18th February 2004 saw the test launch in the West Country of The Prisoner: The Official Fact File, a new FULL COLOUR magazine and DVD/VHS partwork series from DeAgostini, publishers of Inspector Morse: The Complete Collection and The Carry On Film Collection. Like those two partwork series, The Prisoner: The Official Fact File magazine comes with either a DVD or a video of the particular episode featured that issue.

This is the first Prisoner magazine to be available from newsagents. It is also be available on subscription from the publishers, which is recommended, as WH Smith have a policy of stocking partworks on standing order only after six issues.

All 17 episodes will be detailed in the magazine, with in-depth articles examining all aspects of Patrick McGoohans celebrated fantasy. Features are categorised as The Prisoner Files, The Transport, The Characters, The Technology, Whos Who, The Outside World and The Locations, complemented by specially commissioned illustrations, CGI recreations of Village hardware, archive material, primary source interviews and a wealth of stills and screen grabs from the series. Robert Fairclough and Marcus Hearn are acting as consultants and writers on this exciting new project.

Issue 1 comes with a Village map accurate in every detail to the colour one seen in Arrival, produced by the printers of the Ordnance Survey books. Issue 2 comes with an exclusive, remastered DVD/VHS of the Danger Man film Koroshi. A binder for the Fact Files will be available later in the run.

Subscribers to the 17 issue set can choose from subscription gifts that include art prints of Jack Shampans production paintings and a revised and rebranded DVD/VHS release of The Prisoner: 35th Anniversary Prisoner Companion.

As reported above, the fortnightly magazine will only be available in the West Country area initially, but this is a common practice with partworks. If sales prove positive, a nationwide relaunch will follow, as did for DeAgostini's Inspector Morse partwork.

Another Carlton property, Thunderbirds, is also being published in this format , again accompanied with a DVD or video of an episode.

Visit the DeAgostini website at
My thanks to Rob Fairclough for this exclusive information.

Chris Johnson posted his enthusastic first impressions of the new magazine on the newsgroup:
"Absolutely bloody superb - Mind you I wouldn't have expected anything less of a product that has Rob Fairclough's input.
It's one of those collections where you get a bit from each section each month - so you break the mag up each month and file the respective pages in the correct departments in the binder:
Technology; Transport; Outside world; Locations; Lotus seven; Character.
The Free map with issue 1 is bigger than any map I've seen previously. The next issue promises something I'm particularly interested in - The KOROSHI feature on DVD - FREE !!
Also extras available for subscriptions look tasty -
1.DVD storage collection box
2.Lotus model !!
3.t shirt
4.jack shampan prints
5.oh and the er, er, Prisoner Companion (4 out of 5 ain't bad)
The general feel is (IMHO) Cards inc. styli
The DVD cases have images on the spines and form the classic image of 6 (looking back) in his Lotus from Arrival".
Click here to visit Chris Johnson's website
The tv preservation society The Mausoleum Club were also singing the praises of the new Prisoner DVD releases that accompany the magazine:

""I'd suggest that every Prisoner fan subscribe to these! Aside from the interest in the magazine (and some cool gifts such as a t-shirt that is actually stylish and a mini replica of the Lotus), there is something really cool...

Of interest to those DVD-philes, I can confirm that the DVD versions are completely reauthored especially for 1 episode per disc. The quality is a *HUGE* improvement over the Carlton set and the bitrate is very high, hovering around 8.5 mbs. I only just bought issue 2 for the Danger Man DVD and I've got issue 1 on backorder and plan to subscribe to the rest, just because the quality difference is so noticeable. I know 1 episode a disc for £7.99 is pushing it, and it'll be a 17 disc collection, but finally we have very well encoded Prisoner in region 2.

Did I mention what a huge improvement the picture quality is?
Remember when people used the title sequence with macro-blocked clouds to show how bad the encoding was in the R2 set? This title sequence now peaks at over 9mbs compared to the general level of 3mbs on the original. Please,please, support DeAgostini on this remaster!"

Several Prisoner fans took time out of their holiday in Portmeirion recently to compare the quality of the DeAgostini DVD's too. The colour and definition is definitely better than the Carlton releases, although not quite as good as the Prisoner DVD's released in Australia. However, all concerned agreed that the DeAgostini magazine and DVD package was well worth supporting!

UPDATE DECEMBER 2004: Great news! The test launch was a success, and the magazine has been given the go-ahead for a national re-leaunch. Visit our Main News Page for more info!!