Patrick McGoohan 1928-2009

It is hard to describe the impact Patrick McGoohan's television show The Prisoner had. It came out in a time of upheaval and revolution, and he was the ultimate revolutionary, who just wanted to resign and go away.

Instead, they took him to the village, filmed in architect Clough Williams-Ellis's recreation of an Italian hill town on the coast of Wales, an example of New Urbanism significantly predating Seaside or Celebration.

It was a vision of the past and of the future: a gated, car-free community that looked old and comfortable, but had good security, automatic doors and a terrific PA system, just like much of Florida today. It demonstrated the uses and abuses of technology- how it could coddle us and entertain us, but also control us.


He fought against conformity, against faceless government, against CCTV cameras. It was a particularly British revolution against the establishment, very different from what was going on in America. But it is more relevant today than it ever was.

His statement in the opening credits still resonates:

I am not a number, I am a free man!

Patrick McGoohan, dead at 80. Be seeing you.

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