Patrick McGoohan stars as Number 6, a former spy who finds himself kidnapped to a mysterious island where he is questioned daily on why he resigned, by Number 2. Thus the battle of wills begins.
The Prisoner was first devised while McGoohan worked on his then popular show, 'Danger Man'. Towards the end of the series' run, McGoohan had become interested in what he considered to be the death of individualism in the modern age. In an interview in 1965 he stated 'I fear that by 2000AD we'll all have numbers, no names.' Combined with his feeling that 'Danger Man' itself had become stale and repetative in nature, the show started being developed by McGhoon and collaborator, George Markstein. ITC entertainment were pitched the show in understanding that it would replace 'Danger Man', to which they agreed.
McGoohan and Markstein decided to step beyond merely telling a more surreal tale and infuse the show with satire, allegory and subversive commentary. Many who have studied the show have noticed similarities between Franz Kafka's 'The Trial' or Jungian psychology. McGoohan and Markstein have denied this in interviews but stated that George Orwell's '1984' was a massive influence on him at the time. The title of the show itself came merely out of logic, when interviewed for the documentary '6 into 1' Markstein stated ''One of the things I didn't know was what to call it. So, we ended up calling it 'The Prisoner'. Simple!''
An issue of contention between fans of the show has always been wether or not Number 6 is actually the lead character of 'Danger Man', John Drake. Throughout his life McGoohan was consistently ambiguous about this, whilst Markstein agreed with the consensus that 6 actually is Drake. Markstein stands by the fact that the only reason 6 is never reffered to by his real name; was to avoid paying royalties to Danger Man co-creator, Ralph Smart. With character and plot ideas sorted however, a location for The Village needed to be found. Immediatly, Mcgoohan recalled the small Welsh resort of Portmeirion, which had been used as a stand in for a Spanish town in an episode of Danger Man. Portmeirion's unconventional architecture and picturesque nature lended itself well to a show like the prisoner. Keeping a large amount of the 'Danger Man' crew and being well backed by the studio, the show quickly went into production with a budget per episode between 50-75,000 pounds, a respectable figure for the times.