Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner? by Roger Langley
Full coverage of life and career of the actor, who died on 13th January, 2009, including the making of his cult TV series 'The Prisoner', its Portmeirion location shoot for 'The Village', stage productions such as 'Moby Dick' and 'Brand', plus interviews with actors, producers and directors, comments from many connected with McGoohan.
Book reviews appear below and some quotes from Donovan, Mel Gibson, Peter Falk and Orson Welles.

PATRICK McGOOHAN: DANGER MAN OR PRISONER? - new updated 2017 edition  (reviews refer to 2007 edition)

Patrick McGoohan:
Danger Man
or Prisoner?

by Roger Langley

Radio interviews

Back to first page

bio 2017 sm.jpg (47215 bytes) PATRICK McGOOHAN: DANGER MAN OR PRISONER?

2017 revised and updated Patrick McGoohan biography. With new foreword by Catherine McGoohan and contributions, plus new photos (previous foreword by Peter Falk is included). It is now 10 years since the 2007 first edition, and the new book covers the period after that, the actor's passing in 2009 and the years up to the present time, his legacy. The contents are up to August 2017, in time for the 50th anniversary of the first screening of "The Prisoner" in Canada on 5th September, 1967 and the British one on 29th. The book cover has the same dimensions as the now out of print first edition. The new edition is available from:

Prices including UK postage and Air Mail outside UK: 11.99 UK, 15.99 Europe, 18.49 North America and Rest of World.

REVIEW OF THE NEW REVISED EDITION - When Roger Langley's biography of Patrick McGoohan first appeared in 2007 I couldn't praise it highly enough. Well, with this revised edition, a new benchmark has been set. So, you have a copy of the first edition, why buy a second? Let me tell you, and recommend you do so. I doubt anyone outside of McGoohan's family knows as much about the man; this is evident on every page. The very comprehensive research shines through. Roger has the sort of mind that can amass facts and present them in both a logical sequence but also bring them alive. Just as l did with the first edition l found myself unable to put the book down, and devoured it in three days. My impression is that there is even closer collaboration with the McGoohan family. A new foreword and contributions by Catherine McGoohan, plus the addition of several previously unseen family photographs. The 2007 edition's foreword by Peter Falk is also retained. Catherine has said about the new edition, “I think my father would be very pleased with this book. You have brought it into the next decade and beyond.” No higher recommendation. Fittingly the closing remarks are by Joan McGoohan. As might be expected, new information always emerges after a book’s publication and during the years since the book first appeared this held true. Consequently Roger realised the time was right for this new, extended edition to appear. Although it has fewer pages because of a different type, there are about 15-20,000 words more. Some 5-10,000 words have been removed from the first book in the form of episode synopses of The Prisoner, Danger Man, Rafferty and Columbo, also the episode order discussion etc., no longer needed as they are readily available online. Consequently, overall the new book is much longer, perhaps as much as 15-20%. So firstly this new biography has updated and revised the 2007 content. Then an all new Chapter Thirteen comprises material that was not available at the time of the first edition, plus content relating to the period after the first book until the present day, with obituaries of the much missed actor and tributes; and his legacy. David Barrie

I have just finished reading the book "PATRICK McGOOHAN: DANGER MAN OR PRISONER?" by Roger Langley and what a superb publication it really is. I knew very little about Patrick's early life and his numerous guest appearances prior to television and films, probably because nothing has been written in such detail before. The research and time-consuming effort in putting this together must have been considerable, albeit a labour of love. There is a wealth of photographs throughout the book, many of which I'm seeing for the first time, plus detailed listings of his work in the theatre, television and films at the end in filmographies, which are worth the price of the book alone. This is a book you must buy if it is not already on your bookshelf, Well done Roger!

