by Nigel Adams
Daily Mail, January 11, 1997
Twenty-five years ago this week, viewers were enjoying a new kind of smart, good-loking [sic], tongue-in-cheek western, Alias Smith And Jones--and wondering how it was going to survive with one of its two stars dead. Pete Duel (right), who co-starred with Paul Newman lookalike Ben Murphy, had shot himself dead on New Year's Eve (after watching the show). The troubled Duel had a drink problem and had apparently found it impossible to cope with the pressures of stardom. Faced with an urgent re-casting problem the show's makers opted for Roger Davis, formerly the series narrator, to replace Duel. British viewers, however, were having none of it. Duel, who had something of the raw, vulnerable quality of James Dean (and a nice way with a gag), had become a cult figure. His fans bombarded the BBC with7,000 letters a week demanding that all the Pete Duel episodes be repeated and the new ones starring Davis shelved. They got their way, and it was nearly two years before we saw Duel's replacement. The show just wasn't the same without him.
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