The official one-day celebration of Patrick McGoohan, "The Prisoner", "Danger Man", and Portmeirion.
SUNDAY 13TH JULY 2008, THE HOTEL PORTMEIRION, In aid of Ty Gobaith Children's Hospice.
Organised by The Unmutual Website.
Report by Rick Davy.
Photographs by Rick Davy, Spencer Peet, David Mackenzie, Sue Everett, Sam Denham.
On Sunday 13th July 2008 the yearly official one-day celebration of all things Patrick McGoohan took place in Portmeirion, with PM2008 ticket holders converging on the Hercules Hall from far and wide.
As usual, the day began early for those travelling up to North Wales for the day, and also for the organisers who were busy readying the hall, stalls, and equipment straight after breakfast. With everything in place before the scheduled start, attendees were allowed into the hall and side rooms early, whilst some spent their pre-event time walking around the sun-lit village. How lucky we have been to have been blessed with good weather year upon year!
First up was event MC Dave Jones who introduced our special guests and ran through the day's events and the amenities and merchandise on offer to ticket holders.
Robert Fairclough is a well-known face at the PM events, having special guested at each of the previous three.
This year he had with him exclusive images of the 2009 Prisoner calendar, which were shown on the big screen, news of the "Prisoner" TV series remake, and a special edition of the "Prisoner" novel "Miss Freedom", produced exclusively for the event.
As always Robert had some very interesting insider information on all "Prisoner" developments and after taking questions from the audience was greeted with a cheer and a round of applause.
The same fate befell our first screening of the day. Thanks to Leslie Glen and FOX Television, an exclusive screening, the first at an event in the UK, of the Prisoneresque "The Simpsons" episode "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", which features guest voice Patrick McGoohan as Number Six, whose escape attempt is thwarted when Number Five (Homer) steals his raft and escapes from the mysterious "island".
With the bar now open, a short break gave attendees the chance to again marvel at David Mackenzie's Lego Village display.
Also in the side room was a display of Portmeirion watercolour paintings, a merchandise stall, and a stall each from Robert Fairclough and another special guest, Bob Fischer, who was launching his book "Wiffle Lever to Full" at the event.
Next up was our second special guest, and what a delight it was to welcome Robert Rietti to Portmeirion for the very first time.
Robert appears in almost every episode of The Prisoner, yet we never see his face. The now infamous opening sequence of "The Prisoner" was played on the big screen, in which Robert provides the voice of "The New Number Two" of course, as Robert was welcomed to the stage.
Sir Robert, for he is now a Knight of the Italian Empire, was a wealth of anecdotes and stories regarding his time in the TV and Film industry, and of course his amazing voiceover work (including redubbing McGoohan for the entirety of the film "Nobody's the Greatest").
Clips were shown of Robert providing voices for "The Prisoner" and other items, plus also his acting skills in things such as "Danger Man" and "The Persuaders" and many more. He talked extensively about many of his roles including the five James Bond films on which he worked, "The Italian Job", "The Omen", and working with people such as Jack Hawkins and Orson Wells. It was no surprise that the interview over-ran slightly, I for one could have listened to him all day.
Next it was a break for lunch and again a chance for attendees to walk round Portmeirion in the wonderful sunshine, or mingle with other attendees in the Hercules Hall bar, open exclusively for attendees. Also on hand was journalist Spencer Lloyd Peet, attending the event on behalf of "TV and Film memorabilia magazine" who are covering the event in a 2-page article later this year, and the special guests who all day were happy to chat to people and sign autographs.
The local press were also on hand and a photo session was called for in The Village (Click HERE for a round-up of the press coverage for the event).
After lunch, and time for another special screening. "Gift from Heaven" is a 1956 episode of the TV drama series "The Vise". The episodes drew gasps from the audience as McGoohan, in one of his earliest TV roles, is seen kssing the cheek of his fmale co-star not once, but three times! Again what was noticable this year, as had been previous years, was the enthusiasm and wish by the guests to attend all the screenings and activities throughout the day.
After this came one of the most enjoyable segments of the day, an interview with Bob Fischer regarding his new book "Wiffle Lever To Full". Thoroughly entertaining throughout, Bob explained the reasons behind writing the book (a year in the life of a conventioneer, with a segment on PM2006) and his love of various Cult TV shows.
