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|Index||17 reviews in total|
What opulence! The cars, the clothes, the interior designs, the DOG!
Could a seventies show BE any more seventies? From the sublime Jensen
Interceptor, to Anholt's neck scarves and Nyree's exquisite trouser
suits, from Vaughan's eyebrow acting to the fantastic multi-Euro
locales (did an episode ever NOT feature a European airport?)... pure
snazz! Who cared that 30 minutes weren't enough? Who gave a damn about
the back projections, Nyree's dodgy accents (Italian? British?
KIWI??)...? This is a deluxe show, where EVERYONE has a drinks bar
inside a big globe, and no matter what is going on, there's always time
for a scotch - "drink?" And the yellow car in the opening credits? A
FIAT 850 Coupe... so now you know.
Altogether now, "All the low are living high!" Groovy!
This series almost works. Almost. But thirty minutes (or, rather, 25
minutes of runtime) just aren't enough. I always thought Robert Vaughn
and Nyree Dawn Porter had the beginnings of a strong on-screen
chemistry. But it never really happened. And it wasn't just because of
the background presence of Gerry Anderson, whose sci-fi series cast
with humans (UFO and Space: 1999) often rivaled his puppet populated
sci-fi series, such as Fireball XL5, for stiffness and lifeless
performances. No, it was mainly a matter that just as soon as Harry and
the Contessa began even the mildest of banter the producers had to move
the story along to get in all the action scenes and wrap things up at
the end of a half hour.
Otherwise, the makers of the series seem to be flying by the seat of their pants throughout. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. There are lots of interesting and even novel, for the time, camera shots and action sequences. All in all, not a bad way to spend a half hour. For all its faults, there is more imagination in the shooting of The Protectors than there is in most of the static drama series on TV today.
How could you not resist singing along to Tony Christie's wonderful
rendition of "Avenues & Alleyways"? I love this series not for the
plots that went nowhere, but for the great cast of Robert Vaughan,
Nyree Dawn Porter (deceased) in a pseudo-Italian accent and the very
handsome Tony Anholt (deceased) who looked decorative, spoke with a
French accent and was always elegantly attired). A special mention
needs to be made for Yasuko Nagazumi who plays Harry Rule's talented
and elegant personal assistant. Check out her hairstyles and creative
This series epitomised the stylish early 70's when men wore fitted suits, silk neck-scarves and sexy shoes, when women wore outrageous dresses, make-up and very high, creative hairstyles.
Another Gerry Anderson production (I'm a fan of his work, especially UFO), this series was very much like "The Persuaders", set all over continental Europe and featuring some interesting guest stars of the day. The locations alone are worth watching for.
Watch this series just for the fun and the retro memories. Don't take the story lines too seriously - it was just the early 70's; and that's what mattered!
Don't ask why some things stick in one's head 30 years later, but the
opening theme of "The Protectors" went like this:
In the avenues and alley-ways Where the soul of man is easy to buy, Everybody's wheelin', everybody's dealin' All the lower living are high.
Every city's got 'em, Can we ever stop 'em? Some of us are gonna try...
For the cosmic two cents that it's worth.
Different to most of the competing cops and capers shows around at the
time, "The Protectors", a rare Gerry Anderson project not involving
puppets or science fiction, had episodes only clocking in at 25 minutes
or so and thus, as I remember it, failed to secure a real prime-time TV
slot on original release in 1972. However this gave it the benefit of
appealing to casual viewers who didn't have an hour to spare to watch
say, "The Persuaders" or "Mission Impossible" to name but two.
Yet there's something to be said for the brevity of the individual programmes as there's less padding and more directness in the story lines and there's little time to be bored. Yes, most of the shows I've seen seem to rewrite the same four or five plot-lines, and seem to invariably include some foreign intrigue, overseas locations, a kidnapping, a daring rescue, a punch-up and some cliff-hanging finish before the end credits roll and that great theme tune, bellowed out by Tony Christie.
