Meet the Persuaders – English Lord Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) and New York financial genius Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis). Two gentlemen of leisure with a knack for getting into trouble, even when they’re not expecting it…
One of my favourite ITC series, hailing from 1971, gets the full blown Network treatment in this incredible box set. The show only lasted one season – as Andrew Pixley’s excellent history of the series demonstrates, a lot of it came down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The American market didn’t pick it up, so 24 episodes are all we get – and of course Roger Moore was on his way to collecting his licence to kill, so it’s debatable whether more than one more season would have appeared anyway.
In some ways The Persuaders! is reminiscent of the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope Road to… films, with the same easy repartee between the characters, the ad-libbing and general sense that the actors are making it to have fun themselves. It comes as a shock to hear the aged voices of Moore and Curtis on the commentary for the pilot, Overture, although the genuine affection still seemed to be there.
The plots are straight out of the ITC handbook – evil relatives, gangsters plotting bank heists, political coups being hatched – but it’s the way in which they’re presented that makes The Persuaders! stand out over the other shows of the period.
With the episodes given a Blu-ray upgrade, clean up and makeover (even if the subtitles are hysterically wrong on occasion), you won’t find a better way to watch the show, and the three discs of extras provide everything from contemporary footage to retrospectives, compilation movies, and what would otherwise be ephemera.
Verdict: Standing the test of time surprisingly well, this is a great tribute to a fun show. 8/10
Starring: Roger Moore and Tony Curtis
Network Distribution, out now