1. The Persuaders and James Bond

    By Guest writer on 2007-10-09

    Written by Paul Rowlands

    For the whole of the ’60s, Roger Moore was unavailable to play James Bond due to his commitment to “The Saint” TV series, which ran from 1962 to 1969.

    The Persuaders

    Despite his reluctance to return to TV, by the time he was considered for Diamonds are Forever, he was yet again out of the frame due to his commitment to another British, Lew Grade-financed TV series.

    “The Persuaders” was an idea of producer Robert S. Baker, and “The Saint” episode The Ex-King of Diamonds (6.18)—with the British Simon Templar teaming up with a Texas oilman—was made as a sort of pilot to see if the idea could work. Moore agreed to do “The Persuaders” because Lew Grade had sold the show with Roger as a part of it. In “The Persuaders”, Moore would be the effete, wealthy, upper-class Lord Brett Sinclair who reluctantly teams up with millionaire American playboy Danny Wilder, played by Tony Curtis. (Rock Hudson and Glenn Ford also had been considered for the role of Danny). Grade was hoping the show would appeal to US audiences and accorded a huge budget for the series (the highest at the time for a British show).

    Roger Moore

    Unfortunately, the US TV network pitted the show against “Mission: Impossible” and it flopped. Despite its great European success (especially in Germany where the show was extensively redubbed to the extent that it was pretty much a different show), Grade cancelled the show after only one season, finally freeing up Moore to take on 007.

    “The Persuaders” premiered in the UK on Granada and Anglia with the episode Overture on 16th September 1971 and ended on 25th February 1972 with Someone Waiting. The show is very different from “The Saint” despite the characters again spending each episode doing detective work. It’s much lighter, superficial and less plot-driven.

    Tony Curtis

    The show is undoubtedly a product of its time and has dated, most notably in its fashion (Moore designed his own clothes for the show), its attitude towards women (we’re not a million miles away from Connery slapping Margaret Nolan’s bottom in Goldfinger) and its extensive use of backscreen projection. Roger Moore has put on quite a bit of weight since “The Saint” and has a thick head of hair, both of which he had to lose when taking on the mantle of 007.

    Most of the episodes, though, are fun, and some are a lot of fun indeed. Moore and Curtis are both consummate pros and despite rumours that they didn’t get along, they have great onscreen chemistry. For Bond fans, the most interesting will probably be, like “The Saint”, the chance to spot quite a few Bond references and links throughout the series.

    For example… In one story, Moore is programmed to kill Bernard Lee a la the novel of The Man with the Golden Gun. Lee would of course play ‘M’ opposite Moore a few years later in Live And Let Die (they had actually already acted with each other in 1969’s Crossplot). Lois Maxwell appears in one episode, although she doesn’t share any scenes with Moore. Geoffrey Keen, aka The Minister of Defence, also turns up in one episode. Sean Connery’s ex-wife Diane Cilento appears in one episode, mentioning that her car has an ejector seat (Goldfinger). Laurence Naismith from Diamonds are Forever appears in a whopping eleven episodes as the Judge who blackmails the pair into a life of crimefighting. And John Barry supplies the fantastic theme tune.

    The one episode with the most Bond references and links is 1.10 Chain of Events. The episode was edited and directed by Peter Hunt, who directed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and edited the first five Bond films, handling the second-unit on You Only Live Twice as well. George Baker, who acted in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me appears, and in one scene there is a briefcase containing Ian Fleming 007 paperbacks of Live And Let Die, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only; Octopussy and most prominently, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (with the movie tie-in cover).

    The series was also filmed at Pinewood Studios, and Moore directed two episodes: 1.17 The Time and Place and 1.18 The Long Goodbye, the latter featuring a cameo from his young daughter Deborah (who later would have a cameo in Die Another Day). ‘The Persuaders’ also allowed Moore to do something he never did as 007: drive an Aston Martin, here a Bahama Yellow DBS V8 (which was actually a V6 made up to look like a V8 as the latter was not ready in time). (Trivia: Moore actually drives the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger and Thunderball in the comedy The Cannonball Run, released the same summer as 1981’s For Your Eyes Only.)

    Tony Curtis & Roger Moore

    If the lists of actors and technical crew common to “The Saint”, “The Persuaders” and 007 teaches us anything it is that the world of British film in the ’60s and early ’70s was a small place. And I, for one, found it interesting to learn that Roger Moore had already worked with most of the major supporting players of his Bond films on the two shows. Watching the two shows has been akin to being in some kind of a parallel universe where ‘M’, Moneypenny, the Minister of Defence and General Gogol have all met Roger Moore’s James Bond before!