Obviously over so many shows there is some variation in the quality of the writing but the direction, probably of necessity, is uniformly brisk and to the point. The casting of the leads is very pleasing, I loved Robert Vaughn in "Man Fom U.N.C.L.E." and while he's not the lean mean (lady)-killing machine he was back in the 60's, as team leader Harry Rule, he commits well to his part and rarely looks bored. Nyree-Dawn Porter is still the beautiful English rose she was in "The Forsyte Saga", certainly not faded and is surprisingly adept in her role as the stylish and resourceful Contessa Di Contini, while Tony Anholt does well enough as third wheel Paul Buchet, suave Frenchman, although his accent occasionally crosses back over the Channel.
I'm working my way through an old DVD box-set I bought ages ago and am quite enjoying the task. My teenage heart at the time was in thrall to the more escapist shows of the era like "The Champions", "Department S" or "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)", but I'm happy to commit 25 minutes of my time to Harry and the Contessa, any day of the week.
I have seen various ITC shows in reruns on television, but not this one until recently. I wasn't expecting much after seeing another short-lived ITC show, The Baron (awful), but this one really shines. The production values on this show really show, with some fantastic cars (Citroen SM, Rolls Royce Slver Shadow, and Jensen Interceptor), stylish clothes, and actual location shooting. Granted some of this is 1970's kitsch, but it looks pretty glamorous compared to the excellent Saint series, which in my opinion was compromised somewhat by its lack of location work. Even big budget American shows like Mission:Impossible shied away from location work. It was always filmed at the studio, and the sets always looked familiar . . . but not The Protectors. The half-hour format format really lends itself to tight stories without excessive dialog. And Gerry Anderson really pulled together some great talent on this one, particularly the writers. One of the let downs is Robert Vaughn, who is okay, but doesn't seem very interested in what he is doing. Nevertheless, he is head and shoulders above Steve Forrest in the Saint ripoff, the Baron, though significantly short of the stylish Roger Moore. Its a shame this show didn't last longer as ITC had a good formula on its hands.
I hope I never grow up enough to think this show is awful.I can see why
people think it is dated,but I like it.The first episode is one of the
best,it was very exciting.
The theme tune is great as well as catchy.I often find myself humming
Gerry Anderson fans might like it,but I think other people will think it
It is one of my favourite Gerry Anderson shows.
Rather than the glib UNCLE show, this effort for Robert V. had a believable conceit - a small group of bodyguard/detectives hires themselves out to whomever can afford them (without crossing their moral scruples). CEOs and governments were frequent customers of The Protectors, never mob or terrorist elements. As with the best in series television, a good premise and tight chemistry in the cast usually overcame mediocre scripts.
Those that remember the show....Does anyone have an idea who the mystery silhouette is at the end of the opening sequence of the show? The Tony Christie theme song rocks. Can't keep it out of my head even 30+ yrs later. Does anyone know the words to it? Is there a DVD set even thought it was one season. 70s British TV....AHHHHHH, what memories. Bring back Secret Agent, The Prisoner, The Thunderbirds, the Persuaders(Great theme song I might add) and my all time favorite......Benny Hill....Thank god for the BBC America Channel. Back to The Protecters...Robert Vaughn is doing a show thief show now(God bless him)..What are the others doing?
I remember seeing this series in Saint Louis, running as the last thing
Sunday night. As an old fan of "The Man from UNCLE," I was curious to see
Robert Vaughn playing an older, cynical, grouchier version of Napoleon
Vaughn's personal liberal sentiments occasionally showed through, in one
episode involving a military intelligence case. His Harry Rule character
showed nothing but contempt for the way the military operated and its
On the other hand, there was a small amount of goofiness. One episode I recall had Rule and his Italian costar stopping a neo-Nazi plot. Instead of contributing the gold they seized that was intended to revive the Third Reich to a charity cause, they stuck it in a Swiss bank. Not precisely heroic behavior.
One other note: Faberge, the perfume company, made the series (it was "A Brut Production") and the show contained a lot of "barter" spots for the Brut line of men's care products.
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