Jul 17, 2011

The Persuaders! Comes to Blu-ray in the UK

Network has announced a fall release for a 40th anniversary edition of The Persuaders!: The Complete Series in high definition. Of course, like all of Network's Blu-ray releases, we can expect this one to be for Region B, limiting it primarily to European and Australian viewers or North Americans with an all-region Blu-ray player. The picture looks stunning (a vast improvement over any DVD version I've seen), as evidenced even in the promotional video below. In addition to that, Network has lived up to our high expectations of the company and provided a wealth of bonus material. Some of it was included on their previous DVD collection (which already boasted some pretty impressive extras), and some (most tantalizingly a new 156-page book by Andrew Pixley!) is new to this set. Here's the rundown:

• Digitally restored, High Definition transfers
• 156 page fully-bound book of viewing notes by Andrew Pixley
• Recently found, extensive textless material (including some behind the scenes) (HD)
• Previously unseen alternate title sequence (HD)
• Extensive HD image galleries of rare and previously unseen stills
• 1972 Sun TV Awards footage with Tony Curtis
• Contemporary French interview on location from 1971
• Moore and Curtis reunion on the Alan Titchmarsh Show from 2008
• Merchandise image gallery (HD)
The Morning After - Remembering The Persuaders! exclusive documentary
• Commentaries with Roger Moore, Tony Curtis and production staff
• AVROSkoop contemporary documentary from 1971
• Top of the Pops promotional video for John Barry's theme
• Promotional spots
• Trailers and archive newsreel footage
• Tony Curtis interviewed by Russell Harty
• French titles
• Commercial break bumpers
• Script PDFs
• International movie versions and trailers for London Conspiracy, Mission: Monte Carlo, Sporting Chance and The Switch
• and more

Those "international movie versions" were feature films created for the foreign market by editing together two episodes of the series. They were previously available on the company's DVD set, as were the documentary and commentaries. I'm glad that all of that stuff is presented again on this collection, making it truly a complete package. (Well... almost complete. I'm guessing Network probably haven't managed to license the different commentary tracks recorded for A&E's Region 1 DVD release.) All 24 episodes of the fantastic series (probably my favorite ITC show) have undergone an HD restoration this Blu-ray edition.

The 8-disc set will be out on September 19, with a suggested retail price of £79.99. However, it's already listed at a substantial discount on Network's website: just £53.10.

To promote the release, the company has organized a big 40th anniversary celebration event, "The Time and the Place." The guest of honor will be Sir Roger Moore himself, who will discuss his career and his role in the show. The actual time and place of "The Time and the Place" will be 6pm on September 10, 2011, at Kent House, Knightsbridge, beginning a food and drinks reception followed by an HD screening of two episodes selected by Moore, “Overture” and “A Death in the Family.” (Great selections, Sir Roger!) A Q&A and signing session with the star follow. Speaking of restorations, the original restored Aston Martin from the series will also be on display. Perhaps best of all, Network promises that "a special prize will be awarded to the person who attends in the best 70s attire!" A roomful of people dressed up in velvet jackets and cravats of the sort favored by Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde would be well worth attending even without the presence of Roger Moore, in my opinion. As with the 50th Anniversary celebration of The Avengers that took place earlier this summer (another event like the London Kiss Kiss Kill Kill one that I meant to cover but never got around to until it was too late), I really, really wish I could be there. For those lucky fans who can, tickets can currently be ordered from Network's website. £40 gets you into the reception, screening and Q&A; £80 gets you “The Gold Napoleon” deal which includes all that plus an advance copy of the Blu-ray and an opportunity to have it signed by Sir Roger personally. Chances are if you're going to this event, you're already planning on buying it anyway, so why not spring for the Gold Napoleon? I don't mean to sound like a shill, but I know I would...

Now here's that promotional video showing off the HD restoration:


night person said...

Is there ANY chance of this getting a U.S. Blu Ray release? Along with The Avengers! We did get a U.S. Blu Ray release of The Prisoner so it's not an impossibility...

Bob said...

I never saw the show when it originally was shown on tv. I ended up buying the two dvd sets simply because of the John Barry main theme and the Roger Moore connection.

I can't tell you how surprised I was and have enjoyed these shows. The Avengers seem to be in their own little nostalgic world and so do The Persuaders. Great theme song!!!

Delmo said...

God I wish I were working so I could afford to go!

Anonymous said...

The 40th anniversary party took place in London last Sat, it was a very nice party and Sir Roger Moore was as nice as usual, a perfect gentleman, like Lord Brett Sinclair !

Despite some changes in the schedule, the staff was polite and pleasant, except for a guy who was rude, with an unprofessionnal behaviour, a total lack of consideration for customers, contradicting what his colleagues said a few minutes before, in other words, the total opposite of a gentleman, and he ruined quite a lot the image of Network Distributing Ltd ! Too bad, really !