Finally, here it is: a well thought out, well produced and expertly researched biography of the one of the greatest actors of the century Patrick McGoohan. There have been far too many failed cash-in biographies written in the past on all manner of subjects, but Roger Langley has succeeded in providing fans with a well rounded biography filled with extensive research, lavish photographs which many of us have never before had access to, and a powerful insight into the man whom many of us still adore. This book held my attention throughout and there wasn't a page where I didn't find myself absolutely fascinated by Langley's account of McGoohan's career. Honestly, I cannot sing Roger Langley's praises enough; if you're one of the thousands of people who were spellbound by The Prisoner and Patrick McGoohan first time round then this book is ESSENTIAL reading. Langley has provided what many of us have been waiting for far too long; a well written, skilled book that demands respect.

I just finished the first and long overdue biography of actor Patrick McGoohan. The book's title is 'Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner'. A wonderful read about a misunderstood, underappreciated and underrated artist.

I have read 'Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?' and really enjoyed it. I read it in two days and could not put it down. It's very well researched and excellently written.

If you are a fan of The Prisoner and of all things McGoohan then you will want to add this to your collection as it gives a good background to the great man's career as well as many insights into his thoughts and motivations. Of course, it also helps with an understand - if such a thing can be had - of The Prisoner itself. But what of the author? Long term Prisoner fans will know Roger Langley not only as a prolific author but also as the founder of the first Prisoner society, Six of One, so who better to write this defining work on this most iconic of 60's TV shows.

I bought this as a surprise present for my husband who is a big fan of The Prisoner, Danger Man etc. and he has not been able to put it down since it arrived. The quality of the book and its contents far exceed the price paid. Though it's a paperback, it's a substantial paperback, i.e. does not fall apart in your hands after being held for a while. To be honest I would probably have paid double, my husband says it's a must have for all Patrick McGoohan fans.

A unique insight into a very private and gifted artist, which crams an enormous amount of information and photographs into one volume, this is essential reading for McGoohan and "Prisoner" fans, as well as an interesting read for the rest of us.

I hated to have the book end: and that's the surest sign you have a wonderful book in your hands. Same as the series: it had to end, as do all things, but I must admit I'd give anything for a few more episodes. It was a unique show; brainchild of a unique individual; and this book is a high tribute to the star and his life. Thank you!

Any fan of Patrick McGoohan will enjoy this book, the first biography about this very private individual. The author painstakingly researched this book that details the career of the man famous as "John Drake" and "Number 6". McGoohan is one of the most underrated actors and probably could have been much more famous and a household name.

Patrick McGoohan is a bit of an enigma. Very protective of his privacy, did hardly any interviews. In this light this book is an unbelievable outcome. 330 pages of fine print, plenty pictures and (too many) footnotes tell you about everything there is to know about Patrick McGoohan and his work. The title is very well chosen as it becomes clear while reading that Mr. McGoohan is not exactly a cuddly person, though very interesting and thought provoking. The Prisoner is imho the culmination of his work and to read all the ins and outs of McGoohan's personal involvement is a treat beyond excitement. Highly recommended!

Roger Langley in his book 'Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man Or Prisoner' has done McGoohan fans a great service. The book is a tremendous tribute to McGoohan. No doubt for Langley it's a labour of love. I could not put the book down. I'm a big fan of McGoohan and the Danger Man/Secret Agent TV series. In his book Langley has provided so many aspects of the actor's life,and career that I never realized before. I did not realize that McGoohan's film career brought him to Canada on numerous occasions and that he worked on a movie with Margaret Trudeau, the wife of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It's inspiring to read of McGoohan's love and loyalty to his wife Joan and their family. Langley stresses in his book that McGoohan's family takes priority over his film career. If you are a Patrick McGoohan fan, a Danger Man or Prisoner fan this is a book you should have in your library. The book not only covers McGoohan's biography it's packed full with great pictures and information on his TV and Movie career.

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Reflections magazine May 2010 - 3 page feature starting page 62
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Super-Spies and secret agents
magazine #2 December 2009

35 A4 page download including 12 pages:
Roger Langley Patrick McGoohan tribute,
first part of 3-part Danger Man feature,
Prisoner society article, Prisoner comic art.

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SciFiNow Magazine #31 August 2009
1 page interview with Roger Langley

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Loughborough Echo 30th January
2009 - article by Debbie Ng.

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Cinema Retro magazine - Vol 4: Issue 11, Autumn 2008
The latest high quality niche market book from Tomahawk Press is up to the company's usual standards. Author Roger Langley is an undisputed expert on the life and career of Patrick McGoohan. As one of the founders of Six of One, the Prisoner Appreciation Society, Langley has put his exhaustive knowledge to good use with this in-depth look at one of the most mysterious and intriguing creative forces in TV history. McGoohan has always been a reluctant star and his general avoidance of interviews makes him an even more fascinating figure. The book covers every aspect of his career and includes interesting comments from McGoohan culled from the few interviews he has given. Naturally, there is special emphasis placed on the actor's greatest successes: Danger Man and The Prisoner. However, what makes the book particularly attractive is the attention given to his other, often overlooked career achievements. The volume is profusely illustrated with a wealth of rare stills including childhood photos of the future #6. Highly recommended.

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Suite101 website - 16th October, 2008 - article by Robin Jarossi:

covering filming of new Prisoner mini series and Patrick McGoohan biography

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September, 2008 Portmeirion online Prisoner shop launched.

Books by Roger Langley and other authors available.

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The Weekly News - 19th July, 2008 - story by Jim Montgomery and D C Thompson

Prisoner star went into hiding to avoid being lynched

 Picture 1 - Patrick McGoohan starred as The Prisoner

There have been many rumours of a remake of Patrick McGoohan's classic television series The Prisoner. Now, it's finally about to happen, 40 years after the original created worldwide controversy. "The inside information is that filming is due to start in August," said Roger Langley, author of the definitive biography of Patrick McGoohan, the actor-writer-director behind possibly the weirdest, and most thought-provoking, mainstream TV series ever. "It'll be a mini-series of six episodes and will be on our screens next year. Casting has begun — Sir Ian McKellen will be playing Number 2, and James Caviezel will be Number 6. Maybe Patrick could play somebody's grandfather — after all, he's 80 now," said Roger. The deal to make The Prisoner was done on a handshake between Patrick McGoohan and Britain's legendary TV mogul Lew Grade, when Patrick was Britain's biggest TV star. "At the time, he was the highest-paid actor on television," said Roger. "His previous series, Danger Man, was shown in 60 countries and it made McGoohan first choice to play James beginning. Bond on the big screen.

Picture 2 - Author Roger Langley with his definitive biography of The Prisoner's Patrick McGoohan.

"But he turned it down, as he thought the character was immoral, exploiting women and shooting people gratuitously," revealed Roger. Such reticence about kissing his leading ladies certainly did Patrick's marriage no harm. He and his wife, Joan, have been married since 1951. As filming of The Prisoner progressed through 1967, Lew Grade realised that it wasn't the adventure series he thought it would be. It was all about the plight of modern man, freedom, tyranny and the information age that was only then just beginning. "My belief is Lew Grade saw how it was going off in different directions, nothing like the action-adventure he thought he'd commissioned, so he pulled the plug," said Roger. The final episode caused chaos. "There had been nothing like it before — or since," continued Roger. "It was very clever for a prime-time TV show, this very surrealistic, religious symbol-laden finale. The whole country wanted to see who Number 1 was, and it turned out to be a gorilla! Then that mask was taken off and it was Patrick McGoohan underneath. ATV's switchboards were jammed with people demanding to know what it was all about. Patrick McGoohan said, 'If I hadn't gone into hiding, I'd have been lynched'. He went off to Switzerland where his wife's parents lived, then to California, where he's remained for the last 40 years," said Roger. The Prisoner has maintained a huge following ever since. The Prisoner Appreciation Society, called Six of One, still holds an annual convention at the original location of the series, Portmeirion, in North Wales. Over the years, the society has totted up 50,000 members. However, it's unlikely that the new version will be filmed in Wales. "Portmeirion hasn't been approached, but it would be hard to film there now, with all the tourists," Roger added. "When Patrick McGoohan filmed there, in 1966 to 1967, it was practically unknown. It'd been a sort of unofficial secret in the arts and entertainment world, a playground where they could get away from it all. Noel Coward wrote Blithe Spirit there in the 1920s.

