The complete first season of the classic 1970s crime series. Bodie (Lewis Collins) and Doyle (Martin Shaw) are two elite officers in the secretive CI5 service, a unit staffed by expert policemen, soldiers and special forces to combat anarchy, terrorism and high-profile crime. In this series, a terrorist threatens to contaminate London's water supply, Bodie and Doyle masquerade as the bodyguards of a kidnap victim, and some former colleagues from Bodie's mercenary days arrive in London to pull off a daring bank robbery. Episodes are: 'Private Madness, Public Danger', 'The Female Factor', 'Old Dog With New Tricks', 'Killer With a Long Arm', 'Heroes', 'Where the Jungle Ends', 'Close Quarters', 'Everest Was Also Conquered', 'When the Heat Cools Off', 'Stakeout', 'Long Shot', 'Look After Annie', 'Klansmen' and 'Rogue'.
An instant hit in 1977, The Professionals was a fast-moving and occasionally sharp-shooting action series about a couple of cool dudes in a fictional secret service organisation, CI5. The creation of Avengers veterans Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell it was often gritty stuff, leavened by the mildly subversive attitudes of Bodie (Lewis Collins) and Doyle (Martin Shaw) who ultimately are always loyal to their gruff boss George Cowley (Gordon Jackson). Helped by witty, if rampantly sexist, dialogue and trousers of sterility defying tightness, Bodie and Doyle enjoyed a good run as 1970s sex symbols. Jacksons often exasperated Cowley kept them in line with just the right degree of Puritanical steel.
The first series set the standard for five successful years, milking the dramatic potential of a rich gamut of scenarios, from international espionage to racism and religious evangelism; Bodie and Doyle usually being called upon to protect a controversial figure from the assassin's bullet. Shaw would later dismiss The Professionals for its stereotypical violence and for a long time refused to allow reruns. In fact, as cult television goes, it has weathered well. Many of its themes are as relevant today as they were then. The constantly elliptical script ("I want you to see that he's well taken care of") is tremendous fun. And despite the macho drive, the whole thing has a camp archness which betrays its Avengers pedigree. Great for a nostalgic wallow.
On the DVD: The Professionals on disc still displays the slightly ropey quality of late 1970s television film complete with brassy soundtrack. Presented in 4:3 format, the original production values disconcertingly recreate the original post-homework viewing experience. But the DVD extras are the thing here. Interactive menus allow you to drill down into the history of each of the 14 episodes, cross-referencing guest stars. And there's an appropriately camp fashion note.--Piers Ford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.