It's time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the month of August 2013. This month, the Doctor Who celebrations leap to the ninth Doctor – the eighth Doctor will see his own celebrations in September – with a showing of his last two episodes Bad Wolf and Parting of the Ways:
But there's also a Patrick McGoohan season – when I'm on holiday, of course – as well as a preview of Cillian Murphy's first major TV role, BBC2's Peaky Blinders, and an ITV 'Missing Believed Wiped'.
So, I went off to Snowdonia (that's in North Wales, non-UK readers. You know where Wales is, right?) for the weekend – hence my absence on Friday. Bit of a trek, what with the traffic and all, so seven hours drive each way. Argh.
Anyway, we're just coming up to our hotel when to my surprise, I see a sign to Portmeirion. Honestly, I had no idea it was there – I thought it was further north. It's not.
But the TV gods had clearly spoken to Dealcloud, which is how we ended up at this particular hotel (which also turned out to have been visited by Jackie O and Ted Kennedy at some point) only 15 minutes away from where The Prisoner was filmed. Remember The Prisoner – the original Patrick McGoohan version, not the remake? Here, at least, is the iconic title sequence, which also explains the plot (secret agent resigns so is kidnapped and imprisoned in a seemingly loving prison called The Village):
Anyway, having made it out that far, how could we not go and have a wander round? Okay, it's £10 per adult, but we'll live. So, after the jump, lots of pictures of Portmeirion: how much will you recognise, discerning Prisoner fans?
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So imagine a world where the Second World War is happening in the 1960s, Hitler is still alive and five secret agents from around the world have ganged up to try to stop the Nazis.
What do you mean, "Why?" Because I tell you to, that's why.
Actually, that's a very good question that maybe we should ask the creators of Australian show Danger 5, who seem to have taken some peyote while watching Thunderbirds, The Prisoner, The Champions, Inglourious Basterds, the Godzilla movies and huge amounts of those bizarre 1960s eurospy movies that Tanner writes about. They've come up with a very precise pastiche/homage that tries to walk the line between affectionate and mental, except the peyote is so strong the line actually looks like a blancmange being ridden by Anne of Cleves.
So we have Hitler sending out zeppelins to steal the Eiffel Tower in scenes that remind you of Derek Meddings' efforts on a bad day; someone with an eagle's head dressed like Patrick MacGoohan in The Prisoner; deliberately bad dubbing; seductive, smoking, talking robot dogs; bad accents; Champions-like telepathy; exploitation cinema bondage scenes; and more - but for no apparent reason other than it looks cool and people who love the 60s will go "Oh yes, that's from X". There's no plot coherence and no real jokes.
It looks fantastic. A lot of work has obviously gone into it. But it'll leaving you wondering what the whole thing is supposed to accomplish and why you should be watching it. Even more than Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, in fact.
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This is a UK media blog with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.