Picture 3 - Patrick McGoohan filming The Prisoner in the 60s

"I met my wife, Karen,
at a Prisoner Convention in Portmeirion on my first visit there in 1978. We didn't exactly run together in slow motion, but it was quite romantic. The original hadn't been repeated on TV for 10 years, and the new version could attract a whole new generation of fans. Forty years ago in The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan was saying that technology was taking over and, sure enough, we're all on databases now. Everybody is a number. We're being watched all the time — there are more CCTV cameras per head of population in this country than anywhere else in the world. We've never been so watched, and you get people actually offering themselves up to be watched on reality TV like Big Brother — where people virtually volunteer to be locked up and become a prisoner. Interestingly, the Big Brother house is just across the road from the studios in Borehamwood where interiors for The Prisoner were filmed."

Picture 4 - a recent picture of the actor-writer-director

 Patrick McGoohan — Danger Man Or Prisoner? by Roger Langley, is published by Tomahawk Press, price 10.99, which includes postage and packing.

29th June 2008: online review/
illustrated Q & A presentation:

(select Features)

19th May 2008, JP:

This book is one that has been long overdue. As the principal author and star of one of the most original, thought-provoking TV shows of all time ("The Prisoner"), Patrick McGoohan is a most deserving subject for in-depth biographical study.

Roger Langley, a lifelong fan of all things McGoohan and co-founder of Six of One/the Prisoner Appreciation Society, is the writer best suited for such a task. Langley has provided readers with an exhaustively researched, detailed portrait of an actor/writer/director whose career has been marked by a fierce independence and guardedness. Aside from tracing McGoohan's life and career, Langley devotes considerable space to "The Prisoner", its levels of allegory and the "Star Trek"-like fandom it spawned in the wake of its 1967 premiere.

Langley's closeness to his subject matter (through his Appreciation Society, Langley has struck up an acquaintance with McGoohan) proves to be a double-edged sword. On the plus side, the author's interest in his subject matter is often contagious. His descriptions of McGoohan's numerous film and TV appearances will have you trawling and local TV listings for must-see programs. From the extensive research and interviews Langley conducted, the only thing you will walk away from DANGER MAN OR PRISONER not knowing is whether McGoohan prefers butter or jam on his scones.

However, this familiarity and thoroughness frequently proves to be a liability in Langley. The portrait of McGoohan that emerges here is one of a man who is very human---equal parts genius and enfant terrible. The problem is, at those times when McGoohan's behavior clearly falls under the heading of the latter, Langley chooses the former. A good biographer knows when to allow his subject to stand in the hard, cold light of day. Too often, Langley casts McGoohan in the forgiving shadows of hero worship.

Langley, likewise, could've benefitted from a tougher editor. Detailed accounts of his---let's be honest---at-arm's-length dealings with McGoohan, fan club activities and many of the hundreds of footnotes could've easily been cut or condensed to make a much smoother read. After maintaining a clear and professional tone throughout the text, the author resorts to fanzine-style gushing in its finale. The pun Langley ends his book with is flat-out terrible. A tougher editor would've sent this final chapter back for one more draft, saving the author some embarrassment and the reader an unsatisfying conclusion.

Still, I recommend DANGER MAN OR PRISONER. Casual fans and Number Six-aholics alike will find much of interest between these two covers. And while he stumbles a bit at the end, Langley delivers a commendable biography of a worthy subject.

Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?
20/04/2008 Source: Jessica Martin 

Patrick McGoohan changed the history of television with his series The Prisoner. Many TV series since have cited The Prisoner as an inspiration, including Lost. But there is a lot more to McGoohan than The Prisoner.

This actor has an large CV of stage, screen and TV productions, and is often declared to be one of the best actors to have ever come out of Britain. Yet, his obsessive protection of his privacy and the often conflicting and provocative remarks made to the press over the years have created a need to set the record straight.

