The Protectors

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This article is about the 1970s UK TV series. For 2008-2010 Danish TV series, see The Protectors (Danish TV series).
For other uses, see Protector.
The Protectors
Alt=Series title over an image of Robert Vaughn and the Houses of Parliament
Genre Action
Created by Gerry Anderson
Starring Tony Anholt
Anthony Chinn
Yasuko Nagazumi
Nyree Dawn Porter
Robert Vaughn
Theme music composer Mitch Murray
Peter Callender
Opening theme "Avenues and Alleyways" Instrumental
Ending theme "Avenues and Alleyways" sung by Tony Christie
Composer(s) John Cameron
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) Gerry Anderson
Reg Hill
Editor(s) Mike Campbell
David Lane
Bert Rule
John S. Smith
Cinematography Brendan J. Stafford
Frank Watts
Camera setup Single
Running time 25 mins approx. per episode
(excluding advertisements)
Production company(s) Group Three Productions
Distributor ITC Entertainment
Original network ATV
Picture format Film (16 and 35 mm) 4:3 Colour
Audio format Mono
Original release 29 September 1972 (1972-09-29) – 15 March 1974 (1974-03-15)

The Protectors is a British television series, an action thriller created by Gerry Anderson. It was Anderson's second TV series using live actors as opposed to marionettes, and also his second to be firmly set in contemporary times (following The Secret Service). It was also the only Gerry Anderson produced television series that was not of the fantasy or science fiction genres. It was produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment production company. Despite not featuring marionettes or any real science fiction elements, The Protectors became one of Anderson's most popular productions, easily winning a renewal for a second season. A third season was in the planning stages when Brut, the show's major sponsor pulled out, forcing its cancellation.

The Protectors first broadcast in 1972 and 1973, and ran to 52 episodes over two series, each 25 minutes long - making it one of the last series of this type to be produced in a half-hour format. It starred Robert Vaughn (of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. fame) as Harry Rule, Nyree Dawn Porter (The Forsyte Saga) as the Contessa Caroline di Contini, and Tony Anholt (Space: 1999, Howards' Way) as Paul Buchet. Episodes often featured prominent guest actors.


Three inexplicably affluent international private detectives/troubleshooters are charged with ensuring the protection of innocents. They belong to an organisation called The Protectors, based in London. Harry leads the group. The Contessa lives in Italy (when she is not working with Harry). She runs her own detective agency, which specializes in exposing art frauds and recovering stolen art. Paul Buchet works out of Paris, and is the group's researcher and gadget specialist. Adventures range from simple kidnapping to convoluted cases of international intrigue. These characters are all very wealthy and drive exotic cars of the era, such as the Citroën SM and Jensen Interceptor.


Region 1 Series 1 DVD release cover

According to Anderson, the show's format was outlined in a brief note that Grade gave him, and he was then given a free hand to develop it, although Grade ultimately cast two of the main actors himself. The format of the series allowed for occasional episodes in which not all of the main actors appeared, including two in which Vaughn's character was absent.

Like The Persuaders!, a similar series also produced by ITC that aired around the same time, The Protectors was shot on location at numerous "exotic" locations throughout Europe, such as Salzburg, Rome, Malta and Paris, giving the series a sixties "jet set" feel (it was also the first Anderson production to have such a luxury). In order to offset the cost of location filming, and also perhaps because the equipment was more portable, the series was shot on 16mm film rather than the usual 35.

The theme tune for the series, "Avenues and Alleyways", was a minor hit for Tony Christie (and was later successfully revived by Christie in the 2000s thanks in part to its use in the soundtrack to the film Love, Honour and Obey).

Courtfield Mews, SW5, was used as the filming location for The Protectors headquarters.[1]

In Germany, the series was known as Kein Pardon für Schutzengel (meaning "No Mercy for Guardian Angels") and in France as Poigne de fer et séduction ("Iron Fist and Seduction").

Actor relationships[edit]

According to Robert Vaughn's autobiography, there were numerous problems between the actor and both Grade and Anderson. Anderson claimed that Vaughn acted like a Hollywood prima donna and refused to get along with the other actors.[citation needed]; John Hough, who directed several episodes (and the opening title sequence of the series) had more problems with Vaughn's business partner Sherwood Price than with Vaughn himself.[2] Vaughn claimed that he felt the series was "tasteless junk", and that he could not understand the scripts either before or during shooting. Vaughn was given the opportunity to direct one episode himself – #23 in production order, "It Could Be Practically Anywhere on the Island". Although Vaughn had a better relationship with Grade, the mogul called it the worst episode he had ever seen of anything[citation needed]; Vaughn himself was less than fond of it.

