Who Is Number Six?

Well, I am, as it happens, having account No. 6 at Forbidden Planet in Dublin.

I always got a kick out of the fact that most of the staff there never seemed to know my name, and that the absence of any other such store in town effectively made me a 'Prisoner'.

However, I see from the news that the original Number Six, Patrick McGoohan, has passed away at the age of 80, reportedly following a short illness.

His roles often unusual, I first saw McGoohan in Danger Man, as British agent John Drake, however I was too young to really appreciate the show and reruns have been few.

I didn't get The Prisoner at first, (but then again who did?) but grew to appreciate it through repeat viewing. There was something strangely compelling about knowing Number Six was never going to escape The Village, but you thought he might just make it in the rerun. If only he'd remembered to carry a pin...

Other roles included a shadowy double/triple(?) agent in the movie version of Alastair MacLean's Ice Station Zebra, an Emmy-winning role as Lt Columbo's quarry in the episode 'By Dawn's Early Light' (as well as three others); King Edward in Braveheart, opposite Mel Gibson, and The Warden in Escape From Alcatraz, opposite Clint Eastwood.

His characters were usually quirky, irascible or eccentric, played in a style that I cannot imagine other actors bringing to such roles.

Trivia on Wikipedia and IMDB suggests he turned down roles such as Gandalf and Dumbledore, Simon Templar and James Bond, something I never knew.

I would like to have seen him in a cameo on the remake of 'The Prisoner', perhaps even as Number Two, but sadly this will not happen.

Thus another giant leaves the stage...

Patrick McGoohan (1928-2009)


The Prisoner has to be one of the top five shows I really would love to get into. I've never seen an episode but everything I've read about it suggests I should.

Although I have read what happens in the last episode. Damn you, Cult TV Magazine!
Give it a go - it's excellent stuff...