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The Prisoner 1960s Production Design Sketches

One of the most recognizable characters of the 1960s series The Prisoner is not listed in the credits. That’s because it isn’t an actor, it’s a setting. The fictional prison known as The Village is actually Portmeirion, a quaint resort on the coast of Wales. Portmeirion was used as the location for exterior shots of the series; its picturesque landscape and pastel cottages provide a striking contrast to its inhabitants’ lives of forced captivity. The irony of this paradise was not lost on series’ art director Jack Shampan, and the impressionistic style of his sketches beautifully conveys a sense of entrapment and mystery. Whether depicting the misleading calmness of an outdoor cafe or the cold sterility of the operating theater, Shampan’s drawings establish atmosphere quickly. Witness the origins of TV’s most serenely surreal prison in the making.


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