Are John Drake and Number Six the same character?

Science Fiction TV Show Guides Forums British Sci Fi Series The Prisoner Are John Drake and Number Six the same character?

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    It’s one of the oldest and most argued questions, but somehow I never get tired of asking it.

    For that matter, you could even ask if John Drake and JOHN DRAKE are the same character, since in the first season of Danger Man Drake was portrayed as being American, but in later seasons was portrayed as being British.

    As to the first question, I personally believe they ARE the same character. I think there is plenty of evidence to support this hypothesis, with the only real contrary evidence being McGoohan’s vehement denial that they’re the same person. And we all know McGoohan had ample motive to lie.

    As to the second question (are Drake and Drake the same guy), again I suggest that they are. Perhaps Drake had dual citizenship with the United States and Britain, or perhaps his stint with NATO required him to pose as American as part of some sort of extended cover identity.

    Besides, for me it’s more fun to think of the whole thing (Danger Man, Secret Agent, The Prisoner) as one big series.


    No. 241


    Today I think yes, for the same reason above that PMcG is the only person to say otherwise, and it would be expensive for him to change his mind now.

    Also, the Haitian Observer from Schizoid Man was his Haitian contact in Danger Man, Potter appears in The Girl who was Death, The Hunting Party features the same method of hypnosis, Colony Three of course…. there’s so much to play with.

    Besides its much more fun that way. Even if his name is supposed to be Daniel Webster in the movie… 😈 clearly a code name, right?

    83 ;D


    The co-creator of “The Prisoner” claimed that they were the same character. He also claimed PMcG to be an egotistical nutball. 😉


    You left an option out of the poll that I would have gone for: Yes AND no, as it is I went with yes. 🙂

    It’s been years since I’ve seen Danger Man, but, well, you can find TONS of similarities and parallels. The biggest obvious similarities being that they’re both spies, and Patrick McGoohan plays both characters. Mind you, if PMcG had accepted the role of spy James Bond, it would be an uphill struggle to argue that John Drake, or Number 6 and James Bond are essentially the same character. Never mind that the names, and numbers lol (007`6), were different, but the James Bond character would react and say very different things in a given situation. ‘”Never trust a woman, even the four-legged variety” (No. 6). Sheesh, James Bond would be jumping that feminine feline faster than you can say “Pussy Galore”. Sorry that’s an exaggeration, but Drake AND No. 6 were not exactly hopping into bed with the females (never did), and they treated woman much the same. BTW, No. 6 was engaged, there was never any mention in Danger Man of his having a fiancee, top secret perhaps? 😉

    There are also many differences between Drake and Six (including minor ones like different cars, different residences etc. which could be easily explained away, Drake smoked ciggys, The Prisoner smoked cigars – people change habits; people change period).

    So many of the character traits can be chalked up to it being the same actor who is bringing in his own attitude and style to the characters (his personal beliefs would be more apparent in The Prisoner character, and plots, since he had more creative control). …. So, one could ask, in a way, is John Drake/Number 6 really Patrick McGoohan – character traits and conviction-wise? (Note: expect a stronger conviction for a Prisoner).

    No. 6 is certainly more arrogant than John Drake, but then a certain amount of arrogance was a quality McGoohan shared with The Prisoner. However, a person’s character does tend to change over time and in a new situation (erm, not that The Prisoner’s character changed that much, but there was the opportunity and motive for change between J. Drake and Number 6….)

    Now, while PMcG has fiercely denied that they are the same (I’ve also heard that he confirmed they were the same character to stuntman Frank Maher) I believe this has more to do with royalties and legal rights than anything else. Pperhaps the creators of The Prisoner also wanted it to appear as if the character, and the show’s premise (base conceptualisation) was more original than it was – an ego thing, or even an alter-ego thing. 😉 Bearing in mind that they couldn’t readily call No. 6 Drake, the fact that they didn’t give Number 6 any name at all indicates to me that they wanted the audience to see this is a sort of sequel to Danger Man (specifically the Danger Man fans). Sure PMcG was sick of that show, but it also had a sizable fanbase to draw on – if they suspected that the characters were the same, well they’d be more likely to tune into The Prisoner (alas, many Danger Man fans were very disappointed with The Prisoner and tuned out).

    I’m sure that at the very least, Number 6 is extremely heavily indebted to John Drake – John Drake is the character No. 6 was heavily based on, and they drew on the plots, and situations of Danger Man too. But as I said, expect similarities no matter what, because both characters were miughtily influenced by Patrick McGoohan (and McGoohan could be pretty stubborn when it came to “sex and violence” in Danger Man as well as The Prisoner.)

    There can be absolutely no question that The Prisoner we know would have never existed: a template that drew heavily on McGoohan’s own personal traits, and even attitudes without Danger Man. So, I tend to look at Drake as more of a template for No. 6 than anything else – more similar than dissimilar, more differing than different.

    No. 5


    I wonder if Ralph Smart ever offered an opinion on the whole John Drake/Number Six debate.

    I just finished watching Danger Man (series 1) a couple of days ago. Hurray for DVD! Now I’ve got the whole enchalata: Danger Man, Secret Agent, The Prisoner.

    Yes, Drake and/or Number Six drove different cars and had different residences in each incarnation of the show:

    As mentioned earlier, in series 1, he’s supposedly American, works for NATO, lives in… eh… I forget, somewhere in the US, and drives a left-hand-drive convertible roadster of some type I haven’t figured out yet.

    In all of the later Danger Man series, Drake is British, works for M9, lives in (I think) London, and drives a Mini Cooper.

    And in The Prisoner, Number Six is still British, works for a vague sort of espionage entity, lives at 1 Buckingham Place (London), and drives a Lotus 7.

    How do I reconcile these differences? Just as you said. People change with time. From the start of Danger Man to the end of The Prisoner, we’re talking a real-world time span of at least 7 years. In the reel world of Drake and Number Six, I figure at least that much time passes as well. The changes in his residence, his job, and his car, simply reflect changes in his career and his life.

    Incidentally, in one episode of Series 1 Danger Man, I was amazed to finally see Drake actually use a gun to shoot and kill someone. Granted he had no other choice in the situation, but it was still a surprise. To the best of my recollection, I don’t think I ever saw that happen again until Fall Out.


    People with charisma are often egotistical nutballs. 😉 That’s why they are such fun to watch!

    Drake lives in London in flat number 6, but I’m not sure where. He drives a custom Lotus in the Danger Man novel No Way Out, in which he is sent to retrieve a friend who faked his death because his request to resign and/or marry was denied.

    …and I love DVD’s, too! Now I never have to watch TV again! 😀 I can see how PMcG got sick of Drake, now, with the way some of the later episodes are just expansions of Season one episodes.

    I, too, would love to hear what Ralph Smart had to say. I bet it was full of four-letter-words. 😈

    At any rate, the guy you see at the party in A,B and C couldn’t be more John Drake. Since it’s supposed to represent how Number 6 would have really acted in that situation, that’s probably his true personality when not imprisoned. And the guy you see in Someone is Liable to Get Hurt couldn’t be more Number 6; that’s probably Drake’s true personality when he feels trapped, even if it is in a mansion.

    I always think Hammer into Anvil is very Drake, almost as if Number 6 is relaxing and his usual methods are coming out.

    I have noticed that Number 6 seems less like Drake when I just watch the miniseries. Hmmmm…..

    There’s no real question Drake was the template (good word!) for Number 6; that’s been confirmed on a number of fronts. I also think there wouldn’t be near the interest if there wasn’t so much evidence it was actually season 5 of Danger Man. If he felt it necessary to nix minute details like private jokes about character names in The Girl Who Was Death (O’Toole), he would have done it for the Danger Man clues as well if he hadn’t wanted people to speculate. He did have the rare luxury of complete creative control.

    83 ;D


    Perhaps the most visually compelling evidence is No. 83’s Colony 3[/url] surveillance footage. Hard to doubt they’re the same when watching that.

    BTW, I would have had an easy time arguing that they’re not the same if the topic had been phrased differently: “Is John Drake from Danger Man Number 6?” Alas, No. 241, you didn’t. 😉

    -No. 5


    Perhaps I didn’t phrase the question clearly enough?

    I’m not asking if they’re the same SORT of character, or if they’re both based on the same character. I’m asking if you believe they literally are the same guy, in the same literary universe.

    I almost asked if they were the same person. But I just know I would have gotten a bunch of folks saying, “of course they are! They’re both Patrick McGoohan!”


    And if you’d asked, “Is Danger Man’s John Drake really Number 6?” you’d have a bunch of wags responding, “No of course not! He wasn’t numbered 6 until he became The Prisoner.”


    Perhaps David Jones is Number 6?

    In all seriousness, most of the time I think the Prisoner is Season 5 of Danger Man, though most of the time I think it’s taking place on the battleground of Drake’s subconscious while he ponders resigning. I think the only real part is when he’s driving at the end of Fall Out, presumably to go resign.

    Then again, I’m one of the rare people who thinks Brand all takes place inside Brand’s head, The Trial all takes place inside K.’s head, The Minister’s Black Veil takes place inside the minister’s head, etc.

    …perhaps I should look into that….



    I wouldn’t hold too much credence in the reuse of actors, as the field of television actors was pretty small in the 1960s UK. Many of them were also on “The Avengers” and I rarely see anyone claim that John Steed was in the same agency as John Drake. 😉


    How about another choice. I vote for……….. it doesn’t matter.

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