The opening titles run an astonishing three minutes – which is hard to believe in an age where many new shows do not even have an intro sequence or theme tune, due mainly to the fact that increased advertising breaks have cut back the running time of shows so much (back in the day, hour-long drama on commercial TV used to run to around 50 minutes, leaving 10 minutes or so for commercials – nowadays, on network TV, you only get around 40minutes of content and nearly 20minutes of adverts).
The Prisoner music, titled The Age Of Elegance, was written by the legendary Ron Grainer, who also gave us the theme music for classics such as Doctor Who, Steptoe and Son and Tales Of The Unexpected.
I love opening titles that serve as a prologue to/recap of the plot of the show and The Prisoner’s title sequence is one of the best, showing McGoohan’s mysterious agent driving to his work, storming in to his boss’s office, handing in his resignation, returning home and then being gassed and kidnapped, before waking up in The Village. Then, just when you think the titles are done, there is the classic exchange with Number Two, ending with the classic quote, “I am not a number, I am a free man” followed by Number Two’s derisory laughter.
They truly don’t make ’em like this anymore. Enjoy. Be seeing you…
And here are the closing titles: