CAST & CREW INTERVIEWS
Mr Glyn Jones appeared as an extra in several Portmeirion sequences, including the part of the electrician in "Checkmate". His wife, Mrs Cynthia Jones, also appeared in these episodes, most notably as the Black Queen in "Checkmate", and a Moke driver in several sequences. Mr Richard Eastwood appeared as a Top Hat in "Free For All", and a Doctor in "Arrival", and his wife Mrs Gaye Eastwood also appeared as an extra in these episodes. Mrs Marjorie Beer appeared as an extra in the series, and also provided the boat used as the Gunrunners' boat in "Many Happy Returns" and the MS Polotska in "Checkmate". Mrs Peggy Yeates
did not appear on screen, but was present during filming.
Adapted from an interview arranged, conducted, and transcribed by Dave Jones in 1988, with his kind permission.
L-R: Glyn Jones, Cynthia Jones, Peggy Yeates, Marjorie Beer, Gaye Eastwood, Richard Eastwood. Photos: Dave Healey.
Do any of you know anything of the original Rover machine which supposedly sank
in the bay and was replaced by the more familiar weather balloon?
ALL: No. We never saw anything.
DJ: Were you all there from the very first day of location filming?
GJ: We never saw it and it wasn't used in any scenes.
DJ: In connection with Rover, Mrs Beer has a very interesting connection with The Prisoner, concerning the M.S. Polotska, which was owned by herself and her husband.. .
MB: Yes. The boat was originally called the "Breda", and when the crew were over in Abersoch filming with the balloon they had to send a; diver down with compressed air bottles and inflate the balloon on the bed of the sea, so that when they let it go it bursts out with some force! There was one sequence where Patrick McGoohan had a balloon tied to him with an elasticated rope and he was supposed to trip and Rover would roll over him. But in fact, it went in all directions and they had to shoot that scene many times.
DJ: The next question that has been asked is "What was Patrick McGoohan like to work for?"
GE: He was great, but he was so busy and had a lot on his mind so he didn't chat much. Mind you, we did as we were told! He was always pushing everyone to get the best out of them, even the extras!
CJ: Yes! I remember one scene (from Arrival) where I was supposed to take off quickly in the Mini Moke with McGoohan as a passenger. Well there was a cameraman on the bonnet and I didn't want to throw him off! So, I made a slow getaway and Patrick said: "Let's try again. Just relax and don't worry about the cameraman!"
GE: Yes, he did give you a lot of confidence.
PY: He was very shy though. I was taking a lot of photographs and in between takes he was walking up a path toward me and I thought "Good! A lovely shot of Patrick McGoohan" and he was so coy he wouldn't even look at me.
Did McGoohan direct any of the scenes himself?
RE: Yes. I was involved in the funeral scene, and we all went out on the beach for this and when we got there someone came up to me and said: "Ah, you're about the right height, we want you to double for the Doctor," (or someone) "Run back to the Town Hall and get changed!" Well, it was a long way to the town hall! Anyhow I got back to the Town Hall and the dresser Masada Wilmot shoved these clothes at me and said `Quickly, you've no time to change here!' So, I ran all the way back, got changed by the rocks and dashed down to where they were filming just as the cameraman looked up and said" Right that's it for today, the light's gone!" And I was still only getting two pounds ten a day for this!
After that amusing incident, we'll return to serious matters and talk about
the "Braeda" for a while, shall we? How did Everyman Films approach
you to hire the boat for the filming?
MB: I think it was Jonathan Jones, the man responsible for all the extras. He put them in touch with my husband. They hired the boat for two days. The boat was taken out from Porthmadog to Abersoch and they shot all the scenes at sea there. They also hired a couple of launches in order to film the "Braeda". There was one thing in the series which puzzled me - the fight scene in the galley. Well, our galley was nothing like that!
My husband bought the boat with his brother in 1958. Originally it was much lower than you see it in The Prisoner and we decided to have a saloon built on the top of it, but this made the boat a little bit top heavy and I used to get terribly seasick on it! After the filming of The Prisoner, the boat went to Southampton and the saloon top was removed and it was bought by a gentleman from Birmingham. So if anyone goes looking for it, it's not as tall as it appears in The Prisoner. I think they paid us ten pounds for its hire.
DJ: The extras were in the enviable position of being able to meet some of the personalities who worked on The Prisoner. And there are some interesting stories concerning a few of them...
GE: Eric Portman
was a lovely fellow!
RE: Yes, but he was getting on and he died the year after the filming. I was on the balcony with him (Free For All) during the election campaign, and they had to shoot this scene literally line by line. If they tried to do two lines together, he'd get through the first OK and halfway through the second, he'd forget it. And it went on like this over and over again.
GE: He had a very nice lady with him who acted as his prompter, whom he relied on quite a lot.
DJ:There is also an amusing story concerning the late Ronald Radd.
invited me up to his room for a drink and I said OK., as long as my husband
comes too! He looked a bit disappointed but he was very nice, and agreed. So
we all sat drinking whisky while they were filming outside!
GE: I also remember Angelo Muscat very well. He had very red cheeks and he was always at Patrick's side. He spoke English very well but with a slight Maltese accent, but he was very quiet and didn't mix with people at all.
RE: One of my most enduring memories of filming concerned Virginia Maskell. She was walking down the path by the colonnade and the band was playing. Actually they were miming with only the bass drum to keep them in step. She'd walk and get about half way down and a visitor would pop up and they'd have to retake. This must have happened at least half a dozen times and they'd have to repaint the glycerine tears on her eyes.
PY: I was very impressed with the crowd control. When I was taking all my photos, they weren't aggressive when asking us to move out of the way, but were very polite.
RE: The place wasn't closed off to visitors, you see. There were hundreds there and the only place out of bounds was the central piazza.
CJ: They were very polite. One of my friends knew Terry Lens, the cameraman, and we went along to the interview when they were recruiting extras and the three questions they were asking were: Can you drive? Can you swim? and Have you got a suntan? They never complained about anyone's driving. There were only three drivers amongst the extras.
RE: We didn't socialise much with the crew in the evenings because we were too tired! Filming went on involving the extras from about 7.30 in the morning until at least dusk.
GE: There was a big party at the end, but Patrick McGoohan didn't attend!
MB: It just shows how shy he was. But my brother-in-law used to have a drink in the Queen's Hotel with him and he was quite chatty.
GJ: I remember that George Coulouris was very friendly and didn't keep himself to himself at all. He had a very dry sense of humour. The close-ups of him during the chess game sequence in Checkmate were not filmed by the board but in Battery Square with him sitting on top of a ladder. I was in Checkmate driving a buggy when McGoohan pinches parts to make a radio playing an electrician. I also - in another episode - ride past him on a bicycle and say "Be seeing you" or "Good Morning". This was overdubbed though because of my Welsh accent!
GE: I remember Mrs Llewellyn (another extra) coming up to me and saying "You should book an appointment to see me today." "Why?" I said. Because she had a speaking part saying "Beautiful day!" in Arrival. She was thrilled! A real Sybil Thorndike!
Mr and Mrs Jones were lucky enough to be invited to Borehamwood to see some
of the studio scenes being shot...
GJ: They were filming a fight scene in the woods (A Change Of Mind) with Frank Maher, Mc Goohan's double. We were given lunch and treated very well.
DJ: We'd like to thank all the extras for being our guests and answering our questions.
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