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He Was Not a Number


By tomsoterwriting - Posted on 18 September 2010

 

sites/default/files/Prisoner logo.jpgPatrick McGoohan has been a particular obsession of mine. Between 1977 and 2001, I wrote a number of articles on the TV program The Prisoner and its star Patrick McGoohan  (I would subsequently write about the man and his work in both of my books). I had first watched the show in 1970 and became fascinated with it as a teenager, an obsession that led to my meeting and interviewing McGoohan in 1984 and visiting Portmeirion – The Village - and other series locations (such as the underground car park that McGoohan drives into during the opening credits sequence) in 1990. He did other work – some wonderful guest stints on Columbo, a turn as George Bernard Shaw in The Best of Friends, strong performances in The Quare Fellow, Ice Station Zebra, and Escape from Alcatraz, - but way too many villains (most recently, Longshanks in Braveheart). McGoohan's cool demeanor led him easily into the casting directors's view of villainy. But his cool was best when it served a nobler purpose, as shown in his little-seen 1970s medical TV series Rafferty and, most notably, in Danger Man (Secret Agent), where he apeared as the cool, but moral – and sympathetic – spy John Drake. He was a true blue hero, and when McGoohan died in January 2009, part of my childhood died with him. He was not a particularly warm man, but he was an inspiring one. He is missed.

 

September 19, 2010