Saturday 29 August 2015

The Perilous Descent

Bruce Carter
Puffin Books

Also published under the titles The Perilous Descent and Perilous Descent into a Strange Lost World. It tells the story of two English airmen shot down off the Dutch coast during the Second World War. They are washed up on a sandbar where they discover an entrance to an underground world.

One from a batch of Puffins and Penguins with groovy cover art that I picked up a few months ago and which have proved themselves very handy since I took a short cut down some stairs.  This one though, a WWII era hollow Earth story, turned out to be pretty bad.

It tells of two British WWII pilots - or 'airpilots' as the blurb calls them - who are shot down during a sortie over Europe and crash land in the channel.  After floating ashore the implausibly named Johnny Wild and Danny Black find themselves falling through a hole in the ground, crawling along endless tunnels and inexplicably parachuting deeper into the Earth before encountering a lost civilisation of English emigrants in their subterranean city of skyscrapers and electric cable cars.

Bruce Carter (Richard Hough)
They find that these sword wielding subterraneans are currently enmeshed in a civil war that our plucky heroes promptly end by introducing the locals to aviation which allows the locals to build a fully functioning a jet plane in just three days and then to top it off Black and Wild lead the attack on the rebels and use their pistols to massacre around 70 people purely on the word of a man they'd known for no more than a few days.

They then walk, underground, underneath the bed of the Atlantic Ocean to South America (a distance of some 9000 km) before climbing once more to the surface into the middle of a civil war where they are captured and narrowly avoid being both executed and blown up - there's also reference to them subsequently meeting up with some "very unfriendly head-hunters. We were half-gods and half-captives for two years".

It was absolute piffle but, at only 171 pages it was a mercifully quick read that ticked off another evening of recovery from this damnable broken leg.

I do love that Trevor Stubley cover illustration though.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Classic Tales of Horror

Stephanie Dowrick (ed)

What we have here is a journey around the world in the hands of a number of very famous and some significantly less so authors of the weird, the macabre and the ghostly.

The book opens with an almost throw-away yet very famous Edgar Allen Poe story about a vengeful 'Black Cat' and then heads off to court and a ghosts attempt to influence proceedings to ensure his murderers conviction in Charles Dickens' 'To Be Taken with a Grain of Salt'.

Wilkie Collins
Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu's contribution is an odd and slightly pointless tale of a drunks encounter with a ghostly army and a mysterious request.  W. Wilkie Collins was both a contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens and there's a real Dickensian quality to this story of class, poverty and madness.

The books fifth tale, 'The Open Door', by Mrs Margaret Oliphant explores loss and rejection at a Scottish house and our second lady Victorian Elizabeth Braddon provides one of favourites in  'A Cold Embrace' where unwanted love sends an artist to his grave.

Ambrose Bierce's 'Moonlit Road' is an series of overlapping tales telling of wrongful death, madness and ghosts and Henry James makes a very fine contribution with his story of jealousy and greed and finally revenge in 'The Romance of Certain Old Clothes'.

Bram Stoker
Maybe as should be expected the most macabre tale  in the book comes from Bram Stoker.  'The Judge's House' is a great little bloodthirsty tale that tells of a young man assaulted by the shade of the previous inhabitant of the house he's chosen to live in whilst completing his work.

Guy de Maupassant's 'The Hand' is a fun but slight and slightly vague tale that sits in advance of Robert Louis Stevenson's fabulous 'The Body Snatcher' with it's story of murder and comeuppance.

Rocking the most Hammer Horror of titles Francis Marion Crawford's ' The Screaming Skull' takes a fairly cliched idea and with it's first person, one sided dialogue treatment and a it of flair makes it quite fun.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
At this point we hit an absolute revelation of a story, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's fabulous slice of weird as a young wife, perhaps, goes utterly insane in a room covered in 'The Yellow Wall-Paper'. Next we've a classic with M.R. James' glorious 'Lost Hearts' which I surely don't need to tell you about and then we're onto Algernon Blackwood's 'Keeping His Promise' wherein a student receives a visitation from an old friend.

The book ends on a real high with a quick story by H.H. (Saki) Munro that tells a brutal tale of rural horror at the hands or rather pipes of Pan and finally a great piece of shape-shifting horror in Hugh Walpole's 'Tarnhelm'.

