From Saint To Playboy
The Persuaders was the most ambitious and expensive television action/adventure series ever produced. Starring future James Bond, Roger Moore as Lord Brett Sinclair and American counterpart Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde, two international playboys.
Much of the humor of the show derived from playful observations about the differences between British and American customs. The show ended after one season, in consequence of failing to make an impact on US TV, thereby releasing Roger Moore to star in the popular Bond films.
The Persuaders! are two equally-matched men from different backgrounds who reluctantly team together to solve cases which the courts cannot.
* Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) is a rough diamond, educated and molded in the back slums of New York City, who escaped by enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He later became a millionaire in the oil business.
* Lord Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) is a polished Harrow and Oxford educated English aristocrat; an ex-racing car driver, who addresses his comrade-in-arms as “Daniel”.
(Curtis himself suffered a tough childhood in the Bronx, and served in the US Navy. He was 46 when he made The Persuaders, but performed all his own stunts and fight sequences.)
Now globe-trotting playboys, the men meet on holiday in the French Riviera, instantly disliking each other and destroying a hotel bar with their fist-fight. Arrested, they are delivered to retired Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith) who offers them the choice of spending ninety days in jail or helping him right errors of impunity. Grudgingly, Wilde and Sinclair agree to help solve Fulton’s initial case. He then releases them from any threat of jail.
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. This concept intrigued Roger Moore enough to help find funding and produce the TV series.
At the time, the twenty-four episode The Persuaders! was the most expensive British television series produced, each episode costing £100,000, ( 2007:£1,800,000 ) for location filming in France, Spain, Sweden, and Italy, and star salaries. One of the series’ unusual production aspects was that Roger Moore was — officially and practically — his own wardrobe artist, stemming from genuine sartorial interest and marketing his line of clothes by the Pearson and Foster firm.
The Persuaders aired from September 17, 1971 to February 25, 1972