This biography of McGoohan aims to do just that. It chronicles a career that begins on the Sheffield stage and ends with international stardom. The book details McGoohan’s television series Danger Man and The Prisoner; it explains why McGoohan was top choice for James Bond, and why he turned down the role ; it explores the impact he had on both actors and directors he has worked with; and highlights McGoohan’s friendship with Peter Falk (who has written the foreword for this book) which has gained him two Emmy Awards.

In Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?, Roger Langley unravels the myths, separating the man from his on-screen creations. McGoohan attracts thousands of admirers around the globe and this book reveals why!

Roger Langley has been a principal organiser of the Appreciation Society for The Prisoner during its thirty year life. He has written The Prisoner in Portmeirion (1999), The Prisoner Series Guide (2005) and the latest US Prisoner DVD Megaset booklet. Langley has produced numerous periodicals devoted to The Prisoner and continues to publish the Appreciation Society's magazines.

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Magazine review April 7 2008 - extracts - read whole article

As a Patrick McGoohan fan myself, I was delighted to come across this wonderful book while attending the recent launch of James Robertson Justice's biography "What's The Bleeding Time?" at Pinewood Studios. A great friend of Peter Falk, Patrick starred in, directed and wrote for Columbo and is acknowledged as making a large contribution to the show's success. So why is so little known about the man who was responsible for the cult series The Prisoner — a landmark series first shown in the UK in the late Sixties that changed the history of television and has inspired many other dramas up to the present day?

Patrick McGoohan shuns publicity and is fiercely protective of his privacy, so that this very private man is the subject of a book is a stroke of luck for the star's many admirers around the world — the author, although a busy lawyer, has been a principal organiser of the Appreciation Society for The Prisoner during its thirty-year life and continues to publish the society's magazines.

With 450 rare and exclusive photographs, Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man Or Prisoner? looks at the actor's personal and public life. With an impressive cv of stage, television and screen productions — directing, writing, acting, producing and various collaborations — Patrick McGoohan is often declared to be one of the best actors to have ever come out of Britain. Yet, the obsessive protection of his privacy and often conflicting and provocative remarks made to the press over the years has created a need to set the record straight. Having lived in the US for the past thirty years — he has a dual US passport — Patrick is a clean-living family man with a solid marriage to former actress Joan Drummond since 1951.

This first-ever biography of Patrick McGoohan, Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man Or Prisoner? details his classic television series Danger Man and The Prisoner and explains why McGoohan — the top choice for James Bond — turned down the role. The book also looks at his relationships with the actors and directors with whom he has worked. Orson Welles was his mentor and Paul Eddington introduced Patrick to Joan.

In Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man Or Prisoner? Roger Langley un-ravels the myths separating the man from his on-screen creations. Now available from all good bookshops at an RRP of 19.99, the book is published in paperback by Tomahawk Press of Sheffield. ISBN-10:0-9531926-4-4; ISBN-13: 978-0-9531926-4-9.
Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man Or Prisoner? has a number of inter-esting Appendices: Complete Patrick McGoohan Screenography of Films, Television, Theatre and Radio; Episode Guides To Rafferty, Columbo, The Prisoner and Danger Man, with Original UK and US Broadcast Dates; Film and Television Productions he Directed; Order of Episodes Of The Prisoner; Questionnaire Completed By Patrick McGoohan in the early 60s; About The Writer.

Roger Langley has been a principal organiser of the Appreciation Society for The Prisoner during its thirty-year life. He has written The Prisoner in Portmeirion (1999), The Prisoner Series Guide (2005) and the latest US Prisoner DVD Megaset booklet. Langley has produced numerous periodicals devoted to The Prisoner and continues to publish the Appreciation Society's magazines.

western.jpg (12396 bytes)    Cult viewing Mar 29 2008 by Darren Devine, Western Mail - extracts - read whole article

With its air of mystery and paranoia that fed into the burgeoning 1960s drugs culture, the broadcasting of The Prisoner was a defining moment in the history of TV. As fans prepare for the 40th anniversary reunion at Portmeirion, Darren Devine examines its enduring appeal.