I've never been a fan of short story anthologies but over the last year I've got really into these collections of Victorian & Edwardian weirdness and I've found a few absolute gems and this was one of them.

Sunday 23 August 2015

The Daylight Gate

Jeanette Winterson

Good Friday, 1612. Pendle Hill, Lancashire.
A mysterious gathering of thirteen people is interrupted by local magistrate, Roger Nowell. Is this a witches' Sabbat?
Two notorious Lancashire witches are already in Lancaster Castle waiting trial. Why is the beautiful and wealthy Alice Nutter defending them? And why is she among the group of thirteen on Pendle Hill?

Elsewhere, a starved, abused child lurks. And a Jesuit priest and former Gunpowder plotter, recently returned from France, is widely rumoured to be heading for Lancashire. But who will offer him sanctuary? And how quickly can he be caught?
This is the reign of James I, a Protestant King with an obsession: to rid his realm of twin evils, witchcraft and Catholicism, at any price...

To my mind Winterson is one of the unsung heroes of current weird and supernatural fiction.  I've been a fairly devoted reader of her work since I was handed a copy of 'Sexing The Cherry' back in 93 / 94.

This latest excursion into the unusual side of life takes us back to Pendle, Lancashire at the time of the witch hunts where the wealthy newcomer Alice Nutter, proud and confident in her rightness and her self and unwilling to kowtow to local bigwigs and their toadies becomes embroiled in the lives of a local family accused of witchcraft.  The reign of James the First is an unhealthy time to have any association with witchcraft or popery and Alice has both.

For much of the narrative Winterson retains a degree of period normality, peopling the cast with uneducated, superstitious peasants, officious religious zealots and people just trying to get along in an uncertain time.  Behind this though there is an undercurrent of magic about which you are left, for much of the novel, uncertain about whether it is real or simply superstition and vain hope.

The book's devastating final act allows us to see beyond the mundane circumstances and as such we are granted an understanding of both Alice and her motivations.

Over the years there have been several of Winterson's novels that have earned a permanent place on my shelves and I'm pleased that this story of humanity at it's most vile, most compassionate and most incredible will be joining them.

Buy it here - The Daylight Gate (Hammer)


Below is a short snippet from a talk by Winterson about the book.  The full version can be found by clicking here.

Saturday 22 August 2015

The Rhesus Chart

Charles Stross
Orbit Books

London can drain the life out of you...
Bob Howard is an intelligence agent working his way through the ranks of the top secret government agency known as 'the Laundry'. When occult powers threaten the realm, they'll be there to clean up the mess - and deal with the witnesses.
There's one kind of threat that the Laundry has never come across in its many decades, and that's vampires. Mention them to a seasoned agent and you'll be laughed out of the room.
But when a small team of investment bankers at one of Canary Wharf's most distinguished financial institutions discovers an arcane algorithm that leaves them fearing daylight and craving O positive, someone doesn't want the Laundry to know. And Bob gets caught right in the middle.
The Rhesus Chart is a brand new supernatural thriller from Charles Stross, and sees hacker-turned-spy Bob Howard take on the (literal) bloodsuckers running London's financial district.

Charles Stross
Now here's one I've been waiting for.  I've absolutely loved these Laundry books from Stross but with the exception of one short story about unicorns I've never read one.  Instead I'm utterly besotted by the audiobook versions as read by Gideon Emery.

This time out Bob finds his newly promoted self hunting for vampires and finding a figure from his past just as his present starts to fracture alarmingly.

As ever with this series much of the time is spent exploring the bureaucracy of the Laundry and, in this case, the feasibility of vampirism.  In both cases it is inordinate amounts of geeky fun.

Gideon Emery
The story as a whole is perhaps less expansive and absorbing than some of it's predecessors and the identity of the big bad is perhaps a tad obvious but as a romp it is romptous indeed particularly during the game changing finale.

As ever I'm leaving one of these Laundry books desperately craving more but this time in the sad knowledge that one of my favourite modes of address will likely be absent from here on - although I sincerely hope not.

Buy it here - The Rhesus Chart: A Laundry Files novel

NB - My write-up of the rest of the series can be found here.

Friday 21 August 2015

Ancient Sorceries and other stories

Algernon Blackwood
Penguin Books

I'm still fairly new to these books of Victorian & Edwardian ghostly / horror / weird fiction that I've been reading on and off over the last year so many of the writers that are considered key to the genres - let alone the more obscure - are still unknown quantities for me.

I've always had a soft spot for the film and TV versions but horror books never were a thing for me (except for a short lived teenage binge on Shaun Hutson books).  So now that I'm giving them a go there are a few names at the top of my hit lists that I've been slowly ticking off;  Blackwood is one of them.

I was pleased to unearth a copy of this in a local charity shop in time to take on holiday to Ireland with me.  I sat and read it in a park in Dublin, a derelict graveyard in Glendalough (see photo), the castle grounds in Kilkenny and it was in my back pocket when I fell down a flight of stairs in Mullingar and broke my leg, arm and rib which kinda put a hold on reading, as did the ensuing operation and couple of months of morphine and frustrating, fidgety recuperation.  But now, two months on from starting it, I've finished the final story.

The book contains 4 short stories, 2 longer ones and each offers up an individual slice of the odd and the creepy.

Algernon Blackwood
Opening proceedings is 'The Empty House' wherein a young man accompanies a curious elder aunt on her ill-conceived nocturnal exploration of the local creepy pile.  He then trumps the whole haunted house idea with an entire haunted island that finds a student terrified by two native Americans on a deserted island.

The third story is my only previous experience of Blackwood, a great little story where a student entertains a visitor from his past in 'Keeping His Promise'.

My favourite story here is up next, 'A Case of Eavedropping' tells of a guest house haunted by echoes of an old crime.

The two remaining stories that make up the back half of the book both feature Blackwood's paranormal investigator Dr. John Silence.  In the first of the pair, 'Ancient Sorceries', he really is little more than the narrator of a tale of love and cats whereas the second has him centre stage investigating strange fiery occurrences at the country residence of a retired soldier in 'The Nemesis of Fire'.

In all a thoroughly enjoyable read that has greatly endeared me to Blackwood.  His prose is significantly less dense than many of his contemporaries and so I found him more readily readable and minor detours into the joys of surgery aside this was a very enjoyable read.

Thursday 20 August 2015

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The War of the Worlds

Manly W. Wellman & Wade Wellman
Titan Books

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless creation returns in a new series of handsomely designed, long out-of-print detective stories. From the earliest days of Holmes’ career to his astonishing encounters with Martian invaders, the Further Adventures series encapsulates the most varied and thrilling cases of the worlds’ greatest detective.
Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger and Dr. Watson meet their match when the streets of London are left decimated by a prolonged alien attack. Who could be responsible for such destruction? Sherlock Holmes is about to find out...
Manly and Wade Wellman’s novel takes H.G. Well’s classic story and throws Holmes into the mix, with surprising and unexpected results.

American father and son writing team conspire to mix the era's two greatest creations by setting Holmes, Watson and Professor Challenger (hero of Doyle's The Lost World) against those dastardly 'Martian' chappies.

The story is split into several parts with the perspective shifting throughout giving us tales of daring-do from Holmes, Challenger and then Watson for the last half of the novel at which point he takes over relating the tale.

It was solidly written and an enjoyable enough read. The characterisation of Holmes was way off portraying him as a friendly genius rather than the abrupt, rude and rather arrogant Holmes we know and love. He is however bursting with observations, intimations and deductions, as he should be. Challenger is the foil to this though as his egotism is so extraordinarily rampant that perhaps Holmes needed to be defanged. No point in defanging Challenger I suppose as readers are more likely to have Holmes as a reference point when venturing into these pages than the more obscure professor. Watson is very much in his bumbling persona here which is a shame as I always thought there was more to Watson than was often made of him in the non-canon or movie representations.

The one aspect of the book that I truly disliked though was the romance between Holmes and Mrs Hudson. I thought it was a nonsensical idea that only served to pad a thinly thought out plotline. Other than that a fun afternoon's read.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories

Joan Aiken
Peter Bailey (illustrations)

'I wish we'll have two children called Mark and Harriet. And I hope lots of interesting and unusual things will happen to them. It would be nice if they had a fairy godmother, for instance. And a phoenix or something out of the ordinary for a pet. We could have a special day for interesting and unusual things to happen - say, Mondays. But not always Mondays, and not only Mondays, or that would get a bit dull'

As a result of their mother's honeymoon wish, Mark and Harriet Armitage have a fairy godmother, a pet unicorn, and are prepared for anything life can throw at them (especially, but not always, on a Monday): hatching griffins in the airing cupboard, Latin lessons with a ghost, furious Furies on the doorstep, and an enchanted garden locked inside a cereal packet. Life with the Armitages can be magical, funny, terrifying - but never, ever dull.

