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The Prisoner (UK)

Season 1 Episode 17

Fall Out

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 04, 1968 on ITV
out of 10
User Rating
59 votes

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Episode Summary

Number Six is presented to the President of the Assembly. He watches the trials of Number Forty Eight and the resuscitated Number Two. Finally his chance has arrived to meet Number One. As chaos breaks out, Number Six leaves the Village and heads for London.

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  • Patrick McGoohan - prophet & genius.

    In 'Fallout', the coventions of the previous episodes are ditched. There is a reason for this, as Number Six has withstood every test put to him. His captors have one final trick - to revere him, seduce him, and take his strength as their own.

    To this end, the positively freakish elements of the episode can be taken as extended visual metaphors, but it only becomes clear what has happened at the end, when Alexis Kanner's character is dropped off on the dual carriageway, with the sign: 'London 27 miles'.

    "Who are you?"

    "That would be telling!"

    "What do you want?"

    "You won't get it!"

    "By hook, or by crook - we

    The Village is essentially the level of psychological manipulation the British Secret Services will use. The Judge represents the Criminal Justice System. And what is on trial in England, by 'Britain' - a bogus union forced on us by outside oppressors, as it was forced on the Scots. LeoMcKern is the essentially correct Establishment - but too weak to resist the Nazis. Alexis Kanner represents the youth of the day - the Beatles - and its earnest and brave striving for a better, more caring country - more open and tolerant.

    Patrick McGoohan is a fucking genius. That he passed before this could be unravelled is a great regret to me, but bloody man is amazing, and I really think he made the best, most unique English Television actor we've ever had. A lot of ITC stuff is like this though. I watched the whole of Assignment 1 of Sapphire and Steel the other night, for the first time in over 40 years. I didn't expect much, but it was brilliant. Inspired stuff - and television against which even today's American efforts - NCIS et al - might well feel very poor, very 'late'.moreless
  • Reveals everything and nothing.

    An excellent example of Prisoner-esque writing and demonstrates just how well the writers understood the conventions of television.

    Number 6 meets his maker, and his maker meets him.

    This episode is a culmination of all the double meanings presented in grand fashion. Worth a good look for anyone studying communication and postmodernism.
  • The Prisoner concludes...


    Absolutely indecipherably silly from beginning to end. From that cowboy bloke singing Dem Bones to Number 6 and co dancing like lunatcis on the back of a truck going along a motorway, Fall Out is the silliest Prisoner episode ever, but it's also one of the most watchable. However, a big oppurtunity of Number 6's end speech is ruined by those stupid men repeating every one of his words. Very, very strange.moreless
  • The series ended the only way it could had, really.

    Considered to be one of the most silly series-enders in history, Fall-Out blows up the village to the tune of "All you need is Love" and "Dem Bones". Although I'd had preferred a different musical score, "Fall Out" is a good demonstration of the fact that the Prisoner is meant to be understood figuratively not literally.

    Anyone that stills sees the Prisoner as a spy genre or action series will be in for a great surprise and disappointment. On the other hand, the episodes leading up to "Fall Out" and its precursor, "Once Upon a Time" attempt to slowly cozy the viewer up to the idea that the ending of this series will probably be symbolic in nature.

    The fact that Number 1 is McGoohan is probably meant to illustrate the simple idea that we create our own prisons. As members of a democracy, it is us, in the end, not our governments that are responsible for state atrocities and miscarriages of justice.

    The final scene where Number 1 is revealed is the only time in the series that McGoohan's eyes are not in shadow, making him not immediately recognizable as being the twin of Number 6. Of course a copy of 6 was also seen in "The Schizoid Man" which was probably not intended to be related in any way to this episode.

    Another great symbol is Number 6 et al escaping from the village in a prison cell.moreless
Angelo Muscat

Angelo Muscat

The Butler

Guest Star

Leo McKern

Leo McKern

Number Two

Guest Star

Alexis Kanner

Alexis Kanner

Number Forty Eight

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles is played as Number Six is taken to the council chamber and during the climactic shoot-out. Other music featured is "Dem Bones" by The Four Lads (during Forty-Eight's trial and on the A20), and "I Like You Very Much" by Carmen Miranda (as Rover melts).

  • QUOTES (4)

    • President: We understand he survived the ultimate test. Then he must no longer be referred to as "Number Six" or a number of any kind. He has gloriously vindicated the right of the individual to be individual. And this Assembly rises to you... Sir.

    • President: Youth, with its enthusiasms which rebels against any accepted norm must because it must--and we sympathize--it may wear flowers in its hair, bells on toes, But when the common good is threatened, when the function of society is endangered, such revolts must cease. They are non-productive and must be abolished.

