|Also known as||See list|
|Created by||Robert S. Baker|
|Theme music composer||John Barry|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||24 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Robert S. Baker|
|Producer(s)||Roger Moore (uncredited)|
|Running time||49 mins|
|Production company(s)||Television Reporters International
|Picture format||Film 35mm 4:3 Colour|
|Original run||17 September 1971 – 25 February 1972|
The Persuaders! is a 1971 action/adventure series, produced by ITC Entertainment for initial broadcast on ITV and ABC. It has been called "the last major entry in the cycle of adventure series that had begun eleven years earlier with Danger Man in 1960", as well as "the most ambitious and most expensive of Sir Lew Grade's international action adventure series". The Persuaders Series was filmed in France, Italy and England between May 1970 and June 1971.
Despite its focus on the British and American markets, the show was popular elsewhere. It won its highest awards from Australia and Spain, while Roger Moore and Tony Curtis were decorated in Germany and France for their acting. It persists in the memory of European filmmakers and audiences, having been casually referenced in 21st century productions from Sweden, France, Britain and Germany.
It starred Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde, and Roger Moore as Brett Rupert George Robert Mark Anthony Andrew Sinclair, 15th Earl of Marnock, erroneusly referred to through most of the series by his courtesy title of Lord Brett Sinclair, two international playboys. Sinclair is an English aristocrat who attended Harrow and Oxford before serving as an officer in a Guards regiment and then becoming a Grand Prix driver and race horse owner. Wilde is an American who grew up in poverty in the Bronx before serving as an ordinary seaman in the US navy and then making (and losing) several fortunes on Wall Street, at least one of them in the oil industry. Both are jet-setting, London-based multi-millionaires at the time of the series.
Much of the humour of the show derived from playful observations about the differences between British and American customs. The show ended after one season, in consequence of failing to make an impact on US TV, thereby releasing Roger Moore to star in the popular Bond films. Roger Moore had been directly involved in the production of the series, and the need for an American co-star was deemed by all imperative to ensure a television release in the USA. An overture to Rock Hudson was rejected, as it was by second choice Glenn Ford. A list of candidates was then sought from ABC America. Tony Curtis agreed to the series project and flew into England in April 1970 to commence location filming, only to create headlines of a different type by way of his arrest at Heathrow Airport for possession of cannabis. He was fined £50.
Cast and characters 
The Persuaders! are two equally-matched men from different backgrounds who reluctantly team together to solve cases which the courts cannot.
- Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) is a rough diamond, educated and moulded in the back slums of New York City, who escaped by enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He later became a millionaire in the oil business. (Curtis himself suffered a tough childhood in the Bronx, and served in the US Navy. He was 46 when he made The Persuaders, but he performed all his own stunts and fight sequences.)
- Lord Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) is a polished Harrow and Oxford educated British aristocrat; a former British Army officer and an ex-racing car driver, who addresses his comrade-in-arms as "Daniel".
Now globe-trotting playboys, the men meet on holiday in the French Riviera, instantly disliking each other and destroying a hotel bar with their fist-fight. Arrested, they are delivered to retired Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith) who offers them the choice of spending ninety days in jail or helping him right errors of impunity. Grudgingly, Wilde and Sinclair agree to help solve Fulton's initial case. He then releases them from any threat of jail.
The men develop a sparing affection for each other, and are soon stumbling into more adventures: sometimes by chance, sometimes due again to Judge Fulton. Although the Judge recurs in the series, he has no formal relationship with his two agents. Several episodes depict his finding a way to convince Wilde and Sinclair to act on his behalf. For instance, in "Angie, Angie" he easily convinces one of the pair. In "The Man in the Middle" he endangers his agents, so that they must act in his behalf. When they are short of cash, he lures them with money. In "Powerswitch", he manipulates events from the shadows, with Sinclair and Wilde not knowing of the Judge's involvement.
In episode 12, "That's Me Over There", it appears that Sinclair has had a longstanding interest in crime-fighting, as he has had installed a dedicated telephone line for an informer on a master criminal. In episode 17, "Five Miles to Midnight", he tells Joan Collins' character that he personally works for the Judge because it has given him something worthwhile to do after his failed motor racing career; Wilde never reveals nor explains his reasons.