My first experience of Joan Aiken's writing was with one of her Armitage family stories - The Apple of Trouble - in a horror anthology called 'Ghostly Experiences' published by Armada Lion and it would be fair to say I was gobsmacked!  The story was sprightly, inventive, beautifully constructed and above all fun.  Since then I've been actively hunting for more.

Ms. Aiken wrote Armitage stories throughout her life (which shows in the changing preoccupations of the children - Mark in particular) and they were published in various anthologies over the years but until now the only collection has been a US edition from 2008 (with the same title) that was far too expensive for my pockets.  So, a few months ago when it was announced that Virago were republishing it I was a very happy chappy indeed.

Well, it's here and so the question must be asked, 'Was it worth the wait?'
And the answer is 'Absolutely!  It's utterly joyous.'

On the occasion of her honeymoon Mrs Armitage finds a magical stone on the beach and makes the wish in the blurb above triggering a life filled with dragons, ghosts, unicorns, old fairy ladies, owls, hippogryphs, furies, cereal packets, curses, troublesome fruit, goblins, warlocks and adventure mostly, but not exclusively, on a Monday.

The Armitages - Mark & Harriet along with their parents - inhabit a world where magic and the supernatural are as common as a homemade nuclear reactor, domestic robots and a fancy dress prize that consists of 'a hundred cigarettes and a bridge marker'.  Their village is populated both by the fantastical - the tiny little Perrow family and various 'distressed old fairy ladies' - alongside the tweely mundane of kids books everywhere - the blacksmith and the village shopkeeper.  As such the extraordinary is very much commonplace for the Armitages.  It's still fun, and occasionally a little annoying, but is very much just the way things are and this makes the whole thing marvellous.

It's almost soap opera-y in it's slice of life snapshots but with a level of wit, imagination and fun that no soap could every achieve.  The characters are a little sketchy sure but this is a short story collection so do they need to be more?  The kids are adventurous, brave and resourceful, dad is solid and a bit fusty and mum is loving, kind and generous (and a little bit mercenary) and all serve to fill very familiar roles in what is a very familiar format; the kids magical adventure story.  It is Ms. Aiken's words that lift it out of any possible cliche though; her prose is elastic, her imagination dances and her audience is charmed.

The 25 stories presented here are fairly brief, staying just long enough to resolve their eccentric premises in often delightfully eccentric ways and together present a collection that offers a thoroughly enjoyable read that is very much of it's time whilst also being a book for all times.

Buy it here - The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Virago Modern Classics)

Sunday 16 August 2015

The Twelve Hour Foundation - Macaroni Cheese

7" single / download

There's something particularly fun about waking up on a Sunday morning, stumbling blearily onto your social media of choice and finding a friends post that immediately makes the day more fun.  It could be a status post, a vid, a comment or (my particular favourite) some music.

Today, thanks to tape loopers extraordinaire Howlround's Robin the Fog I was introduced to a fab slice of radiophonic whimsy by Bristol's The Twelve Hour Foundation called 'Macaroni Cheese'.

This duo of synthesists Polly Hulse (analogue synth / rhythms) and Jez Butler (analogue synth / concrète sequences) have produced 3 tracks crying out to be the theme tunes of 1970s science 'programmes for schools and colleges'.   The 3 tunes are joyful excursions into late 70s synthesizer era BBC Radiophonic Workshop which, due to my particular love of Paddy Kingsland's music, means this is all right up my particular street.  

Available as download or (and this is the one I oped for) 7" single with download.


Saturday 15 August 2015

Kit Williams

Wyrd Britain discusses Kit Williams and Masquerade.
At the very end of the 1970s and into the early years of the 1980s a book called 'Masquerade' created by an artist named Kit Williams inspired a minor furore that resulted in people digging up chunks of the English countryside looking for a Golden Hare that the author had made and buried somewhere.  Hidden within the book were clues as to the location of this buried treasure.  The book became a smash and the ensuing scavenger hunt was big news for a short while.

