Growing up in Europe, this show - although very short - impacted a complete generation of men.
English Lord Brett Sinclair and American Danny Wilde were teamed together by Judge Fullton to investigate crimes which the police could not solve. These two gentlemen were complete opposites, but became great friends through their adventures, constantly risking their own lives for one another.
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, including 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! An example being the undertaker in "A Death in the Family" being played by Ivor Dean, who had portrayed Inspector Claud Eustace Teal in The Saint.
Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) was a rough diamond, educated and molded 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) was 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 gentlemen, they meet on holiday in the French Riviera, instantly disliking each other and destroying a hotel bar during a fist-fight. They were arrested and delivered to retired Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith), who offered them the choice of spending 90 days in jail or helping him to correct errors of impunity. Grudgingly, Wilde and Sinclair agreed to help Fulton to solve a case. He later released them from any threat of jail.
The men developed a sparing affection for each other and soon stumbled into more adventures, sometimes by chance, sometimes on commission from Judge Fulton. Eleven episodes depicted the judge finding a way to convince Wilde and Sinclair to act on his behalf.
One of the main attractions was the signature cars the protagonists drove. Danny Wilde drove a red left-hand-drive Dino 246 GT (chassis number 00810). Brett Sinclair drove 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 had personalized 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. 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. In 2013, the Aston Martin DBS was an invited participant at two of Europe's most exclusive motoring concours, the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este at Lake Como, and the Salon Privé Concours in London.
Danny Wilde's Ferrari Dino had 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.
Although Roger Moore and Tony Curtis signed a 5 year contract... The show only lasted one season, but marked a whole generation!
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