The Prisoner is one of television's great achievements. Above is the rarely seen documentary Six Into One, which tells the story of that program.
he actor Patrick McGoohan had been kicking around ideas for a new television series when writer George Markstein told him about Inverlair Lodge in Scotland. The Lodge had been used by Special Operations Executive during the Second World War as “a detention or internment camp” for those individuals who refused to take part in covert operations “once they became aware of the full details.”
Some were unable to kill when the occasion was reduced to a one-on-one scenario, as opposed the anonymity of a battlefield exchange. With information being released on a Need to Know basis, their training meant that they were in possession of highly classified and secret information relating to pending missions, and could not be allowed to return to public life, where a careless remark could have compromised their secrecy.
As Markstein later explained the residents were:
...largely people who had been compromised. They had reached the point in their career where they knew too much to be let loose, but they hadn’t actually done anything wrong. They weren’t in any way traitors, they hadn’t betrayed anything, but in their own interest it was better if they were kept safely.
Inverlair Lodge was also known as “No. 6 Special Workshop School.” McGoohan was intrigued by the idea and began developing a series idea set in a similar internment camp, The Prisoner...
The Ontario Education Communications Authority did presented the series in the 1970's, with insightful commentary from Warner Troyer, who did this interview with the show's star and co-creator Patrick McGoohan at the conclusion: