IT'S YOUR FUNERAL
DAS AMTSSIEGEL

 

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Production circumstances result in a different GB and USA order of episodes. The German order, in turn, is also different for no apparent reason.
The so-called English standard episode order is given here.
But as for the episode action no particular running order is required. Almost every country would have an order of its own.

More order of episodes... (English PDF available)

 

 

"I AM NOT
A NUMBER.
I AM
A PERSON."

"SIX OF ONE,
HALF A
DOZEN OF
THE OTHER."

 

 

SCREENPLAY Michael Cramoy
DIRECTED by Robert Asher
GERMAN EPISODE 6
GERMAN VERSION by Joachim Brinkmann
FIRST GERMAN BROADCAST: ZDF 13.12.1969

MORE: EN-TITLE-D
DUBBING DIRECTOR JOACHIM BRINKMANN
DIESE SEITE AUF DEUTSCH

Written by: Michael Cramoy
Directed by: Robert Asher

APPRECIATIVE EXAMINATION

A watchmaker is the tool of Number Two’s scheming successor in office. Number Six receives misleading clues on subversive movements and turns up just in time before the transition of power assisting the Number Two in charge using a bluff.

RANKED 14th Quite a lightweight plot-twist: old Number Two versus new Number Two. Doesn’t look like Number One is in control, or does it?

 

Don't read any further
unless you know THE PRSIONER already
and you want to delve more indepth
into theoretical discussions and facts
around the history of the production.
-
Be seeing you!

By Arno Baumgärtel
using text excerpts by Jana Müller

Doesn't look like Number One is in control? The episode action of "It's Your Funeral" is, by far, the most far-fetched and contrived. That's first. New Number Two versus old Number Two... Is it a key-hole look into the inner sanctum of the Village system of power? No.

There's no use in trying to track down the strategies employed by one obscure "Plan Division Q" for their plot and what they are aiming at by assassinating the current Number Two - Andre van Gyseghem - who is about to retire anyway. Likely, it's going to remain this covert departments's secret. They might want to save his pension, Number Six jokingly tells him. Number Six gets involved because, should the assassination attempt be successful, he believes innocent Villagers would be punished. But generally speaking, what exactly is the objective of this operation? Was the plan to get rid of the old Number Two or, rather, was it about undermining Number Six' credibility? It remains in the mist. For sure, THE PRISONER does have far more superior episodes.

However,"It's Your Funeral" is still quite an entertaining thing, true. Luckily, a good deal of self-mockery is in it. Watch out for McGoohan's Number Six character's biting theatrics in the dialogue lines he has to deliver. Or look at Appreciation Day, a public holiday that we hear about first and for once. There's some pomp and circumstance about the old Number Two's discharge ceremony

and the inauguration of the new Number Two by means of that huge official seal worn by Number Two on a chain (but now filled with plastic explosives). It's sheer size is telling, all inane ambitions. It's loony, straight out of the comic book. A plate is unveiled and on it we read what this celebration is about: achivement. What a wonderful and ironical hyperbolism of political symbolism devoid of meaning.

Squaring the circle: There is one scene, barely attached to the action as such, showing Number Six who's sitting as a painter's model. The portrait painting, once we see it, is rather abstract depicting two entwined rectangles and a circle. Number Six considered as a combination of a square (the rectangle being a variant) and a circle. Interestingly this episode is also about the responsibility of the individual for the society. Because it's Number Six who

thwarts the assassination of the retiring Number Two. Thus, squaring the circle symbolises the limits to both individualism and freedom of the individual. It's the point where free man  and Village - square and circle - are congruent. It remains up to the viewers to determine who's that in the circle, the Village, Number One or Number Six, and who's that in the square. All options are on the table and they are interesting enough. Ambivalence here is a purposefully employed method. Even more so, as any result of the procedure would render a distinction between the two impossible (while in a sense also rendering it useless as well?).

But there is even a contemporary issue in this simplistic and convoluted plot, adressing the question of reliability of information sources and the mode of communicating information.
Put more precisely: The subversive powers of this episode, the so-called Jammers, are the precursors, the very same type of people responsible for the raging pandemic of desinformation in our "social media" - vulgo: of fake news and internet trolling. And as if this wouldn't be enough the Number Two character played by Derren Nesbitt turns out to be the scheming successor of the acting Number Two. The main troll revealed to be one from the inner circle of power!
"Average, cheap and flawed it may be, but 'It's Your Funeral' is still relevant today." The Anorak Zone's comment hits the nail on the head.

Achivement? McGoohan had been under heavy psychological stress, it is reported. Suffering from it were actors and actresses like Anette Andre, the watchmaker's daughter here. Even decades later she would repeatedly tell about her negative experience while collaborating with Patrick McGoohan on this episode. But in particular it was Robert Asher, scheduled as the regular director. In an old SIX OF ONE magazine Roger Langley wrote: "In the editing suite, John S. Smith remembered, 'I cut the film, put the scenes together and showed it to (Asher). I asked (him) what he thought. He said he didn't know and to ask Pat.' Clearly that was a mistake and an angry McGoohan promptly dismissed the unfortunate director." [1] Asher was dismissed but his name would remain in the credits.

WATCHMAKER OR GENIUS?

