nr6de: Many thanks, Tim, for coming to us.
TB: A pleasure.
nr6de: First of all I should say that in Germany we could see the (NEW PRISONER = NP) not until February of this year. And like you I am not totally disappointend by it. There are some new aspects to the old one. But maybe they shouldn’t have used the original title THE PRISONER. Wouldn’t it be better to have it like this: "inspired by THE PRISONER"? Everyone expected it to be like the old one which is definitely not the case.
HOW DARE IT -
SUGGEST IT'S THE PRISONER...
TB: I think that’s been a part of the problem. Everybody’s expectations and everybody’s sensibilities have been offended by the fact "how dare it - suggest it’s THE PRISONER..." And it’s not. It’s something different.
nr6de: I think it wouldn’t suit if you’d do a series with all this sixties feeling about it and wanting to reach younger people. My brother who’s five years younger than me likes the series very much, he doesn’t like the old one.
TB: ... a sort of more modern date sensibilities, production techniques, the cutting...
nr6de: ...the flashbacks, a modern style of filming. Do you think younger people could get closer to the NP?
TB: I hope so. It’s interesting that your younger brother didn’t like the old one. A lot is made of how successful or otherwise it was. In Britain, for the first of episode of the NP, the newspapers were making a big thing of the fact that it was on after a programme called "Britain’s Got Talent" ("Großbritannien sucht den Superstar") which had over 10 million viewers and it’s said it failed to inherit all those 10 plus million viewers, they only had 3,2 million viewers.
Now, talking to some other guys here this weekend, they made a point... These people who see the positives of the NP but won’t go public. This guilty pleasure... They made the point: 3,2 million, even if "only" (mit einer handbewegung andeutend) 3,2 million people watched it and one percent of those who didn’t know about the old PRISONER went and watched the old PRISONER and then only one percent of that one percent so liked the old PRISONER so they joined SIX OF ONE that’s still 320 new members... So, even just for that one it’s a very small percentage, it’s gonna be a good scene. Keeping it in profile.
nr6de: In Germany we don’t have this high audience number. Because ZDF-neo is a small TV station that can only be received by those with access to digital cable or satellite.
TB: In Britain the NP went on ITV. But I suspect, don’t know the actual facts, the viewing figures dropped off as well as it went into the series.
NUMMER 6: DEUTSCHE TV-PREMIERE AM 16.08.1969
2010: ARTE BRINGT NUMMER 6 ZURÜCK INS FERNSEHEN
ANKÜNDIGUNG BEI ZDF-NEO
nr6de: For German TV makers this series is - again - too strange to show it to a wider audience... It’s different from all those SEX AND THE CITY and all those - well, don’t talk about it seriously. One of the main things I was wondering about was the meaning of the numbers in the series: 93 - an Aleister Crowley number.
TB: Oh, yes...?
nr6de: Yeah. Also 909, "One after 909" - the Beatles song. Do you think they could be associated with the series?
TB: I think some of those may be premeditated and some of those are what’s the fun of something like this, we can make things up...
What I like about the NP is, in its own right as well, there are things that it leaves hanging. It leaves that fun, that game for the viewer to make those sort of connections. I think they must have been playing games with the numbers. And they don’t actually use "number". They just say "Six" or "Two". So, that’s a departure.
nr6de: And they have these divided numbers - like "3-13" and "11-12" instead of "one thousand one hundred and twelve".
TB: There was "M2."
nr6de: "M2" - right.
TB: Again, it’s almost like they willfully say, we’ve got some difference to the original. But we also got a depart from it. And I like that.
(2009): TELL THEM ALL I GOT OUT!
(2009): EPISODEN & FAZIT
MEHR: NUMMER 6 PARALLEL (D)
MORE: PARALLEL PRISONER (E)
MEHR: DIE UNGLAUBLICHE GESCHICHTE DES MISTER G
MORE: THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF MISTER G
Apart from the episodes continuing through the series the episodes titles had links to the old series episode titles. Most of the direct sort of hommage type references were done in the first episode. And then they got out of the way. So, you’ve got 93 who was obviously the McGoohan character. And they just couldn’t get McGoohan. They had lots of things like the map in the shop, they put it on steroids - a bigger map... (gestikuliert). I love that sense of humour there. And the "Be seeing you!" but it did that rather than that... (zeigt die beiden handzeichen).
So, it’s all the hommages getting out of the way in the first episode. And then it’s like saying "Now, this is that..." We recognise where we are coming from. We’re respectful of it. Here is our sort of respect.
