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Showing posts from September, 2015

Apartheid in The Prisoner: Many Happy Returns

I have commented before in this series of posts, that it is possible to read virtually anything into The Prisoner if you try hard enough, and that is certainly true. Certainly the elements of apartheid relating to power, conformity, nonconformity, and control, all find very strong echoes in the dynamics of Number 6's experience. But I feel this episode takes us very close to the heart of apartheid and its real point. In fact I feel it could be argued that the opening sequence of almost every episode replays Number 6's forced removal, echoing that of the people forcibly removed from areas rezoned for whites, under South African apartheid. I'm afraid this is going to be a post where I largely marshall evidence brought from elsewhere, and that is largely because I can't summarise the forced removals better than they are here: 'From 1960 to 1983, the apartheid government forcibly moved 3.5 million black South Africans in one of the largest mass removals of people

Apartheid in The Prisoner: The General

Dead easy to see echoes of South African apartheid in this one. Speed learn equates almost seamlessly with the 'Bantu education' legally allowed to the black majority by the white majority during the apartheid era. The point, of course, is that speed learn is not education at all: no attempt is made to develop an ability toi marshall evidence or analyse. It is based solely on repetition, which is explicitly shown up to be its failing in this episode, although ironically it seems that Number 6 has failed to realise that until it is pointed out to him. I have commented in previous posts in this series, on the condescending way in which the white settlers of South Africa (obviously this would tend to go for white colonialists anywhere) viewed the indigenous people of the country. I have quoted at length on how there are still these views going round that black people cannot think like white people, can't think ahead, make judgements or decisions, and so on. It is also tou

Adam Adamant Lives: The Doomsday Plan

We told you to take the tract. It can be a lonely business, this blogging lark. Fortunately the aficionados of the more recherchĂ© television programmes, seek each other out in the darker corners of the blogosphere and compare notes. Let's face it, when people at work talk about what TV they've watched last night, nobody's going to want to hear about, say, Gurney Slade, are they? One of the gentle readers who is kind enough to reference this blog on his own is Mitchell Hadley, who recently again has  referred  to me. I do hope he doesn't stop blogging, he has good stuff to say, and my only sorrow is that I don't know many of the programmes he talks about. Anyway, he was talking about a  post  on the Classic Film and TV cafĂ© blog about Adam Adamant Lives, which made me realise it has been a little while since I have watched through the series and made me dust off the discs. I find to my horror that my  first post  on Adam Adamant, in which I witter on about some

The Strange World of Gurney Slade

Anyone reading my last post, about Monty Python's Flying Circus, might have thought that I managed to deal with one of the greats of cult television in what was at best a low-key, if not sloppy, way. Naturally, the real purpose of that post was to bring the subject of Monty Python 'into the room', before I write about Gurney Slade. That is of course also the reason I delineate the TV comedy that I do like in that post. Since the avowed purpose of this blog since I began it has been to avoid description almost completely and concentrate on analysis, for a very comprehensive blog post which manages to combine intelligent analysis with more description than I would like to include here, I would refer you  here So on with the analysis. My first and foremost reaction to Gurney Slade is that I have been putting off writing this post for some months. I have owned the disc for that long, watched it through twice, but I also realise that I have been avoiding watching it becaus

Monty Python & Cult TV Humour

I'm a strange sort of cult TV fan – I'm not a fanatical Dr Who completist, for example. Another show which I do love dearly and which I realise I have never written about here, is Monty Python's Flying Circus. Come to think of it, I realise I have rarely written about any show which can vaguely be described as funny. Dick Emery has featured here, and I keep meaning to write a piece about local lad Tony Hancock, but on the whole my posts here have tended to be about my love for the weird and wonderful, which is on the whole an accurate reflection of my viewing. Of the comedy shows I watch fairly regularly, I think the only one which can be accurately described as 'cult' would be The Young Ones, and apart from one post I have fought shy of writing about that, since I could never do it justice. I also watch Bottom, Hinge and Bracket, To The Manor Born, Spitting Image, Hale and Pace, and French and Saunders. I was disappointed recently to find that I didn't think

Apartheid in The Prisoner: The Schizoid Man

In my introduction to this series I commented that I didn't really want to get drawn into the interminable discussion among fans of The Prisoner, about the black or white blazers and black or white number badges. It would, however, be churlish not to mention the matter at all in connection with this episode. My personal conclusion, having dipped into this argument from both sides over the years, is that it is impossible to come to any conclusion about the significance of the badges. In fact I would theorise that they could even be one of the little things in the series intended to lead to fruitless discussion and never susceptible of a final conclusion. My personal opinion about the blazers in this episode would of course be that the whole point of this episode, including even its name, is that of a split or division, which in this episode becomes deliberately confused so that it is impossible to tell who is Number 6 or Number 12. Naturally it is always possible to tell Number 2

Doctor Who: Lost in Time. The Fear of the Vintage TV fan Reinforced

I realise I have posted quite a lot about the impact on the cult TV fan of the wholesale junking of much of the TV of the 1960s. If the TV shows you live are fifty years old, it is natural that you will fear that there is either nothing, or nothing of quality, left to be discovered or for you to discover. What if, goes the argument, my current collection of TV shows is the final collection that I will be left with for the rest of my life? This situation would present an interesting challenge to me, by way of being almost a canon as in scriptural terms, of approved television. Since I first posted on that fear, my fears were somewhat assuaged by the discovery of another new series that I had never seen, which is what my recent post about Special Branch, is about. I realise that in my post today I am going to ruffle feathers in the Whovian blogosphere, because I have finally obtained the Doctor Who Lost in Time boxed set of 'orphaned' episodes from the first three doctors. I h