More than just a number: what ‘The Prisoner’ can teach us about life in lockdown

I’m not a number, I am a free man!” It’s a line that would, right now, only be spouted by idiots who may still be frolicking in parks or on beaches, as they wilfully flout the distancing rules because it doesn’t allow them the satisfaction of a proper high-five. But in the late-60s, the phrase was shouted on a weekly basis on television by a man running for his life from a huge gelatinous white ball on a sandy estuary beach in Wales, while sporting a rather natty jacket with piped lapels.

He was ‘The Prisoner’ (as played by Patrick McGoohan), and now that we are all prisoners, surely there are some lessons we can glean from No 6’s time as a grudging guest of The Village?

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