Professor Seltzman (right) in "Do Not Forsake Me..." is played by German-British actor Hugo Schuster (1886 - 1976). Martin Miller (1899 - 1969), born as Johan Rudolph Müller), a Czech-Austrian actor, is the watchmaker in "It's Your

Funeral". Miller is cast under value and as a stereotype. However, he could be associated with the Seltzman character with regard to his biography or the role as someone presumably or actually of Jewish background. He'd be the proper scientist Prof. Seltzman. His likeness to one no less than Albert Einstein is striking. On the other hand, considering Einstein's scientific works in terms of space-time, his role the watchmaker does have its charm in its own right, doesn't it.

"I know everything about THE PRISONER. Ask me!" The annual PRISONER convention regularly sees an opening event where the time table for the weekend is introduced to the audience. People get to know about the guest of honour to be expected. It happens thereby that said guest makes a brief appearance saying "hello" to those attending. The convention of 2015 featuring Derren Nesbitt as the guest of honour was to follow that procedure too. It should have been that way.

Nesbitt himself had wanted to show up at the duly populated Hercules Hall. And there had been no reason to object to it. But once he had entered the podium Nesbitt, then 80 years of age, virtually took over control turning half of the convention opening event upside down.

ENTERTAINER DERREN NESBITT
LEFT: ALMOST LEFT SPEECHLESS - HOST DAVE BARRIE,
RIGHT: LINING UP WITH THE GERMAN GROUP

"I know everything about THE PRISONER. Ask me!" were among his very first statements. Exuberant as they were, no further questions were coming from the audience getting ever more amused, bit by bit. His vital performance wouldn't allow for space to ask. An entertainer who needs his audience, inexhaustible was his zest for life, inspired was his talkativeness. What followed was a summary of an actor's vita the way a stand-up comedian would do it. He'd remember his encounters with women in particular. One anecdote and yet another. It was hardly known, he told people, that he was to have been the permanent Number Two in the series. And that was it as far as information on his involvement with THE PRISONER and the episode "It's Your Funeral" is concerned. There's no way the truth of his claim can be verified. As we know the production headed into a different direction. But even if it isn't true - alright, forget it. There's nothing like a good tale.

MORE: PRISONER-CONVENTION

Saturday and Sunday afternoon would see Nesbitt mostly roaming the Village, gladly accepting occasions for a chat once one arose. Another photo session together with the German group, more autographs? Yes, of course! So vehement was his activism that at times he had to be calmed down by the person in his attendance.
He had once been in Germany. "You know, I like German bratwurst." On rather informal talks like this, and with a twinkle of his eyes, he'd disclose that he never ever had a plan what the heck the series was all about or what exactly his role as the interim Number Two in this episode had been. But he'd always praise it.

Modelled: Nesbitt, with his distinct lower lip, saves the episode. Despite some badly overdubbed dialogue passages his performance as Number Six' opponent is remarkable not least because of the pair of goggles he is wearing, his insignia. It feels like he is putting them off and on again a hundred times. It's a bit like he's wielding a sceptre. He had his

DREIFACHER DERREN: IN NUMMER 6, MODELLIERT ALS PUPPENFIGUR ALAN TRACY, IN NATURA 2015

hair dyed for a film he was in, WHERE EAGLES DARE (USA 1968, directed by Brian G. Hutton). He played a peroxide blonde SS officer. "And", as David Stimpson, a British prisonerologist, writes, "(he) has the look of Alan Tracy, a THUNDERBIRDS puppet. Well that's not surprising, seeing as it's quite on the cards that THUNDERBIRDS' Alan Tracy was modelled on Derren Nesbitt." [2] THUNDERBIRDS, between 1964 and 1966, was a quite successful British puppet animation series with science-fiction elements, aiming at an adult audience.

Kosho, the trampoline jumping game aiming at throwing one's opponent into the water tank, receives more on-screen attention. After all, according to the Map of Your Village, but not in the series itself, there's a Palace of Fun in the Village. The first time the game features in "Hammer into Anvil". It had been McGoohan's invention for this very episode. Realistically put, it is hardly more than a dynamic, exotic eye-catcher. Strange too, barely one minute of footage was eventually used, while in "Funeral" it features almost four minutes. More than before it is but a filler while being even less relevant for the action.

Portmeirion is in it. Although the episode was shot primarily in the studio, with a number of really ugly looking studio mock-ups supposed to be Village outdoor locations, and with an artificial lawn curling under one's feet, there are also actual Portmeirion images which, at least, leave the impression of what we are watching is THE PRISONER series. This being one aspect about "It's Your Funeral" that lifts the episode well above two or three others still even more mediocre than this one. A lot of the footage was shot during the second production term in the early spring of 1967, with only little green around and the

summer-like impression of the Village, known from other episodes, gone. There are only few shots having to do with the action, it's a of stock footage not used anywhere else. This iconic image is one of them.

As the Anorak Zone rightly put is, there's an architectural gem like Portmeirion which is used as the location but at the same time cheap studio backdrops endangering the illusion because insufficient funding would not allow making more appropriate use of the Village. Hence attention is drawn to very poor props. [3 ] A quintessential issue.

But let's face facts, there are far weaker PRISONER episodes than this one.

[1 ] Roger Langley, "The People Behind THE PRISONER", in "Free For All" society magazine (publishing date unknown)
[2] David Stimpson, http://david-stimpson.blogspot.com/2011/03/possibly-most-irritating-man-in-village.html
[3] "THE PRISONER is regarded as a well-made television series, shot on film and with high production values. Sadly, this doesn't always turn out to be the case, and by introducing The Village - an architectural landscape in Portmeirion, Wales - the series is forced to keep filming there, or risk corroding the illusion." http://www.anorakzone.com/prisonerrank1.html


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