Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Angelo Muscat

There were only two constant character's in Patrick McGoohan's cult Tv series The prisoner – his own, Number Six, and the mute butler at Number Two's residence. There'd be a new Number Two each episode, with one or two coming back (most notably Leo McKern), but the butler remained throughout.

Even the security/monitoring room Supervisor (played by Peter Swanwick) didn't last the whole series, which was a little disappointing: who can forget his calls of "Orange alert!" In fact, he was in just eight of the seventeen episodes...

He was played by Malta-born diminutive actor Angelo Muscat, who also played an Oompa Loompa in the original Willy Wonka film and a few other parts besides, mostly uncredited. He died in 1977 at the all-too-young age of just 47, just six years after the Wonka movie was released.

I was sad to stumle upon tthis bit of information, because in common with millions of other viewers (I am sure) I had developed an easy liking for the little fellow who never said anything, but was always there and knew just what to do. You couldn't help but like the butler, even though technically he was part of 'the establishment' behind The Village and all for which it stood.

He just seemed to be above it all, somehow, regardless of what we knew intellectually; and much of this must be down to Angelo's perfect personification of his character. If others were anything like me, they too must have been sufficiently intrigued to have watched carefully to find out who he was, during the closing credits when we were supposed to be watching the assembly of the (very stylish) penny-farthing bicycle and 'Rover's appearance at the end

He was unforgettable, especially as that particular character, so will live on in our memories, especially as The Prisoner is re-shown on one channel or another every few years and probably always will be.

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