The Prisoner: Cultures: Prisoners

I am not a Number. I am a person.

Like most prisons, the citizens of the Village come in many categories, some are chosen for what they know, and some for whom.


Secret agents, spies, operators, no one “knows too much” more than this class of people. By the very nature of their former positions they are privy to information which can make them both valuable and vulnerable. The Village can be a safe place to protect these people while giving them full and comfortable lives, or it could be used to get information for the other side. No one truly knows its purpose except Number 1.

Cult of the Individual

There are certain expectations the Village requires from its citizens to create a smoothly-running pocket society. Occasionally citizens develop a condition which causes a relapse into their former Outside behavior. When a Villager displays an interest in making his or her own decision against the will of the team or reacts to a situation with unnecessary displays of independence, it is called Cult of the Individual. These Cultists differ from Unmutuals in that they are not particularly antisocial; they are trying to join in with a group spirit but their former needs to assert themselves in a group becomes overwhelming. This is a temporary relapse which can be treated with aversion therapy and medication.

Family members

Family members are useful and relationships are encouraged in the Village. Often when people Arrive in the Village they find people they know, and spouses and children are provided for. This not only allows the new Arrival some familiarity and comfort, but provides leverage in the cases of difficult citizens.

General Laborers

Someone has to run the shops, do the gardening and repairs, drive the taxis and sell the sweets. These positions are assigned by the Labour Exchange after an extensive personality test. In some cases they are clearly prisoners, in others clearly infiltrators, and in some they may be clones. There are other general labor positions which are not clear. We are never sure if these people were recruited from elsewhere or if they were aware their positions were going to be life-long.


Jammers are the Village’s resident non-violent protesters. Let us listen in on Number 118.

“What they do, these jammers, is talk. They talk about the plots they’ve been hatching… escapes mostly, but plans and developments for all kinds of mischief. They do it to confuse the Observers….

The plots they talk about are always make-believe. Non-existent. Control can’t know that until they’ve checked them out. Used to run themselves ragged investigating the schemes of jammers. They don’t bother much anymore. Now they keep a list of all known jammers. Anything control picks up from these, they just let ride.”

Military personnel

Like agents, military personnel are often privy to sensitive information. Citizens of the Village include several officers who are allowed to wear their insignia. Military personnel differ from the agents in that they adapt to the regulations quite easily and become productive members of the community without much complaint.

Pleasure Hostesses/ Stewards

These are the servants in the Palace of Fun and its tavern, the Cat and Mouse. They differ from the general-labor waiters and waitresses at the restaurant in that they are brainwashed into believing they are worthless unless they can please others. Their training involves a series of classes before they can be permanently employed at the Palace of Fun, and the task they must complete to pass their finals is chosen by Number 2. They are sometimes offered as companions to prisoners who have undergone particularly rough interrogations to provide comfort afterward.

Record Keepers/ Secretaries

Someone has to keep the records for top secret agencies, government projects, clandestine scientific experiments and military action. When these people know too much they become either an asset or a security risk.


Scientists and engineers play an important role in the Village. Scientists who make a discovery useful to the side that runs the Village, or who may divulge secrets, are in danger of abduction… if they don’t volunteer. Scientists brought to the Village include the inventor of an electronic defense system who wanted to distribute the plans to all nations; Jacob Saltzman, the inventor of a machine which swaps consciousness; the woman who invented Social Conversion, the Professor who invented Speedlearn, and more. Most of them appear to arrive as prisoners and end up working for the Village.


Some unfortunate people from the Outside accidentally stumble across information about the Village’s purpose or whereabouts.


Best described as Village outcasts, Unmutual is the term used to describe citizens whose antisocial behavior has gone beyond merely disharmonious. No citizen is permitted to associate with an Unmutual to the point that if an Unmutual enters an area, everyone in the immediate area will leave. Unmutuals are cured of this affliction through Social Conversion.

Race Rating – Prisoners
Personality 1 (rancid butter) – 5 (cool dude) 4
Attractiveness 1 (requires paper bag) – 5 (Drop-dead-gorgeous) 3
Humour 1 (stomach-turning) – 5 (sidesplitting) 2
Dress Sense 1 (laughable) – 5 (hip) 3
Aggression 1 (big/little softy) – 5 (hard as nails) 3
Social Standing 1 (scumbag) – 5 (god) 5

Sad Geezer Race Rating   (out of 30)  =  20                        

The sources for this guide to the unique cultures of The Prisoner have come from a combination of the television episodes and unused scripts.

This article is copyright Pet Serrano 2003. Not for reproduction without the authors express permission.

The names, characters, pictures and everything else associated with the Prisoner series are the property of Carlton International – all rights reserved.

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