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A Study of the Television Series 'The Prisoner'
An M.A. paper by Guillaume Granier

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About The Author: Born June 23, 1976. Discovered the series at the age of 13 thanks to his father. Started buying all the books, CDs and videotapes. Took part in a programme on French television channel 'France 3' shot in a Paris apartment. During his first year at university, jokingly said he would write a paper about The Prisoner as part of his Master of Arts degree in English language. Received enthusiastic feedback from his tutor, Professor Régis. Considered this venture a great opportunity to work at something he adored. In June 1999, received his degree with honours from the François Rabelais University in Tours (West of France). Thinks it was a wonderful experience which will help him with his post-graduate studies. Believes it is only a fraction of what makes up the essence of The Prisoner. Is currently training to become a qualified teacher. His paper is aimed at beginners as well as the more seasoned fans of the series.


"A Study of the Television Series: The Prisoner" is an English-language paper which takes an in-depth look at the meanings behind the famous British TV series. It is divided into three main chapters of equal length.

Bullet2.gif (150 octets) Part One, aimed at beginners is simply called 'Presentation', and is meant to introduce the reader to the surreal environment of the series. It starts with a summary of the seventeen episodes. There follows a study of the various genres touched upon by the creators which the author identifies throughout the various instalments of the saga. Part One ends with a presentation of The Village, its intricacies and modes of operations.
Bullet2.gif (150 octets) Part Two, entitled, 'A tyrannical society', studies the mechanics behind the scenes on the following five themes: language, the representation of Number Two, propaganda, justice and humour.
Bullet2.gif (150 octets) Part Three, 'Interpretation', provides possible means for analysing the series based on five leading subjects: manipulation, the Welfare State, public schools, religion and commercial techniques.

    'A Study of the Television Series The Prisoner' provides an excellent overview which should appeal to non-specialists of the series as well as giving food for thought to more advanced students looking for fresh perspectives and reflections. This paper was presented at the French Prisoner Convention held in Lyon on October 30-31, 1999. Anglophiles discovered that they had missed out on a multitude of aspects blurred through the dubbing or adaptation process. The section about language and its subtleties in English enlightened many attendees. The author cleverly refrains from imposing any clear-cut explanation, but rather gives serious and well-documented hints to help us 'decode' the series intelligently, more specifically in Part Three (dedicated to the interpretation of the series). He invites us to see the series as a study of various modes of oppression. Says Granier 'I therefore understand the series as a warning about all these oppressive sources which we do not mistrust but which nevertheless reduce our freedom in a modern world which is not so free as one likes to believe (…) A series which enhances the power of the individual and his fights against all sources of manipulation and influence could not possibly have imposed answers on its viewers. To give a dogmatic answer would have been contrary to the message it delivers. The Prisoner raises more questions than it answers and each viewer is free to interpret it as he likes…'

Have a look to a sample of Guillaume's work.

 Photo : Guillaume Granier (right) interviewed by Patrick Ducher, coordinator of Le rÔdeur during the 13th French Prisoner Convention in Lyon.

'A Study of the Television Series The Prisoner', by Guillaume Granier. A paper presented as part of an MA course in English language at the François Rabelais University of Tours, June 1999 under the supervision of Professor Régis.

Produced and distributed by Le rÔdeur, the French Prisoner society. 110 pages, including colour covers, written in English, bound. Price £8.00 / US$ 15. UK cheques and cash accepted. Copies can be obtained through our UK representative : Jim Beaumont, 33 Wye Close, Bicester, Oxfordshire OX6 8NL. All benefits go towards financing the publications of Le rÔdeur.

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Dernière mise à jour le 26 décembre 2001.