List of The Prisoner episodes

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Following is a list of the episodes of The Prisoner, along with descriptions of their content and context.

Whilst everyone agrees on the first and the last three episodes of the 17 produced shows, extensive debate has taken place among dedicated fans trying to determine a "correct" order for the intermediate 13 episodes. The order in which the episodes were originally broadcast in Britain differs from the order in which they were produced. Even the broadcast order is not that originally intended by series star and co-creator Patrick McGoohan. Many have analyzed the series line-by-line for time references, which in many cases provide different—sometimes radically different—episode orders compared to the broadcast order.[1]

Ian Rakoff (assistant editor on two episodes and co-writer of "Living in Harmony") authored a book in 1998 on his experience working on the series,[2] wherein the appendices include a numbered episode guide which reflects the original UK broadcast order, as do the nine-volume Laserdisc releases of the series, also released in 1998. However, the 2006 40th Anniversary DVD Boxed Set released in association with American television's Arts & Entertainment Channel (A&E) uses a different order. The set goes so far as to include a guidebook with justifications for their version, citing—among other reasons—the aforementioned "time references", such as Number Six telling other members of the Village that he is "new here". Given that Number Six is pitted against myriad psychological tricks and mind-altering drugs throughout the series, many[who?] do not think that such references are a proper way to postulate answers to such questions as time, while still others[who?] feel that such statements represent Number Six's constant sarcastic, adversarial and wry attitude towards his captors. [clarification needed]

A new sequence has been established by analyst Joanna Southcott in an unpublished article. This was achieved by grouping the 17 episodes into the completed Series One (13 episodes) and the curtailed Series Two (only four episodes), then establishing the first and last episodes in each series and subsequently working from these ends, filling-in the two sequences using existing and new research. This work has given a suggested sequence for Series One: "Arrival", "Free For All", "Dance of the Dead", "Checkmate", "The Chimes of Big Ben", "The General", "A. B. and C.", "The Schizoid Man", "It's Your Funeral", "Hammer Into Anvil", "Living In Harmony", "A Change of Mind" and finally "Many Happy Returns". Southcott says: "The general idea seems to have been that Series One would start with The Prisoner arriving in The Village, and end with him escaping: he gets back to London and tells his former superiors what has been going on, but since they are apparently the ones that sent him to The Village in the first place, it is hardly surprising that they send him back. And this opens the way for Series Two to begin with The Prisoner back in The Village." The second series is sequenced by Southcott as: "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling", "The Girl Who Was Death", "Once Upon A Time" and finally "Fall Out". Southcott comments: "Whatever meaning we choose, as individuals, to place upon the series, our self-appointed task is made more difficult if we watch the episodes in the wrong sequence. But perhaps that was all part of the idea..."

The first UK transmission of each of the first 14 episodes was made by ATV (Midlands) and Grampian Television. The final three episodes were first shown in the UK by Scottish Television.

Episode list [edit]

Title Original UK airdate[3] Number Two played by Plot Prod ITC KTEH 6of1 AVC
Arrival 29 September 1967 Guy Doleman
George Baker
After waking up in the Village and discovering his captivity there, Number Six encounters a friend from the outside who may have a possible escape. 1 1 1 1 1
The Chimes of Big Ben 6 October 1967 Leo McKern A new prisoner, Nadia, may have information about the Village that makes an escape attempt possible. 5 2 4 5 5
A. B. and C. 13 October 1967 Colin Gordon A desperate Number Two tampers with Number Six's dreams to discover where his loyalties lie. 11 3 9 6 8
Free for All 20 October 1967 Eric Portman
Rachel Herbert
Patrick McGoohan
Presented with the opportunity, Number Six runs for election to the post of Number Two. 2 4 5 2 3
The Schizoid Man 27 October 1967 Anton Rodgers Number Two replaces Number Six with a duplicate to weaken the real Six's sense of identity. 7 5 7 8 6
The General 3 November 1967 Colin Gordon An important prisoner's new speed-teaching machine poses perhaps the greatest threat to Number Six's independence. 10 6 8 7 7
Many Happy Returns 10 November 1967 Georgina Cookson After waking to find the Village deserted, Number Six returns to England but does not know whom he can trust there. 13 7 6 9 10
Dance of the Dead 17 November 1967 Mary Morris Number Six tries to save an old friend who is headed for destruction at the hands of the Village. 4 8 2 3 2
Checkmate 24 November 1967 Peter Wyngarde Number Six thinks he has a means to tell the prisoners from the wardens. 3 11 3 4 4
Hammer into Anvil 1 December 1967 Patrick Cargill Number Six takes revenge on a sadistic Number Two for the death of another prisoner. 12 14 14 12 12
It's Your Funeral 8 December 1967 Derren Nesbitt
Andre Van Gyseghem
uncredited bearded male actor
uncredited female actress
To save the prisoner who is being set up to take the fall, Number Six must intervene in a Village power struggle and prevent the assassination of a Number Two. 8 10 11 10 9
A Change of Mind 15 December 1967 John Sharp Number Two stirs the Village to ostracize Number Six, and then takes even more drastic measures to cure Six's "unmutuality". 9 13 13 11 11
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling 22 December 1967 Clifford Evans Deprived of his memory and placed in another man's body, Number Six travels back to England to seek a missing scientist. Nigel Stock portrays Six for most of this episode. 14 9 12 13 14
Living in Harmony 29 December 1967 David Bauer In an Old West setting, a lawman who resigned is trapped in a town called Harmony where the Judge wants him to be the new sheriff — by hook or by crook. 15 12 10 14 13
The Girl Who Was Death 18 January 1968 Kenneth Griffith Number Six avoids the assassination attempts of a beautiful woman while foiling the plots of her megalomaniac father. 16 15 15 15 15
Once Upon a Time 25 January 1968 Leo McKern Number Two subjects Number Six to a desperate, last-ditch effort to subdue him, Degree Absolute — an ordeal that will not end until it breaks one of them. 6 16 16 16 16
Fall Out 1 February 1968 Leo McKern Number Six encounters the forces behind the Village, but can he finally escape? 17 17 17 17 17

