The Persuaders: Chain Of Events (1971)

Directed by Peter Hunt
Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, Suzanna Leigh, Peter Vaughan, George Baker
Music by Ken Thorne
The Persuaders Theme by John Barry

I absolutely love The Persuaders television series, and for me, Chain Of Events is one of the most enjoyable of the episodes. This one is directed by Peter Hunt, who directed the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the show has a few subtle Bond jokes. It even features the actor George Baker, who played Sir Hillary Bray in OHMSS.

The episode opens in Eastern Europe with a plane landing in a clearing. This is part of an M.I.5 operation. The pilot is to receive a briefcase full of important classified documents from a sleeper agent, which he is to bring back to England. But the Communists are onto M.I.5’s little scheme and switch the case for another one.

After John Barry’s title theme, which every time I hear it I get goose bumps, we are in a paddock in the English country side. Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) is camping out. Despite all his millions, he is roughing it. No tent, simply stretched out before an open fire. Then a clock alarm rings. No it’s not a dream. Danny is not dreaming. The alarm is on the other side of the field. The camera pulls back to reveal Lord Brett Sinclair’s (Roger Moore) palatial camping set up. He has a monstrous sized tent, with all mod cons. Attached to the tent is a giant awning which covers his kitchen area, with a refrigerator, a stove, a coffee percolator, the works… Danny refuses to accept Sinclair’s hospitality. If he is camping, he wants to live of his wits. He will only eat what he can catch, and to that end, he grabs a fishing pole and heads off to the river.

As Danny marches along, he bumps into Franz Schubert (Peter Vaughan). Schubert mistakes Danny for a man named Baxter. Danny corrects him, and continues on his way. Next Danny sees a blonde lady, Emily (Suzanna Leigh) running through the trees calling Baxter’s name. Confused but unperturbed, Danny continues to the river and then throws in a line. What he hasn’t initially seen, hanging in the tree overhead, is a man in a parachute. Danny helps the man down. He is almost dead, but he has enough strength to unclip the briefcase he was carrying, and clamp the handcuff around Danny’s wrist. Danny now is chained to the briefcase and cannot find the key.

Danny wanders off to get help, but in the meantime, M.I.5 have found their courier dead and the briefcase missing. They naturally assume that foreign agent has taken the case, and call all their operatives into the area, with orders to kill. Naturally there actually are foreign agents in the area, and they want the briefcase too. So poor old Danny is everyone’s target, and he’s not too happy about it.

Like most of The Persuaders episodes, apart from the chemistry between Moore and Curtis, the show is buoyed by the great range of character actors, all familiar faces, who fill the support roles. In Chain Of Events we get Peter Vaughan who made a career out of playing slimy villains in many films. Some of his more notable espionage appearances were in The Naked Runner, Philby, Burgess And Maclean, The Macintosh Man, and Hammerhead amongst many others. Suzanna Leigh’s credentials included Subterfuge and Deadlier Than The Male.

The Persuaders was a very good series and there weren’t really any dud episodes, so you could pick any of them and be assured of a good time…but this is one of my favourites.

The Persuaders: Chain Of Events (1971)

3 thoughts on “The Persuaders: Chain Of Events (1971)

  1. I loved the show as well, and can remember being miffed when A.T.V. announced in the letters page of ‘The T.V. Times’ that it would not be returning. Other good episodes were ‘Death In The Family’ with Moore doing an Alec Guinness by playing the entire Sinclair family and ‘Man In The Middle’ with guest-star Terry-Thomas.

  2. I like the Peter Hunt in-joke with the briefcase being full of *Spoiler*James Bond books, with OHMSS being the most prominent. I’d like to get those particular Bond books; I liked the covers! If anyone knows the specifics, I’d like to know.

  3. Hi CK,Those particular covers are not too hard to find. They are the Pan paperbacks from the 60’s and 70’s. What makes it a little more tricky is that they have used a bit of a mixed bag in the show. There are covers from the sixties which have Bondian items on fairly plain backgrounds. But they have also included some of the early 70’s covers which were all white and featured characters from the stories on them. These are slightly more difficult to track down because there was not quite so many of them. Unfortunately the Bondian website appears to be down at the moment. It was a great reference source for those wishing to see or track down various Bond book covers. Hopefully it will be back online soon.Good luck!

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