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Coolest character ever

Author: claudg1950 from Argentina
28 January 2007

The series told the adventures of an Argentine businessman, owner of an import-export company seated in London. The character was first introduced in an episode of Man of the World, a 1961-62 series starring Craig Stevens as world-rambling photographer Michael Strait.

The original name was Carlos Borella, or Barella. Even though that family name sounded adequately Argentine (because it sounds Italian) it does not exist, and it probably was a misspell of the Spanish name Varela, so in this series, the name was corrected accordingly.

Carlos Varela was played by the Argentine actor Carlos Thompson (for almost 30 years married to German actress Lilly Palmer until her demise, in 1986) who was exceedingly handsome and 40 years of age at the time. The character often dressed on a white suit, worn a hat and he was always incredibly suave & debonair. (At the time I was aged 11 or 12, and I wished I could look and act as cool and assured as Varela-Thompson.)

Each episode, Varela was called to exotic locales, to solve problems where his company or his friends were involved. He never carried a gun and things were always solved with wit over brute force.

It was a favorite of mine (although I admit that I paid far more attention to the imposing central character than to the plots) but evidently there were production problems. Perhaps they had the only too common low ratings, or perhaps what happened is what I read somewhere: that, unlike his Spanish or his German -which were fluent- Mr. Thompson's command of English was somehow limited and that created shooting difficulties. (If there were language problems, they don't show at all in the ten episodes were we can hear Thompson speaking fluent English). At any rate, something went very bad with this series, since from episode 10, Thompson/Varela was replaced by British actor John Turner (as Bill Randall, a friend of Varela, who is supposedly gone away on a trip...)

Claudio DG Argentina

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Comment on The Sentimental Agent TV series

Author: ewingmsh
9 April 2014

Contributor claudg1950 is correct in drawing attention to the very odd way in which the hero, Carlos Varela, played by Carlos Thompson, is written out of the series a few episodes from the end, having 'gone away on business'. Had he been replaced by an actor equally as dashing it might have made sense, but instead actor John Turner is clumsily worked into the series as the boyfriend of Varela's secretary who wants to learn more about the import/export business. Not a bad actor, but compared to the very charismatic Carlos Varela he is colourless and anodyne. It would be fascinating to know what happened and who was responsible for it. There is an interview with Bert Kwouk on the DVD, who plays Varela's manservant in the series, but he sheds very little light on the matter. Mind you, one has to remember this series was made 52 years ago, so maybe no one can actually remember. Carlos Thompson left showbiz so perhaps he found the life disagreeable. Maybe we'll never know.

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