version: "Sie werden von mir hören. Bye, bye!" ("You'll hear from me. Bye, bye!") makes no sense at all or little sense. You know, 'once you're dead, you'll hear from me...' Probably intended to sound quite nicely.
There must be a certain appeal lying in that wiedersehen - 'seeing again' - as used in German in the series. 'Wir sehen uns' - 'Be seeing you!', isn't it?
Surrealism in THE PRISONER is generally associated with "Dance Of The Dead" an episode which, not least because of its history [German language] being fragmented, leaves enough blank space for discourses to be attached to. But "The Girl Who Was Death" is surreal, a story that's fantasy anyway. The woman in white appears virtually from nowhere. Right next to Potter's shoe-shine stall
WHAT IS IT? SORCERY - PSYCHOKINETICS - THE MAGIC OF ILLUSION?
and without ado she takes the place of a mannequin in a shop window. Wondering whether the shop owner had given his permission. Was she a real dummy on its annual leave to him? Perhaps one from the TWILIGHT ZONE  ...
GERMANISMS IN THE PRISONER
MORE: HOW BRITISH IS THE PRISONER?
FAIRGROUND: KURSAAL FUNFAIR
MORE: MUSIC SAYS IT ALL
ROBERT FAIRCLOUGH: POP UND POLITIK (GERMAN)
DAVID STIMPSON: THE PRISONER - IT'S CHILD'S PLAY
The quest for the girl who calls herself "Death" leads Number Six to a funfair. Ever since Ray Bradbury's novel "Something Wicked this Way Comes"  , and yet before that, fairgrounds, funfairs have been places of allurement and illusion, of frissons and horrors but also such of practicising thrills without being in real danger. Rather unmoved, not quite matching the great ideal Buster Keaton, the man who never laughed, Sherlock Number Six wanders amidst the fairground attractions and stoically he takes a ride on the Big Dipper (McGoohan himself wasn't present, he acts in front of back projections). Once, because of his obtrusiveness, he is berated and threatened by a fashion photographer - played uncredited by Alexis Kanner. In a funhouse, just called "Tunnel of Love", he is lucky to escape her attack on his life. Thereby an eerie mechanical sailor-style puppet, donning a piped blazer of sorts, not dissimilar to that one worn by Number Six in the Village, seems to be accompanying each of his steps with loud laughter. Nicely ironical. But once again Sonia evades him. She drives away in her Jaguar E-Type, Number Six goes after her in a Lotus Elan (surreal: both parked on the very fairground). On the country road the mysterious woman in white shows what else she's capable of doing: sorcery, psychokinetics, the magic of illusion? Eric Mival opts for Paul Bonneau's title "Chasse à courre" as the appropriate music here. Sorcery? Halali!
Arrival - in the ghostly hamlet called Witchwood. While according to the intro prologue one simply is "in the Village", what we have here, metaphorically speaking, is the shabby back entrance to the Village otherwise known for its holiday resort appeal as the facade. Newcomers are everthing but welcome and access proves to be painful and dangerous as far as they are only a variation on the original Number Six - not really Number Six, not really John Drake, called "Mr. X" in the episode. In "Arrival" Number Six accesses the bell tower in order to get a better image of his whereabouts. In "Many Happy Returns" it isn't a tower in the true sense but an elevated point of view on top of the chalk cliffs. This time the bell tower is not to Number Six' advantage because Sonia has occupied it already. She fires machine gun greetings, shells and grenades on him instead. The panoptism of the prison system - watching, recognition and surveillance - is the most important subject in THE PRISONER. The orgy of destruction is rightly staged for television, no blood and almost without any physical damage, just like the wild "Fall Out" shooting, stage-effect rather than being realistic. Next we experience a small series of odd surreal set pieces in a virtual funhouse equipped with deadly traps for Number Six happening in the abandoned work shops of
"Brendan Bull - BUTCHER",
"David Dough - BAKER" and
"Leonard Snuffit - CANDLESTICK MAKER".
In the John Steed and Emma Peel AVENGERS episode "The House That Jack Built" (1966) we have a similarly crafted plot and a more contemporary and even more metaphorical work of art in the prisoneresque film CUBE (1967). The names Bull, Dough and Snuffit are in-jokes aimed at Brendan J. Stafford, director of photography on the series, David Tomblin, producer, and Len Harris, camera operator. The trades of the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, on their part, are linked to a verse of an English nursery rhyme:
Three men in a tub
And who do you think they be?
The Candlestick Maker... 
Television - film - literature - fairy tales - fashion - music - politics - popular culture - technique, it is a web of partly self-referential and cross-media links.
Sorcery? "This episode looks good and is a fine representative of late Sixties mad screen concoctions." , writes Roger Langley, McGoohan biographer.
And he is right.
SPIRITUAL TWINS: THE REAL VILLAGE OF NOMANSLAND
IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND AND THE FICTITIOUS WITCHWOOD
 PISTOLS 'N PETTCOATS was a sitcom-like western series in 1966
 Chris Gregory: THE PRISONER Episode by Episode, https://chrisgregory.org/blog/2009/09/09/the-prisoner-episode-by-episode/#15
 MISSION IMPOSSIBLE was broadcast in 1966.
 Eric Mival: "Cutting Edge. My Life In Film And Television", Quoitmedia, 2016, p. 116
 Tatsächlich sieht man ein kind als bewohner des ortes in "Harmony", wenn auch nur für eine sekunde und ohne jeden handlungsbezug.
 Mary Quant was a British fashion designer. She is said to be the inventor of the mini-skirt and she made the model Twiggy a superstar in the 1960s.
 "The After Hours", a TWILIGHT ZONE episode aired in 1960
 "Something Wicked this Way Comes" was published in 1962.
 This nursery rhyme, printed here as related by Roger Langley in an old SIX OF ONE magazine, went through a number of transformations; initially it would have been "maids", later "men".
 Roger Langley, "The Prisoner From the Inside; p. 153; Escape Publication, 2010