Rewind: ‘The Persuaders!’ revisited

Posted Filed under

In 1971 The Persuaders! began its 24 episode run on British telly. Also, Mount Etna erupted, Sierra Leone became a republic and the last televised advert for cigarettes was broadcast in the States, but that’s really just us showing off.

The series starred a post-Saint, pre-Bond Roger Moore and an ebullient-when-not-stoned Tony Curtis. It was a camp, colourful action adventure series with implausibly blonde women and improbably lapelled suits.


What was it about?

The series revolved around two rich playboys. Both alike in dignity. Both rather good looking actually. One, a Harrow and Oxford educated English aristo (Brett Sinclair). The other, a self made millionaire from the slums of New York (Danny Wilde). They happen to meet whilst swanning around the south of France and take an immediate dislike to each other.

A punch up follows — the big, pantomime kind where large lads get thrown rather unnecessarily into furniture that’s far too fragile to be practical. The duo are carted off in a police van and delivered to a retired British judge (Laurence Naismith) who suggests that rather than serving time in jail, they assist him in righting wrongs; the sort of wrongs that involve attractive young girls in colourful print dresses, villains who you can tell are villains because the music makes it clear and more fights of the kind mentioned.


Who was in it?

Moore and Curtis (with great tact, both are billed at the same time during the title sequence) are an excellent pair. The languid charm of the former and the febrile energy of the latter makes for good television and despite the cheap and cheerful stories, the trust and friendship between the two men is very believable.

There have been various rumours that the pair didn’t get on, but both have since spoken of having a perfectly good professional relationship. Granted, Curtis occasionally indulged in those special cigarettes the young people smoke nowadays, but Moore designed his own costumes. We’ll leave you to decide which compromised the show more. Double breasted pleather greatcoat anyone?


Best moment?

The iconic car chase in the pilot episode: A Ferrari Dino and Aston Martin DBS hurtling toward Monte Carlo whilst the cheery summery tones of Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch and his orchestra tinkle away in the background.


The future?

One might think it would be easy to parody The Persuaders!, but given the show was completely aware of its own ridiculousness, a send up of it is unlikely to ring true. Providing whoever gets the project doesn’t ‘bring it up to date’ by making Danny some fresh faced internet start up effort, we’ll be happy.


What are your memories of The Persuaders!? Let us know below…

> Buy the complete series boxset on Amazon.

Watch a classic clip…