TV Times talks to Sir Ian McKellen about ITV1’s The Prisoner, a remake of the classic Sixties sci-fi series TV series…

So what drew you to the new version?
“Well, I enjoyed its first manifestation. And when I read the new script, I thought it was much more intriguing than the original.”

Why do you think the first one became such a cult?
“Compared with anything else at the time, it was startlingly original. And It was charismatically performed by McGoohan. It was sinister and for people who got hooked, it became more and more fascinating as the scripts teased the audience – but it never satisfied them with what it was all about.”

So what is different in this remake?
“One of the points about this series is that you find out what it’s all about at the end. In the original, there was this fear that Britain might become Communist – that we’d all be made the same, apparently free, but locked up. This is more about a state of mind.”

Did you have any hairy moments when filming?
“Yes on my day off. I was quad biking in the dunes when I got to the top of a curve, swung round and fell off the bike! As I rolled in the sand, the bike flipped down the dune, nearly doing me a catastrophic injury. It missed me by inches. I just wish someone had caught it on video.”

What exactly is the Village this time round?
“I couldn’t possibly say! But I think a fair question to ask would be, “Does the Village actually exist?” That would be my teaser question to the audience watching. I’m not going to say any more. I think I’ve said quite enough already!”

*The Prisoner premieres on ITV1 on Saturday, April 17