The Prisoner (UK)

Season 1 Episode 2

The Chimes of Big Ben

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 08, 1967 on ITV



  • Trivia

    • The Rover/Guardian Sphere is shown to somehow create two smaller white spheres to support Nadia when it tows her back to shore.

    • When Number Six and Nadia get nailed into a box for shipment he is on their right and she is on the left. When they are let out they have changed sides. When they are in the box during shipment the supports for the wall between them are on Number Six's side but when they are let out of the box the supports are on Nadia's side.

    • The door knocker at Number Two's house changes between visits in 'The Chimes of Big Ben'.

    • At about sixteen minutes in to "The Chimes Of Big Ben" Number Two gets up to leave a table he is sitting at with Number Six. He exits stage right. From stage right a man in a red and black striped shirt enters and then a camera cut occurs, and the man disappears.

  • Quotes

    • Number Two: (about Number Six) He can make even the act of putting on his dressing gown appear as a gesture of defiance.
      Number Two's Assistant: There are methods we haven't used yet, of course.
      Number Two: I want him with a whole heart, body and soul.
      Number Two's Assistant: He'll crack.
      Number Two: Perhaps--one tiny piece at a time. I don't want a man of fragments. Fascinating.
      Number Two's Assistant: He doesn't even bend a little.
      Number Two: That's why he'll break. He only needs one small thing. If he will answer one simple question, the rest will follow: why did he resign?

    • General: You're a fool, Number Six. That's my opinion.
      Number Six: Really?
      General: You'll be here for as long as you live.
      Number Six: However long that is.
      General: Might as well try to settle down. No point in being uncooperative.
      Number Six: Was there ever a time when you were not cooperative?
      General: No point in fighting battles you can't win.
      Number Six: Perhaps you came here of your own free will?
      General: Oh, impudent, too, huh? Wish I'd had you in my regiment for a few months.
      Number Six: Which regiment was that? Which army?

    • Number Two: The General seems a little sour.
      Number Six: Mate in seven moves.
      Number Two: Oh. How many do you know?
      Number Six: A few more.
      Number Two: We must play sometime.
      Number Six: Certainly we must. By post.
      Number Two: I must add "sense of humour" to your file. They tend to leave out things like that. Very important.

    • Number Six: What crime did she commit?
      Number Two: Nervous tension--that's all. She's come here to recuperate.
      Number Six: How much are you charging?
      Number Two: I really must bring your files up to date.

    • Number Two: I can never remember. One lump or two?
      Number Six: It's in the file.
      Number Two: Yes, as a matter of fact, yes. But it would save time if you just answered.
      Number Six: Why? Running out of time?
      Number Two: "Does not take sugar." Frightened of putting on weight?
      Number Six: No. Nor of being reduced.
      Number Two: Oh, that's excellent. I am glad you are here. You really are a model.
      Number Six: But I don't run on clockwork.
      Number Two: You will, my dear chap. You will.

    • Number Two: Don't worry, Number Six. You'll be cured. I'll see to it. No more nightmares. If you have so much as a bad dream, you will come whimpering to tell it to me. Whimpering.

    • Number Eight: Can you get a car here?
      Number Six: Taxis--local service only.
      Number Eight: Where will they take you?
      Number Six: Anywhere you like as long as you arrive back here in the end. That's why they're called "local."

    • Colonel J: The return of the prodigal son.
      Number Six: I don't see any fatted calf.
      Colonel J: Did you expect one?
      Number Six: No.

    • Number Six: Are you sure you haven't got a Village here?
      Colonel J: Where is this Village?
      Number Six: Lithuania. On the Baltic, 30 miles from the Polish border.
      Colonel J: How did you find out?
      Number Six: Nadia told me.
      Colonel J: How did she know?
      Number Six: She used to work for their government. She came across a secret file.
      Colonel J: On how to catch a spy in six lessons?
      Number Six: I risked my life and hers to come back here, home, because I thought it was different. It is, isn't it... different?!?

    • Number Six: Would you like to explain to me how a man in Poland came to have a watch showing English time when there's one hour's difference?!?
      Colonel J: Maybe he was slow.
      Number Six: I'll bet he was.

    • Loudspeaker Announcer: Good evening, citizens. Your local council wishes to announce another exciting competition. The subject this time: sea scapes.

    • Second Judge: We're not quite sure what it means.
      Number Six: It means what it is.

    • (trying to convince Number Six to take part in Village festival, reading Six's file)
      Number Two: "At the age of 15, top of his class in woodwork." That's the sort of thing I mean. Join in!
      (walking towards metal sliding doors)
      Number Six: I'll make you a handle for this door.
      Number Two: (maniacally laughing) You'll be back! (quietly, after Six has left) Whimpering...

    • Number Six: Yes, abstract art is basically primitive. I've... I've made my own tools.
      Number Two: Tip top! Doing as the caveman did, eh Number Six?
      Number Six: I may even invent fire.

    • Number Two: Do you still think you can escape, Number Six.
      Number Six: I'm going to do better than that.
      Number Two: Oh?
      Number Six: Going to escape, come back.
      Number Two: Come back?
      Number Six: Escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it and you with it.

    • Number Six: Has it ever occurred to you that you are just as much a prisoner as I am?
      Number Two: Oh my dear chap, of course--I know too much. We're both lifers. Number Two: I am definitely an optimist. That's why it doesn't matter "who" Number One is. It doesn't matter which "side" runs the Village.
      Number Six: It's run by one side or the other.
      Number Two: Oh certainly, but both sides are becoming identical. What in fact has been created is an international community--perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realize that they're looking into a mirror, they will see that "this" is the pattern for the future.
      Number Six: The whole Earth as the Village?
      Number Two: That is my hope. What's yours?
      Number Six: I'd like to be the first man on the moon.

  • Notes

    • Christopher Benjamin's voice was dubbed over in post-production in the final cut. In the unaired version, his own voice is heard.

    • This was the fifth episode of the series filmed, directly before Leo McKern's second appearance, "Once Upon A Time".

    • This is the only episode in which Number Six wears his blue piped anorak.

    • Along with Colin Gordon, Mary Morris and Peter Wyngarde, Leo McKern is one of only four Number Twos to have their voices added to the interrogation scene in the opening credits. The "standard" voice of Number Two was provided by Robert Rietty.

    • This is the only episode in which someone, in this case, Nadia (Nadia Gray) asks Number Six (Patrick McGoohan) his name and he tells them it's Number Six.

    • Along with Colin Gordon, Leo McKern is one of only two actors to play Number Two more than once. He reprised his role in "Once Upon A Time" and "Fall Out".

  • Allusions