The Zeitgeist Tapes: The Prisoner

Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner - Free For All (ITV, 1967).

The Zeitgeist Tapes is a podcast hosted by Emma Burnell and Steve Fielding which takes a look at the point where politics and pop culture collide. You can hear me joining Emma and Steve on this edition to talk about Free For All, the election-themed episode of Patrick McGoohan’s hallucinogenic Cold War nightmare The Prisoner from 1967. It may take a look at electioneering, personal liberty and the role of the press in public life from what would seem to be a more innocent time and perspective – well, relatively – but as we find out during the course of the chat, it still has plenty of relevance for the modern world – and indeed especially right now. There’s also some further discussion about what aspects of The Prisoner do and don’t make sense (and you might be surprised by which ones I think do and don’t), why in many senses it was really just another television series and not the sacred text that some try to demand it is, whether The Prisoner actually has any kind of a definable political slant, and just how truly chilling those opening titles really are.

You can download The Zeitgeist Tapes: The Prisoner from here or listen to it below.

About The Zeitgeist Tapes

The Zeitgeist Tapes is a podcast looking at where politics and pop culture collide. You can subscribe to The Zeitgeist Tapes here or follow the show on Twitter at @ZTPodcast.

Buy A Book!

You can find plenty more of my thoughts on sixties television and many of the sometimes almost equally weird contemporaries of The Prisoner in my book Can’t Help Thinking About Me, a collection of columns and features with a personal twist. Can’t Help Thinking About Me is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.

Alternately, if you’re just feeling generous, you can buy me a coffee here. With an extra shot of Brandy, Whiskey, Vodka, Drambuie, Tia Maria, Cointreau and Grand Marnier, obviously.

Further Listening

You can hear me joining Emma and Steve on The Zeitgeist Tapes to talk about politics and Doctor Who in the light of Jodie Whittaker’s casting here and the Clangers Election Special here. There’s further The Prisoner-themed chat in Looks Unfamiliar with Mitch Benn on The Laughing Prisoner here and Mic Wright on I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape by The Times here.

Emma has also been on my nostalgia podcast Looks Unfamiliar, talking about Whose Side Are You On?Sweet Valley High, Scoubidou, The Patchwork MonkeySplit Second and the Ever Ready ‘Power To The People’ advert here, The Royal Potwasher, Melody Radio, Channel 4’s Accidental Death Of An AnarchistA Woman In Your Own RightThe Lords Of Midnight and Herman’s Head here, the stage version of When Harry Met Sally here and the Christmas Specials of The West Wing here.

Emma has also appeared on my Marvel Cinematic Universe podcast It’s Good, Except It Sucks talking about Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, which you can find here.

Further Reading

You can find my thoughts on Fall Out, the famously abstract final episode of The Prisoner in Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got A Great Idea…, a look at some of my favourite endings of all time, here.

Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner - Free For All (ITV, 1967).

© Tim Worthington.
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