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- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator

The Persuaders! is an action/adventure/comedy series srarring Tony Curtis and Roger Moore, produced by ITC Entertainment, and initially broadcast on ITV and ABC in 1971. The show 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.

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 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 who had played parts in The Saint and who also appeared in The Persuaders!, one example being the undertaker role performed by Ivor Dean, who had portrayed police inspector Claud Eustace Teal in The Saint.

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

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.

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 right), 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.

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 were mock-ups created for the credits. Moore said that no good photos existed of him as a child so the black and white boyhood picture of Brett Sinclair in the opening credits, is that of his son Geoffrey Moore. 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 show's theme song was even sampled in Snoop Dogg's 'Lavender' video.

The Presuaders drive signature cars. Danny Wilde drives a red left-hand-drive 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: Simon Templar's were "ST 1", Brett Sinclair's are "BS 1" (except for one scene in the episode "The Gold Napoleon", where the car is seen with its real UK registration number PPP 6H). 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 who paid £533,500 at the 2014 Bonhams Aston Martin sale (setting a record). 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. After The Persuaders Roger Moore when on to take up the role of James Bond but, never got to drive an Aston Martin in a Bond film. Moore did drive a modified DB5 in the 1981 comedy film, Cannonball Run.

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.

Of course the strangest vehicle in the series was featured in the episode "The Long Goodbye." A promotional "rocket car" driven by the "Rocket Soap Queen" played by Valerie Leon (below), who gets hi-jacked by Lord Sinclair.

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 each 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 Persuaders! were completed. Each episode cost £100,000, 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.

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 (above) 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.

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". While Moore was always prepared to work overtime, Curtis would not. Moore says, "I was also producer on The Persuaders! along with Bob Baker. It was our baby and we wanted to get it done to the best of our ability." Once the job was done, said Moore, Tony Curtis would be "out of the door". Moore adds, "But I’m not putting him down. He was a wonderful actor and we were good friends – although we became better friends when we finished shooting." The pair bonded and remained friends long after the end of the series, Moore comforting Curtis when the latter’s son Nicholas died of a heroin overdose at the age of 23.

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.

At £2.5m, The Persuaders! was the most expensive British series up to that time. "The budget was very large," confirms Baker. "Mainly because we had two stars in it. You could make a series out of their salaries alone. So it had to work." Each episode took around 12 days to make and there was always a fun atmosphere on the set. "It couldn't have been made any other way," says Curtis. "But there was pressure to make them quicker and cheaper. We made 24, 50-minute movies in 18 months. And I loved London. I got to become a real Anglophile and made fabulous friends there."

Script writer Tony Williamson penned storylines written for a potential second series of the show which was never made. According to Curtis, Grade wanted to make more episodes but on a lower budget, which meant dumping the glamorous locations. "Roger and I talked and thought it wasn't viable because you weren't going to bring the same savoir-faire to the series. We wanted to go to exotic places like Hong Kong and South A merica and to introduce beautiful girls from around the world."

Baker remembers things a little differently. "Lew wanted to make more Persuaders!, but Roger didn't. By that time, Roger had the offer to play Bond." Grade toyed with replacing Moore, but they decided to leave it as it was. "Otherwise, we'd have made much more," reveals Baker. "It could have gone on for years."

In an interview at the Empire Awards in 2006 Moore said he owes his life to Curtis, who encouraged him to follow his example and stop smoking (cigarettes). "When we began shooting [The Persuaders] Tony gave me a book on how to stop smoking. I didn't read it. I just looked at the picture on the back of an X-ray of a lung with a red spot on it. The red spot was cancer. The next day I coughed up blood while smoking a cigarette, and I haven't smoked since." Pictured below, Sir Roger Moore was on on hand to present Tony Curtis with his Empire Film Lifetime Achievement Award.

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THE WOMEN OF THE PERSUADERS

The Persuaders formula was simple. Start with two rich, fun loving playboys, add cool cars, exotic locations, a mystery to solve and lots of women, including femme fatales, assorted gal-pals and some in the background without even any lines. Many of the women guesting in the series were popular actresses or models of the time having appeared in many other British TV productions. Some were popular players in the Hammer horror films and Carry On films while others were already or would go on to be Bond girls.

Susan George (above left) is a British actress and producer, known for Straw Dogs (1971), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) and Enter the Ninja (1981).

