Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award designer John Ward has got in touch with me about the cult TV series The Prisoner, which starred Patrick McGoohan…
John Ward wrote:
Patrick McGoohan made The Prisoner down the road from you at MGM Borehamwood in 1966-1967.
I wrote to him when it was screened to say I thought the series was a cracker and a few weeks later a signed photo plus a Number 6 penny farthing badge came in the post…
Could this be THE badge that was used in the show? – Or just one of them?
I suspect that a few were made in case of cock-ups during filming – or to send out to fans. But, on the back of the badge I was sent – in the pin attachment – are visible grains of sand.
Some of the location stuff was filmed along the beach area at Portmeirion in Wales.
Years ago I did try to find out how many badges were made, but no joy.
In the 1980s, I ‘loaned’ my badge to the Six of One fan club for a Channel 4 programme Six Into One – The Prisoner File. I saw an article in the TV Times asking for anybody with any memories relating the original showing – 1967-1968.
So I wrote in.
Next thing I knew I had a ‘highly educated’ man calling me on the phone to say how wonderful it was that I had this ‘memento’ from the show.
The more he asked, the more he seemed to be drooling over it.
Could I send it, together with the envelope with the MGM logo, by recorded delivery, to him?
I duly did his bidding and got back a pile of their Six of One promo stuff about membership etc… and then… nothing, really.
I was never told when the programme was going out. By chance, I spotted it in the telly listings.
And then it took so much hassle getting it back from them!
I got the impression they thought I was going to give it them.
They eventually succumbed to sending the badge back to me in a registered envelope after loads of phone calls from me to them.
…the MGM envelope they had requested “to prove its authenticity” that I had sent together with the badge was not there – So back to the phone I went and told him in no uncertain terms I was not best pleased.
The MGM envelope appeared about a week later in a Royal Mail Registered envelope, with no apology or anything else, hence I have no time for the Six of One clique in any shape or form.
And, despite all this aggro the badge was not actually used in any context in the programme.
What is interesting is I cannot find any reference to the badge I have.
Okay, there are loads of shit copies on eBay, yes – But no mention of anybody saying they have the original badge at all.
Years ago our local newspaper – the Northants Evening Telegraph – ran an article on it but no joy. One idiot said he had bought ‘the badge’ while on holiday and he paid 50p for it in… well… in Margate..
He came round to see me, but it was a simple button type badge with a pin about the size of a 50 pence piece.
I may well take my badge along to an Antiques Roadshow at some point as I think, with the original MGM logo envelope, it has provenance, as they say.
(There is an interesting reply to this blog HERE)
The entire 50-minute opening episode of The Prisoner is currently available to view on YouTube… speeded-up so it lasts just 2 mins 33 secs…
…and there is 8mm film footage of the first episode being shot at Portmeirion…