The Prisoner: A Change of Mind

British/TV/50 min/Color/1967
Executive Producer: Patrick McGoohan
Written by: Roger Parkes
Script Editor: George Markstein
Produced by: David Tomblin
Directed by: Patrick McGoohan
Patrick McGoohan as No.6
John Sharpe as No.2
Angela Browne as No.86
Angelo Muscat as The Butler
George Pravda as The Doctor
Kathleen Beck as No. 42
Peter Swanwick as Supervisor
John Hamblin as 1st Woodland Man
Michael Billington as 2nd Woodland Man

Series Summary

A secret agent resigns from his job, and when he gets home he is kidnapped and brought to a strange village populated by other people who had classified positions and know too much to be let free. The people in charge of the village want the answer to one question: "Why did you resign?". He refuses to answer, and is determined to escape. However, the people in charge have very elaborate methods to prevent escape and fooling him (now known only as "Number 6") into answering their question. But are their methods good enough for Number 6?

Episode Summary

The Prisoner, No. 6, has constructed a mini makeshift gym in the woods away from The Village. Our Michael can be seen right at the beginning of this episode taunting No. 6. The dialogue is as follows:

2nd Woodland Man: Training for the big break?
1st Woodland Man: Why don't you use the village gymnasium?
No. 6: Perhaps I prefer privacy.
2nd Woodland Man: Now that could be taken as being anti-social.
1st Woodland Man: Some set-up
2nd Woodland Man: Keeping it all to yourself, No.6?
1st Woodland Man: Not at all the action of a public-minded citizen.
2nd Woodland Man: The committee wouldn't like that.
1st Woodland Man: No, the committee certainly wouldn't.

A fisticuffs ensues and No. 6 beats them off. Just before he runs away, a very out-of-breath 2nd Woodland Man says "You'll face the committee for this."

And that is exactly what happens. No. 6 shows signs of disharmony and the committee will decide what will be done to him after a tea break. The villagers begin to shun him. Even the local paper, The Tally Ho, reports "No. 6 for further investigation."

Upon entering his apartment, No. 2 is there waiting for him. He urges No.6 to co-operate as he is beginning to be regarded as a public enemy. Of course, No. 6 shows no sign of backing down. No. 86, a very attractive and intelligent fair-haired woman, enters the story and she intends to show him the errors of his ways. She takes him to a rehabilitation group discussion which he crashes with his own comments on freedom of thought and individuality.

He is then driven to the hospital and given a clean bill of health. Afterwards he notices someone in Aversion Therapy strapped to a chair and freaking out at the word UNMUTUAL appearing on a large screen.

After a very long tea break, the committee have decided that No. 6 is considered UNMUTUAL. He is now totally shunned and blacklisted by nearly everyone. A group of ladies calling themselves the Appeal Sub Committee urge him to undertake a conversion. He thinks "they are sheep" and attempts to stay as unruffled as he can amidst the stir he is supposedly creating.

Armed with their large umbrellas, the Appeal Sub Committee ladies now take him by force to be socially converted. Everyone in the village follows the ladies to the hospital to see No. 6 being wheeled away to the operating table where No. 86 will give him what looks like a form of lobotomy.

No. 6 is conscious while he is strapped to the operating table. He also has no choice but to listen to what No. 86 is about to do to his brain. Before anything actually happens he is given a drug which renders him unconscious.

He wakes up. The only physical evidence of any operation is a plaster over the side of his right temple. It appears to have been a successful operation. No. 6 is as meek as a lamb. The doctor tells him to take it easy and No. 86 takes the supposedly surgically reformed No. 6 back to his apartment. Everyone in the village welcomes him back and in the background a band plays its usual brand of absurd music.

No. 86 tells him to lie down while she makes him a cup of tea. He sees her spike his tea and shades of the old irascible prisoner start to surface. He begs for a rug because he feels cold. While No. 86 searches for one he empties the drink into a plant pot!

No. 2 comes back and wants to have a chat about that silly business of No.6's resignation. Still under the effects of the drug but feeling confused, No. 6 asks for more time to think about it. No. 2 agrees and leaves the apartment.

Nos. 2 and 86 watch him and observe how agressive he still is as he paces his apartment and bangs on the kitchen counter-top. They agree he needs another cup of tea. No. 6 is not impressed with her tea making skills and throws her efforts down the sink. He "can not stand girls who do not know how to make a decent cup of tea!" So he gives her a very detailed lesson and prepares another pot of tea for two. She manages to put in another tablet into one cup and while she is not looking he switches them!

By the time No. 86 has finished her tea she has reverted back to a child-like mental state. No. 2 sees this on the screen and calls for her to report back to him. No. 2 thinks that No. 6 is still suitably drugged but things are going on.

He goes outside for a wander. Basically No. 6 is acting non-agressive enough. He finds his makeshift gym and looks unsure what to do with it. But, the two Woodland bullies come back to finish him off. Now that he is converted they think he will be an easy target. But something clicks and he fights back to knock them both senseless.

No. 6 finds No. 86 has still not reported to No. 2 yet. She has stopped to pick some primroses and admire their scent. She says she wants to make No. 2 happy and that she has to report.

He pulls out his watch and hypnotises her. Under hypnosis, she reveals the operation was a scam. They had scarred his temple region but had not touched his frontal lobes. The injection which knocked him out contained something called Mytol, a drug which would inhibit his agressiveness. She had planned to keep him drugged by continually administering the drug into his tea. After she reveals the plot he givers her some instructions.

By this time, the drug No. 6 received during the mock operation has worn off but he goes to No. 2 and acts non-agressively. He tells No. 2 that he wants to tell everybody publicly why he resigned and wants to thank the ladies for the total social conversion. All the villagers go to the public square.

At the stroke of 4 o' clock, No. 86 interrupts No. 6 and declares that No. 2 is an unmutual. No.2 desires to use the welfare committee as a tool to possess their minds. No. 6 pleads that people reject No. 2 and salvage their rights to be individuals and maintain their freedom of thought.

No. 2 begins to walk away quickly and the village people chase after him. The closing scene is of the wee butler walking away complete with large umbrella.

UFO Trivia

Although this was a very small role for Michael Billington, it is significant for UFO fans because because it led to him getting the role of Col. Foster! UFO and The Prisoner had the same casting director, Rose Tobias Shaw. After a few episodes of UFO had been filmed, the producers found that they needed a new male lead. Rose Tobias Shaw remembered interviewing Michael for the Prisoner role, and Sylvia Anderson had him screen-tested. About six other actors were tested for Foster, but financier Lew Grade liked Billington the best, so he got the role!


The 2 bullies approach and start harrassing Number 6.

They start getting rough.

Number 6 fights back, and beats them up.

Beaten, one of the bullies says "You'll face the committee for this", and runs away.

After Number 6 has his aggression suppressed, the bullies come for their revenge.

Number 6 snaps out of it, and beats them up again!


Credits & Episode Summary by Suzanne Sutherland, Scotland, UK (
Series Summary, UFO Trivia & Images by Marc Martin, WA, USA (