Another exclusive screening followed, the Umbrella Australia-only edition of the "Danger Man" episode "An Affair of State" complete with Director's commentary from Peter Graham Scott. Next up was the charity auction, in which myself and Dave Jones attempted to prise as much money as possible out of the attendees.
Not that much prising was in order, as again everyone was very generous in their bidding for a wide range of rare and in some cases unique items. Unsurprisingly the most popular items were the two items donated by Patrick McGoohan himself, two signed stills from "Arrival".
Also popular again were early theatre programmes from McGoohan's career, and once again an original piece of "Prisoner" artwork from professional comics artist Lew Stringer (which was also reproduced in the colour event programme).
Whilst an auction for a one-off commission from him sadly did not reach the reserve price, it was also wonderful to see Gareth Bevan's artisitic work on display.
After this came another exciting screening. At PM2007, two reels of film were discovered, previously unseen, of behind-the-scenes goings on in 1966 at Portmeirion, during the making of "Arrival" and "Checkmate" and these were again screened at PM2008. It was a good precursor to the next event, Howard Foy's always popular Portmeirion guided tour.
With the sun shimmering through the trees it was again one of the highlights of the day, as Howard took everyone through Portmeirion's history and also the parts that the buildings played in "The Prisoner".
Once back in the hall it was time for our third and final special guest. Bettine Le Beau was introduced on the big screen with her appearance as Lucette in "A, B, and C" and thoroughly entertained the audience for 75 minutes about her career, her life, and her outlook on life. For once, Dave Jones couldn't get a word in edgeways!
Clips were shown of some of her early TV appearances and films, but it was perhaps the talk of her early life escaping the Nazi concentration camps, and her recent motivational speaking work, which enthralled the audience the most. Bettine's personality and bright outlook on life are quite inspirational, not to mention how fabulous she looks at the amazing age of 76!
She also told a rather amusing joke which I can't repeat here!
After Bettine finished her interview, the two guests were reunited on stage for a signing session before enjoying dinner together in the main hotel.
Last but not least was the prizegiving. First up was David Mackenzie with the answer to the "Guess the number of Bricks in the Lego Unicorn cottage" competition, with Jo Roberts being the closest guesser and winning a Lego Mini Moke and Lotus Seven.
Last up was the prize raffle, with over twenty prizes up for grabs including signed books and prints, and DVDs.
Leslie Glen then took to the stage to annouce some official merchandise he is in the process of producing.
With night drawing in, those staying in the area stayed for drinks in the bar (and a faster than ever tidying up and clearing of the hall) and the other attendees made their way home. This year, for me, was one of the most enjoyable. Everyone as always commented on how friendly and inclusive of everyone the PM events had become, and the guests were simply delightful company.
Thanks everyone who attended and supported the event!
We are proud to announce that the total profit* from PM2008, and therefore donated to Ty Gobaith, is £506.29. We would like to thank everyone who attended and supported the event and helped to raise this total.
PM2008 - YOUR THOUGHTS
If you would like to tell us what you thought of the event, please email us and have your comments included here!
is just to say that we enjoyed PM 2008 as much as ever and many thanks to
yourself and everyone else who organised it!"
really enjoyed the weekend. We came up on Friday to have a pre-PM visit to
the village and the sun came out for us which made all the difference. It
was really noticeable how friendly everyone was. I like the down to earth
- no frills approach to the PM organisation - but still fun packed! I liked
the little merchandise stalls and the auction was fascinating (didn't win
anything though - doh!) Brilliant guests but unfortunately we had to set back
to Kent before the Bettine interview because we were working the next day.
Never mind. Hope you made lots of money for the charity - we were very impressed
with the fact that all proceeds went to a good cause."
again for your hard work in getting it all together."
on a wonderful day in at Portmeirion on Sunday 13th July, for PM2008. The
guests, screenings, items for sale and all the fantastic hard work the PM2008
team put in for the day's celebrations of McGoohan, "Danger Man",
"The Prisoner" and Portmeirion was wonderful. Well done to you all."
dropping you a few lines to thank you all for the hard work which made PM2008
an amazing day. Blessed as we were with such gorgeous weather, it couldn't
have been better. Robert Rietti and Bettine Le Beau were two marvellous guests,
each with a fund of stories. Bettine's zest for life is certainly infectious.
