La Rotisserie

Well Come

Royal Hibernian

The Duke

In the beginning

The Interview

roger goodman

Meeting Patrick McGoohan

La Rotisserie

It was 9.15 pm Wednesday 4th April 1979 when I enquired of the receptionist at the Royal Hibernian Hotel in the heart of the city of Dublin whether Mr and Mrs McGoohan were 'in'. There was no reply from their room, No. 3A, but the porter suggested that I try the hotel's restaurant next door, La Rotisserie, or, failing that, the bar 'The Duke' just around the corner.

The head waiter at La Rotisserie greeted me with a smile, but I could already see over his shoulder at the first alcove a beautiful woman whom I felt had to be Mrs Joan McGoohan. The waiter confirmed my suspicion and at once I was face to face with the Prisoner himself, Patrick McGoohan.

'Is it Roger?' he asked mildly yet earnestly, rising from his seat and shaking hands.

Immediately the media image of a craggy, sharp-spoken loner dissolved, for here was a man who was welcoming, enquiring, endearing, with whom I felt at ease, as though he were an old friend or a long lost travelling companion - after all we have both spent a lot of time on THE PRISONER. His wife too was serene, smiling, intrigued and intriguing.

Although they had just finished their meal and were about to leave, Patrick called for the waiter to lay a third place for me and recommended the Dover sole - he liked the special way it was grilled here. I accepted his advice and he ordered the sole and a gin and tonic for himself. He lit a Dunhill cigarette.

The conversation centred around THE PRISONER. What do we do next? A second series? A one-off special? 'Start with No. 1 and work backwards?' suggested Patrick mischievously. I reminded him of the people I had talked to over the past two years who were still prepared to work with him again even after thirteen years. He was humourously dismissive of George Markstein ('George who?'), Kenneth Griffith ('He owes me some money'), and Frank Maher ('Fearless Frank') - these were all said smilingly. And he remembered warmly and admiringly David Tomblin ('brilliant'), Bernard Williams ('reliable'), and Leo McKern, recalling his nervous breakdown during the filming and his courageous return to the set after treatment. He was obviously a man who had a great capacity for affection for those who appealed to him.

I finished the sole. Patrick signed the check, and we adjourned to The Duke, an unostentatious Dublin bar in the adjoining street where he seemed to feel at home. He had no fondness for night spots frequented by fellow professionals, but preferred to keep close company with friends in intimate surroundings.

Patrick insisted on buying the first round, a local Irish whisky for himself, a sherry for his wife, and the conversation ranged further afield.

Patrick McGoohan 1b