“I am not a number! I am a free man!” So screamed Number 6 in the classic series The Prisoner, and we now have a new actor losing his freedom and identity in Big Finish’s upcoming audio dramas.
Mark Elstob is the actor who will step into the legendary shows of Patrick McGoohan for the new audio revival of the ever-popular show, as the former spy who wakes up trapped in ‘The Village’, a seemingly idyllic but sinister place with the mysterious authority – led by Number 2 – intent on finding out what secrets Number 6 knows.
Elstob, primarily known for his theatre roles, although appeared this year in former farming soap opera Emmerdale, was given the part following an intense search by writer/director/producer Nicholas Briggs,
“I knew, of course, that the casting of Number Six was pivotal,” says Nick. “Patrick McGoohan was the driving force of the original series, both on and off-screen. The new central performance would have to be every bit as powerful in its own way. I did a lot of searching and listening to clips and showreels. I had meetings, I spoke to actors and agents. I looked further and wider than I’d ever done for any Big Finish casting. And then I realised that I’d worked with the ideal person, long, long ago. An actor who was a brilliant, powerful leading man — Mark Elstob. There was one other key ingredient I was looking for. Someone for whom doing The Prisoner would mean something. Someone who knew the series. I didn’t know Mark was a fan of The Prisoner, but I knew he was a fan of Doctor Who, so I harboured a hope that, as someone interested in cult TV, he’d at least have heard of The Prisoner. As luck would have it, he is as nuts about the series as I am. We had a meeting — and there, sitting in front of me was my new Number Six. I was certain.”
Joining Mark will be an array of actors taking the role of the authoritarian Number 2. As with the TV series, a different actor will play the part each episode, and John Standing (V for Vendetta), Celia Imrie (Highlander), Ramon Tikaram (Fortitude) and Michael Cochrane (Sharpe) will all step up to give Number 6 a hard time.
Making up the other occupants of The Village are Sara Powell as Number Nine, Kristina Buikaite as Number Eight and Jez Fielder as Number 17. Joining them is Helen Goldwyn as the Village Voice, Jim Barclay as Control and Barnaby Edwards as Number Two’s diminutive Butler. Sarah Mowat plays the role of Zero-Six-Two, a former accomplice of Number Six.
The Prisoner: Volume 1 will be released in January 2016 and you can pre-order now at the Big Finish website.
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