    “The Persuaders” actors and crew who also worked on Bond films
    Actor Film(s) “The Persuaders” credits
    Rose Alba Thunderball 1.4 – Angie… Angie
    George Baker On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, where
    he acted as Sir Hilary Bray and also dubbed George Lazenby impersonating him,
    The Spy Who Loved Me
    1.10 – Chain of Events
    John Barry scored eleven Bond films, also arranged
    and performed ‘The James Bond Theme’ for Dr. No
    composed the theme
    Anthony (Tony) Barwick unused treatments for
    Moonraker pre-Diamonds are Forever and The Spy Who Loved Me
    1.14 – Element of Risk

    1.22 – Nuisance Value

    Yuri Borienko On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1.12 – The Ozerov Inheritance
    Diane Cilento ex-wife of Sean Connery 1.23 – A Death in the Family
    Roland Culver Thunderball 1.23 – A Death in the Family
    James (Jimmy) Devis various technical capacities on
    For Your Eyes Only and
    camera operator on every episode
    Frank Ernst assistant director on
    Goldfinger and
    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    also AD on Sean Connery’s
    The Hill (1965)
    and Roger Moore’s
    Shout at the Devil (1976)
    assistant director:
    1.17 – The Time and Place
    1.18 – The Long Goodbye
    1.19 – A Home of One’s Own
    1.22 – Nuisance Value
    1.23 – A Death in the Family
    1.24 – The Man in the Middle
    Joseph Furst Diamonds are Forever 1.12 – The Ozerov Inheritance
    Val Guest co-director/co-writer:
    Casino Royale
    1.3 – Five Miles to Midnight
    1.4 – Angie…Angie

    1.6 – The Gold Napoleon

    David Healy You Only Live Twice (uncredited)
    Diamonds are Forever (uncredited)
    1.14 – Element of Risk
    Bernard Horsfall On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1.3 – The Morning After
    1.18 – The Long Goodbye
    Peter Hunt editor on the first three films
    supervising editor on Thunderball and You Only Live Twice
    second unit director on the latter film
    director of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

    Went on to direct Moore in Gold (1974) and
    Shout at the Devil (1976)

    1.10 Chain of Events
    Geoffrey Keen The Spy Who Loved Me to The Living Daylights 1.20 – That’s Me Over There
    Bernard Lee the first eleven films,
    there is also a portrait on a wall of him in
    The World is not Enough
    1.9 – Someone Like Me
    Valerie Leon Casino Royale, 1967
    The Spy Who Loved Me
    Never Say Never Again
    1.18 – The Long Goodbye
    Lois Maxwell the first fourteen films 1.15 – Someone Waiting
    (She shares no scenes with Moore)
    Deborah Moore Roger’s daughter,
    appeared in
    Die Another Day
    appears in a photograph with the rest of Roger’s family in
    1.11 – Greensleeves,

    and in person in
    1.18 – The Long Goodbye
    an episode directed by her father

    Laurence Naismith Diamonds are Forever episodes 1, 3 – 6, 8, 13, 14, 18, 20, 24
    Margaret Nolan Goldfinger 1.14 – The Morning After
    Robert Rietty Dr. No, the voice of Strangways (uncredited)
    Thunderball, the voice of Largo (uncredited)
    You Only Live Twice, the voice of ‘Tiger’ Tanaka (uncredited)
    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service the casino baccarat official (uncredited)
    For Your Eyes Only voice of the alleged ‘Blofeld’ (uncredited)
    Never Say Never Again
    1.3 – Five Miles to Midnight
    Shane Rimmer You Only Live Twice
    Diamonds are Forever
    The Spy Who Loved Me
    also dubbed Robert Dix in
    Live And Let Die
    1.14 – Element of Risk
    Catherine (von) Schell On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1.13 – The Morning After
    Bob Simmons stunts department on the first five films,
    Diamonds are Forever,
    Live And Let Die,
    and all the films from
    The Spy Who Loved Me to
    A View to a Kill
    appears as an uncredited poker player in
    1.2 – To
    the Death Baby
    Madeleine Smith Live And Let Die 1.18 – The Long Goodbye
    Elliott Sullivan On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (uncredited) 1.21 – Read and Destroy
    Nikki Van der Zyl Dr. No: voice of Honey and all the female voices except Lois Maxwell and Zena Marshall
    From Russia With Love: voice of Sylvia
    Goldfinger voice of Jill and voice coach for Gert Frobe
    Thunderball: voice of Domino
    You Only Live Twice: voice of Kissy
    Live And Let Die voice of Solitaire in some scenes
    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: various voices
    The Man with the Golden Gun: various voices
    Moonraker: various voices
    – all uncredited
    possibly dubs Magda Konopka in
    1.21 – Read and Destroy

    and Viviane Ventura in
    1.22 – Nuisance Value

    Richard Vernon Goldfinger 1.16 – Anyone Can Play
    Also from Paul Rowland
    1. The Saint, Roger Moore, and James Bond
      Paul Rowlands shows there is more linking “The Saint” with James Bond than its star.