For the Adherent of Pop Culture

The Prisoner

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Prisoner: Departure and Arrival The Prisoner
"Departure and Arrival"
Audio Drama
Written by Nicholas Briggs
Directed by Nicholas Briggs
Released January 2016


After abruptly resigning from his job, British agent ZM-73 finds himself captive in a perversely idyllic village. 


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode



Number 6 (ZM-73)

062 (Janet)



Jacob Seltzman (mentioned only)

Village voice

Number 2 (multiple people)

The Butler

taxi driver

waitress/housekeeper/Number 9

shop keeper



new Number 2

Number 1 (mentioned only)


Operations Controller 


Didja Know?


The Big Finish version of The Prisoner is a reimagining of the classic 1967 TV series of the same name.


This episode gets part of its title from the first episode of the original series, "Arrival". Our current story is based very closely on that original episode.


Actor Mark Elstob as ZM-73/Number 6 uses a voice and mid-Atlantic accent that sounds much like that of Patrick McGoohan as the character in the original TV series.


The series can occasionally be heard on the BBC Radio website.


The Operations Controller in this series seems to take the role of the man called the Supervisor in the original TV series.




Didja Notice?


The episode opens on January 16, 1967.


At the beginning of the episode, the secret agent who will become Number 6 is referred to by his government codename, ZM-73 (with the Z pronounced "zed" as it is in England). This is the same codename Number 6 had in the original TV series episode "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling".


ZM-73 has a rendezvous in Belgium with deep cover agent 062.


ZM-73's report states he crossed the English Channel to Calais on a ferry during winds of gale force 8. Gale force 8 and 9 are increments of the Beaufort wind force scale. Gale force 8 involves winds of 39-46 mph and, on the sea, moderately high waves.


The man who reads ZM-73's report is referred to as Danvers. In the original TV series episode "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling", Jonathan Peregrine Danvers is the man who greets Number 6 at the government office in London.


ZM-73 is said to drive a Lotus Seven S2 that he built himself, just as he had in the original TV series.


The ferry captain is actually a working acquaintance of ZM-73's, Cobb. A colleague of ZM-73's named Cobb also appeared in the "Arrival" episode of original TV series.


ZM-73's current case seems to involve someone named Seltzman. Dr. Jacob Seltzman developed a technology to transfer the psyche of one person into another as seen in the original TV series episode "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling". Seltzman will appear in "The Seltzman Connection" with the same process seen in the TV series.


ZM-73 is evinced to be in a romantic relationship with 062, but after meeting her in Mont-Saint-Jean, Belgium regarding the Seltzman case he suddenly drives off and turns in his resignation. During his meeting with 062, she asks if he is going to kiss her and he remarks that she never asked that before. It may be that he has become convinced that the body of 062 has become inhabited with someone else's psyche and he races off and resigns because he no longer knows who to trust, even in his own organization. Mont-Saint-Jean is a hamlet south of Waterloo.


The agency determines that ZM-73 appeared to be prepared to disappear to the Bahamas. In the "Arrival" episode of original TV series, our unnamed agent had a file folder of photos of what appeared to be a tropical beach location, suggesting he was intending to flee there.


Number 2 remarks on Number 6 opening the blinds in his cottage and seeing the Village instead of the office blocks outside his London home. Office blocks are seen through that corresponding window in the "Arrival" episode of the original TV series.


In this version of the series, the Village has even more advanced technology than it did in the TV series. Much of the technology depicted is analogous to that which we have now in the early 21st Century, despite the 1967 setting.


When Number 6 is unable to activate the starter button of the taxi, the driver tells him it responds to her DNA, a term Number 6 seems not to understand, though the existence of DNA in living organisms had been known for decades by 1967. I guess ZM-73 didn't keep up on his biological science!


Observing Number 6's actions via camera feeds, Number 2 remarks he's "just like James Bond or something!" Bond, of course, is the fictional British super-spy of novels and film. Original TV series actor Patrick McGoohan was twice considered for the role of Bond, but turned it down on moral grounds.


Number 6 inquires how he came to arrive at the Village, "by car, train, aeroplane, the Queen Mary?" In January 1967, the ship Queen Mary was still a cruise liner sailing between England and the United States. In October 1967, it was permanently moored at Long Beach, CA as a hotel and tourist attraction.


When Number 2 shows Number 6 images from his own past, he remarks on his family seeking shelter in the Tube stations during the war. The Tube, more properly known as the Underground, is the mass transit subway system currently used in London and its environs which has been in operation since 1863. During WWII, the tunnels also served as bomb shelters during German aerial attacks.


ZM-73's lover, agent 062, is revealed to be named Janet, presumably Janet Portland, who was his fiancé in the original TV series episode "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling".


Number 6 states he was born March 19, 1928, 4:31 a.m. The is the same birth date given for him in the original TV series (this is also Patrick McGoohan's birth date!).


When Number 6 witnesses Rover catch the fleeing Cobb and smothering him, he asks Number 2 if it's going to kill him. Number 2 responds that perhaps it won't, adding, "It's all in the hands of the higher power now." Who or what is the higher power? When Number 6 asks if that would be Number 1, Number 2 chuckles and says, "Yes, very good Number 6."


Number 2 refers to Rover as "she", though he claims it's just a "term of endearment", like its name.


Cobb "apparently" jumps out of the window of the ward of the Village infirmary, killing himself. This also occurred in the "Arrival" episode of the original TV series, though he turns up alive and well and is revealed to be working with the Village's powers-that-be all along at the end of the episode.


Number 6 tells Number 2 his plan is to escape, come back, and wipe the Village off the face of the Earth. He made essentially the same statement in the original TV series episode "The Chimes of Big Ben".


The poorly-played music performed by the Village marching band at Cobb's funeral is from the third movement of Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2, the most well-known funeral march in the world.


At the end of this episode, Number 6 seemingly escapes the Village in a skimmer (a futuristic replacement of a helicopter). But the story continues in the following episode, "The Schizoid Man", where Number 6 is returned to the Village in more-or-less the same manner he was returned after escaping in the original TV series episode "Arrival".

Memorable Dialog

only one ZM-73.mp3
is your number 6?.mp3
not a sociopath.mp3
your first day.mp3
it's just like James Bond.mp3
be seeing you.mp3
good morning.mp3
what do you think of my office?.mp3
stark futurism.mp3
I will not be pushed.mp3
I shall miss it when I'm gone.mp3
Rover now surfacing.mp3
space age plastic and metal crap.mp3
oversized washing machine drum.mp3
I am a free man.mp3
you said I was all right.mp3
when people won't answer your questions.mp3
that would be telling.mp3
escape and come back.mp3

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