Episode orders[edit]

  • Prod^: The studio production order.[4]
  • ITC^: "Official" ITC sequence. This is the sequence in which the episodes were originally scheduled to be broadcast in the UK, and—aside from the exclusion of Living in Harmony there—the sequence in which they were originally aired in the USA.
  • KTEH^: Arranged by Scott Apel for KTEH channel 54 (PBS affiliate in San Jose, California)
  • 6 of 1^: Endorsed by Six of One, The Prisoner Appreciation Society, and used in the A&E DVDs.[5] The UK Sci Fi Channel marathon used a similar order, but with "Dance of the Dead" preceding "Free for All", and "The General" preceding "A. B. and C.".
  • AV Club^: After viewing in the KTEH order, the personal arrangement of Zack Handlen of the website The A.V. Club.[6]

Alternative versions[edit]

Alternative versions of two episodes exist and have been commercially released. An early edit of "Arrival", with a different music score and additional dialogue and scenes not in the broadcast version, was located in the 2000s and released to DVD in the UK and in 2009 in the A&E Home Video DVD and Blu-ray box sets. This alternative version was located in a near-pristine 35 mm print which allowed it to be upconverted to high-definition along with the 17 episodes for the Blu-ray release. An early edit of "The Chimes of Big Ben", again with an unbroadcast music score and additional scenes and dialogue not in the broadcast version, was located in the 1980s and initially released on VHS videotape by MPI Home Video; it was later included as a bonus feature on the A&E Home Video DVD release of the series in the early 2000s. In 2009 it was also included in the expanded A&E Home Video box set, but owing to the low quality of the print it was not upgraded to high definition as was "Arrival", and was instead included as a bonus on the set's standard DVD extras disc, which was included in both the DVD and Blu-ray editions.

Unproduced episodes[edit]

Unproduced storylines and scripts for the series are known to exist, several of which were published in a two-volume collection of Prisoner scripts edited by Robert Fairclough and published by Reynolds and Hearn in 2005 and 2006. The scripts and story outlines were also included in PDF form as a DVD-ROM bonus feature on the 2009 DVD and Blu-ray box set issue of The Prisoner by A&E Home Video.

  • "The Outsider" by Moris Farhi (complete script included in Volume 1)
  • "Ticket to Eternity" by Eric Mival (synopsis included in Volume 1)
  • "Friend or Foe" by Mival (synopsis included in Volume 1)
  • "Don't Get Yourself Killed" by Gerald Kelsey (complete script included in Volume 2)


In 2007 a documentary entitled Don't Knock Yourself Out was produced containing behind-the-scenes footage, and archival and newly recorded interviews with the cast and production staff. It is narrated by Neil Pearson.[7]


  1. ^ White, Matthew (1988). The Official Prisoner Companion. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 132. ISBN 0-283-99598-X. 
  2. ^ Rakoff, Ian. Inside The Prisoner, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1998
  3. ^ Fairclough, Robert. The Prisoner. London: Carlton Books. p. 140
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ The Prisoner - Complete Series Megaset
  6. ^ A.V. Club: TV Club - The Prisoner
  7. ^ "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved 31 May 2016.