The book itself is a series of 15 of Williams' paintings that tells the story of a hare who loses the gift he's transporting from the moon to the sun which becomes the object of the hunt.

Wyrd Britain discusses Kit Williams and Masquerade.The finding of the hare has become mired in controversy - see here - and the actual solution to the puzzle was spectacularly convoluted.  Below is an extract from the Wikipedia page (that the above link takes you to) because I'm not even going to try and explain it...

The solution to the Masquerade puzzle is elaborate. In each painting, lines should be drawn from each creature's left eye through the longest digit on their left hand to a letter in the border. Then from left eye through the longest digit on their left foot, right eye through the longest digit on their right hand and finally right eye through the longest digit on their right foot. This is only done for any eyes that are visible in the drawing. The resulting letters form individual words, revealed either by anagramming or by applying the order hinted at by the Sir Isaac Newton painting, in which all of the creatures of the book are represented as puppets hanging in a line from left to right.
Decoding and following this method reveals the nineteen-word message:

Wyrd Britain discusses Kit Williams and Masquerade.Taking the first letter indicated by each painting, the acrostic “CLOSE BY AMPTHILL” is revealed. Properly interpreted, the message told one to dig near the cross-shaped monument to Catherine of Aragon in Ampthill Park, at the precise spot touched by the tip of the monument’s shadow at the stroke of noon on the date of either the vernal or autumnal equinox.
Many additional hints and "confirmers" are scattered throughout the book. For example, in the painting depicting the Sun and the Moon dancing around the Earth, the hands of the two figures are clasped together, pointing at the date of the spring equinox.

Hope that didn't make your head hurt too much.

Williams' experience of the Masquerade phenomena caused him to distance himself from the public eye but he continues to produce work including a number of major pieces of public art including Cheltenham's 'Wishing Fish Clock' and the Dragonfly maze in Bourton-on-the-Water both situated in the county where he maintains his studio.

He remains a fascinating and unique artist utterly and triumphantly out of step with modern art trends who has spent his life creating a body of work that reflects himself and the world as he sees / wishes it.


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Friday 14 August 2015

Wyd Britain Mix 5

After a short absence the Wyrd Britain mix makes a, hopefully, welcome return.

For your delight and delectation this time we are heading in a slightly more laid back and groovily spacey direction.

Opening proceedings is a pre Advisory Circle Jon Brooks lording it over both Woolworths and Bakerloo before we head back to the late 1960s to watch future BBC Radiophonic Workshop alumni Peter Howell along with musical partner John Ferdinando watch verbose flowers get their groove on.  Dub Syndicate serenade our favourite time traveller and The British Space Group travel to other world whilst Brian Bennett remains Earthborn.
Derek Scott treats us to some seriously groovy unusual sounds and BBC Radiophonic Workshop legend Dick Mills takes things slowly before turntablist Philip Jeck cleans up and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra explore the local fauna.

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Radio Show live

I first happened across 'The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy' via the magnificence of the TV show.  Radio was never a big part of my life growing up so the original radio play had passed me by and the lack of a bookshop anywhere near where I grew up meant the book had gone unnoticed also.  So, the TV show was a revelation. A glorious, madly funny, revelation.

I managed to track down the first two books a little while later but the radio show eluded me for years.  By the time I did get to finally hear it so entrenched was I with the TV version that it took some effort to get my head around those characters that has been recast from this original version.

One of those was the voice of Trillian. Played by Susan Sheridan who was for me a jarring change from the very distinctive Sandra Dickinson version that I'd grown up with.  Another was the Geoffrey McGivern version of Ford Prefect as opposed to the David Dixon one. The radio show is, of course, fabulous and all the cast are perfectly at home in the roles and that initial "Oh, it's a different actor" aside I soon grew to love it.

So it's with sadness that I noticed this weekend the passing of Ms. Sheridan and so, with my condolences to her family and friends, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you, not the original show because it's not online, but the casts triumphant return to the roles with the 2014 live show.

Monday 10 August 2015

The Tiger Lillies

There's a great lineage of musical eccentrics littered across the history of British music and I'm going to try my best to bring as many of them to your attention as I can and so today, in the spirit of that endeavour, I'm going to tell you about one of my favourites, The Tiger Lillies.