Signature elements 
Besides the premise and the characters, The Persuaders is distinguished from other television series by signature elements: the title sequence and the cars of the protagonists.
Title sequence 
The Persuaders! titles and synthesiser theme, by John Barry establish the background and current identities of the protagonists via split-screen narrative technique: two folders, one red, one blue, labelled Danny Wilde and Brett Sinclair simultaneously narrate their lives. As the biographies approach their current ages, a series of four short sequences combine live footage with torn newspaper clippings, connoting their excitingly peripatetic lifestyles. The conclusion shows them together enjoying a life of sport, drink, women, and gambling. The titles were specifically designed so that neither actor would appear to have top billing, something both Moore and Curtis stipulated when they agreed to co-star.
The title sequence retains a cinematic technique cachet among professional film editors. In 1995, Peugeot released an advertisement for the 306 car, with the theme of the opening title sequence, the split screen process and even the voice of Michel Roux, who dubbed Tony Curtis in the original series. In 2007, France 2 satirically used it to introduce a report about relations between the newly-elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his first Prime Minister François Fillon.
The protagonists drive signature cars: Danny Wilde drives a Red left-hand-drive Ferrari Dino 246 GT, Brett Sinclair drives a UK-registered Bahama Yellow right-hand-drive Aston Martin DBS with V8 wheels and markings. As with Simon Templar (Roger Moore's character from The Saint television series), Lord Brett Sinclair's car has personalised number plates of his initials; Templar’s were "ST 1", Sinclair’s are "BS 1" (Except for one scene in the episode "The Gold Napoleon" where the car had its original UK registration number PPP 6H instead). In fact, the true owner of the plates at the time, Billy Smart, Jr. permitted their fictional use. The Aston Martin from the show was sold by the factory after filming ended, via HR Owen in London, to its first private owner. It was restored to a very high standard in recent years by the Aston Martin factory and is still in private ownership in the UK. Danny Wilde’s car bears Italian registration plates, 221400.MO (the 'MO' component represents the city of Modena, which happens to be the headquarters and manufacturing base of Ferrari). The exact whereabouts of the Dino today is unknown, but it is reliably believed to be alive and well in Italy with a private owner.
Both cars were provided to the show's producers courtesy of the respective vehicle manufacturers.
The concept of The Persuaders| originated in one of the final episodes of The Saint titled "The Ex-King of Diamonds", wherein Simon Templar (Moore) is partnered with a Texas oilman (Stuart Damon) in a Monte Carlo gambling adventure. Liking that combination, Robert S. Baker and Lew Grade funded a new series. Unusually, production of the series began and continued without contracts among the producers and Moore. Moreover, Moore's role as producer is not obvious from watching the series, but Curtis confirmed the fact: "Roger was always like the host with the show, because it was his company that was producing it. I would say he was the largest independent owner of it; Roger and his company owned it with Bob Baker, and Sir Lew owned the rest of it."
At the time, the twenty-four episode The Persuaders! was the most expensive British television series produced, each episode costing £100,000, ( 2007:£1,800,000 ) for location filming in France, Spain, Sweden, and Italy, and star salaries. One of the series' unusual production aspects was that Roger Moore was — officially and practically — his own wardrobe artist, stemming from genuine sartorial interest and marketing his line of clothes by the Pearson and Foster firm.
Curtis and Moore relationship 
There is much speculation about the professional relationship between Roger Moore and Tony Curtis on- and off-set. In her autobiography Second Act, Joan Collins detailed how they did not get along when she was a guest star. She cited Curtis' foul temper for why the set of the "Five Miles to Midnight" episode was tense. Episode director Val Guest, in a 2005 interview to the British Film Institute, confirmed Collins' assessment of Curtis:
Yes, it was great fun doing The Persuaders, despite Tony Curtis. [laughter] I'll tell you a funny story about that:
- "Tony was on pot at the time, and I used to have to say 'Oh, go and have a smoke'm', because he always had some gripe of some kind, and, one day, we were shooting on the Croisette, in Cannes, and we’d been roped off our little thing, and there were crowds all around watching us film and everything, and Tony Curtis came down to do his scene and he was just carrying on at the wardrobe saying, 'You didn’t do this, and you should have done that... and in Hollywood you would have been fired....' And dear Roger Moore walked over, took him by the lapels, looked him straight in the eyes and said, 'And to think those lips once kissed Piper Laurie'. [laughter] Well, the whole of the Croisette collapsed, the unit collapsed, and, I must say, even Tony had to laugh, but we were asked to do another... we got the award that year for the best TV series, I think it was, and they wanted to do a repeat, and I remember Roger saying, 'With Tony Curtis, not on your life', and he went on to become James Bond, so he did all right."—Val Guest, Director
In his autobiography, Still Dancing, Lew Grade notes that the actors "didn't hit it off all that well", because of different work ethics. Despite third-party claims, Curtis and Moore consistently maintained they had an amicable working relationship. Moore says: "Tony and I had a good on- and off-screen relationship, we are two very different people, but we did share a sense of humour".
In a 2005 interview, Curtis referred to Moore with affection and revealed he would not participate in a remake of The Persuaders! without Moore.
UK and US 
Lew Grade was always keen to break into the American TV market, which is why he kept coming up with series featuring American actors (Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, The Baron). Failure to do so would often lead to cancellation. But The Persuaders made little impact in the US, where it aired opposite Mission: Impossible on Saturday nights. It was very much a case of "mission impossible" for the British series to "persuade" audiences to switch over despite the fact that Impossible was itself not in the top 30 of all programs in 1971. The show was pulled by ABC before all 24 episodes were shown.
Four pairs of episodes from the series were re-edited into four individual TV movies for the ITC American market, entitled The Switch, Mission: Monte Carlo, Sporting Chance and London Conspiracy. A fifth episode pairing was planned, simply entitled The Persuaders, but never completed. This format, too, did little to spark American interest.
In Britain, the show fared much better, placing easily in the top 20 of all shows in 1971.
International markets 
Despite the American disappointment, the series sold well outside the UK and US, which allowed it to be profitable soon after principal photography was completed. Beyond simply making the initial sale, the series was popular with viewers in Continental Europe, especially in Germany, Denmark, France, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Hungary and Italy, where it is still regularly repeated. For instance, DR2 in Denmark rebroadcast the entire series on weekday early evenings during Spring 2012.
Redubbed versions 
Die Zwei, the German version of The Persuaders, became a cult hit in Germany. This was largely because the dubbing was substantively altered creating a completely different program. In France Amicalement vôtre (Yours, Friendly) also became a popular show because it was based on the redubbed German version instead of the English original.
The German dubbing was "a unique mixture of street slang and ironic tongue-in-cheek remarks" and that it "even mentioned Lord Sinclair becoming 007 on one or two occasions". Dialogue frequently broke the fourth wall with lines like "Junge, lass doch die Sprüche, die setzen ja die nächste Folge ab!" (Quit the big talk, lad, or they'll cancel the series) or "Du musst jetzt etwas schneller werden, sonst bist Du nicht synchron" (Talk faster, you aren't in sync any more).
Research from the University of Hamburg notes the only common elements between Die Zwei and The Persuaders! is they use the same imagery. Other than the "the linguistic changes entailed by the process of translation result in radically different characterizations of the protagonists of the series. The language use in the translations is characterized by a greater degree of sexual explicitness and verbal violence as well as an unveiled pro-American attitude, which is not found in the source texts".
In 2006 a news story by CBS News on the German dubbing industry mentioned The Persuaders! The report discovered that many German dubbing artists believed that "staying exactly true to the original is not always the highest aim". Rainer Brandt, co-ordinator of the German dubbing of The Persuaders and Tony Curtis' dubbing voice, said "This spirit was invoked by the person who oversaw the adaption and also performed Tony Curtis' role: When a company says they want something to be commercially successful, to make people laugh, I give it a woof. I make them laugh like they would in a Bavarian beer garden." 
Other researchers suggest international versions of The Persuaders! were given different translations simply because the original English series would not have made sense to local audiences. For instance the nuanced differences between the accents and manners of Tony Curtis, the American self-made millionaire Danny Wild from the Brooklyn slums, and Roger Moore, the most polished British Lord Sinclair, would be hard to convey to foreign viewers. Argentinian academic Sergio Viaggio commented "how could it have been preserved in Spanish? By turning Curtis into a low class Caracan and Moore into an aristocratic Madrileño? Here not even the approach that works with My Fair Lady would be of any avail; different sociolects of the same vernacular will not do—much less in subtitling, where all differences in accent are irreparably lost".
Ongoing popularity 
In the UK, the series has had re-runs on Channel 4, Granada Plus, Bravo and ITV4 in the 1990s and 2000s. When the pilot episode, Overture, was screened as part of Channel 4's nostalgia strand TV Heaven in 1992, series' host, comedy writer Frank Muir, said in a Radio Times interview that The Persuaders "must have been the best bad series ever made... absolute hokum". However, BBC Radio 5 presenter Dave Aldridge later asked: "Was seventies TV really this good?"
The series is annually shown on German TV.
Episode list 
|Ep #||Prod #||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original airdate|
|1||101||"Overture"||Basil Dearden||Brian Clemens||17 September 1971|
|Mysterious invitations lead millionaire playboys Danny Wilde and Lord Brett Sinclair to Monte Carlo, where a beautiful girl (Imogen Hassall) holds the key to a crime syndicate that appears to be operating with a dead boss. Olivia Mela is the blonde in the purple bikini.|
|2||106||"The Gold Napoleon"||Roy Ward Baker||Val Guest||24 September 1971|
|3||108||"Take Seven"||Sidney Hayers||Terry Nation||1 October 1971|
|When a supposedly dead man reappears to claim his inheritance, a beautiful aristocrat (Sinéad Cusack) asks Brett and Danny to expose him as an imposter.|
|4||111||"Greensleeves"||David Greene||Terence Feeley||8 October 1971|
|Lord Sinclair is cast to impersonate himself when a mysterious group takes over his long-unused family estate to play host to an African leader (Cy Grant), and finds he must trust to his old school motto: "Consilio et prudentia" ('translated' as: sneaky is best!)|
|5||105||"Powerswitch"||Basil Dearden||John Kruse||15 October 1971|
|A mysterious drowning leads Brett to a beautiful dancer (Annette Andre), and a man who appears to be an old business associate of Danny's.|
|6||117||"The Time and the Place"||Roger Moore||Michael Pertwee||22 October 1971|
|No one will believe that Danny has found a veteran political journalist dead at the country estate of a right-wing British politician (Ian Hendry), when the "corpse" appears to be alive and well.|
|7||109||"Someone Like Me"||Roy Ward Baker||Terry Nation||29 October 1971|
|Danny wants to meet Brett's reclusive multi-millionaire friend (Bernard Lee), but someone abducts Brett and places him in a mysterious hospital where a deadly operation is planned to create a perfect double of him.|
|8||116||"Anyone Can Play"||Leslie Norman||Tony Williamson||5 November 1971|
|Danny thinks he cannot lose when he plays his new betting system in an English casino, but while there he's mistaken for the paymaster of a very different system.|
|9||107||"The Old, the New, and the Deadly"||Leslie Norman||Brian Clemens||12 November 1971|
Danny is mistaken for a blackmailer who is the target of both a cruel French Count (Patrick Troughton) and the beautiful daughter (Anna Gaël) of a disgraced politician. Special Note : In a hotel room scene, Danny rushes from the bathroom to answer the telephone - "Hello ... yes long distance ... huh. No, this is not Mr Schwartz ... you got the wrong room, you" - whilst a gunman simultaneously knocks at the door.Bernard Schwartz was the original birth name of Tony Curtis.
|10||104||"Angie, Angie..."||Val Guest||Milton S. Gelman||19 November 1971|
|Bullets fly on the French Riviera when Danny encounters Angie (Larry Storch), his childhood buddy from the old neighbourhood, whose path to retirement may mean a deadly retirement for Danny.|
|11||110||"Chain of Events"||Peter Hunt||Terry Nation||26 November 1971|
|Danny gets himself chained to an attaché case intended for the British Secret Service (George Baker, Suzanna Leigh), and pursued by deadly Iron Curtain agents (Peter Vaughn et al.) who want the case back and the courier dead.|
|12||120||"That's Me Over There"||Leslie Norman||Brian Clemens||3 December 1971|
|With Brett kidnapped by henchmen (Allan Cuthbertson, Peter Gilmore, Neil Hallett) of his nemesis (Geoffrey Keen), Danny must impersonate Brett to get key evidence from an endangered informant (Suzan Farmer).|
|13||118||"The Long Goodbye"||Roger Moore||Michael Pertwee||10 December 1971|
|Fulton sends the boys to Scotland, where they find a wrecked plane, a dead scientist, and a formula for cheap synthetic fuel which attracts deadly interest - plus a string of beautiful girls, all claiming to be the late inventor's heiress.|
|14||124||"The Man in the Middle"||Leslie Norman||Donald James||17 December 1971|
|Fulton persuades Brett to help identify a traitor in British Intelligence; but when Brett and Danny fall foul of MI5 agent Kay (Suzy Kendall), Brett's untrustworthy cousin Archie (Terry-Thomas) must save the day.|
|15||114||"Element of Risk"||Gerald Mayer||Tony Barwick||24 December 1971|
|Brett must extricate Danny when he's mistaken for an American criminal mastermind (Shane Rimmer) whose suave confederate (Peter Bowles) is planning a gold heist.|
|16||119||"A Home of One's Own"||James Hill||Terry Nation||31 December 1971|
|Danny gets more than he bargains for when his newest acquisition, an English country cottage, proves to house a deadly secret. Actress Hannah Gordon guest stars.|
|17||103||"Five Miles to Midnight"||Val Guest||Terry Nation||7 January 1972|
|In Rome, a Mafia hitman is on the run from the Mob after offering to turn state's evidence. Fulton asks Brett and Danny to get him out of the country, but when a beautiful photographer (Joan Collins) gets involved the boys find themselves in a shooting war.|
|18||122||"Nuisance Value"||Leslie Norman||David Rolfe and Tony Barwick||14 January 1972|
|When the spoiled daughter (Vivienne Ventura) of an immensely wealthy man is apparently kidnapped, Danny and Brett discover the unsuspected perils of double-dating, when suspicion of being behind the kidnapping falls on them!|
|19||113||"The Morning After"||Leslie Norman||Walter Black||21 January 1972|
|Lord Brett wakes up from a wild party in Stockholm with a hangover - and a wife (Catherine Schell)! When the validity of the marriage is confirmed, Danny pursues clues that point to a Scandinavian diplomat (Griffith Jones) and a political conspiracy.|
|20||121||"Read and Destroy"||Roy Ward Baker||Peter Yeldham||28 January 1972|
|When Brett's friend Felix (Joss Ackland) has woman trouble (with guest star Kate O'Mara), Brett and Danny are drawn into a deceptive game of espionage, as ex-spy Felix tries to publish his memoirs.|
|21||123||"A Death in the Family"||Sydney Hayers||Terry Nation||4 February 1972|
|Someone is killing off Brett's aristocratic relatives one by one, and unless he and Danny can identify the murderer the next name on the family tomb will be his own. Guest starring Denholm Elliott. (In a homage to Alec Guinness in the 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets, Roger Moore plays three different members of the Sinclair family.)|
|22||112||"The Ozerov Inheritance"||Roy Ward Baker||Harry W. Junkin||11 February 1972|
|Grand Duchess Ozerov (Gladys Cooper) seeks Lord Brett's help in saving her family jewels; but her lovely granddaughter, the Princess Alexandra (Prunella Ransome), is not the only discovery the boys make when doing genealogical research.|
|23||102||"To the Death, Baby"||Basil Dearden||Donald James||18 February 1972|
|Brett and Danny try to save a beautiful heiress (Jennie Linden) who is the target of a slippery con man (Terence Morgan); but there are other potential targets the boys have not considered, including some menacing Spaniards (Roger Delgado et al.).|
|24||115||"Someone Waiting"||Peter Medak||Terry Nation||25 February 1972|
|Pursuing a beautiful ingénue (Penelope Horner), Brett and Danny are drawn into a multi-faceted affair with deadly implications when Brett resumes his motor racing career and an unknown saboteur seeks to wreck the next race.|
Feature films 
Eight episodes were combined as four feature film compilations but not shown in cinema:
- London Conspiracy from "A Home of One's Own" and "Greensleeves"
- Mission: Monte Carlo from "Powerswitch" and "The Gold Napoleon"
- Sporting Chance from "Someone Waiting" and "Anyone Can Play"
- The Switch from "The Ozerov Inheritance" and "Angie, Angie..."
