1 9 6 3 (UK)
13 x 60 minute episodes
The Sentimental Agent was an ITV spin-off from a Man of the World episode of the same name, in which Carlos Varela (Carlos Thompson), the owner of an import/export trading company in London (Mercury International) could often be found on the global trail of criminals.
Carlos’ key skill was getting people to do what he needed them to do. As a jet-setting bachelor who was often in the United States, a vaguely romantic approach to a woman involved in whatever events were surrounding him would often pay off successfully for him.
When flattery and schmooze were not enough, he used gentle sarcasm and mockery. He was smart and he was fit and would rather rely on charm and wits, but could handle himself in a fight when necessary. He was also a crack shot with a revolver.
His appearance was suave and he was often clad in a cool white suit fashioned by Willoughby of Savile Row, Parisian shirt, dark tie and light fedora, and sometimes augmented by trendy wrap-around shades. He was a gourmet who could recognise paté from Normandy, admired fine wine and was partial to a double brandy. History and architectures were his subsidiary hobbies.
Assisting Carlos was his secretary Suzy Carter (Australian actress Clemence Bettany), the perfect combination of looks and efficiency – and secret service connections.
Light relief was provided by Varela’s valet/cook/chauffeur, Suma Chin Sun (Burt Kwok), who also had an understanding of magic and performed occasionally as an illusionist. Unfortunately, Chin also had a weakness for excessive gambling.
6′ 2″ Argentinean actor Carlos Thompson (born Juan Carlos Mundin-Schaffter), who starred as Varela, had already established himself in Hollywood after being ‘discovered’ by Yvonne de Carlo (The Munsters) before turning his back on a Hollywood lifestyle and moving to Switzerland, where he became one of the Continent’s most sought-after leading men.
Thompson often had difficulty with his lines (his mastery of English was less than good), forcing the production to introduce a new character – Bill Randall (John Taylor) – in the episode ‘Meet My Son, Henry’.
Bill would assist in carrying the storyline in several episodes, thus reducing the time that Thompson appeared on the screen.
In fact, the Argentinean was completely absent from the episodes ‘Finishing School’ and ‘Not Quite Fully Covered’ and Taylor fronted both instalments.
The series was produced at Shepperton Studios for ITC Worldwide. Guest stars included Diana Rigg, Annette Andre, Imogen Hassall, Suzanna Leigh, Sue Lloyd, Dennis Price and Patrick Troughton.
Four years after the death of his wife, Lilli Palmer, from cancer in 1986, Carlos Thompson shot himself in the head in Buenos Aires in October 1990.
Suma Chin Sun
All That Jazz | The Beneficiary | Express Delivery | Never Play Cards With Strangers | May The Saints Preserve Us | Meet My Son, Henry | A Little Sweetness and Light | The Height of Fashion | A Very Desirable Plot | Finishing School | The Scroll of Islam | Not Quite Fully Covered | A Box of Tricks