Born in Denmark Kirsten Lindholm (above center) is known for Doctor in the House (1969) and The Vampire Lovers (1970). The Persuaders was her last role as an actress after which she persued a career as a healing practitioner.

Annette Andre is best-known for her work on British television throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Her most memorable role was starring as Marty Hopkirk's widow, "Jeannie Hopkirk", in the late 1960s ITV classic, My Partner the Ghost (1969) but she also guested on many other programs including The Avengers (1961), The Saint (1962) and The Prisoner (1967). Andre also starred with Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Michael Crawford and Buster Keaton, in the 1966 film version of the Broadway musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) playing "Philia", the virgin. Now semi-retired from acting, she devotes her time to painting and animal welfare issues with her husband, both having worked closely with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna of the "Born Free Foundation".

Born in Budapest, Hungary, Catherine Schell (sometimes billed as Catherine von Schell, above left) she has appered in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), and the cult sci-fi series Space: 1999 (1975) playing the role of the alien "Maya". She was the first actress considered for the role of Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager (1995). However Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold was cast in that role, only to resign after two days of filming because she was not used to the demands of a weekly TV series. The role finally went to American actress Kate Mulgrew.

Joan Collins (above center) is an British actress and producer, known for Dynasty (1981), Empire of the Ants (1977) and Land of the Pharaohs (1955) as well as one of the most popular episodes of Star Trek TOS, "The City on the Edge of Forever". She also guested on other shows including Batman, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Space: 1999. Collins was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1997 Queen's New Year's Honours List for her services to drama.

Sinead Cusack (above right) is originally from Dalkey, Ireland and is known for V for Vendetta (2005), Eastern Promises (2007) and Wrath of the Titans (2012). She has been married to Jeremy Irons since March 28th, 1978 and they have two children.

Juliet Harmer (above left) is a British actress, known for Adam Adamant Lives! (1966), The Avengers (1961) and Quest for Love (1971).

Anna Gael (above center) was born in Budapest, Hungary. As an actress she is known for "Take Me, Love Me" (1970), "The Love Factor" (1969) and "Via Macau" (1966). Gael gave up acting in 1970 to pursue role as a highly-regarded war correspondent and covered conflicts in Vietnam, South Africa and "the troubles" in Northern Ireland. Her daughter Lenka Thynne is now a highly sought British fashion model.

New Zealand actress Anouska Hempel (above right) is also known for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Space: 1999 (1975) and Tiffany Jones (1973). It is claimed that in 1998, Hempel bought the UK rights to Tiffany Jones and Russ Meyer's controversial film Black Snake to keep them out of distribution. It has not been seen on UK television, though it has been released on DVD there. Meyer was dissatisfied with the film, and for years afterwards he complained of Hempel's unsuitability for her part. He was reportedly so disappointed about the size of Anouska Hempel's chest that he edited footage of larger breasts into her nude scenes. Her first husband Constantine Hempel, with whom she had a son and daughter, was a journalist and property developer who died in a mysterious car accident in Knightsbridge. Hempel and her second husband, theatrical producer Bill Kenwright, divorced after two years of marriage in 1980. Later that year, Hempel married financier Sir Mark Weinberg (making her now Lady Weinberg), with whom she has a son, Jonathan. Hempel is now a hotelier and designer who in 2002 was ranked by Architectural Digest as one of the top 100 interior designers and architects in the world.

Cyd Hayman (above left) originally planned to become a journalist but turned to acting appearing in Manhunt, The Lotus Eaters, Crime of Passion, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Two Ronnies and The Persuaders".

Penelope Horner (above center) is a English actress, known for Half a Sixpence (1967), Triangle (1981) and The Devil's Daffodil (1961).

Suzanna Leigh (above right) began working in movies while still a pre-teen, appearing as an extra in 1958's Tom Thumb (1958). Leigh also starred in The Saint (1964), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) with Elvis Presley and Boeing, Boeing (1965) with Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis. Leigh was the goddaughter of actress Vivien Leigh, from whom she received her stage name.

June Ritchie (above left) is an English actress who is also known for A Kind of Loving (1962), Three Penny Opera (1963), The Saint (1966) and Armchair Cinema (1973).

Rosemary Nicols (above center) is an actress and producer, known for Department S (1969), Fathers and Sons (1971) and Undermind (1965).

Diane Cilento (above right) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Tom Jones (1963) and appeared in The Third Secret (1964) the following year but she allowed her film career to decline following her marriage to actor Sean Connery, the second of her three husbands, to whom she was married from 1962-1973. They had one son, the actor Jason Connery. She also had a daughter, Giovanna, with her first husband. Cilento has stated that she was beaten unconscious by Connery in their hotel room during filming of The Hill. In Connery's James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), she doubled for her husband's co-star Mie Hama in a diving scene because Hama was indisposed. Cilento also starred with Charlton Heston in the 1965 film The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), and with Paul Newman in the 1967 western film Hombre (1967). She died on October 6th, 2011 while living in Australia.

Gladys Cooper (above left) started acting in the silent era in 1913. Her last acting job was in The Persuaders (1972).

Jennie Linden (above center) is an English actress, known for Women in Love (1969), Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Lillie (1978).

Viviane Ventura (above right) has appeared in A High Wind in Jamaica (1965), The Wild Wild West (1965) and Carry On Jack (1963).

Nicola Pagett (above left) and is known for An Awfully Big Adventure (1995), There's a Girl in My Soup (1970) and Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). Born in Egypt, Pagett spent most of her childhood in Japan and Hong Kong because of her father's job. As a teenager, she was sent back to the UK to attend a Catholic boarding school. Afterwards, her parents planned for her to attend a finishing school in Switzerland, but she chose to go to RADA. Pagett chronicled her experiences with manic depression in a 1998 book titled "Diamonds Behind My Eyes."

Suzan Farmer (above center) is an actress, known for Secret Agen (1964), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Monster of Terror (1965), The Caesars (1968) and four episodes of The Saint with Roger Moore. Farmer met Ian McShane (Deadwood) on the set of Wild and Willing. They married in 1965, but divorced 1967 due to his heavy drinking.

Suzy Kendall (above right) was one of the most popular British actresses of the 1960s but never really sought out fame. Born as Freida Harrison, her goal was actually to be a clothing designer and she majored in fabric and fashion design at Derby College. In pursuing her studies, she ran into fashion photographers and agents who urged her to go into modeling. While not particularly interested she was flattered and saw a chance to make some extra income. In addition, she saw it as a way to draw attention to her fashion ideas. She signed up with a recommended agency, who gave her the name Suzy Kendall and to her surprise, she immediately was in constant demand. Before long, she began to receive film offers and, while not trained as an actress, was persuaded by her agents to accept film and television roles. The first roles were minor in nature, but included a part in the spy caper The Liquidator (1965), which was a major success. She later became internationally known with her prominent role in To Sir, with Love (1967).

Prunella Ransome (above left) is also known for Who Can Kill a Child? (1976), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) and Man in the Wilderness (1971).

Anne De Vigier (above center) also appered in The Forsyte Saga (1967) and The Saint (1962).

Anna Palk (above right) was educated at Rise Hall Convent in Yorkshire and trained as an actress at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She followed this with rep at Bristol, Leatherhead and Leeds before embarking on a successful film and television career. Her stage appearances included productions of Smith By Any Other Name, School for Scandal, Present Laughter, Butley (in Vienna), Sexual Perversions (in Chicago) and a number of national tours.

Kate O'Mara (above left) was an English actress who attracted notice in Hammer Studio horror films as tawdry, darkly alluring femmes in both The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) and The Vampire Lovers (1970). Her TV credits include Doctor Who (1963), Absolutely Fabulous, Crossroads (2001) and as Joan Collins equally bitchy sister for one season of Dynasty (1981). O'Mara died in 2014 at age 75.

Jenny Hanley (above center) is an English actress, known for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Scars of Dracula (1970) and The Flesh and Blood Show (1972). Hanley also co-starred in two episodes of Man About the House.

British actress Sue Lloyd (above right) trained in dance as a child, studying at the Sadler's Wells School at age 11. Since her height (5' 8") decreased her chances of a ballet career, the statuesque Sue instead became a chorus girl and showgirl. After some modeling assignments, she broke into television in the early 60s with The Avengers (1961) and The Saint (1962), which, in turn, propelled her into a spy series The Baron (1966) and other espionage films, notably The Ipcress File (1965) starring Michael Caine, No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977) and the comedy spoof Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978).

Scottish born Melissa Stribling (above left) also co-starred in Horror of Dracula (1958), The Avengers (1961) and The Passenger (1971).