DVD releases 
The entire series was remastered for DVD release in Europe in 2001.
A&E Home Video released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in 2 volume sets in 2003/2004.
In 2006, because of its popularity in Britain, a 9-Disc DVD special edition boxed set was released, with extra material to the complete, uncut, re-mastered twenty-four episode series.
In December 2010, Network DVD announced that Chain of Events would feature on a Blu-Ray disc of individual ITC episodes to be released in February 2011[dated info], with a Blu-Ray set of the entire Persuaders! series to follow later in the year. In September 2011, the Region B blu-ray box set containing all remastered, restored episodes of The Persuaders was released to considerable praise from reviewers.
- Winner - Logie Award 1972 Best Overseas Drama (Australia)
- Winner - TP de Oro Award 1973 Best Foreign Series (Spain)
- Winner - Bambi 1973 for Curtis and Moore (Germany)
A motion picture was announced in 2005 with Steve Coogan and Ben Stiller. In 2007 Hugh Grant and George Clooney were later announced as the stars with Stiller attached as producer. The film was slated for a December 2008 release.
- Chapman, James. Saints & Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s. I.B. Tauris. 2002. Chapter 10.
- The Persuaders! at Television Heaven
- The Persuaders! IMDB awards page
- The Persuaders! IMDB movie connections page
- Lord Brett Sinclair is a courtesy title. The episode "Take Seven" seems to contradict this in showing Brett wearing the robes of a peer of the realm, meaning his is more than just a courtesy title. The matter is resolved in the episode "The Ozerov Inheritance", in which Brett's full name is given as " Brett Rupert George Robert Andrew Sinclair, Earl of Marnock", and it is confirmed that his grandfather was the 13th Earl. Since he would have been entitled to be called "Lord Brett Sinclair" as a courtesy title until he inherited the earldom, and he is seen to still be called this name as an earl, it seems likely that he simply wishes to continue to be known by the same name, although other variations he would be allowed to use include the Earl of Marnock, Lord Marnock or informally, Brett Marnock.
- All of these biographical details come from the show's opening sequence, apart from Wilde having "made (and lost) several fortunes", which is from Judge Fulton's dialogue in the "Overture" episode.
- John Barry at soundtrackcollector.com
- The Persuaders! title sequence on Youtube
- France 2 news , Thursday 17 May 2007
- Chapman, Giles. TV Cars: Star cars from the world of television. Haynes. 2006.
- The Persuaders! trivia page at IMDB
- Alan Davidson explains Moore as wardrobe artist on The Persuaders!
- Val Guest interviewed at the BFI
- Tony Curtis talks to Roger Moore's official website
- US TV ratings for the 1971-72 season
- British TV ratings for the 1970s by year
- Passages from The Persuaders! Book 2
- Forum remarks at commanderbond.net
- Baumgarten, Nicole (2005). "The Secret Agent: Film dubbing and the influence of the English language on German communicative preferences". Theorie und Praxis der Filmsynchronisation: 32.
- "Doubling as 'Dubbers". CBS News. 28 September 2006.
- Viaggio, Sergio (2006). A General Theory of interlingual Mediation. Frank & Timme. p. 258.
- History of ITV
- "Coogan to star in new Persuaders". BBC News (BBC). 8 June 2005. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- Walden, Celia (19 May 2007). "Clooney and Grant star in The Persuaders film". Telegraph.co.uk (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- The Persuaders! at the Internet Movie Database
- Cult TV
- Titles & Air Dates Guide
- Official Persuaders appreciation society
- Television Heaven
- The Theme LP
- retro-Action Volume 1 Network DVD Blu-Ray release.