We could have sat and listened to them both for far longer than would have
fitted the schedule."
on yet another great event. We both enjoyed it. And it was great meeting up
with you again. The special guest were very entertaining - could've listened
to them for hours."
was a real pleasure to be a part of such a splendid event again. One of the
nicest aspects of every PM200x Day is how guests, organisers and the paying
visitors all get on with each other."
was fantastic i’ll be there next year without a doubt. The guests were
amazing and the MC funny as hell."
must say that it was nice to be at a Pris event without the scenario of ‘them’
and ‘us’. Without a hierarchy, I’m sure that people feel
a greater sense of community."
wanted to say thanks to Rick and the organisers for a wonderful day! It's
a shame we had to head off before the end to ensure we didn't get home too
late (early start the next day), but I had a brilliant time. The highlight
had to be Robert Rietti - he was an absolutely fascinating guest. Great also
to see Bob and be at his Wiffle launch, and the perfect ending was the guided
tour around Portmeirion. To top it off we had glorious sunshine, and even
saw some genuine summer heat shimmer coming off the tarmac of the piazza!
A beautiful summer's day in Portmeirion. You can't get better than that. Looking
forward to the next one"
was great to see the guests - they were both amazing."
had a really enjoyable day in the village. We are very happy to support the
event and will continue to do so. I thought both guests were very interesting
and very entertaining! I would like to thank you all for your efforts."
was great to be in the Village again as always. Must go there more often as
I only seem to visit there once a year for the PM events. The organizers and
helpers did a splendid job this year. Many thanks for asking Bettine the question
about her early life. I was very glad that she felt able to speak about it
to us, as it was most courageous of her and most interesting. Robert was very
interesting as well. I was most pleased to hear that Gregory Peck was so nice
to people as he has always been a favourite actor. I hope that you were able
to enjoy yourselves as well as you always put so much hard work into the event."
"Congratulations on another beautiful day."
"PM2008 was brilliant, the best yet, and the guests were superb in their contribution to the day and support for the childrens hospice. A very enjoyable day indeed."
"I thoroughly enjoyed PM2008, and I think the guest speakers did as well.
The fine weather was an added bonus. Thanks to you, and all the others involved
in putting it on, for organising it and all the effort you put into it."
is still wonderful that you continue to support us after so many years."
Ty Gobaith Children's Hospice.
"Thank you for a lovely weekend, everyone looked after us so well. Thanks
for being such lovely people."
you for a wonderful weekend in Portmeirion."
Bettine Le Beau
"Thanks for organising another great event."
for putting up with my 'wiffling', excellent event as ever."
Several signed items, and items of merchandise left over from the event such as event programmes and DVDs, are still available for purchase - click HERE for more details.
Event organisers Rick Davy, and Dave Jones would like to thank the following people for their help in making PM2008 such a success:
Bettine Le Beau, Robert Rietti, Bob Fischer, and Robert Fairclough for giving up their weekend to attend and support the event. Corina Owen, Robin Llywelyn, Sion Dobson-Jones and the staff of Portmeirion for their help in staging the event and their hospitality and hard work on the day. Patrick McGoohan and Larry Green for supporting the event. Granada Media for official sanctioning of the event for a 4th year running and for permission to screen items from their archive. Grant Taylor, Jaz Wiseman, Umbrella Entertainment, and The AV Channel for their kind permission to screen items from their DVDs, FOX for screening permission. Katrina Cameron of Hope House for allowing us to link up to the charity.
Simon Coward and Leslie Glen for obtaining screenings permission. Allan Young for chauffering the guests, Brian Watson for setting up the AV, CH and his able assistant for running the sound levels on the day and providing all the sound and lighting equipment. Howard Foy for running the guided tour and the door, David Mackenzie for his lego display, competition, and CDs. Giles Kendrick for filming the interviews. Erica Kendrick for helping out with the stall. Nigel Kitcher for designing and printing all the programmes free of charge, Alan Jones and David Mackenzie for the cover images, Lew Stringer for the cartoon. Peter Dunn for press liason, Spencer Peet, TV & Film Memorabilia Magazine, SFX Magazine for press support, and everyone who donated a raffle or auction item.
*Full detailed financial accounts for PM2008 can be found HERE.
PM2008 was an official independent event organised by The Unmutual Website, with the kind permission of Portmeirion and Granada Media. The event had no involvement whatsoever from any Society, group, or fan-club. Photos and text from this page may not be reproduced on any other website or in any publication without our expressed permission. Photos are © the individual photographers and The Unmutual Website 2008.