I should probably be ashamed to mention that, despite being a British sci-fi fan, I have never watched The Prisoner. By which I mean that I’ve never sat down to watch all 17 episodes from start to finish, although I have seen the occasional individual episode and numerous clips over the years.

Recently I decided to correct this anomaly, and tried to watch it. I found that it was listed for streaming on Lovefilm (a UK video streaming and DVD rental company, owned by Amazon). As I have an active Lovefilm subscription and both a TV and Blu-ray player that have Lovefilm applications I looked forward to being able to watch it on a television in the comfort of my living room.

Except I couldn’t find it (The Prisoner, not my living room).

I double-checked their website and, sure enough, it was listed as available to watch on “Lovefilm Instant” – their streaming service. So I checked the TV and blu-ray again, manually wading through all the likely categories after the search options failed me. Still no sign of it.

I emailed their support department, only to be told that their license for The Prisoner only allowed them to stream it via a web browser. Unfortunately their web interface required Microsoft Silverlight, so is not available on my Linux box. So despite paying for a Lovefilm subscription, and owning two Lovefilm Instant capable players, I couldn’t watch a 1967 programme due to some ridiculous licensing deal which means they can send a stream of bits to Windows and MacOS computers, but not to a Linux machine, nor even to hardware running their own streaming apps.

No wonder people resort to piracy.

Cette bande dessinée est aussi disponible en français
This comic is also available in French

Click here to download the SVG source for this comic

↓ Transcript
[A grey, dressed as Patrick McGoohan from "The Prisoner", is spoken to by a voice from outside the frame]

Voice: You are number 6.

Grey: I am not a number, I am a free man!

[Scene shows that the Grey is standing at a deli counter, holding a ticket with number 6 on it. The voice was that of the woman behind the counter]

Woman: Well, if you're going to be like that dearie, I'll serve the next customer instead!