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FANS of the cult '60s TV series The Prisoner are dismayed by reports that new episodes of the show will not be filmed in Portmeirion, Gwynedd.

The Italianate hotel complex provided the setting for the original series, starring Patrick McGoohan.

But plans by Sky to make a new series are thought to favour filming the show, which features a secret agent held captive in a mystery village, at an exotic foreign location.

Roger Langley, head of the official prisoner appreciation society Six of One, called it a "great pity" that the new show will snub Portmeirion.

"I'm sorry to hear that Portmeirion is not going to be used. The series was good because different issues were dealt with in each episode, but it was set in the same village.

"The village was a microcosm of society and represented the global scene. Portmeirion gave you the outward beauty and you got the sinister interior from MGM's Borehamwood studio set.

"I would certainly like to see one episode of the new series filmed in Portmeirion." The new series, which will be made by Granada for Sky One, is set to star former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston in the lead role as Number Six.

Portmeirion manager director Robin Llywelyn said he could understand the production company's reasons for wanting to find an alternative location for the new show.

He said, "I don't think it's necessarily surprising. They're trying to recreate the theme of the original, and Portmeirion featured in the original as a village with a mystery location. But now everyone knows where Portmeirion is, so it could not be used in the same way.

"Portmeirion is now so well-known you wouldn't have that element of 'Where am I?'"

And Mr Llywelyn believes any new series can only be good for his hotel complex - even if it is set abroad.

"It will still be good for Portmeirion because it will bring a new generation back to the series, who may then seek out the old one.

"And the old one is a classic show and will remain so. If it's set abroad it won't affect visitors here. About 10% of our visitors come here because of connections with the series.

"A new series would bring more, not less, visitors."

Portmeirion was built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis 80 years ago off the coast of Snowdonia to show how "the development of a naturally beautiful site need not lead to its defilement".

He acquired the site in 1925 for less than £5,000 as it was then, just "neglected wilderness", before transforming it into one of Wales' best-known tourist attractions.
 

Source: http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/


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