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The Prisoner is a 17-episode British television series broadcast in the UK from 29 September 1967 to 1 February 1968.[1][2] Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama. Since its debut, the series' enduring popularity has led to its influencing and being referenced in a range of other media, such as the film The Truman Show,[3][4] and the television shows Lost[4][5] and The X-Files. The producer of The X-Files called The Prisoner "the Gone with the Wind of its genre."[3] The Guardian wrote that "Without The Prisoner, we'd never have had cryptic, mindbending TV series like Twin Peaks or Lost. It's the Citizen Kane of British TV – a programme that changed the landscape."[6]

For references to The Prisoner in other media see The Prisoner in other media.



Computer games


"Although short-lived, it was credited with setting a thematic, at times surreal template for such films as The Truman Show (1998) with Jim Carrey and the current ABC series Lost."[4]


"The Prisoner's musical shadow stretches further into pop culture... Artists as different as Iron Maiden, Supergrass, Roy Harper, The Clash, Michael Penn, XTC, Dhani Harrison and more have riffed directly or indirectly off of The Prisoner."[11]



"Continuing interest in The Prisoner can be seen in television shows created long after 1967"[17]


  1. ^ As noted in Andrew Pixley's 2007 The Prisoner – A Complete Production Guide book, the first UK premiere was 29 September 1967 on ATV Midlands and the last episode first aired on 1 February 1968 on Scottish Television.
  2. ^ The world broadcast premiere was on the CTV Television Network in Canada on 5 September 1967.Toronto Star, 5 September 1967, p. 22
  3. ^ a b Miller, Toby (2003). Spyscreen: espionage on film and TV from the 1930s to the 1960s. Oxford University Press. p. 219. ISBN 0-19-815952-8.
  4. ^ a b c Bernstein, Adam (15 January 2009). "TV Spy Series Star Brought Complex Programming to U.S." Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  5. ^ Thill, Scott (3 June 2008). "Lost Joins Shyamalan's Pixies Lovefest". Listening Post. Wired. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  6. ^ Rose, Steve (14 January 2009). "Be seeing you: remembering Patrick McGoohan". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  7. ^ Hatfield, Charles, "Once Upon a Time: Kirby's Prisoner," The Jack Kirby Collector, #11, August 1996, Two Morrows Publishing.
  8. ^ Kirby also attempted a comic book adaptation of the series in the early 1970s; it was never published, but surviving panels have been reproduced in the magazine The Jack Kirby Collector.
  9. ^ The Invisibles vol. 1 #17 annotations Archived 26 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine, The Bomb, Barbelith
  10. ^
  11. ^ Thill, Scott (11 October 2008). "The Prisoner's Sonic Shadow Looms Large". Listening Post. Wired. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  12. ^ White, Matthew (1988). The Official Prisoner Companion. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 132. ISBN 0-283-99598-X.
  13. ^ "Back in the Village" Lyrics"
  14. ^ "Michael Penn - Try". YouTube. 25 October 2009. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Prisoner by Stanton Warriors on Amazon Music". Amazon. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Fab TV, I Am Not a Number".
  17. ^ a b c Britton, Wesley Alan (2004). Spy television. The Praeger television collection. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 280. ISBN 0-275-98163-0.
  18. ^ Chapman, James (2002). Saints and avengers: British adventure series of the 1960s. I.B.Tauris. p. 282. ISBN 1-86064-753-7.
  19. ^ Aldgate, Anthony; James Chapman; Arthur Marwick (2000). Windows on the sixties: exploring key texts of media and culture. I.B.Tauris. p. 194. ISBN 1-86064-383-3.
  20. ^ "BBC Cult—The Simpsons: Season 1 Episode Guide". Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  21. ^ a b Booker, M. Keith (2006). Drawn to television: prime-time animation from the Flintstones to Family guy. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 191. ISBN 0-275-99019-2.
  22. ^ Rizzo III, Francis (14 June 2007). "Pinky and the Brain, Vol. 3". DVD Talk. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  23. ^ Bassom, David (2005). Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion. Titan Books. ISBN 978-1-84576-097-7.
  24. ^ "Coupling – Night Lines Episode Guide". BBC. 17 May 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  25. ^[user-generated source]
  26. ^ Malcom, Shawna (11 August 2006). "Lost Boss Tackles Star Trek Enterprise". TV Guide. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  27. ^ Jensen, Jeff (21 April 2012). "'Fringe' recap: Apocalypse Tomorrow". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  28. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.
  29. ^ "The Prisoner Quotes Page". 6 May 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  30. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube.