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The Protectors

The Protectors was a British television series, an action thriller created by Gerry Anderson - his first using live actors as opposed to animated puppets, a format he returned to with Space: 1999. The Protectors first aired in 1972 and 1973, and ran to 52 episodes over two series, each 25 minutes long. It starred Robert Vaughn (The Man From U.N.C.L.E) as Harry Rule, Nyree Dawn Porter (The Forsyte Saga) as the Contessa Caroline di Contini, and Tony Anholt (Space: 1999) as Paul Buchet. The three were international private detectives/troubleshooters.

The theme tune for the series, In the Avenues and Alleyways, was a minor hit for Tony Christie. Episodes often featured prominent guest actors. Like The Persuaders, it was produced by Lew Grade's ITC company, and was shot on location at numerous "exotic" locations throughout Europe, such as Salzburg, Rome and Paris, giving the series a sixties "jet set" feel. Some feel that the series has dated badly, with weak plots used as an excuse to string together the location footage, but on the other hand it is not as politically incorrect as The Persuaders seems nowadays.

According to Robert Vaughn's autobiography, there were numerous problems between the actor and both Grade and Anderson. Vaughn claims that he felt the series was "tasteless junk", and that he couldn't understand the scripts neither before nor during shooting. Given the opportunity to direct one episode himself - #24, It Could Be Practically Anywhere on the Island - Grade called it the worst episode he'd ever seen of anything.

The series was made available on a region 2 DVD in 2003.