Formed in London in 1989 by singer / accordionist Martyn Jacques and joined by drummer Adrian Huge (currently on sabbatical) and bassist Adrian Stout, The Tiger Lillies have built themselves a lush and evocative freakshow cabaret populated by the lost, the broken, the doomed and the desolate.  Theirs is a world of bawdy balladeering and beautiful and poignant tales of the most human and heartwrenching of tragedies all filtered through through the blackest of comedy.

In a career spanning the best part of three decades the band have been nominated for a number of prestigious awards including a Grammy nomination for best classical crossover album and numerous Oliviers (two of which they won), created and participated in numerous theatrical productions and movies, soundtracked adverts (most recently for Cravendale milk) and have amassed a devoted fanbase that includes some very well known names... 

All these bands are my favourites, but here is a favourite, favourite. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Tiger Lillies - Matt Groening introduction at ATP Minehead, UK May 05, 2010

Just brilliant and utterly fantastic!! You'll never hear more perverse and twisted as well as haunting and sorrowful songs. Just get a ticket by hook or by crook, if there's any left (which I doubt) and catch them while you can. - Marc Almond

The Tiger Lillies discography is a substantial and bewildering affair for the neophyte so I thought I'd take this opportunity to point you in the direction of some favourites.  Be warned though some of these are not for the easily offended.

For me it all started when the album 'The Brothel to the Cemetery' (Buy it here) was handed to me by a friend with the words 'You're going to love this'.

The album features what has become the bands signature tune...

Humour has always been at the heart of the band's work as you can see above particularly when allied to a good eyebrow raising shock factor...

For me though they are at their best when the are fully subsumed in their subject matter whether it be Edward Gorey on 'The Gorey End' (Buy it here), the moral tales of 'Shockheaded Peter' (Buy it here) and my personal favourite, their sumptuous take on Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' (Buy it now).


As is often the case with musical outsiders this is music that will both attract and repel and probably not in equal measures either.  It is however music that rewards effort and I urge you to take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique world of this astonishing band.


If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going -

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Doctor Who, Penguin style

I'm a sucker for good design and as such, like I suspect is the case for many of you reading these words, the covers of the holy trinity of British book design - Penguin, Puffin & Pelican books - bring me immense amounts of eyegasm.

Check out this glorious page of Penguin sci-fi cover art.  There's so much pretty!

I know I'm anything but alone in my appreciation of these and I love it when people with more time and talent than me take that love and do something fun with it.

So, with that in mind, you might like to have a look at these pages of Doctor Who stories reimagined as Penguin books -

Kudos to all involved.

Thursday 6 August 2015

The Prisoner

In 1967 Patrick McGoohan severed his connection with the popular 'Danger Man' ('Secret Agent' in the US) TV series and devoted all his energy to creating a new show about the trials of a retired spy trapped in a remote and isolated village.

The 17 episodes tell the story of an un-named spy (McGoohan always denied that the central character was his Danger Man character, John Drake) who, in the event of his retirement from the secret service, finds himself confined in an incomprehensible coastal village filled with seemingly happy people each identified by numbers rather than names.

Over the course of the series we see, our begrudgingly numbered hero, Number 6, attempt to both escape and resist the attempts to break his spirit by the various incumbents of the Number 2 position (played by Leo McKern & Kenneth Griffith amongst others).

Many aspects of the series have become firmly established in popular consciousness; the village itself  (actually Portmeirion in North Wales), the Ron Grainer theme, 'Rover' the inflatable guard ball and the two key quotes from Number 6...

and of course...

'The Prisoner' was and indeed remains a singular creation. Loved and loathed in equal measure this  wilful, obtuse, stylised and enigmatic show is quintessential cult TV.  In it's attacks on authority and conformity and it's celebration of individual integrity and personal freedom it continues to amaze and baffle viewers to this day and remains both completely of it's time and utterly contemporary for exactly the same reasons.

So, below is the pilot episode 'Arrival'.  I'm not sure how many of the other 16 episodes are available online but the series has been released in box sets a number of times and is absolutely well worth your money.

Buy it here - UK / US

Be seeing you. 

The Prisoner - Arrival by tvchannels


If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going -

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.