The Unmutual Reviews: The May 2015 Prisoner weekend
Review by Leslie Glen. Photos: Peter Preston, Stephen Preston, Rick Davy, Leslie Glen.
Friday May 15th 2015
On a warm and sunny Friday afternoon, 15th May, the Prisoner London Group headed, by the irrepressible Dave Lally, met at Victoria Railway Station to tour the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. Quite a few other individuals turned up on this gloriously fine afternoon, some coming from Scotland and Germany and the USA!
After meeting and greeting everyone in the sizeable group, Dave moved us on to an iconic building of London. We gathered at the fringes of the famous MI6 building, the nerve centre of external security for the United Kingdom, and featured on several occasions in the James Bond movies starring Daniel Craig. There were many surveillance cameras perched around this famous structure but thankfully they did not appear to be spying on us! We moved on.
After a brief bus journey across the famous "Father" Thames River, we arrived at our destination, the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. Situated in its grounds stands a little two-storey trapezium-shaped house built by Portmeirion architect-errant, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. And then we moved inside to see the cats and dogs. These animals were of all shapes and sizes and colours and we all found it sad that such beautiful loving creatures had all experienced trauma in their young lives. Unfortunately, it's a case of man's inhumanity to man - and animals. Our cruelty knows no bounds. The Home does a wonderful job in giving these vulnerable animals safe sanctuary and it is to be hoped that all the animals we saw will eventually find good and caring owners for the rest of their short special lives.
In the evening, we repaired to the London Group's "local", The Crown public house. Our host Dave Lally was in fine form, as always, and we all talked of many varied and interesting things, including The Prisoner. We each had a wonderful experience in the excellent company of Dave and, just before midnight, we each went our separate ways, on the eve of Prisoner Mind Mash.
Saturday May 16th 2015 - the Prisoner Mind Mash
After the briefest of WELL COMES by host Leslie Glen, it was on with the show, celebrating all things The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan and Portmeirion.
All monies raised was donated to Ty Gobaith children's hospice in north Wales, a charity also supported by Portmeirion. Peter Dunn kick-started the event with his unique blend of barn-storming brain-storming interrogations, with a lively audience interaction. Peter always gets these events off to a tremendous start and his presentation this time around was no exception.
Next up, guest Alex Fitch of Radio Resonance interviewed two other guests, Ian L Rakoff (script writer of "Living in Harmony") and John S Smith (film editor on The Prisoner) about their professional commitment to the series and their own personal arcs in life. This was a thoroughly entertaining and immersive experience for all in attendance and Alex did an incisive job in extracting many golden nuggets of information from Ian and John.
Just before lunch was announced, Leslie Glen distributed a devious numbers' question paper for the attendees to attempt, with the promise of prizes being awarded for the correct answer. Frustratingly, the correct answer would only be announced after lunch!
Gia Mitchell, the manageress of The White Hart, gave a fascinating brief history of the public house, reputed to be the oldest in London and, inevitably, haunted. Thankfully, the only spirits available were in glass bottles!
The organiser of the event, Leslie Glen, was grilled by his interrogator Gary Murfin on his quiz book, The Prisoner Interrogations. This was a thought-provoking interview and Gary left no stone unturned in his quest for information on the construction and publication of the very first quiz book to be published on The Prisoner.
Sadly, due to health reasons, The Prisoner music editor Eric Mival was unable to attend, but, a video segment featuring him being interviewed about the show was screened to an enthralled audience.
THE CULT OF THE INDIVIDUAL was next. This was a panel discussion hosted by Rick Davy of the Unmutual website, and featured guests Dick Fiddy of the BFI (British Film Institute), Prisoner author Robert Fairclough, Patrick McGoohan biographer Rupert Booth, and Alex Fitch. An in-depth discussion took place, with all the participants freely taking part, and with much involvement from the captivated audience.
Ian's episode "Living in Harmony" was screened next (courtesy of generous copyright clearance by Park Circus) and Ian and John contributed a live behind-the-scenes commentary as the action of the episode unfolded right before our eyes. This special presentation of one of the outstanding Prisoner episodes was eloquently chaired by Rick.
And then, as the day's event began drawing to a close, Howard Foy pulled a couple of aces from his long hair (!) and presented us with a unique recording he had made of Patrick McGoohan in Birmingham in 1990. Patrick had been at the Birmingham Motor Show to collect a special Caterham Seven car in recognition of his support for the iconic vehicle during filming of The Prisoner. This 25-year-old recording had never been heard publicly before and it was a truly wonderful experience to hear Patrick's voice anew.
Before the day's proceedings ended, the raffle draw was announced. There were many DVDs featuring Prisoner actors in the raffle draw and also many other prizes, including a copy of Eric Mival's Red Reflections, kindly donated by Rick Davy. Janet Davis also generously donated some prizes, too.
Everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed the day's festivities enormously and Leslie gratefully thanks everyone for turning up and supporting his event.
Leslie Glen also wishes to thank, in no particular order, Rick Davy, Ian L Rakoff, John S Smith, Robert Fairclough, Rupert Booth, Dick Fiddy, Alex Fitch, Peter Dunn, Gary Murfin, Howard Foy, Gia Mitchell and Staff, and Allan and Donna. The accounts are as follows: INCOME; £279-00 admission, 16-00 programmes, 140-00 raffle. EXPENDITURE; £139-00 guests, 65-17 stationery (photocopying, postage, envelopes, raffle books). £230-63 was donated to Ty Gobaith children's hospice, north Wales.
Sunday May 17th 2015 - Danger Man and The Prisoner location tours
Sunday 17th May, saw the twice-yearly Prisoner London Locations' Walkabouts take place, with the morning tour featuring sites from the series 'Danger Man' and 'The Avengers'.
The afternoon tour began underneath the famous London landmark, Marble Arch. The Walkabout, hosted by Dave Lally as always, saw a good gathering of Prisoner aficionados old and new, ready for a tour of some of the sights seen in Patrick McGoohan's enigmatic masterpiece. After a brief WELL COME from Dave, together with all the latest Prisoner news, we headed onwards.
Our first stop was the famous Hyde Park underground car park, scene of the opening sequence of the show.
We studied the corridor and car park where the Prisoner hands in his resignation and we had a special treat when we encountered a Caterham Seven car, which one of our friends brought along on the day.
The day was warm and dry and we proceeded in small groups or, at times, one large one.
We passed by the iconic Buckingham Palace and I thought I saw the Queen give us all the finger and thumb salute!
Down the Mall we sauntered and we then arrived at Trafalgar Square, together with the ubiquitous pigeons. Nearing the end of our journey, we came upon the Houses of Parliament and the underground car park there
and, finally, to 1 Buckingham Place, the Prisoner's London home from home.
We got chatting to a lovely gentleman who stays next door to Number Six's residence and he generously spent some time with us and took a couple of group photos of those present.
Finally, it was off to a local pub for a few refreshments and some food. We talked of the day's adventures and we all heartily agreed that we had had a wonderful and invigorating afternoon in the London sunshine. Thank you, Dave, for again putting us through our walking paces and visiting many London scenes from Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner.
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