Anderson's relationship with Anholt was a more positive one, and a few years later he cast the actor as Tony Verdeschi in the second series of Space: 1999.


Series 1 (1972–73)[edit]

No. Title Directed by[3] Written by[3] Original air date Production
1 "2000 ft to Die" John Hough Terence Feely 29 September 1972 (1972-09-29) 1
Scientist Freddie Reiwald contacts the Protectors when his colleagues at the Cranston Research Centre die in suspicious circumstances. In Italy, Harry and Caroline discover that an unknown party has completed Reiwald's research into the production of synthetic gold.
2 "Brother Hood" Don Chaffey John Goldsmith 6 October 1972 (1972-10-06) 2
The Protectors are hired to help a billionares brother break out of prison.
3 "See No Evil" Jeremy Summers Donald Johnson 13 October 1972 (1972-10-13) 10
The Protectors arrive in Rome to find a blackmailer who has gotten out of control.
4 "Disappearing Trick" Jeremy Summers Brian Clemens 20 October 1972 (1972-10-20) 3
The Contessa riskes the lives of her friends when an old friend arrives asking for help.
5 "Ceremony for the Dead" Jeremy Summers Donald James 27 October 1972 (1972-10-27) 26
The Protectors are hired to stop the kidnapping of a president
6 "It Was All Over in Leipzig" Don Chaffey Donald James 3 November 1972 (1972-11-03) 25
While investigating a plot to overthrow the government of a Mediterranean nation the Protectors end up confronting two old friends of the Contessa, one whom with she was romantically involved.
7 "The Quick Brown Fox" Don Chaffey Donald James 10 November 1972 (1972-11-10) 5
The Protectors are hired to help find a missing band of Nazis.
8 "King Con" Jeremy Summers Tony Barwick 17 November 1972 (1972-11-17) 12
The Protectors find themselves in the middle of a war for some antiques.
9 "Thinkback" Cyril Frankel Brian Clemens 24 November 1972 (1972-11-24) 14
Harry is the victim of a car crash but was it an accident?
10 "A Kind of Wild Justice" Jeremy Summers Donald James 1 December 1972 (1972-12-01) 8
The Daughter of a gangster returns to kill Harry.
11 "Balance of Terror" Don Chaffey John Goldsmith 8 December 1972 (1972-12-08) 11
A scientist disappears with a deadly virus.
12 "Triple Cross" John Hough Lew Davidson 15 December 1972 (1972-12-15) 7
A charming charlatan cons Caroline's friend.
13 "The Numbers Game" Don Chaffey Ralph Smart 29 December 1972 (1972-12-29) 6
14 "For the Rest of Your Natural…" John Hough Tony Barwick 5 January 1973 (1973-01-05) 18
Caroline is abducted by an old enemy who puts her on a bizarre trial.
15 "The Bodyguards" Don Chaffey Dennis Spooner 12 January 1973 (1973-01-12) 19
16 "A Matter of Life and Death" Don Chaffey Donald James 19 January 1973 (1973-01-19) 22
17 "The Big Hit" Roy Ward Baker Donald James 26 January 1973 (1973-01-26) 13
Someone is out to destroy the Protectors.
18 "One and One Makes One" Don Chaffey Jesse & Pat Lasky 2 February 1973 (1973-02-02) 9
A spy goes missing with crucial information
19 "Talkdown" Jeremy Summers Jesse & Pat Lasky 9 February 1973 (1973-02-09) 20
20 "Vocal" Cyril Frankel Brian Clemens 16 February 1973 (1973-02-16) 24
21 "…With a Little Help from My Friends" Jeremy Summers Sylvia Anderson 23 February 1973 (1973-02-23) 17
22 "Chase" Harry Booth Brian Clemens 2 March 1973 (1973-03-02) 16
A relaxing time for Caroline and Harry
23 "Your Witness" Jeremy Summers Donald James 9 March 1973 (1973-03-09) 4
24 "It Could Be Practically Anywhere on the Island" Robert Vaughn Tony Barwick 16 March 1973 (1973-03-16) 23
In Malta, Harry gets involved with an Arkansas millionairess, her pet dog, and a piece of microfilm. (Other than the Police Woman episode "The Melting Block Of Ice," this is Robert Vaughn's only directorial effort to date; it is also the only episode of any Gerry Anderson series to be directed by a member of the cast.)
25 "The First Circle" Don Chaffey Tony Barwick 23 March 1973 (1973-03-23) 15
Vietnam vet John Hunter (Ed Bishop) goes berserk.
26 "A Case for the Right" Michael Lindsay-Hogg Jesse & Pat Lasky 30 March 1973 (1973-03-30) 21