Speaking before the 40th anniversary convention in Portmeirion, coordinator Roger Langley said,
"In the very first episode he (McGoohan) tells the village leader his own date of birth.
"He tells the village leader he was born on March 19, 1928, and he’s got nothing to say, which is a famous line.
"He goes on to say, ‘I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered’. So it was kind of a play on the student protests at that time.
"In America they had huge protests involving students defying the establishment. I think a lot of it rubbed off on McGoohan.
"In interviews he always talked about how prisoners in the Vietnamese war looked brainwashed. His own village was meant to signify the sort of places where prisoners with secrets can be held and not be subject to the law.
"The show’s as relevant today as it was in the 1960s."

Mr Langley, a retired solicitor and author of the recent book Patrick McGoohan, Danger Man or Prisoner, said,
"The week of the last episode when Number One was unveiled the country was on the edge of its seat waiting to see who it was.
"Some people drove in their cars to other areas with a portable TV and parked in lay-bys in order to pick up the signal from another ITV region because they couldn’t wait.
"Such was the power of the programme because there had been nothing like it before and many say it was the first real TV classic and there’s been nothing like it since.
"It relied upon the audience asking questions about it instead of just sitting back and watching the latest special effects or their favourite actor in some new sit-com or drama."

Mr Langley added,
"In the final episode (Fall Out) there is just general mayhem with a big underground trial of the prisoner and it occupied two huge sound stages at MGM studios and was the most expensive TV production there at the time.
"When it got to about episode 13 the story editor Markstein, who was himself a wartime correspondent, left because he was fed up with McGoohan. He said McGoohan wanted to control everything.
"From that point onwards McGoohan went to America to film Ice Station Zebra and when he came back they decided to cut the planned 26 episodes down to 17 and just made four more."

18 January 2008

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28 December 2007

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Free Radical magazine (New Zealand) issue 78 - December 2007 4 page interview with Roger Langley - printed and online editions available by subscription:

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TV Film Memorabilia magazine

January 2008 issue

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The Sheffield Telegraph

28 December 2007

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The East Anglian Daily Times

5 October 2007

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The Evening Star

part of article pictured
- online 6 October 2007

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The Ratcliffian Association magazine

December 2007

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SFX magazine

January 2008 # 165

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The Western Mail article

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The Independent newspaper article

Whether a remake needs to be quintessentially British or not, not all the series' fans will be disappointed that another proposal has hit the buffers, according to Roger Langley, principal organiser of Six of One, "the official Prisoner Appreciation Society". "They tend to fall into two camps," he says. "The ones who want to see a remake are the ones who feel cheated that McGoohan never got to make a second series, as was originally intended, in which Number Six would escape and go out into the world while being pursued by his ex-captors.

"And then there are the fans who feel the original series should be left alone – that no one should desecrate this work of art, and that McGoohan was and is the only possible Number Six."

The index of Langley's new biography, Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?, provides a useful summary of the various projected Prisoner remakes, starting back in the mid-1980s when CBS mooted an American version of the series.

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Brighton Magazine          MIKE COBLEY, 1st November, 2007   

