FALL OUT - The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to The Prisoner
By Alan Stevens & Fiona Moore
Telos Publishing
REVIEW BY Andrew Screen

The Prisoner becomes middle-aged this year and to help celebrate the programme's fortieth anniversary Telos have produced a brand new guide to the celebrated TV series.

Written by Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore (who previously wrote Liberation, a guide to Blake's 7, also published by Telos) the book makes a brave attempt to tie-in all the varying interpretations applied to the series over the past four decades since it was first transmitted as well as take a look at the production of the programme.

The book begins by giving an overview of the production of the series before moving on to put the programme in context with film and TV shows preceeding it. Next we have a chapter devoted to Danger Man and the links between this show and The Prisoner. Each of the seventeen episodes are covered in depth with full credits, a synopsis and an analysis of the themes, imagery and symbols contained in the story. This section also serves as a review of the episode and the connections it may have with other episodes or productions. The book also features several essays that cover particular topics of the programme including the history and the meaning of the iconic Rover, as well as the gender, sexuality and ethnicity aspects of the series. These essays can become a little over egged and wander into media studies overkill, an effect of discussing some the observations made on the series by previous authors. Other sections feature unmade episodes, original fiction and the programme's influence on popular culture.

The book attempts to stick soley to the facts and tries to avoid repeating gossip and rumours and it has to be congratulated for this. However, there is no new information here, but the book has made a brave attempt of unifying the majority of theories that the programme has attracted over the decades. A major plus for the book is an index at the rear of the volume that certainly helps quick referencing. On the flip side the book lacks any photographic illustrations, something that affects not only this release, but also Telos' over publications. This is purely a matter of economics as Telos is only a small publisher and does not have a budget to blow on photographs - something we at Action TV have struggled with.

Despite some minor failings this is still a solid book, and the timing of its release is ideal as the programme enters its fifth decade. If you've purchased the recent Network DVD then this will make an ideal viewing companion and offer a comprehensive overview of the cultural impact, themes and production of the programme. Hardcore fans may not learn anything new, but will find it a useful quick reference and an enjoyable read. And if you are new to the wonders of The Prisoner this is the perfect starting point for you. Possibly the best guide Telos have published so far.

Telos Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-84583-018-2


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