The Prisoner (1967–1968): Season 1, Episode 1 - The Chimes of Big Ben - full transcript

A new prisoner, Nadia, or Number Eight, knows where the Village is, which means she and Number Six can escape. Using a boat that was disguised as a piece of abstract art, they make their way to the nearest shore and from there back to London, hidden in packing crates. But Number Six learns that nothing in this adventure was what it seemed.

Where am I?

In the village.

What do you want?


Whose side are you on?

That would be telling.

We want information...



You won't get it.

By hook or by crook...
...we will.

Who are you?

The new Number Two.

Who is Number One?

You are Number Six.

I am not a number.
I am a free man!

Good morning! Good morning!
What a lovely day it is!

Rise and shine! Rise and shine!

Before our music programme,
here are two announcements.

The weather - the fine spell
will continue for another month.

Your local council - and remember it
is YOUR local council,

democratically elected by you -

has organised
a great new competition.

Can you paint? Can you draw?
Can you model in clay?

If you can, then your day
is just six weeks today.

More about this later,
but now - music.

He makes even putting on his gown
seem a gesture of defiance.

There are methods
we haven't used yet.

I want him with a whole heart,

body and soul.

He'll crack.

Perhaps, but I don't want
a man of fragments.


- He doesn't bend.
- That's why he'll break.

If he'll answer one simple question,
the rest will follow.

Why did he resign?

Control Room.


Have you found the helicopter?

I think it's in range.

Yes, she's on the radar now.

Shall we make contact?

No, but tell me when it's due.
I want to meet it.

Your move, young man.

Ahh, Yes.

- You know what I'll do?
- Resign?

That announcement,
the exhibition of arts and crafts.

These aren't all they might be.
I'll make a set.

Used to be quite a handyman.

- You entering?
- No.

You're a fool, Number Six.
That's my opinion.

- Really?
- You'll be here as long as you live.

How ever long that is?

Try to settle down.
Don't be uncooperative.

Was there a time
when you were not co-operative?

Don't fight lost battles.

- You came here voluntarily?
- Impudent, too, eh?

Wish I'd had you in my regiment.

Which regiment was that?

Which army?

Good morning, General!

- The General seems a little sour.
- Mate in seven moves.


How many do you know?

- A few more.
- We must play.

Certainly we must - by post.

I must add
sense of humour to your file!

They tend to leave out
such important things.

- What crime did she commit?
- Just nervous tension.

She's here to recuperate.

How much are you charging?

I really must
bring your file up to date.

Sit down, my dear chap!

File number six, section 42,
subsection six, paragraph three.

Add "sense of humour
strong and unimpaired."

Thank you. That will be all.

- One lump or two?
- Read the file.

Yes, but it would save time
if you just answered.

Are you out of time?

Does not take sugar.

Frightened of putting on weight?

No, nor of being reduced.

That's excellent! I am glad you're
here. You really are a model.

But I don't run on clockwork.

You will, my dear chap.

- You will.
- Do you think so?

Do you still think you can escape?

- I'll do better than that.
- Oh?

- I'll escape and come back.
- Come back?

Escape, come back and wipe this place
off the face of the earth.

Subsection six, paragraph four.

Add "persecution complex
amounting to mania."

Paranoid delusions of grandeur.

Don't worry, Number Six,
you'll be cured. I'll see to it.

If you have so much as a bad dream,

you'll come whimpering
to tell it to me.


Watch. Just watch.


She's your new neighbour,
that's all, the new Number Eight.

- Where's the old one?
- He vacated the premises.

He escaped?

- No funeral?
- You need a body.

Look, she's getting up!
It's like old times, isn't it?

Do you remember your first day?

Thank God, I'm home.

- An exact replica of her own room.
- Of course.

Number Eight, please.

- Hello?
- Good morning.

Quite recovered?
No ill-effects from the journey?

Who is it?
Where am I?

There's nothing
to be afraid of, my dear.

Come and have lunch with me -
Number Two, the Green Dome.


A most pleasant addition.
I'm sure you'll agree.

- Hello?
- Will you be neighbourly?

I'll do a deal with you. Tell me
one thing and I'll release you.

- Why did you resign?
- Release me?

From the Village?

That's not much to ask, is it?

If you insist on staying, I do
hope you'll attempt to settle down.

This exhibition that's coming up...
Wait a minute.

There! "At the age of 1 5,
top of his class in woodwork."

That's the sort of thing. Join in!

I'll make you a door handle.

You'll be back!


Good morning! Further news
of the arts and crafts exhibition.

Your finance committee
have decided on the prizes.

There will be five prizes
in each age group.

The exhibit
judged the best in any group

will receive a prize
of 2,000 free work units...

Excuse me.

Could you please tell me
where the Green Dome is?


Across the square,
you can't miss it.

- It's crazy...
- Eh?

- Where am I?
- The Village.

Lovely day!

- It sounds like a salute.
- It is.

Could you take me over there?

Certainly. Across the square,
you can't miss it.

- Can we get a car?
- Taxis, local service only.

- Where will they take you?
- Anywhere,

as long as you arrive here at the end.

That's why they're called local.

Why are these people here?

Why are you?

Here you are - the Green Dome.

- Who is Number Two?
- Who is Number One?

- I'm frightened.
- Goodbye.

I've done nothing wrong.

- All I did was resign.
- No use telling me.


That's a... long lunch.

- Yes.
- Nightcap?



One good thing here - it's cheap.

Genuine non-alcoholic whisky,
24 work units,

or would you prefer
genuine non-alcoholic vodka?

1 6 work units. I hope there's
nothing significant in that.

Yes, I would prefer it, Mr...?

Sorry, no name.
I am Number Six... are Number Eight.

I didn't think
it would be like this.

Are... er, you Russian?



- We don't think so.
- You speak good English.

- It was my job.
- From which you resigned.

Number Two is a very charming man.

- Yes.
- I expected his assistant to be.


What about you, Number Eight?

I'm no Number Eight
or anything else.

My name is Nadia Rakowski.

And I've been interrogated
enough today. Good night.

Be seeing you.

May I join you?

You're a good neighbour, I hope?

There are people who talk
and people who don't,

which means some people leave this
place and some who do not leave.

You are obviously staying.

You're just as much
a prisoner as I am.

Of course, I know too much -
we're both lifers.

I am an optimist. It doesn't
matter who Number One is.

It doesn't matter
which side runs the Village.

It's run by one side.

But both sides
are becoming identical.

What has been created
is an international community,

a blueprint for world order.

When both sides realise
they're the same,

they'll see this
is the pattern for the future.

The whole earth as the Village?

That is my hope. What's yours?

To be the first man on the moon.

Well, must go. Delightful chat.
Thank you, Number Six.

International swimmer.

At the age of 1 7...
Olympic bronze medallist.

Control Room.

What visual range
do you have out to sea?'

Do you mean direct TV transmission?

- Yes.
- Two miles.

- Then radar.
- Thank you.

- Control Room is ready for you.
- I'll be right there.

She'll be out of range soon.

She's kept in training.

Oh, well, Orange Alert.

Don't touch her.
We'll take care of her.

Meet me at the hospital, Number Six.

Be right there.

Oh, Number Six!
How good of you to come!

- Could you help me?
- How?

You've probably got to know
Number Eight best...

Come with me.


I don't want to be hard on her.
She's not important.

I'm surprised they sent her here.

Why did you go?
Were you attempting suicide?

Have you noticed
any suicidal tendencies?

- What are you doing to her?
- Nothing.

The floor is electrified -
four seconds on, four seconds off.

It takes just three seconds
to get to the door.

She can leave whenever she likes.

She's caught on at last.

One... Two...

If she has confidence,
she's fine. It's self-inflicted.

What was in your
mind? What were you thinking?

Tell us.
What was in your mind?

What was the purpose
of your swim?

What was in your mind?
Were you attempting suicide?

Suicide? Suicide?

What was in your mind?

What was. . .

She's going to do it.

Yes. That's better.

Mind! Mind! Mind!...

No, switch off!

Kill me, kill me, kill me, kill me!

Well, well. We'll just
have to try something else.

Are you sure you can't help?
I find this most distasteful.

Let her go.

Looks like a suicidal tendency, eh?

- Let her go!
- Is that an order?

All right...

You wanted a deal.

I'll make a deal with you.

- Let her go and I'll collaborate.
- You'll what?

- Isn't that what you wanted?
- So obvious a weakness in you?

- Why not?
- For which you'll collaborate?

Don't get too excited,
I'll tell you nothing.

I'll join in, try to settle down,

even carve something
for the exhibition...

If I turn her over to you,
you'll do some woodwork for me?

- That's your deal?
- The best you'll get.

You really are the limit,
Number Six.

File number six, section 42,
subsection six, new paragraph five.

"Overweening sense
of self-importance."

"While here, his egomania has,
if anything, increased."


All right. She's all yours.

Be seeing you.

Good morning. You're early.

I'll do that.

- One egg or two?
- Two, I think.

One egg or two.

- Here you are.
- That's so nice.

Be seeing you.

Things couldn't be going better.
I'll pay them a call.

Good morning. Settling down, I hope?

- Thank you.
- No swimming today, eh?

- No, the woods.
- Naughty!

To carve for the exhibition.
I'm doing some abstracts.

You're not using offensive weapons?

You know the rule about such things.

They may be dangerous.

Oh, no. Abstract art
is basically primitive.

I've made my own tools.

Doing as the caveman did,
eh, Number Six?