    • Number Two: New allegiances. Such is the price of fame.... and failure. Dear me, how sad. My Lords, Ladies and Gentleman, a most extraordinary thing happened to me on my way here. It has been my lot in the past to wield a not inconsiderable power. Nay, I have had the ear of statesmen, kings and princes of many lands. Governments have been swayed, policies defined and revolutions nipped in the bud at a word from me in the right place, and at a propitious time. Not surprising therefore, that this community should find a use for me. Not altogether by accident that one day I should be abducted, and wake up here amongst you. What is deplorable is that I resisted for so short a time. A fine tribute to your methods.

    • President: We are honoured to have with us a revolutionary of a different calibre. He has revolted. Resisted. Fought. Held fast. Maintained. Destroyed resistance. Overcome coercion. The right to be a Person, Someone, or Individual. We applaud his private war and concede that despite materialistic efforts he has survived intact and secure. All that remains is recognition of a Man.

  • NOTES (18)

    • The name of the "for sale" sign at Number Six's home, "Lageu & Son," refers to John Lageu, Set Dresser for the latter part of the series' run.

    • Alexis Kanner, Angelo Muscat, and Leo McKern are shown in-character on-screen as the actors' names are superimposed. A long shot of Patrick McGoohan in his car has the word "Prisoner" imposed. Of the four, only Muscat is credited in the actual ending credits.

    • The preceding episode Once Upon a Time was filmed almost a year before this episode due to the complex filming history on The Prisoner. When it came time to film this episode, Leo McKern, who had suffered a breakdown due to the difficulties of filming Once Upon A Time, had to be persuaded to come back. McKern by this point was working in other roles and had shaved his goatee off. A special scene where Number Two's face was shaved during resuscitation was added.

    • The identity of Number One, finally revealed here, was hinted at in the opening credits in previous episodes. When Number Six asks "Who Is Number One?" followed by "You Are Number Six," simply place a pause in the middle ie., "You are, Number Six."

    • Besides Patrick McGoohan, Alexis Kanner is the only other actor to appear in all of the last three episodes to be filmed ("Living in Harmony", "The Girl Who Was Death" and "Fall Out"). His name is placed within a box in the opening credits.

    • This is the only episode in which both Angelo Muscat (The Butler) and Alexis Kanner (Number Forty-Eight) appear.

    • Kenneth Griffith (The President) wrote his speech himself as Patrick McGoohan (Number Six) was so pressed for time.

    • Patrick McGoohan (Number Six) has very little dialogue in this episode.

    • The script for this episode was written over two days by Patrick McGoohan in his dressing room.

    • This is the first and only episode to acknowledge the fact that the series was filmed in Portmeirion, Wales. The credit card states: In the grounds of The Hotel Portmeirion - Penrhyndreudraeth, North Wales - by courtesy of Mr. Clough Williams-Ellis.

    • Along with "Living in Harmony", this is one of only two episodes not to feature opening credits.

    • Leo McKern's hair and beard are trimmed much shorter than in the previous episode, "Once Upon A Time". This was due to the fact that the episodes were filmed seven months apart and was explained by showing McKern being shaven before making his entrance.

    • Kenneth Griffith (The President of the Assembly) also appeared in the Danger Man finale "Shinda Shima". Besides Patrick McGoohan, he is the only other actor to appear in the finales of both Danger Man and The Prisoner.

    • This is the only episode not to feature Number Two's office.

    • Patrick McGoohan (Number Six), Angelo Muscat (The Butler), Peter Swanwick (The Supervisor), Leo McKern (Number Two), Colin Gordon (Number Two), Frederick Piper (The Ex-Admiral), Denis Shaw (The Shopkeeper) and Bee Duffell (The Psychiatrist) are the only actors to play the same character in more than one episode of the series.

    • Kenneth Griffith (The President of the Assembly) previously played Dr. Schnipps and Number Two in "The Girl Who Was Death".

    • Patrick McGoohan (Number Six) is the only actor to appear in every episode. In second place is Angelo Muscat (The Butler) who appeared in 15 of the 17 episodes of the series. He did not appear in "Living in Harmony" and "The Girl Who Was Death."

    • Patrick McGoohan (Number Six), Angelo Muscat (The Butler) and Peter Swanwick (The Supervisor) are the only actors to appear in both this episode and the pilot, "Arrival."


    • There is an eye in a pyramid which is an allusion to a Masonic rite. The way that the council members clap and pound their desks is an allusion to the three claps which are often used in Masonic rituals.