A few weeks ago, while waiting for my boxed set of “The Prisoner” to arrive, I posted a YouTube clip of the opening credits. But I found a better clip. The earlier clip was of the extended opening credits from the very first episode. The new clip is both shorter and longer.
You see, except for that first episode, and a few other episodes with weird formatting, “The Prisoner” had two different credit sequences. There was one sequence which showcased Patrick McGoohan’s name and the title of the series, and it ends with McGoohan’s character being gassed.
The second credit sequence, which I think (but am not sure) aired after the first commercial break, introduced the title and guest cast for that week’s episode. This is the part of the credits which featured the dialogue between Number Six and Number Two. The dialogue would be the same each week, but the voice of Number Two would change, because there was a different one almost every week. Most weeks, you would catch a glimpse of Number Two during the credits, except for one episode where there was a dramatic reason to keep Number Two’s identity a secret.
This YouTube clip shows you the whole thing, both credit sequences, from “The Chimes of Big Ben.” This episode featured Leo McKern as Number Two; he appeared in this episode but then returned for the last two episodes in the series, making him the most-frequently-appearing Number Two. You may remember Mr. McKern better from his years as “Rumpole of the Bailey.”