I may even invent fire.


They can't hear us.
You can talk freely.

Can I?

You still think it's a trap?

I don't know.

Are you here because you discovered
the whereabouts of the Village?

- Don't!
- You know where it is.

I know there's no escape.

Not even by sea. You tried it.

I was a fool. I couldn't swim so far.

How far? To where?

- It's no good.
- Isn't it?

If I knew where I was sailing from,

I could calculate
where I was sailing to.

- Sail?
- By boat.

Are you going?

- I must think.
- Keep to the paths.

I say!

What is it?

It won't make sense until
all three pieces are finished.

- Entries are due in two weeks.
- I'll be ready.

Axe, stone chisels...

Even these aren't allowed,
technically speaking.

I'm sure you can wink a blind
surveillance eye, can't you?

I wouldn't dream of interfering.

Can I give you a lift back?

No, thanks.
I'll carry on while it's light.

- Be seeing you.
- And you.

Not for long.

Good evening. Curfew time.

Sleep tight.
1 5 minutes from now to curfew.

Meanwhile, allow us
to lull you away with...

Is it safe to talk?

Speak softly.

- Curfew in five minutes.
- Tell me...

To curfew - the minutes are five.

The language of love.

- I know where the Village is.
- How?

I work for the Government.

Which... which government?

That doesn't matter. I saw a secret
file on the Village by accident.

Did you... have access
to other secret information?


- Where are we now, dear?
- Lithuania.

Curfew time - one minute.


On the Baltic. That means making for
West Germany, Denmark...

That's 300 miles, at least.

It doesn't have to be.

Why not?
We could go to Poland.

Take me with you.
Will I be safe?

I can't answer for the British
authorities, for either of us.

- Can you answer for you?
- I give you my personal guarantee.

30 miles.


That's how far we are
from the Polish border.

Beyond, on the coast,
there's a village, Braniewo.

Fisher people. They resist them.
There's a little group. I know them.

I have a contact,
he'll do anything for us.

That's where you were going?

Do you know what I want?

To hear the chimes of Big Bill.

Big Ben...

I'll never call you anything else.

Good night, Nadia.

- Good night, Big Ben.
- Big Bill.

Good afternoon.
Excuse me a minute, Number Eight.

Number Six, the Awards Committee
are intrigued with your abstract,

but they're mystified.
Could you spare a moment?

- Certainly, with pleasure.
- Excuse us.

Remarkably high standard,
don't you agree?

Highly original.

Ah, General. Excellent!

I've seen your stuff, Number Six.
I didn't like it.

Is this your chess set?

- It's nothing.
- It's very good.

Yes, I quite like the King,
I must confess.

The King?

Yes... yes...

First class.

Glad to see you're settling down.

Thank you very much.

Here he is, our very own Epstein!

- Yes?
- What does it mean?

- It means what it is.
- Brilliant. It means what it is.

Brilliant! Oh, you mustn't let me
influence the Awards Committee.

What puzzled me was the fact
you'd given it a title - "Escape".

This piece...

What does it represent to you?

- A church door?
- Right first time.

I see what he means.

This other piece here, of the same
general line, but more abstract

representing freedom or a barrier,
depending how you look at it.

The barrier's down, the door
is open, you're free to go...

Free to escape...
to escape to this.

The symbol to human aspirations -
knowledge, freedom, escape.

- Why the crosspiece?
- Why not?

I was worried for a moment.

The only thing I don't understand...

- Yes?
- Where is Number Two?

And now... and now the special prize
for the over-60 group.

This goes, for a magnificent
tapestry, to Number 38!

Well done, 38!

And now... and now
the prize of prizes -

the merit award of 2,000 work
units for the best work of all.

And the committee
have awarded it to...

Number Six!

- Speech, dear chap!
- Pardon?

- Speech.
- Yes...

Ladies and gentlemen,
er, fellow citizens...

My work is its own satisfaction.

Spoken like a true artist.

I am, however,
deeply honoured by this award.

I feel, nevertheless, that it should
have gone to someone

whose work and long life
in this village

has been an example to us all -

Number 38.

It's not for me to reverse
the decision of the committee,

however, I would like to use
these 2,000 work units to buy...

Number 38's work
to hang in my own home.

- Agreed?
- Bravo!

Good morning! Good morning!

What a lovely day it is again.

Rise and shine! Rise and shine!

First, your weather.
It will be hot and fine all day.

Though the fresh breeze
will continue.

- How much further?
- Two miles.

If your geography's correct,
just around the next headland.

Calling Number Two,
calling Number Two.

There, almost out of range.

30 miles, eh? Better contact
Post Five, just in case.

And then Orange Alert.

Orange Alert. Orange Alert.

That's it. See the cave?

We're catching a crosswind.


Swim for it! Swim for it!


Pencil, paper.

