The Persuaders
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The Persuaders! Network blu-ray set review


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Latest News: (updated 21st September 2011)

The Persuaders! - Network Blu-ray set review.

It’s five years since Network released their DVD Special Edition box set of The Persuaders! and with the advent of blu-ray, many fans have hoped the series might get the HD treatment. Well, it’s certainly been worth the wait - the episodes look STUNNING in HD and we must tip our hats to Network for employing BBC Resources, in particular, Jonathan Wood, to ensure these new transfers look their absolute best.

If you visit this site regularly you will be familiar with the episodes so I am not going to talk about them in terms of plots. What I am concentrating on is how they look and sound now, so before writing this review I watched all the episodes to appreciate the audio and visual restoration and if you haven't bought the set yet, do it now, you won't be disappointed.

This set is made up of 8 discs - 5 blu-rays that contain the episodes and 3 DVDs that contain the majority of the special features. Added to this, is a 156 page blu-ray sized book, titled Read And Destroy, written by my old friend Andrew Pixley. The packaging of split red and blue panels mirrors the opening titles which is a nice design touch - the red 'Danny Wilde' part housing four blu-rays and the blue 'Brett Sinclair' section holding the remaining blu-ray and three DVDs.

With two massive stars, a huge budget and plenty of location filming, we've always maintained that The Persuaders! is the jewel in ITC's action/adventure crown. At the time of production Tony Curtis was a huge Hollywood star and Roger Moore was one of biggest names in television worldwide (The Saint was sold to over 70 countries). With these two stars ITC had to throw a massive amount of money at the series, so the budget of £2.5million (just over £100,000 an episode) meant that at that time it was the most expensive television series ever made.

The episodes that were partly filmed in the South of France are spectacular in their colour and vibrancy, for example, Powerswitch looks so sunny it’s almost as if your are on the Cote d’Azur with Danny and Brett - the pain-staking work that has gone into the restoration makes the series feel even more glamourous and glitzy. The clarity and detail in these transfers has revealed half a dozen new filming locations and there are many other little details that can be seen, for example in A Home of One's Own you can read all the details on Walden, the murdered policeman's, ID card or in Overture when Danny leaves the plane at Nice Airport, on the insert shot that was filmed at Pinewood, you can see the right end of the exterior of the aircraft mock-up.

Network have included some raw production footage that matches up to the episodes included on each blu-ray and it's great to see lots of clapperboard material - watching this material gives a real insight into the production of the series. There are some great stills galleries on the blu-rays and it's fantastic to see some presented in HD - there are even a few stills that this reviewer has not seen before (and I've been through the archive on numerous occasions for the TMA magazine).

All of the special features that graced Network's previous DVD release have been carried over and are presented in SD but they've added quite a lot of new material to what was already an impressive list. So alongside stuff like The Saint episode The Ex King of Diamonds (now in HD), the documentary - The Morning After - Remembering The Persuaders!, AVROskoop (found by long-time TMA honorary member Remco Admiraal), commentaries by Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, Bob Baker and other members of the production crew, the four compilation movies and their trailers, there is Curtis and Moore reunited on the Alan Titchmarsh Show, recently found production footage (including some behind the scenes) (mute, HD), extensive image galleries of rare and previously unseen stills (HD), previously unseen alternate title sequence (HD), contemporary French interview footage from 1971, 1972 Sun TV Awards footage, BECTU History Project audio interview with Johnny Goodman, more international TV trailers, script and Memorabilia PDFs and much, much more! They've even managed to get some unseen footage as an easter egg - good luck finding it!

Network's blu-ray set of The Persuaders! has really raised the bar in terms of archive television releases - their whole team need to be congratulated for the hard work put into this superb edition. If Network can continue to treat fans of ITC series with this high standard we are in for some special blu-ray sets in the coming years.

The Persuaders! blu ray set is available for the amazing price of £53.10 from the Network website:

Thanks to Network for the blu-ray grabs used in this review.


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