Celebrating The Persuaders and Sir Roger Moore

Roger Moore and Barry Norman on stage

Roger Moore and Barry Norman on stage

I was in London over the weekend celebrating the 40th anniversary Blu-ray release of The Persuaders!, the 1971 ITC adventure series starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis.

Hosted by DVD distribution company Network, the event took place in Knightsbridge on Saturday evening, with Lord Brett Sinclair’s Aston Martin parked outside, complete with the interior of the boot signed by Moore and Curtis.

The Persuaders' Aston Martin, with signed boot

The Persuaders' Aston Martin, with signed boot

Around 150 fans were then offered the opportunity to meet and greet Sir Roger, have their Blu-ray boxset signed, watch a few episodes of the series and hear the actor in conversation with veteran film critic, Barry Norman.

Barry Norman introducing the event

Barry Norman introducing the event

The first episode of the series, Overture, was shown after the signing and looked impressive on the big screen, looking fresher than it ever has and still a huge amount of fun, as Lord Sinclair (Moore) and Danny Wilde (Curtis) are brought together to fight crime by wily Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith).

After the episode Barry Norman returned to introduce Moore, who may not be quite as dashing as he was 40 years ago but who still has the self-deprecating sense of humour he’s known for.

The pair discussed the genesis of the show (Lord Lew Grade signed Moore up to the series without asking him, then paid him a hefty salary he couldn’t refuse) and took in topics such as Tony Curtis’ doubts about acting in a TV series after being a movie star and how he was known to smoke a spliff before a take. It’s worth noting that Moore does a mean Tony Curtis impression and it was heartening to hear how the pair bonded and remained friends long after the end of the series, Moore comforting Curtis when the latter’s son died in tragic circumstances.

Roger Moore and Barry Norman

Roger Moore and Barry Norman

There was also a second episode shown on the big screen but as Moore had left by this point so did a large part of the audience, including me – I headed to the pub to celebrate the series with fellow Persuaders fans for the rest of the night.

An opportunity to meet a childhood hero, thanks must go to Network for taking the time to treat a small audience to a night to remember. Although I’ve not had a chance to get stuck in to the Blu-rays, I’m looking forward to it; I need as many distractions from modern TV as possible and a few hours in the company of the Persuaders seems a perfect way to do so.

Find out more about the Blu-ray release over on the Network DVD website and watch some clips from the event below:

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