Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Danger Man: Fish on the Hook

My last post was actually about the reason the photos vanished: I didn't realise deleting a picasa album would do that, derp. It left only my profile picture. I also talked about deciding what to do about this, & now I have decided: it would be too much to replace all the screenshots, especially as some of them were specific images referred to in posts, so I have replaced the title picture of Steed & Keel, will call the other pictures a loss, & continue from here.
I realised too late for inclusion in my last post on an episode of Danger Man in which the actor Martin Miller appears, which I am writing in preparation for the episode of The Prisoner in which he appears, that there is a thoroughly Village way of understanding his character's death in the episode The Lovers. I am downplaying it in this run through The Prisoner because it is not really my main purpose this time, which is to explore the theoretical identification between John Drake & Number 6. It is this: The Prisoner is full of death & birth (or rebirth) images. Number 6 is actually told that to the outside world he is already dead, & that the discovery of a corpse doctored to look like him will merely confirm what is already known or suspected. So here's the theory: Miller's character dies in The Lovers. Miller the actor reappears as differently-named characters in another episode of Danger Man & one of The Prisoner. I would dearly love to make the identification of these three characters, & there is one way to do it. John Drake thought up the idea of The Village, & the story goes that he became horrified at what he heard was happening there, resigning to be taken there & investigate. The people he is defending in The Lovers are Baravians, the enemies of the United Kingdom. Who better therefore to make a bomb to destroy them - on whatever pretext, that he was commissioned by the king himself would be the perfect foot in the door - but an enemy of Baravia, such as a British agent. What if Miller's character is a British or NATO agent who is not known in person to Drake but he knows he is an agent. If Drake was actively involved in The Village, but never physically having been there, he could have recruited people for The Village. That's right, I'm saying that Miller's character is only 'dead' in the sense of having gone to The Village & it was John Drake who 'killed' him. He could then be allowed out to use his specialist knowledge in this episode, he may even have come up with the goods & left The Village, & either gone back because that was planned or because he was again assessed as a security risk. This may seem excessively complicated, but espionage is like that, & the intelligence milieu would explain the characters' different names & the fact that Drake doesn't recognise him. Please don't misunderstand me, this is another theory I really wouldn't go to the stake for, I'm just working the facts as hard as I can to come up with a theory so that the three characters can be explained as being the same person.
There is another familiar figure from The Prisoner in this episode (yes, it may have made sense to go through Danger Man in order then The Prisoner, but that's never stopped me before) in the figure of Peter Bowles. He appears in the episode A, B, or C, where he is specifically a character that Drake already knows. Of course the point of the Danger Man/Prisoner thing is that none of these things is made explicit, or even able to be proved. I feel the most that can be said is that an actor (looking like himself each time, just with the addition of a moustache) reappears in the three episodes. Peter Bowles always looks like himself, but having appeared in this episode is reintroduced as a person Drake already knows. Differences in location can be explained by the drug & suggestion-induced way he is introduced in The Prisoner. Alternatively of course, starting off as a policeman, he could have himself become an agent.
But there's another hint in this episode. Drake says, 'Be seeing you', clearly a Village thing. My personal feeling is that Drake was aware of this salutation before arriving at The Village - well, of course he was, he used it in his Danger Man career! I have read on the internet that Drake uses this phrase something like twice in the course of Danger Man, which simply isn't true. He uses it much more than that, it obviously *means* something that isn't explained. And I don't care what anyone says, in the English language, it is not a standard way of saying goodbye. We don't say it. Here's the test for this (I'm quite happy to be proved wrong on this!): find examples in literature, films or television *before* The Prisoner was broadcast. You won't find any. And the only people who use this phrase *since* The Prisoner was broadcast are fans or at least making reference to the series. To me, the use of 'Be seeing you' is highly suggestive that Drake is Number 6, & that there is further deliberate continuity between the two series.
While Drake is acting so-very-Village he is clearly not on the same side as Zoren: in this first episode of the longer-episodes series, Drake is still passably an American, he only mellows into being perhaps Anglo-Irish as the series progresses.
As for similarities between Miller's character here & that he plays in The Lovers, well actually these similarities are what set me off thinking of this, since he clearly has a vaguely similar skill-set in each programme. In The Lovers he was a dodgy character with a keen interest in making bombs for anyone who would pay for them. Here he remains a technician, only in the field of microfilm, with the covering story of being a doctor. Of course this is where it falls down, since it is actually very difficult to pretend to be a doctor: you may be able to fool the public some of the time, but an actual doctor, never.
On the other hand, he looks & acts like the character in The Prisoner, & for me it is his presence in The Prisoner that makes it more likely that the characters played by Miller are the same person, since The Prisoner was McGoohan's baby in a way Danger Man was not, & I just feel he would choose his leading actors carefully. If nothing else, it would at least plant the idea in the minds of viewers who had seen Danger Man, of this person being familiar in John Drake's world.
My main criticism of this episode - & believe me it wears more thin after watching the episode several times for this post - is that I don't like Drake's cover story, of being a billionaire's playboy son. He seems to me too old to play the role, he's just too mature & doesn't give the right aura of carefree youth.
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