The Prisoner: Season 1, Episode 0

Arrival (1 Jun. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Mystery
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After resigning, a secret agent finds himself trapped in a bizarre prison known only as The Village.


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Title: Arrival (01 Jun 1968)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Virginia Maskell ...
The Woman
Paul Eddington ...
Angelo Muscat ...
Barbara Yu Ling ...
Taxi Driver
Stephanie Randall ...
Jack Allen ...
Fabia Drake ...
Welfare Worker
Denis Shaw ...
Oliver MacGreevy ...
Gardener / Electrician
Frederick Piper ...
Patsy Smart ...
Christopher Benjamin ...
Labour Exchange Manager


After resigning from his organization, a secret agent is abducted and finds himself in a sunny, Continental-style village which has no name and where the taxi and phone services do not extend beyond its boundaries. After meeting an enigmatic woman, he ultimately gets to see Number Two, the apparent village head, who tells him that he is there for the information he can give. Then Number Two gives way to a new Number Two. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Release Date:

1 June 1968 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Patrick McGoohan slams down an envelope on the desk while resigning his position at the very beginning of the series. On the envelope it says "Private Personal By Hand." There is no name on it. See more »


In a number of scenes, especially the aerial ones, the Welsh flag (red dragon on green and white) can just be made out on the Portmeirion flagpole. See more »


Ex-Admiral: We're all pawns, m' dear...
See more »


Freedom of the City
Written by A. Steck
See more »

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User Reviews

"I will not make any deals with you. I've resigned!"
5 December 2008 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

As I write this, a remake of the television classic 'The Prisoner' is nearing completion. Those of us who remember the original view the prospect with some trepidation. How many great movies/T.V. series have had their reputations sullied by remakes? Too many to name. Even the B.B.C. have gotten in on the act with 'Survivors', loosely based on Terry Nation's classic show.

With 'The Prisoner', its more worrying because the opportunities for failure are greater. Have they chosen the right man to replace Patrick McGoohan? Will the new location work out? Will the plots be dumbed down? Ah well, questions are a burden to others as someone once said, so let us wait and see.

The first episode of the original was aptly titled 'Arrival', and it was written by George Markstein and David Tomblin. An unnamed British secret agent resigns, and is swiftly abducted by unknown forces. He wakes up in a strange place known only as 'The Village'. Here other ex-agents have been incarcerated and are forced to live out their lives though with numbers in place of their names. Our hero finds himself lumbered with the number Six.

Attempts to escape from The Village usually end in failure. strange balloon-like creatures called 'Rovers' emerge from the sea, roaring like demented lions, to pursue and in some cases suffocate would-be runaways.

Number Six is told by the Chairman of The Village - Number Two - that he has only a short time to willingly co-operate, such as stating his reason for resigning, and that if he fails to do so, the information will be forcibly extracted from his mind. The local hospital is a front for a brainwashing centre. Number Six witnesses first-hand the horror of seeing people reduced to gibbering imbeciles.

The first part of 'Arrival' is devoted to setting up the premise of the show. The beautiful Portmeirion location contrasts magnificently with the cold and clinical interiors. Patrick McGoohan is, as you would expect, simply brilliant. His performance encompasses anger, confusion, wry amusement, and defiance. 'Number Two' is initially played by the late Guy Doleman ( 'Colonel Ross' in Michael Caine's 'Harry Palmer' films ) but half-way through the episode another actor - George Baker - assumes the role. Doleman's 'Number Two' is charming and polite, but Baker's is an altogether more unpleasant character. On a sad note, Virginia Maskell, who plays 'The Woman', committed suicide a short time after this was broadcast.

The second part deals with an attempt by Number Six to escape from The Village in a helicopter. Having managed to obtain an electro-pass from a woman who was emotionally attached to an old colleague called 'Cobb' ( Paul Eddington ), Number Six flies off, but as this is only the first episode it is reasonable to assume he does not get far.

'Arrival' presents us with a world where nothing is what it seems and where no-one can be trusted. Even the maps on sale in The Village shop do not tell the truth. On arriving in The Village, Number Six repeatedly bumps into the same man ( Oliver MacGreevy ) in different guises. No matter what Number Six does or where he goes, he always seems to find himself right back where he started.

I expect the new version to simplify the original's complexities, meaning it will probably not gain a cult following nor be the subject of discussion in thirty years' time. Superbly written, acted, edited, and directed, 'Arrival' is one of the greatest openings to a television series ever. If you only decide to watch one episode of 'The Prisoner', make it this one.

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