Surely no-one is better qualified than Roger Langley to write Danger Man or Prisoner? - a biography of the renowned actor, Patrick McGoohan.
Roger has, for the best part of three decades, been the principal organiser of the Appreciation Society for The Prisoner.
The Prisoner was, of course, the seminal TV series of the 60's, which ran for just seventeen episodes and is still, even today, revered and debated by fans and academics alike.
But, as Danger Man Or Prisoner? reveals, Patrick McGoohan was much more than a one-trick pony.
In fact McGoohan, soon to enter his ninth decade, has enjoyed a distinguished career, spanning theatre, cinema and television.
His pre-Prisoner series, Danger Man, even saw McGoohan pre-empt 007's catchphrase with: 'My name is Drake, John Drake'.
McGoohan choose his professional roles carefully. He liked to have both artistic and moral control over his storylines.
He also commanded an obsessive like control over his private life.
His absence from the media glare meant his enigma created many myths about the man.
So it falls to Langley's Danger Man or Prisoner? to set the record straight on Patrick McGoohan's behalf.
Langley's book is heavyweight in its authority but everyman in its voice.
The author's depth of knowledge and heartfelt love for his subject glosses over the sometimes untainted picture he paints of the Sheffield-born, McGoohan.
The book is also a treasure trove of documentation and rarely seen photos.
Langley had accumulated them during his three decades as head of the aforementioned Appreciation Society for The Prisoner.
McGoohan's time on The Prisoner is exhaustively investigated by Langley.
Seemingly those who worked alongside McGoohan have sketched two very different idents of the actor at work.
Some say he was self-opinionated and difficult to work with, others had nothing but the utmost admiration for the man.
Patrick McGoohan was a man who needed to be given time to be able to get to the heart of his true personality.
Spend some time with Roger Langley's Danger Man Or Prisoner? and you'll come away feeling you know what truly makes the heartbeat inside this extraordinary and quite unique British actor of ours.

18th October, 2007 - Review of "Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner"

2007 is the 40th anniversary of the Prisoner TV series, starring Patrick McGoohan. Probably one of the best books of the year is now on sale which charts the career and background of this famous actor of television and films. Written by Roger Langley, with foreword by Peter Falk, star of Columbo. Author Roger Langley has been principal organizer of the Prisoner Appreciation Society for the last 30 years. The book is a must for all Patrick McGoohan fans of which there are thousands worldwide. The book also features some rare and exclusive photographs. "Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner", unravels the myths, separating the man from his on screen creations.

STEVE MARSHALL, Editor-In-Chief, European Radio Features review for the Book Review Programme
broadcast on radio stations across Europe

17th September, 2007 - Review by DAVID BARRIE, Six of One founder member, The Prisoner Appreciation Society (Hon. Pres. Patrick McGoohan)

This must be for McGoohan fans that most eagerly awaited of all books. A biography. And what a biography. This well structured work glitters, every page well composed, literate, and absorbing, every fact meticulously researched and detailed. Does this work do justice to this most private and retiring of actors? The answer is an emphatic 'Yes'. McGoohan is a man who acts, he is not a publicity seeking celebrity. A man with deep uncompromising beliefs, who in essence shuns the limelight, preferring to let his work speak for itself. This biography respects the man and his privacy, striking exactly the right note in the telling of this extraordinarily gifted man's life. This is a work undertaken with both affection and respect.

Preceded by a foreword written by Patrick McGoohan's great friend, Peter Falk, and coming in at some 280 pages, complemented by seven highly detailed and factual appendices, plus index, totalling a further 60 pages, this work will surely stand as the ultimate correlation and summarisation of McGoohan's career and achievements. There is no doubt that this book has been a labour of love for the author, and it is obvious that this work has involved many years of dedicated sourcing, gathering and cataloguing of strands of information. I thought I'd digested just about everything McGoohan had said on 'The Prisoner' for example. Transpires I was very wrong. I was astonished that I'd missed so much, yet it was all caught by the writer here.

The author has painstakingly gathered from seemingly every article, every quote, every conversation, that McGoohan has given. His research has taken him to interview many of the characters that McGoohan has come into contact with during his life. Apart from those who worked on both 'Danger Man' and 'The Prisoner', Langley has even interviewed contemporaries from McGoohan's youth in Sheffield. Collected together we hear evocative stories recalling the early years spent there. Yes, it's that kind of book. Thorough comes close. Every quote, every aside, is comprehensively referenced. The joy is that the writing is accessible, and excites the reader, as we are treated to an almost spectator like view of the life of McGoohan, the incidents, both insignificant and towering, that have not only shaped McGoohan's life, but have propelled him to the career and rightful critical acclaim deserved. Reading this book we understand a little of what makes the man. Never intrusive, the author preserves the man's privacy; however by the time I concluded this book, I understood far better what makes McGoohan tick than anything and everything I'd read or seen or heard ever before, if all collected as one.