Magda Konopka (above center) was born in Warsaw, Poland, from Catholic Polish nobility. As an an actress, she is also known for When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970) and A Sky Full of Stars for a Roof (1968).

Yutte Stensgaard (above right) was a former au pair and model who emigrated to the UK from Denmark in 1963, hoping to have a successful international film career. Ironically didn't make her debut in a British film, but in the Italian movie The Girl with a Pistol (1968) which did have some British backing. She then went on to appear in various British movies, mainly of the comedy or horror genre, most famously the lead role in Lust for a Vampire (1971), as well as several television guest roles including The Saint (1968), Broaden Your Mind (1969) and Doctor in the House (1969-70). She also had small roles in If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), Scream and Scream Again (1970) and Doctor In Trouble (1970). Stensgaard auditioned for the part of the Doctor Who companion (Jo Grant), alongside third Doctor Jon Pertwee in 1970. Towards the end of her career she appeared in pantomime and the stage-farce Boeing-Boeing (1971). She also appeared on TV as a hostess on the popular game show The Golden Shot hosted by Bob Monkhouse. After struggling with myopic casting directors she gave up acting and emigrated to the USA in the mid-seventies and took up a job selling air time for a Christian radio station in Oregan, marrying second husband John Kerwin. Her first husband was art director Tony Curtis (who shares the same name as her Persuaders co-star). Reluctant to make appearances at horror conventions or talk about her acting career Stensgaard's inimitable beauty lives on as even today her image continues to grace the covers of numerous book and magazine publications.

Sarah Lawson (above left) is an English actress, known for The Devil Rides Out (1968), The Odd Man (1960), The Saint (1965), The Avengers (1966), Department S (1969) and Jason King (1971).

Veronica Hurst (above center) is also known for Will Any Gentleman...? (1953), The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World (1965) and the UK series General Hospital (1973 - 75).

Lois Maxwell (above right) is known best as "Miss Moneypenny" in the James Bond films. She started out against her parents' will, and without their knowledge, in a Canadian children's radio program, credited as "Robin Wells". Before the age of 15 she left for England with the Canadian army's Entertainment Corps and managed (after her age had been discovered) to get herself enrolled in The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she met and became friends with Roger Moore. Her movie career started with a Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger production, Stairway to Heaven (1946). After having won The Most Promising Newcomer Golden Globe Award in 1947, she went to Hollywood and made six films before she decided to try her luck in Italy. She had to leave Italy to go to England when her husband became ill, and since then she has had roles in a numerous TV projects (Danger Man, The Avengers, The Saint, Stingray, Department S, UFO) and movies including the first 14 Bond movies. While still acting in the Bond films during the 80s Maxwell also became a regular columnist for the Toronto Sun newspaper. She officially retired in 1989.

Penny Sugg (above left) also appered in Color Me Dead (1969), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and The Protectors (1972).

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Nina Baden-Semper (above center) was a dancer when she first came to Britain, before going on to act. In an acting career that spans more than 40 years, Nina Baden-Semper has appeared in numerous radio, television, film and theatre productions and has toured worldwide in many plays. Her credits include: Love Thy Neighbour (1972 - 76), George & Mildred (1979), Carry On Up the Jungle (1970) and Crossroads (2002).

Vicki Woolf (above right) is an English actress also known for The Saint (1962) and The Great Waltz (1972).

Imogen Hassall (above left) is sometimes referred to as "The Countess of Cleavage" as she was better known for her glamorous celebrity than her acting talent and rose to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an international B-movie starlet. To her frustration, her fame was brief and she never became a star. She died at age 38, in London on November 16th 1980, after taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

Madeline Smith (above center) is a shapely, dark haired British actress who appeared in a number of sensual film and TV roles that showcased her beauty. She is probably best recognizable as Miss Caruso, the beautiful young Italian agent sleeping with James Bond in the opening of Live and Let Die (1973) whose blue dress zipper meets its match in Bond's magnetic watch.

Hannah Gordon (above right) also played Kirsty McClaren in Doctor Who (1966-67) and co-starred in The Elephant Man (1980), Watership Down (1978) and Made of Honor (2008).

Rose Alba (above left) was an actress, known for Thunderball (1965), BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (1950) and One Step Beyond (1959). She died in January 2006 in London, England of natural causes.

Joanne Dainton (above center) was born in Winnipeg, Canada and has also appeared in The Avengers (1961) and The Saint (1962).

Jasmina Hilton (above right) trained at LAMDA and worked under her maiden name until 1969. She began her career at the Oxford Playhouse. Other theatre followed including appearances at Dublin, Stratford and London. Hilton was educated in England, America and Switzerland. Her first husband was barrister John Howard Hilton. Her second husband is Charlie Daniel. After 30 years abroad, Jasmina returned to England and to acting, changing her professional name to Jasmina Daniel.

Carmen Munroe (above left) was born in Berbice, British Guiana and has co-starred in Doctor Who (1963), Desmond's (1989) and From a Bird's Eye View (1970). Munroe is is one of the founders of Talawa, the UK's leading black theatre company. Munroe and Mona Hammond, Inigo Espegel and Yvonne Brewster established the company in 1985. Munroe was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2007 Queen Elizabeth's Birthday Honors List for her services to drama.

Julie Crosthwaite (above center) is also known for Armchair Cinema (1973), Madhouse (1974) and The Picnic (1975).

Vivian Neves (above right) has only three acting credits listed: Whirlpool (1970), The Persuaders (1971) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978). Neves was best known as a British glamour model, being the first woman to appear naked in a broadsheet newspaper (March 17th 1971 full-page advert for Fisons Pharmaceuticals in The Times), and for her regular appearances on Page 3 of the tabloid newspaper The Sun. She posed as Pet of the Month in Penthouse magazine and became known as "The Body" twenty-five years before the same nickname was applied to supermodel Elle Macpherson. A poster campaign by clothing company Nelbarden featured Neves in a swimsuit and appeared comprehensively on the London Underground. Neves retired from modeling in early 1973. In the mid-1980s Neves set up the Vivien Neves Modelling Agency, specialising in Page 3 work. Neves married photographer John Kelly and they had one daughter, Kelly, who herself became a Page 3 girl in the 1990s. Neves was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1979, and her marriage to Kelly was dissolved in 1985. Neves died on December 29th 2002, at age 55 after contracting pneumonia.

Born in London, Jean Marsh (above left) became interested in show business while taking dancing and mime classes as therapy for a childhood illness. After attending a charm school and working as a model, she started acting in repertory and took voice lessons. Her repertory work was supplemented by a number of film appearances as a dancer. She then spent three years in America, appearing in Sir John Gielgud's Broadway production of "Much Ado About Nothing" and numerous TV shows, including an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959). Along with Harold Innocent and Terence de Marney, she is one of only three actors to appear in both Doctor Who and The Twilight Zone. Returning to London, she won roles on stage, film and TV. It was during this period that she appeared in Doctor Who (1963), first as Princess Joanna in "The Crusade" and then as Sara Kingdom in "The Daleks' Master Plan." In the early 1970s she co-created and starred in LWT's Upstairs, Downstairs (1971). Since then she has maintained a very busy career in the theatre, on TV - including Return to Oz (1985) and Willow (1988). She also co-created another successful series, The House of Eliott (1991).

Valerie Leon (above center) was the "Rocket Soap Queen" in the episode "The Long Goodbye." Leon was featured in numerous Hammer and Carry On films as well as The Spy Who Loved Me ("I have a message for you." "I think you just delivered it!") and Never Say Never Again (as the lady who "catches" Connery's 007 on her fishing trip).

Geraldine Moffat (above right) has also appeared in UFO (1970), Six Days of Justice (1972), Will Shakespeare (1978), The New Avengers (1976), Coronation Street (1973 - 80) and Quest for Love (1971).

Helena Ross (above left) is alson known for Among the Cinders (1984) and Special Branch (1969). Ross and her daughter, Laura Hill (playing Nurse Toni Thompson) have both appeared in Shortland Street.

Twins Karen and Katherine Kessey were born in Perth, Australia and have appeared together in Out of the Unknown (1965), Emergency-Ward 10 (1966) and Quick Before They Catch Us (1966).

Born in Durban, South Africa, Olga Lowe began her career in support of Carmen Miranda at the age of seventeen, then joined the Folies Bergère on tour through North America. Lowe has co-starred in Carry on Abroad (1972), The Avengers (1961), Armchair Theatre (1956) and EastEnders (1994).

