The beautiful beach that appeared in “The Prisoner”, a cult TV series launched on British TV screens in 1966, in Canada the following year and in the USA in 1968. The story followed a British secret agent (Patrick McGoohan), who, after angrily resigning from his job prepares to make a hurried departure from the country and while packing his luggage, is rendered unconscious by knockout gas piped into his London flat…
When he wakes, he finds himself in a re-creation of his home, but located in a mysterious coastal “village” within which he is held captive, isolated from the mainland by mountains and sea. Assigned and known as Number Six, he repeatedly refuses the pretence of his new identity, hence the title.Although physical movement of residents around the Village is unconstrained, the premises are secured by numerous high-tech monitoring systems and security forces, including a balloon-like automaton called Rover, that recaptures or destroys those who attempt escape across the beach, captured in the photograph.
In real life the beautiful stretch of sand is next to a mock Italian village called Portmeirion, created in North Wales by architect Clough Williams-Ellis, who designed and constructed the village between 1925 and 1975. He incorporated fragments of demolished buildings, including works by a number of other architects, an innovative project that saw Portmeirion’s architecture noted as an influence in the development of postmodernist architecture during the late 20th century.
The controversial finale of the series left open-ended questions, generating controversy and a multitude of letters of outrage, following which Number Six, ironically claimed he had to go into hiding for a while, Portmeirion would have been ideal!
Fifty-five years later, episodes can be seen on YouTube, so here’s a link to episode 1. Enjoy.