And a lot of that was down to the production designer Michael Pickwoad. He talked about this. They showed the first episode at the BFI (British Film Institute) on the South Bank and I was privileged of getting on to that. And Michael Pickwoad was a lot of influence in term of the little touches that you see. When 6 goes to 93’s flat, the old man has died, and he goes in there and there’s a lot of the design - the arch, and there’s a lava lamp... That’s Michael Pickwoad. He was saying, because he was on the panel of the BFI, that was deliberate to get all the hommage type stuff out there in the design.
But there’s a lot of touches that - obviously, it’s not Portmeirion. And I like that.
TRY TO HOLD
nr6de: Yes. It reminds me of a holiday camp in Germany at the North Sea coast. They also have those triangle houses...
TB: ...actually in Germany?
nr6de: Yes, Fedderwardersiel. They have similar houses.
TB: That makes sense. Because Swakopmund was originally a German town.
nr6de: But I think the North Sea holiday camp was built later (gelächter), I don’t know...
LINKS: FERIENCAMP FEDDERWARDERSIEL - RECHTS: SWAKOPMUND "VILLAGE"
TB: I rashly tried to suggest to conventioneers a couple of years ago that maybe a future convention, just as a departure, we should perhaps try to hold in Swakopmund. It didn’t go down very well. Nobody it seemed really wanted to go. But - if you’ve got that in Germany, that’s not so far away... (gelächter)! I presume there’s not quite so much desert around...
nr6de: No, no, there’s no desert around, only the North Sea.
TB: Still surrounded by the beach...
nr6de: Yeah, we’ve got the beach, so you can say it’s a little bit like the desert... There is one thing I can’t understand in the new series: the pigs that appear only in one episode.
TB: Oh yes. The pigs are there to stop the holes developing.
nr6de: Right. But they seem absolutely ridiculous to me. Are they perhaps part of the motto "Humour is the very essence of a democratic society"?
TB: I’d like to take it as humourous. When you get to the end then you realise that this is all a world created in the mind of number 2’s wife. And that’s where I think there’s lots of room for interpretation. It seems it’s a drug that’s trying to promote a very lucid, controlled dreaming. It still is intrinsically, a sort of dream-type situation. And her dream-type mind is trying to cope with the holes that are coming into this world she’s created. And somehow from somewhere I think you almost don’t have to explain it. They are dreaming up this wife saying, "Everyone get a pig!" to actually manage this intrusion into reality. I love it. I’d even go further than that. This is how I think there’s still room in the NP - for people who really wanna get think themselves blue about it.
You could say, this woman is dreaming this other world. Yes, from a television point of view they are showing their difference to the original TV...
WHAT IF SHE WATCHED
THE ORIGINAL PRISONER?
nr6de: She’s a gate for the others...?
TB: Yeah. But the world they created, with all this reference to the old PRISONER that you particularly see in the first episode...
I’ve got a theory: You could say, well, in the modern world this number 2 wife has dreamed up this world. What if, when she was growing up in the sixties, she watched the original PRISONER? From watching the original PRISONER... So, you could always play almost really sort of, like - THE PRISONER was a TV programme, and it was a TV programme in the fabric of this story. It’s just an influence to think.
Now, I know I’m reading a lot more into that. But you can still put that thing sort of... (gestikulierend).
nr6de: Do you think the Village disappeared at the end?
TB: I think it did. And 6 is the creator from scratch.
nr6de: Right, that’s my interpretation, too.
TB: And that’s another resolution. They at least wrapped it up. And, of course, I’m thinking that’s great. That’s the hook up in for a second series...
nr6de: Ha, ha, yeah, right... (gelächter).
The growing holes - do you think they are a symbol for the gradually dissolving Village? Because number 2’s wife is very ill and with her illness the holes grow. She seems to be connected to these holes.
TB: And the illness may be as much about... - as she’s been under these drugs for so long, maintained this Village. The ability to sustain that is gradually wearing off. It seems to me the whole point about getting 6 there... And it is really great watching it again, having watched it through... I’ve been watching the series probably about three or four times. And last night I watched episode 1 again. And actually a lot of the answers, when you’ve seen it through once, are in episode 1.
When 2 first appears - and McKellen plays a brilliantly sort of refined portrayal of underplayed menace, threat and power but in a very sophisticated way...
nr6de: It’s Gandalf...
TB: Indeed, he is. And also Magneto... All of that sort of experience is pulled together. His style of villainess is more like your all powerful chief executive or managing director of a modern company. And of course there’s a company behind this, the company that runs all of the surveillance.
I love some of the way they filmed it. Because, 2’s first appearance - if you remember - when 6 is on top of this roof, and he’s going... (gestikulierend), and he falls... The first appearance of 2 is by means of his shadow. The way they’re lighting this, it’s a very long shadow he casts over the whole Village. And in the early exchange, a confused exchange where 6 doesn’t know where he is, and 2 actually says to 6: "You are 6. You are Village. The truth is right inside you." Right from the start. 2 said to 6, "you are gonna be the Village. You are gonna produce..." (gestikulierend). That’s the plan from the start.