Born in 1943 in London, Margaret Nolan (above left) had a career as a glamour model under the name of Vicki Kennedy, even posing for Playboy magazine. She entered films in 1963 in Saturday Night Out (1964) followed by Goldfinger (1964) where she played "Dink" (she was also "The golden girl" in the title credits sequence). Nolan also appeared in and A Hard Day's Night (1964), The Saint (1963) and Crown Court (1973 - 83). Cast in six "Carry On..." films mainly for her fabulous buxom figure and good looks, Nolan proved successful at being a comedic actress with her work being recognised with her name included on Gordon Young's Comedy Carpet installation in front of Blackpool Tower. Nolan also appeared in serious theatre productions, motivated by political themes and in one of the first episodes of the television police drama The Sweeney. As a visual artist, Nolan has exhibited in London at venues including the Brick Lane Gallery (2009), The Misty Moon Gallery (2013) and Gallery Different (2013). Nolan was married to English playwright Tom Kempinski in 1967 and divorced in 1972. She has two sons.

Carol Cleveland (above center) was born in England but moved to the United States as a youngster after her mother remarried a man in the U.S. Air Force. She attended grammar school in San Antonio, Texas, then John Marshall Junior High and Pasadena High School both in Pasadena, California. She returned to London in 1960 and soon began her film career. Cleveland is best known for her work with Monty Python's Flying Circus (she's referred to as "The Female Python").

Beulah Hughes (above right) also appeared in Supergirl (1984), Hands of the Ripper (1971) and The Greek Tycoon (1978) as well as uncredited roles in Monty Python's Flying Circus and Space: 1999.

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 particularly because Mission: Impossible was not one of the U.S.'s top 30 of programmes in 1971. ABC pulled the series before all 24 episodes were aired.

ITC subsequently sought to repackage and re-release the series in the American market, by editing eight of the episodes together and releasing them as four 90-minute TV movies (each comprising two episodes from the series, typically missing only their original opening and closing title sequences).

These were:
London Conspiracy (taken from the episodes "Greensleeves" and "A Home of One's Own"), Sporting Chance (from "Someone Waiting" and "Anyone Can Play"). Mission: Monte Carlo (from "Powerswitch" and "The Gold Napoleon") and The Switch (from "The Ozerov Inheritance" and "Angie, Angie...").

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. 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, that 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?"

LOST IN TRANSLATION

Even though popular in many other countries sometimes the premise and dialogue got lost in translation. Below are few samples of how The Persuaders was renamed in various countries.

Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela: Two Bold Characters
Belgium: The Playboys or Amicably Yours
Denmark: The Hapless Heroes
Estonia: Crooks and Saints
Finland: Rascals and Saints
France: Amicably Yours
Germany: The Two
Greece: The Rivals
Hungary: Two spoons in every soup
Iceland: Brothers in Arms
Italy: Careful about those two
Japan: Two dandies' brilliant adventures
Latvia: The Tricksters
Netherlands: The Seducers
Norway: Golden Boys
Poland: Partners
Romania: Brett and Danny
Russia: Extra class amateur detectives
Slovenia and Yugoslavia: Rivals
Sweden: Snobs on the Job
Turkey: Relaxed Ones

In West Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, where this show was wildly popular, and the series was dubbed in an irreverent way, ad-libbing a lot, thus departing from the original scripts, and using very funny, often absurd colloquialisms and phrases. (For example, the speakers even improvised jokes about their own dubbing work in the process). Because of that, in West Germany, it had more of a comedy element to it, more so than its original version, making the characters even more quirky and lovable. The West German dubbing owes a big part of this show's success and popularity in West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. (The same thing happened there with the dubbing for Starsky and Hutch). Tony Curtis even asked Rainer Brandt, the West German speaker, to write the dialogue for the next season, but the series got cancelled before this could happen. Other countries, such as France, followed the West German model. In France Amicalement votre (Yours, Amicably) 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!" (Lad, just quit the big talk, or they'll cancel the next episode!) or "Du musst jetzt etwas schneller werden, sonst bist Du nicht synchron" (You have to speed up [talk faster] now, or else you won't be in sync).

Research from the University of Hamburg notes the only common elements between Die Zwei and The Persuaders! are the images. 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".

The entire series was remastered for DVD release in Europe in 2001 and 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 10th, 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.

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. Still rumours persist about bringing The Persuaders! back, one idea even of had Jamie Lee Curtis teaming up with Moore's daughter, Deborah.

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