Ask him to transmit this
to London immediately.

He will not understand it,
it is in code.

It is a delivery note.

What route are we taking?

I understand.

By sea - Gdansk to Danzig,
you know,

by air to Copenhagen,
by air again to London.

- Quick, now.
- His watch.

Ask for his watch.

This no good - seawater -
no good - your watch.


- What now?
- Quick, please.

- Big Ben?
- What?

I just wanted to hear your voice.

I don't chime.

The chimes should occur in about...

1 2 hours time.

- Big Ben...
- Hmm?

- Yeah?
- I feel a bit sick.

That's all right. Hold out.

It's only another...

...three hours at sea.

- Big Ben...?
- Yeah?

- Have you got a wife in England?
- No.

Don't talk any more.

- Big Ben...
- Yeah?

I feel a bit better.

That's great. That's... marvellous.

Wonderful... Good night.

Fotheringay here.

Yes, I've seen a copy
of the deciphered message.

What time would you say?


Yes, I can't wait to see him.

If that was...

If that was Copenhagen...

It's less than
an hour and a half to go.

Big Ben...?


Where are we going
to land in England?

I don't know. If my message
was received correctly,

we'll land in an office that
I shall know very well in London.

- Big Ben...?
- Yeah?

Are you engaged to someone?
Is that the right word - engaged?

Go to sleep.

this one's a weight!

You two take that side.

Watch it, this is supposed
to be fragile!

- Evening, Colonel.
- Evening.

Everything's gone to plan.

Our friend will be with us
any minute. Right, get it open.

- Colonel...
- All right?

- Fotheringay...
- Hello, old man.

Allow me to introduce you to Nadia.

How do you do, my dear?

Right. Leave us to it, old chap.

- See you later, I hope.
- Yes, I hope so, Fotheringay.

- Are we here?
- Shh.

Is that it?


That's it.

Would you mind waiting
in the other room? Peters?

It's all right. Go with them.
See you later.

Well, the return
of the prodigal son.

I don't see any fatted calf.

- Did you expect one?
- No.

Tell me, who's she?

Nadia Rakowski.

Oh? What was her name when she left
Peckham to train for the Bolshoi?

You haven't changed, have you?

She told me she was Estonian.

- In the Village.
- Village?

She was Number Eight.
Don't you know about it?

- I ask the questions.
- That's what Number Two said.

- Number Two?
- Chairman of the Village.

- What village?
- I forgot. You don't know.

The Village is a place
where people turn up

who have resigned
from a certain sort of job,

have defected,
or have been extracted.

The specialised knowledge
in their heads is of great value.

Are you sure
there's no Village here?

- Where is this Village?
- Lithuania, the Baltic.

- How did you find out?
- Nadia told me.

- How did she know?
- She came across a secret file.

On catching spies?

I risked my life to come back here
because I thought it was different.

It is, isn't it - different?!

My dear chap, I do apologise.
You've had a long journey.

I expect you need
a decent drink. Scotch?

- 24 work units.
- What?

- It cost that in the Village.
- Ah, the Village.

Surely you know?

You resigned
from a highly top-secret post,

then promptly vanished.

- I was kidnapped.
- Really? How dramatic.

And then after a gap of months
we hear you're coming back

from behind the Iron Curtain...

- You think I've gone over.
- And come back to carry on.

- No.
- "No," he says. "No"?

Nyet. What sort of imbeciles
do you think we are?

- What do you want me to do?
- Quite a lot of things.

Let's start at square one.
First, why did you resign?

- It was a matter of conscience.
- Listen, sonny boy...

Do you think you are safe in London?

If they thought it worth kidnapping
you, it's worth killing you.

I doubt if you'll be alive 24 hours
outside here without protection.

- Do you want it?
- And the girl?

- If you co-operate.
- Political asylum guaranteed.

- That depends.
- No, it's guaranteed!

So long as you keep
your part of the bargain.

- All right.
- Why did you resign?

I resigned...


For a very long time...
Just a minute.

It's eight o'clock.

That's right,
and there are many questions.

First, why did you resign?

Big Ben has just struck eight.

- My watch says eight.
- So?

I was given this watch in Poland.

I wanted to check the time
to make sure the trip

tallied with a journey to London.

Which it presumably did.

Explain to me how a man in Poland
had a watch showing English time...

...when there's one hour's difference!

Maybe he was slow.

I'll bet he was.

Well done. Back to London before
embarrassing questions are asked.

- What's my next assignment?
- The Colonel will give you your orders.

Be seeing you.

Good evening, citizens.

Your local council is announcing
another exciting competition.

The subject this time -


File on Number Six,

section 42,
subsection one, paragraph one.

- Back to the beginning.
- You were right about him.

- I told you.
- Don't worry.

It was a good idea.
You did your best.

I'll stress it in my report.