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The Persuaders!

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Created by
Robert S. Baker

First episode date
17 September 1971



Also known as
See list

Theme music composer
John Barry

Final episode date
25 February 1972

The Persuaders! wwwgstaticcomtvthumbtvbanners509590p509590

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Tony Curtis Roger Moore Laurence Naismith

Ken Thorne David Lindup Don Kirshner

Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, Laurence Naismith

Tv theme the persuaders full theme

The Persuaders! is an action/adventure/comedy series produced by ITC Entertainment, and initially broadcast on ITV and ABC in 1971. It has been called "the last major entry in the cycle of adventure series that began 11 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! was filmed in Britain, France and Italy between May 1970 and June 1971.


The Persuaders! The Morning After The official Persuaders appreciation society

Despite its focus on the British and American markets, the show became more successful in other international markets. It won its highest awards in Australia and Spain, and Roger Moore and Tony Curtis were decorated in Germany and France for their acting. It persists in the memory of European film-makers and audiences, having been casually referenced in 21st-century productions made in Sweden, France, Britain and Germany.

The Persuaders! 5 things you didn39t know about 39The Persuaders39 Classic Driver

The show used many of the resources of Moore's previous show, The Saint. These included locations and the idea of reusing many of the visible vehicles from episode to episode. The most obvious, however, were the many guest stars and second level actors from The Saint showing up in The Persuaders! roles, the highlight being the undertaker role performed by Ivor Dean, who had portrayed police inspector Claud Eustace Teal in The Saint.

The Persuaders! The Persuaders TV Series 19711972 IMDb


The Persuaders! The Persuaders Film Genres The Red List

The Persuaders are two equally matched men from different backgrounds who reluctantly team together to solve cases that the police and the courts cannot.

The Persuaders! THE BULLITTS starring ROISIN MURPHY Episode 4 THE PERSUADERS YouTube

Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) is a rough diamond, educated and moulded in the slums of New York City, who escaped by enlisting in the US 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.

The Persuaders! The Persuaders Incidental Music 2 YouTube

Lord (Brett) Sinclair (Roger Moore) is a polished British nobleman educated at Harrow and Oxford, a former British Army officer and an ex-racing car driver, who addresses his colleague as "Daniel".

As a pair of globe-trotting playboys, the men meet on holiday in the French Riviera, instantly disliking each other and destroying a hotel bar during a fist-fight. They are arrested and delivered to retired Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith), who offers them the choice of spending 90 days in jail or helping him to right errors of impunity. Grudgingly, Wilde and Sinclair agree to help Fulton to solve a case. He then releases them from any threat of jail.

The men develop a sparing affection for each other and soon stumble into more adventures, sometimes by chance, sometimes on commission from Judge Fulton. Although the Judge recurs in the series, he has no formal relationship with his two agents. Eleven 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, and Sinclair and Wilde do not know that he is involved.

Some episodes rely on Danny being mistaken for other people, usually by some bizarre coincidence. In "Element of Risk" he is mistaken for a criminal mastermind named Lomax, played by Shane Rimmer. In "Anyone Can Play" he is mistaken at a Brighton casino for a Russian spy paymaster.

In episode 12, "That's Me Over There," it appears that Sinclair has had a longstanding interest in crime-fighting, as he has had a dedicated telephone line installed for an informer on a master criminal. In episode 17, "Five Miles to Midnight," Sinclair tells Joan Collins's character that he is working for the judge because it has given him something worthwhile to do after his failed motor racing career. Wilde never reveals or explains his motives.

Signature elements

Besides the premise and the characters The Persuaders is distinguished from other television series by signature elements, notably the title sequence and the cars driven by 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 dossiers, one red, one blue, labelled Danny Wilde and Brett Sinclair simultaneously depict their lives. The younger images of Tony Curtis are genuine, whereas the images of Roger Moore (with one exception) were mock-ups created for the credits. 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 certain 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 French broadcast of 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 (chassis number 00810). Brett Sinclair drives a UK-registered Bahama Yellow right-hand-drive Aston Martin DBS (chassis number DBS/5636/R) with V8 wheels and markings. Both cars were provided to the show's producers courtesy of the respective vehicle manufacturers.

As with Simon Templar - Roger Moore's character in the television series The Saint - 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 has its original UK registration number PPP 6H instead). The true owner of the index number of Sinclair's car, Billy Smart, Jr., permitted its use in the series.

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 presently owned by divorce lawyer and noted art collector Jeremy Levison. Both Moore and Curtis have signed the underside of the car's boot (rear luggage compartment): Moore at Pinewood Studios in May 2003; Curtis at Cheltenham Racecourse in October 2008. In 2013 the Aston Martin DBS was an invited participant at two of Europe's most exclusive motoring concours, the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este at Lake Como, and the Salon Privé Concours in London.

Danny Wilde's Ferrari Dino 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 in private ownership in Italy.


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. Pleased with that combination, Robert S. Baker and Lew Grade funded the 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."

Curtis became involved in the series because ITC knew it needed an American co-star to ensure the series would be picked up by US TV stations. Initially the role was offered to Rock Hudson and Glenn Ford but they both rejected the part. ITC then asked the American Broadcasting Company for a list of suitable actors that included Tony Curtis. He eventually agreed and flew to the UK in April 1970 to commence location filming. However, on arrival at Heathrow Airport, Curtis was arrested for possession of cannabis. He was fined £50.

Filming was conducted on location in Europe (such as location filming in France, Spain, Sweden, and Italy) and at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire. In total 24 episodes of the The Persuaders! were completed. Each episode cost £100,000, (or approx. £1,800,000 in 2007) to make. Only one series of The Persuaders was made because Roger Moore accepted the role of James Bond in the Bond franchise. In the DVD documentary, "The Morning After", Bob Baker states that Lew Grade was prepared to finance a second series, despite its failure in America, by re-casting with Noel Harrison, son of Rex Harrison, as a replacement for Moore. Baker states that he convinced Grade that the dynamic that Moore and Curtis had worked out was unique and it was better to leave the series as it stood.

During the series Moore acted – officially and practically – as his own wardrobe stylist. It stemmed from genuine sartorial interests and because he was marketing a line of clothes by bespoke men's tailors, Pearson and Foster. Every episode carried the closing credit, "Lord Sinclair's clothes designed by Roger Moore", with "Roger Moore" written as a large signature.

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's foul temper as the reason 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's 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."

In his autobiography, Still Dancing, Lew Grade notes that the actors "didn't hit it off all that well", because of different work ethics. According to Roger Moore's autobiography Curtis's use of cannabis was so extensive that he even smoked it in front of a police officer while filming at 10 Downing Street. 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 stated that he would not participate in a remake of The Persuaders! without Moore.

UK and US

Although the series was placed in the 1971 top 20 of most-viewed shows in Britain, Lew Grade wanted it to do well in the profitable American TV market. It followed his earlier series such as Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, and The Baron. But The Persuaders made little impact in America, airing on ABC on Saturday nights opposite Mission: Impossible. Its poor ratings stood out as Mission: Impossible was not one of the US's top 30 of programs in 1971. ABC pulled the series before all 24 episodes were aired.

ITC tried to salvage its losses by re-editing eight episodes into four individual TV movies for the American market. They were:

  • London Conspiracy from "Greensleeves" and "A Home of One's Own"
  • 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..."
  • International distribution

    Despite the overall disappointment in the UK and USA, the series sold well in other international markets, particularly Continental Europe. This success allowed ITC to recoup much of its production costs soon after principal photography was completed. The series has remained popular in Germany, Denmark, France, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Hungary and Italy; episodes are still regularly repeated throughout Europe. For instance, DR2 in Denmark rebroadcast the entire series on weekday early evenings during Spring 2012.

    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?"

    Redubbed versions

    Die Zwei, the German version of The Persuaders, became a cult hit in Germany and Austria. 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 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 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 Wilde 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".

    Awards and accolades

  • 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)
  • Episode list

    Airdate is for LWT London. ITV regions varied date and order. The production number refers to the order on the Network DVD.

    DVD releases

    The entire series was remastered for DVD release in Europe in 2001.

    In 2006, because of its popularity in Britain, a nine-disc DVD special edition boxed set was released, with extra material to the complete, uncut, re-mastered 24 episode series.

    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.

    In Region 1, A&E Home Video released the entire series on DVD in two volume sets in 2003/2004.

    On September 10, 2014, it was announced that Visual Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series in Region 1 and would re-release all 24 episodes on DVD on November 4, 2014.


    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. Years later though, it can be assumed this project was abandoned.

    In Pop Culture

    The show's theme song was sampled in Snoop Dogg's 'Lavender' video.


    The Persuaders! Wikipedia

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