Sunday, 9 September 2007

No Prisoner Remake but More Doctor Who

When asked to name my favourite TV series, I am often tempted to list the cult 60s classic The Prisoner right at the top. I first watched it in 1984, when it was shown not long after the launch of Channel 4. I even used to go along to the conventions with my brother Jonathan; and for years we had had family holidays to Portmeirion, where the series was filmed. Given the cult status of the original, I have not quite known what to make over the planned remake of The Prisoner over the last year or so. Initially, the news was that Sky One was to remake the show, partnering with AMC in the USA. But it now seems that the plan has been abandoned. A Digital Spy interview with Richard Wolfe (head of Sky One) featured the following comment:

What happened with the planned remake of The Prisoner?
"The Prisoner is not happening. It's a very quintessentially British drama and there were too many creative differences trying to share it with an American partner. I didn't want to be responsible for taking something that is quintessentially British and adapting it in a way that I didn't feel was reflective of the way people would remember it and the way people would want it to be. So we called time on that."
Although some on the web are commenting on this as breaking news, it is worth adding that Sky actually pulled out of this project some months back; the Daily Telegraph reported this in April:

Sky One Pulls Out of Prisoner Remake
Neil Midgley
It was Sky One’s biggest drama commission of 2007 – but now the channel has pulled out of an £8million remake of cult 60s TV drama The Prisoner after an acrimonious row with US cable movie channel AMC, its co-funding partner. “We love the original Prisoner series but on this occasion we have decided not to proceed with our co-production partners,” said a Sky spokesman . . . .
At that point they were still talking about the possibility of finding other funding for the project, but it does not sound like that has come to anything.

Meanwhile, there has been good news this week has been of the continued production of Doctor Who, now confirmed right through to 2010. We already knew of the fourth series next year, currently in production, but the latest official news is that there will be three specials in 2009, written by Russell T. Davies and starring the current doctor David Tennant, and a full length series in 2010. That is excellent news, even if we will be a little short in 2009. It looks like David Tennant really is set to make the role his own, and I am delighted with the news that Russell T. Davies is going to stay with the show for the time being since he is responsible for the brilliant re-invention of the series over the last few years, and he has written some fine episodes.

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