Transmission Date: 27/10/1967
Episode Length: 48'27m (DVD timing)/50'18m (Blu-Ray timing)
Est. Ratings: 11.7m
Written by: Terence Feely
Directed by: Pat Jackson
DVD availability: Try amazon.com
An ITC Production by Everyman Films Ltd. Executive Producer: Patrick McGoohan; Script Editor: George Markstein; Producer: David Tomblin; Production Manager: Bernard Williams; Director of Photography: Brendan J. Stafford B.S.C.; Art Director: Jack Shampan; Camera Operator: Jack Lowin; Editor: Geoffrey Foot G.B.F.E.; Theme: Ron Grainer; Musical Director: Albert Elms; Assistant Director: Gino Marotta; Sound Editor: Stanley Smith; Sound Recordist: John Bramall; Music Editor: Eric Mival; Casting Director: Rose Tobias-Shaw; Continuity: Doris Martin; Set Dresser: Kenneth Bridgeman; Make-Up: Eddie Knight; Hairdressing: Pat McDermot and Wardrobe: Masada Wilmot. Made on location and at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Borehamwood, England.
Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner); Patrick McGoohan (Number Twelve); Jane Merrow (Alison); Anton Rodgers (Number Two); Angelo Muscat (The Butler); Earl Cameron (Supervisor); Gay Cameron (Number Thirty Six); David Nettheim (Doctor); Pat Keen (Nurse); Gerry Crampton (1st Guardian); Dinney Powell (2nd Guardian) and Robert Rietty (Voice of No.2 in titles, uncredited)
I've often been surprised to see this episode placed after the two episodes featuring Colin Gordon in some suggested episode orders out there. Why? Because the climax of the episode sees No.2 begin his suspicions by namedropping the General, which No.6 believes to be a real person. While it's true that the episode could be placed earlier in my run (though the February calendar dates seen throughout could the Village's way of disorientating No.6 at a push... see "trivia" for more details) it's this simple line of dialogue that places it undeniably before The General. Also of note is that the episode sees Rover deactivated at the end, a creature that then doesn't appear in the revised order until A Change of Mind.
Is an olympic boxer and olympic team fencer, as well as holding a 90% pistol-shooting average. He is a light sleeper and has a mole on his left wrist (removed by the Village during the course of this episode). He is also familiar with the works of Shakespeare.
In The Village:
We are introduced to Alison, a friend of No.6's who is alledged to have a mental link with him. Practising her mind-reading act for the Village Festival (which takes place in a months' time) we find that she has scored 17 out of 25 correct hits on a pack of shape cards, and 73/100 on the previous four runs. Why she is allowed to keep her name, (as did, to an extent, Nadia in "The Chimes of Big Ben") is never revealed.
The hypnotic lights are named as "pulsators" for the first time. The Village also has infra red technology.
Is named on-screen for the first time this story (though No.6 was already aware of its name, and indeed says it first). Though virtually everyone involved in the production tries to take credit for Rover's conception as a weather balloon, it can be revealed that the name, at least, was coined by Producer David Tomblin. Rover kills Curtis during the end of this episode, causing No.2 to ask control to "deactive Rover immediately, pending further instruction". From this point on, it is not seen again until - briefly - A Change of Mind, then the penultimate episode.
On Wednesday 10th February No.6 is given shock therapy during his sleep. His calendar is regularly put back (we see a chart on his bed dated 11th February, with the Report Sheet Serial No.22/49/898), so that when he is allowed to fully awake he appears to have grown a moustache overnight.
A lookalike, Curtis, is introduced, given the codeword "Schizoid Man" so that No.2 can tell them apart (No.6 is given the false codeword of "Gemini"). His mission is to make No.6 doubt his own identity, something which is made easier when electroshock therapy makes No.6 temporarily left-handed. A mole on No.6's wrist is also removed to increase the illusion, and Alison deliberately "loses" her mental link with No.6 and demonstrates it with Curtis. (A dilligent Six Of One member once noted that, when being addressed by No.2, No.6-in-guise-of-No.12 is called "Flapjack Charlie". It was supposed that this was an in-joke, and that if the doppleganger's name was Charles Curtis, then his initials would be CC for Carbon Copy. However, there is no need to suspect that any of the information of his "background" that No.2 says to No.6 is real, including tales of a "job from Black Fires" and Buqarest). One theory regarding this episode and how Curtis managed to be the exact double of No.6 is that he is some form of devilish incarnation. It is intriguing to note that whenever the two are first seen by anyone, a religious reference is mentioned. When Curtis first sees No.6 he himself mutters "what the Devil?". Alison exclaims "Good Heavens, it can't be", while a Village Supervisor tells No.2 "In Hiati we'd say he'd stolen his soul".
No.6 regains his memories of the treatment he'd recieved and reclaims his identity. After a struggle with Curtis, in which the double is killed by Rover, No.6 tries to pass himself off as the agent. On the way to his getaway helicopter, No.2 discusses Curtis's wife Susan with him. Yet the helicopter lands straight back in the village. "Susan", No.2 informs him, "died a year ago, No.6".
An intriguing facet of this episode is the date on which it begins - Wednesday 10th February. Although this calendar is rigged throughout the episode, there is no reason to suppose it was not showing the correct date in the first place. Yet the nearest year where the 10th of February fell on a Wednesday was 1965.
Originally 156 scenes long, The Schizoid man, as with the majority of television productions, faced extensive rewrites, and removal of many of its action scenes. Notable scenes which were removed were a buggy race between No.6/Curtis and a series of montages. The curious line "the atmosphere is very different here from what it was elsewhere" is revealed as a reference to a previous deleted scene. Escaping what seems a very sentient Rover, No.6 hangs on to a bracket containing one of the security cameras. The two men that arrive have been called after security noticed the excessive shaking on the camera. Finally, another scene which was excised was a chess scene – yet another chess scene in a series that is crammed full of them!
With estimated ratings of 11.7 million, this was the most watched episode of The Prisoner on first run.
"Where did they get you, a people's copying service, or are you one of those double agents we hear so much about these days?"
Only The Prisoner could take the bog standard “doubles” plot and pervert it into something so disturbing.
Cleverly subverting the series’ central concept – here McGoohan is out to prove that he is a number – it’s a frequently dark and manipulative episode. Not for this one high jinks and tongue in cheek laughs... instead we get nocturnal brainwashing, betrayal and near electrocution.
One minor detraction from an otherwise outstanding piece is that it features the first bad actor in the series. Okay, there’s the pilot in Many Happy Returns and Patrick Cargill in Hammer Into Anvil, but Jane Merrow as Alison is one of the more wooden performers in the show, sadly. If she and No.6 really did have a psychic link it’s a shame some of his acting ability didn’t rub off. Luckily Anton Rodgers is on hand as one of the most memorable No.2s, and McGoohan is on hand as… himself.
One last thing… is it just me or is No.12’s décor far better than No.6’s? Not a tiger rug in sight…