Series 2 (1973–74)[edit]

No. Title Directed by[3] Writer[3] Original air date Production
1 "Quin" Don Leaver Trevor Preston 21 September 1973 (1973-09-21) 4
A notorious mercenary, Quin, has recruited Jimmy, the brother of Laura Sutton, who contacts the Protectors when Jimmy disappears. A trail of evidence leads Harry and Caroline from Marseilles to Madrid, where Harry is abducted by Quin's cronies.
2 "Bagman" John Hough Terry Nation 28 September 1973 (1973-09-28) 1
3 "Fighting Fund" Jeremy Summers John Kruse 5 October 1973 (1973-10-05) 3
4 "The Last Frontier" Charles Crichton Jean Morris 12 October 1973 (1973-10-12) 8
5 "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" Jeremy Summers Terry Nation 19 October 1973 (1973-10-19) 9
6 "Petard" Cyril Frankel Tony Barwick 26 October 1973 (1973-10-26) 10
7 "Goodbye George" Michael Lindsay-Hogg Brian Clemens 2 November 1973 (1973-11-02) 6
Caroline is hired to locate the missing son of a millionaire. (This and "The Tiger And The Goat" are the only episodes in which Robert Vaughn does not appear.)
8 "WAM (Part One)" Jeremy Summers Tony Barwick 9 November 1973 (1973-11-09) 13
9 "WAM (Part Two)" Jeremy Summers Tony Barwick 16 November 1973 (1973-11-16) 14
10 "Implicado" Jeremy Summers Tony Barwick 23 November 1973 (1973-11-23) 7
11 "Dragon Chase" Charles Crichton John Kruse 30 November 1973 (1973-11-30) 15
12 "Decoy" Michael Lindsay-Hogg Brian Clemens 7 December 1973 (1973-12-07) 17
13 "Border Line" Charles Crichton Anthony Terpiloff 14 December 1973 (1973-12-14) 12
14 "Zeke's Blues" Jeremy Summers Shane Rimmer 21 December 1973 (1973-12-21) 16
15 "Lena" Don Leaver Trevor Preston 28 December 1973 (1973-12-28) 5
16 "The Bridge" Jeremy Summers Tony Barwick 4 January 1974 (1974-01-04) 2
17 "Sugar and Spice" Charles Crichton David Butler 11 January 1974 (1974-01-11) 20
18 "Burning Bush" Don Leaver Trevor Preston 18 January 1974 (1974-01-18) 11
19 "The Tiger and the Goat" Jeremy Summers Trevor Preston 25 January 1974 (1974-01-25) 23
20 "Route 27" Don Leaver Terry Nation 1 February 1974 (1974-02-01) 26
21 "Trial" Charles Crichton Robert Banks Stewart 8 February 1974 (1974-02-08) 25
22 "Shadbolt" John Hough Tony Barwick 15 February 1974 (1974-02-15) 19
23 "A Pocketful of Posies" Cyril Frankel Terry Nation 22 February 1974 (1974-02-22) 18
24 "Wheels" David Tomblin Tony Barwick 1 March 1974 (1974-03-01) 22
25 "The Insider" Don Leaver Trevor Preston 8 March 1974 (1974-03-08) 24
26 "Blockbuster" Jeremy Summers Shane Rimmer 15 March 1974 (1974-03-15) 21

Home media[edit]

ITV Studios Home Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Region 2 in 2002/2003.

Network DVD released a seven disc Region 2 DVD set in 2010 comprising both series.

In Region 1, A&E Home Video released the entire series on DVD for the first time in 2003/2004.[4][5]

On 10 September 2014, it was announced that Visual Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1 and will re-release all 52 episodes on DVD on 4 November 2014.


  1. ^ Mews News. Lurot Brand. Published Spring 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  2. ^ Sellers, Robert (2006). Cult TV: The Golden Age Of ITC. Plexus. ISBN 0859653889. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bentley, Chris (2008) [2001]. The Complete Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Episode Guide (4 ed.). Richmond, London: Reynolds and Hearn. ISBN 978-1-905287-74-1. 
  4. ^ The Protectors - Season One
  5. ^ The Protectors - Season Two

External links[edit]