IN TRUTH, one big long prelude to infinitely superior THE PRISONER, itself supposedly inspired by lead star PATRICK MCGOOHAN’s frustrations at working on this series and being constant plaything of Lord Lew “World Charleston Champion 1926” Grade. McGoohan played John Drake, roving NATO operative assigned to an assortment of back projections around the world. Deliberately “uptight” bloke – drank little, said less. Influence of Bond films prompted revamp away from half hour playlets into bigger budget 60 minute yarns replete with increased gadget count, and McGoohan re-assigned to makebelieve MI9. Also gained interfering boss figure, Hobbs (PETER MADDEN). Long service ultimately gave McGoohan enough leverage with the man Grade to realise his weather balloon fantasies.