Two millionaire playboys, one self-made, the other born into money, join forces as an unlikely crime-fighting team in the 1971 adventure series The Persuaders.
Danny Wilde, played by Tony Curtis, is a brash, street-smart American and self-made millionaire from New York – a nouveau riche upstart.
Lord Brett Sinclair, played by Roger Moore, is an upper-crust member of the British Establishment, born into wealth and class – the very picture of social refinement.
Danny and Brett may be polar opposites in some ways, but they also have a lot in common. Both are handsome, charming, and love fast cars and beautiful women.
When they each receive anonymous invitations luring them to a luxurious hotel in France, they have no idea they are part of a skillfully crafted plan. Their first meeting results in a rowdy fight that almost reduces the hotel restaurant to rubble. Facing the prospect of imprisonment, The Persuadersthey find themselves at the mercy of their mysterious host, a former Judge named Fulton, played by Laurence Naismith.
During his career, Judge Fulton had to apply justice according to the law, which meant many criminals sometimes went free. In retirement, he vows to correct the balance between law and justice by taking matters into his own hands. And Danny and Brett are just the men for the job. If they refuse, 90 days in prison is their only alternative.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Europe’s capital cities, the two reluctant heroes are drawn into a life of danger and intrigue and find themselves in more trouble than they originally expected.
Writers on the series included such genre giants as Brian Clemens, Terry Nation (who also acted as story consultant), Terence Feely and Tony Williamson.
Guest stars were plentiful and included Imogen Hassall, Susan George, Garfield Morgan, Sue Lloyd, Terence Alexander, Juliet Harmer, Derren Nesbitt, Patrick Troughton, Terry-Thomas, Suzy Kendall, Sam Kydd, Jenny Hanley, Talfryn Thomas, Joan Collins, and even Lionel Blair.
“Irrepressible, optimistic, courageous, AND a sense of humor. Those are great qualities, Mr. Wilde. Qualities that pulled you out of a New York slum and pushed you to the top of the financial tree. You have made and lost several fortunes. Now, moneymaking has become so easy for you that you don’t really bother anymore…You were a nothing who became something. And now, you are a nothing again.” – Judge Fulton in Overature (Episode 1)
“Lord Brett Sinclair…now that was once a proud and noble name!… What have you done with it?…You are a first class athlete, a connoisseur of the arts, a gourmet with a lusty taste in wine and woman…Yours is the glib tongue at a hundred mindless parties. Lord Brett Sinclair, born with a silver spoon in his mouth! And all he ever does is lick the jam from it.” – Judge Fulton in Overature (Episode 1)
Who are the bad guys?
Criminals large and small. Frequently the cases start small, The Persuaders will help a lady recover a snatched handbag, perhaps. Suddenly their acts of chivalry find them up against double agents and organized crime.
What about the cars?
Danny drives a red Ferrari Dino 246GT.
Brett pilots a Bahama yellow Aston Martin DBS, but is also known to handle the controls of several Formula One cars.
The Persuaders was originally broadcast in the UK in 1971.
Roger Moore designed his own wardrobe for the series.
Roger Moore’s daughter, Deborah Moore, appears briefly in Episode 18: The Long Goodbye.
Roger Moore directed several episodes including Episode 17: The Time and The Place and Episode 18: The Long Goodbye.
In one episode Tony Curtis answers a hotel telephone with the words, “Bernard Schwartz? Never heard of him.” Bernard Schwartz is Tony Curtis’s real name.
The cancellation of this series allowed Roger Moore to accept the role of James Bond in Live and Let Die.
UK / ITV – ITC – Tribune / 24×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 17 September 1971 – 25 February 1972
Creator and Producer: Robert S. Baker / Theme Music: John Barry / Script Executive/Associate Producer: Terry Nation / Incidental Music: Ken Thorne / Lord Brett Sinclair’s clothed designed by Roger Moore.
ROGER MOORE as Lord Brett Sinclair
TONY CURTIS as Danny Wilde
LAURENCE NAISMITH as Judge Fulton