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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:00

Persuaders!, The

Millionaire playboys hunting down action ...


UK - 1971-72 - 24 episodes (60 mins) - colour

The most ambitious of Lord Lew Grade's action adventure series, The Persuaders! also became his most expensive, as it ventured far beyond the studio backlot to film on location in Italy and the Cote d'Azur.

Devised by Robert S Baker, The Persuaders! saw English playboy aristocrat, Lord Brett Sinclair, and self-made American millionaire, Danny Wilde, brought together by a retired Judge who blackmails them into working for him to catch criminals the judicial system missed.

Originating from an episode of The Saint, "The Ex-King of Diamonds", produced earlier by Baker, which teamed the dapper Simon Templar with a brash Texan oil-millionaire (played by Stuart Damon) in a crime caper set on the French Riviera, The Persuaders! starred Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, who had become successful enough in their respective careers that the famous split-screen title sequence, accompanied by John Barry's theme tune, could simply bill them as CURTIS + MOORE. Their comfortable, odd-couple relationship redeemed the occasional formulaic plotting and condescending, sexist attitude toward women which seemed a reactionary backlash to growing feminism. Verbally sparring over the class and cultural divide, the performances of the actors, both excelling at light comedy, set the tone of the series and won the most plaudits.

Hugely successful in the many countries it had been pre-sold to, the show failed to make an impression in America, going up against a rampant Mission: Impossible in the schedules. With the United States growing increasingly lukewarm to their previous offerings, The Persuaders! became the last major 35mm film series produced by ITC.

Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde
Roger Moore as Lord Brett Sinclair
Laurence Naismith as Judge Fulton


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