To give an indication of just what an engrossing read this book is, I received the book on a Thursday, and had devoured it - including appendices - by Monday night. The narrative drive is clear, never straying unnecessarily, the writing concise, professional and human. The sheer scale of the work will ensure it becomes invaluable for anyone wanting to know more about McGoohan.

And what of McGoohan, what would this shy, reticent man make of it I wonder. In this writer's view it is the book he would secretly be proud of, perhaps even have written himself if he were so minded. In these days of elevating celebrities and then roasting them, both McGoohan, and this book, strike the right note. The actor has always valued his private world, and this biography carefully and sensitively knows where to draw a line.

This work naturally has at its core both 'Danger Man' and 'The Prisoner', yet so much else is explored, professionally: McGoohan's early days in repertory in Sheffield, his career which brought him to the defining role of 'Brand', and all the other films and performances, whether early or post-Prisoner, in previous accounts merely mentioned briefly, or glossed over. His 80 years are brought vividly to life, his thoughts, views, feeling, beliefs, are all represented, all add rich colour, and allow us to understand McGoohan a little better. Yet we are left comfortable, with the feeling we are not intruding into the personal side of his life.

From his early years, the background of his parents, early jobs prior to his discovery of acting, meeting wife-to-be Joan Drummond, the casting of 'Brand', 'Danger Man', 'The Prisoner' and beyond, all aspects are treated with the right note of discretion, informing yet not intrusive.

The calibre of the writing, and the carefully crafted choice of words, demonstrate that much thought was given to the rhythm, structure and timbre of each sentence. Take the following from page 152, when analysing the themes explored in the Prisoner: "The episodes present an impressive array of topics: democracy and drugs; torture and technology; power and politics; misinformation and the military; incarceration and individualism; conformity and the community; society and survival; identity and independent thought; force and freedom; religion and rebellion; education and escape; violence and values; science and security; hallucinations and heroism; authority and art; weaponry and will; brainwashing and beliefs; censorship and coercion; jingoism and justice; psychology and peace; loyalty and love; danger and death." With nearly 50 different themes mentioned, I boggle at how long it took to come up such an impressive and alliterative array.

Again, illustrating the depth of thought that has gone into this work, the author quotes a reporter as saying of 'The Prisoner', "The first TV show to prove that the journey is more important than the destination…" Langley comments on this quote, "McGoohan achieved something with 'The Prisoner' which is often missed by reviewers: he created the vogue for a deeper analysis of mainstream television." This is true, and I'm not sure that element has been articulated before.

Liberally distributed throughout the book are scores of photographs, many of which have never been seen before. These include images of every film poster and virtually every role undertaken by the actor - right back to youth club days. From McGoohan himself there are several messages, each giving us a little insight into this man's way of thinking. With an additional 50 pages of appendices - surely some sort of screenography in its own right - my guess is that this section's material will be referred to, and plundered, for years to come. This is the benchmark, the research is exhaustive, every scrap of information ever available has been catalogued and presented in its natural and rightful place. This must be the ultimate work on McGoohan, every page brimming with material, never a sentence wasted or ill-used.

By now you will have deduced that this reviewer highly recommends this biography. You will be as captivated as I was. I suspect that it will also bring a quiet nod of appreciation from its subject. My guess is that Mr. McGoohan will even be quietly pleased. How fortunate that this biography of a man of principle, beliefs, ideals, modesty, and dedication, has been written by someone who also understands these attributes. Believe me, this is a book that you'll certainly be reaching for, again and again. Don't think twice.

“McGoohan was the Orson Welles of British television. A radical; an enfant terrible. He had total control and created something truly extraordinary. So, of course, they closed him down!”

“He is a very intelligent actor whom I admired as a kid. I watched Danger Man and The Prisoner and all these things on television which he conceived.”

“...the most underrated, under-appreciated talent on the face of the globe. ...I have never played a scene with another actor who commanded my attention the way Pat did.”

“ of the big actors of his
he was tremendous...required attributes:
looks, intensity,
unquestionable acting ability
and a twinkle in his eye...”

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