I REALLY RECOMMEND
AND WATCHING IT AGAIN
nr6de: Maybe it’s a little bit too early to explain it, just in the first episode.
TB: It isn’t explained if you haven’t seen it all the way through. But it’s consistent.
nr6de: It’s much more than a first idea. I think it’s a little bit too early.
TB: So, anybody who’s seen it only once and isn’t convinced I really recommend going through and watching it again!
nr6de: What do you make of this thesis: "2 is 1 is 6 because..."?
TB: Like I said earlier, what’s still good about the NP, they left, like in the old PRISONER, room for interpretation.
You could make that interpretation "2 is 1 is 6 because..." I choose not to. Because the flashbacks that you referred to... Again, watching through a second time I now interpret those as not flashbacks...
TB: Yes, they’re parallels, slipping in and out of it (gestikulierend). So, when he slips back into our world, as it is, you do actually see the McKellen character. And he’s the head of this company. And you do see his wife... It seems more lineally, sort of more logically explained in that 6, Michael in the real world, has been a worker at this company that 2, McKellen, is head of. So, I do see them as distinct characters. I suppose you could still argue that in the dream world of 2’s wife they could be effectively the same... (gestikulierend).
nr6de: It’s another world. It’s something like split personalities.
TB: When you get into that whole sort of question about it it’s all in the mind (gestikulierend)... - which to me is extending. That was a theme, that was a question mark over some of the episodes of the original PRISONER even right at the end - wasn’t it all in Number Six’ head?
What they’ve done, they drift with that particular idea quite a bit further and put it in a modern context with the power of drugs and psycho... So, once you get into that space a lot of the normal logic you don’t have to adhere to. So, it does leave you able to make that interpretation. In that world, particularly, "2 is 1 is 6". I grant you that. But I still hold the view that - at least outside of that - 2 and 6 are different. And 1 - I don’t know who 1 is.
nr6de: ... (kopfschüttelnd, schulter zuckend)
TB: Unless 1 is the one who’s dreaming up the Village.
nr6de: I’m still thinking about it. But this is very close to the old one: interpretation. What do you think about the end of the old series. There are so many interpretations that you can put into...
TB: ...and nothing is wrong actually.
nr6de: I think so. Because there is no truth.
TB: Yes. And that’s brilliant. I love that lack of solidity.You’ve got no...
nr6de: You’ve got no freedom, you’ve got no truth.
TB: ... (nickend)
nr6de: Do you think it’s right to have only one number 2 in the series? That’s a major issue of the old series, the changing Number Twos. It’s interesting because of the different actors playing it. Power wasn’t held by just one person, roles are changing...
TB: A big difference.
nr6de: I think the old series shows different characters and different people, good ones, bad ones, intelligent ones, silly ones.
TB: You get some of that variation in terms of the interplay of the characters. But you lose that, certainly, in the NP. It’s a trade-off. You lose what was really good about the old PRISONER. What you get, in balance, is perhaps more continuity, more thread. So, you get that consistency, you develop the understanding of the power and also the ambivalence of the power invested in 2, in the NP.
nr6de: Why did 2 resign?
TB: Because - the NP, dare I say, is better than the old PRISONER. It develops a little bit more, the character of 2. That’s the advantage of not changing to ... You don’t really have much sympathy for any of the Twos in the old PRISONER. That’s not quite true, there’s one or two you do get a sense of sort of (they are) victims of their situations as much as 6. But in this one it really builds on that. You’ve got all the story developing around of 2 and 2’s wife (who) have sacrificed themselves to what, ultimately, is seen as a therapy for people who are really troubled in the real world. And a lot of them are saying it helps them get a more adjusted life in the real world because they had this sort of therapy of being in the Village. And as it starts getting revealed you see the surveillance footage of them... So, what 2 and his wife have been doing had been - you could argue - a service. They’ve given so much of their lives to that service that it’s really sort of been a block in them, they haven’t been able to live a proper functional marriage. They are childless. They only have this virtual child, 11-12, in the Village. So, you actually build a lot more sympathy. That’s why you want to resign! They want their life back, I would say.
I'VE GOT A LIST HERE
OF THE STUFF
THAT I LIKE ABOUT AMC...
nr6de: Okay. Next thesis: "The character 6 is expendable because..."
TB: Oh, right. You do make me think. Well, I think he’s quite crucial to their plans. They need to take him up to the brink. Because, ultimately, he’s far from being expendable, a key part of the succession plan. He’s gonna succeed and build the new Village that is safe from all these holes destroying its own reality.
nr6de: From the point of view of the Village.
TB: If that fails then they’ll find someone else perhaps from the organisation, the next person to get into that to try, a groom as it were, trying to succeed 2’s wife. Again, open for interpretation!
nr6de: Which are the redeeming values of the NP?
TB: I’ve got a list here of the stuff I like about AMC...! (stöbert in seinem iPad)
nr6de: Only a rough summary...! (gelächter)
TB: I already mentioned Ian McKellen and his portrayal of the way he plays. I love all the colours he puts to it, the ambivalence. McKellen definitely. I love the respect they pay to the original. We talked about the lava lamp, "Be seeing you". There are other layers that sort of repays reviewing it, that makes you want to review it again. So, it’s only well into it that it suddenly starts dawning at you that these flashbacks aren’t flashbacks. They are - parallel time, the same time. I love the fact that you do get some real answers in "Arrival" when you know what you are looking for. I love the fact - I already said the room for interpretation - I like to think that 2, 2’s wife watched the original PRISONER TV series and that’s influenced what she’s doing. There’re some great quotes: "Breathe in - breathe out!", "More Village..." And even little things like the twin towers.
nr6de: D’you love the twin towers, really?
TB: Did you see the shadow...?
nr6de: Isn’t it a bit the trauma of the American people...
TB: That’s the first thing. But I think that’s a bit cheap, a bit too easy. Again, it’s in the first episode, when you first see the two towers, at the end of it there’s a shot, just in the foreground, and again a bit like with 2’s first appearance and his long shadow. There’s the shadow of the towers that are cast making it look more like of the roman numeral for "2". So, again, maybe I’m reading a lot more into it...
I actually love the music by Rupert Gregson-Williams. I’m in love with 313, Ruth Wilson - obviously I’m in love with my wife, foremost...! As they say, the caring sharing doctor with the big beautiful eyes.
nr6de: But I think Patrick McGoohan wouldn’t agree with the emotional relationship between the new number 6 and 313.
(2009): TELL THEM ALL I GOT OUT!
(2009): EPISODEN & FAZIT
MEHR: NUMMER 6 PARALLEL (D)
MORE: PARALLEL PRISONER (E)
MEHR: DIE UNGLAUBLICHE GESCHICHTE DES MISTER G
MORE: THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF MISTER G
TB: And we haven’t touched on one thing that you certainly won’t see. There is a strong sort of homosexual theme that’s brought out in terms of who you can trust. And that’s an issue. That ultimately is also, in the storyline, part of the downfall of 2. And you’d never have that in the first...
nr6de: Could be a problem for a serious catholic like Patrick McGoohan.
TB: Oh, definitely. So, the stuff that you get in the NP you would never have gotten in the old PRISONER because of McGoohan’s own sort of ethics.
I do like Swakopmund. I do like the Village.
nr6de: Yes, really?
TB: I like it.
nr6de: I missed the sea. It’s too dry...
I AVIDLY WATCHED LOST.
THEN I LOST INTEREST.
TB: You’re exactly the same mind as Tony Sloman (film librarian bei NUMMER 6 und ehrengast der convention 2012).
nr6de: The two villages couldn’t be more different. In Portmeirion everything is unique. In Swakopmund in uniform.
TB: ...too uniform. What about 2’s palace?
nr6de: That's a difference...
TB: It’s different, not the same, then!
nr6de: Do you think the NP was inspired by a series like LOST?
TB: I have to say I avidly watched LOST, and then I lost interest...
nr6de: What a great pleasure to have you here, Tim! Maybe we can continue some time later. To my German fellows: Be open-minded! Give it a chance, the NP. Watch it!
TB: And any complaints, get them to Marc...! (gelächter).
nr6de: Thank you!
ECHTE FANS HABEN ES SCHON SCHWER: JIM CAVIEZEL AKA 6
SCHUTZSCHILD FÜR TIM BOURNE IN EINER
ABGEWANDELTEN SZENE AUS
"FALL OUT" WÄHREND DER CONVENTION 2012
IT'S AN ACTUAL BUILDING, HEY!
THE NEW VILLAGE LOGO - TIM BROWSING THE INTERNET - HOCHZEITSTURM IN DARMSTADT
The Marriage or Wedding Tower (Hochzeitsturm) in Darmstadt, Germany (1908).
nr6de: You’ve never seen it?
TB: (blättert) "Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt" - what’s that?
nr6de: "City of sciences" (übersetzt für Tim).
TB: It’s an actual building!
nr6de: An actual building.
nr6de: The first thing my brother discovered because he lives in Darmstadt, near this building.
Tim Bourne im gespräch mit Marc Christiansen, Michael Kimpel und Jürgen Staeder während der Prisoner Convention 2012. Videoaufzeichnung: Jürgen Staeder,
transkription und bearbeitung: Arno Baumgärtel;
eine deutsche übersetzung exisitiert (bisher) nicht.