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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big A in HD
Anybody who has bought the previous Professionals DVDs or caught the re-runs on ITV4 would have probably noticed that the picture quality was never particularly good. This is because until now all DVD and broadcast tapes were derived from digital copies made by LWT in the early 1990's, and since the prints that LWT used to make those masters weren't in the best condition...
Published 9 months ago by Mr. D. K. Smith

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great restoration - still have niggles about the show.
As a rough and tumble teen back in the 70's, I can't say I was a big Professionals fan. (I much preferred The New Avengers which also deserves an HD makeover.) Having also met a very affable and approachable Martin Shaw on a TV show back in 1977, I did try to like the show. But even back then, The Professionals started to look a bit out of date with it's sometimes...
Published 4 months ago by W. Beckett


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big A in HD, 28 Mar 2014
By 
Mr. D. K. Smith (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Anybody who has bought the previous Professionals DVDs or caught the re-runs on ITV4 would have probably noticed that the picture quality was never particularly good. This is because until now all DVD and broadcast tapes were derived from digital copies made by LWT in the early 1990's, and since the prints that LWT used to make those masters weren't in the best condition to begin with, what we've been watching for the last twenty years has been pretty comprised.

The story of how Network located the original negatives and restored them is an interesting one (for those who want to read further I've put a couple of links in the comments section) but the upshot is that we now have the first thirteen episodes of The Professionals presented in pin-sharp quality - a far cry from the muddy, dirty prints that previously did the rounds.

Whether you buy this on BD or DVD the improvements should be pretty clear - it will, of course, be much better on BD, but even the DVD will display a significant increase in the picture quality.

Story wise, this a very good collection - "Old Dog with New Tricks", "Where The Jungle Ends" (featuring David Suchet and Geoffrey Palmer), "Everest Was Also Conquered" (featuring one-time Robin Hood, Richard Greene) and "Stakeout" are all highlights for me, but the rest are never less than entertaining. Also included is the notorious banned episode "Klansmen" which was pulled due to concerns over the content of the story.

One notable thing about this release is that all the episodes have had the original Assault Course opening titles reinstated. Shortly after their original broadcasts the iconic season two titles were grafted on, so it's good to have the original titles back. The end titles are the rarely seen London Landscape versions.

Special features-wise, you can listen to remixed soundtracks in 5.1 or enjoy Laurie Johnson's scores with a music-only option on all the episodes. There's an extensive photo gallery with hundreds of pictures (including Anthony Andrews as Bodie from the original "Old Dog with New Tricks"). PDFs, featuring production material such as scripts are a very welcome addition, as is a book by respected TV historian Andrew Pixley.

Anybody who has ever read any of Mr Pixley's previous production notes for Network won't have to be told of the high quality and painstaking detail he is renowned for - and this is another substantial piece of work. Much more than just a thin booklet of notes, this is a comprehensive book about the first production block and would be worth a good few pounds in its own right.

The C4 "Without Walls" documentary from 1996, featuring interviews with many of the series' key players, including Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins, is another nice extra.

Outstanding picture quality, excellent special features - this is a first-class package and I look forward to seeing what Network do with the remaining episodes. Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC PICTURE QUALITY (SHAME ABOUT THE PACKAGING), 1 April 2014
By 
KM WHITEHOUSE (ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Network have done a fantastic job restoring the picture quality of "The Professionals" to a level never seen before, as without any exaggeration it looks as though it was filmed this year (apart from the flares). I can't praise them enough on this restoration project which now includes the original series one titles on all episodes that were replaced on VHS and DVD by those from series two. There is also a new 5.1 surround mix that adds extra depth to the series, along with a disc of extras, which are a bit of a let down as the documentary is from 18 years ago, although it is very informative.

I really hope that it won't be too long before they release the other three series on Blu-ray along with "The New Professionals".

Now to my gripe with the box itself. The packaging is rather flimsy and in typical Network style have chosen to house it in DVD size like they do with their audio CD soundtrack albums. I do realise that there is a book included, but it could have been reformatted to fit a Blu-ray sized box. Apart from that I can find nothing wrong with this excellent release.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Network are THE PROFESSIONALS at restoration. First class release., 1 April 2014
By 
Marcia "marcia" (england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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Wow! Network DVD have given their expert techniques to this first series of The Professionals. Network DVD have proved that cult British TV is in good hands under their management many times before so it shouldn't be a surprise that this edition looks better than ever. But actually it is a bit surprising that something can look so good after all these years. It really does look like it was made yesterday, In fact its just fabulously stunning. Network have had help from the BBC with the restoration but it is a Network project and the end result is great.

Honestly, if you have never owned a set of the Professionals this is easily the greatest version. And if you have already had a set before then believe me, it is worth re buying and getting this set because the picture quality is incredible. I had the complete set of the early 2005 editions by Kult TV Contender Entertainment group. That set suggested Digital remastered. and it is clear from its grainy appearance that it was only a digital copy.

This new version by Network is way ahead of that earlier release. We are taken back to the original film stock and there is clear re balance of tone and colour restoration. The picture is sharp, clear, well lit, great clarity and colour. I think the show really does look better than it did back in the 1970s because of the closeness to the original film and restoration as well as modern High definition viewing equipment.
If you can imagine the old contender issues as being mucky windows that made everything seen through them murky and drained of colour. Then this network edition is the clean windows version with sparkling clarity.

The other great thing about this set is that the restoration goes on to put all of the correct episodes on the set for series one. Unlike the Contender issue that had an episode added that was originally screened as a series two episode. This set keeps faithful to the production order for series one. Not transmission order but production order.
The set restores the episodes so that they are uncut and include the original opening titles with the training sequences on the first few episodes and not the re edited and cut more familiar versions from the later episodes that have appeared since original release in the 1970s. The set does include the banned Klansman episode which does look better than ever.

I believe that this is possibly the first time that Network have included Subtitles for the deaf on a DVD set. Its about time. Most companies have been doing it for years. Anyway, better late than never. I know Network have been adding subtitles to some of their Blu ray issues but I don't think they have given enough attention to DVD.

So, like the restoration on previous issues by Network such as The Prisoner, Space 1999 and the Sweeney, this is a truly great release and I look forward to series two, three and four. I hope they don't take too long although Network do seem to take a few years to actually complete the set of series releases.
If you have the contender issues and you want to re buy with this version, I can only recommend that you do so. I would also urge you not to get rid of the contender issue of series one just yet since one episode called rogue will be lost until we can get the Network edition of series two with the correct episode run in production order.

The Professionals is an exciting series from the 1970s. This first series is very good and it is excellently presented.

After the success of the TV series the New Avengers that had been produced by Avengers MK1 productions and London Weekend Television, creators and producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell created this new series The Professionals. The show was screened on the ITV network in 1977. The first series had 13 episodes and it was a big hit with viewers.
The series stars Martin Shaw, Lewis Collins and Gordon Jackson as agents of the fictional CI5.
The series was created to make a show that would build on the hard edged and gritty toughness of earlier show The Sweeney as well as making a British series that mirrored the sort of fast action of American series Starskey and Hutch.
Clemens and Fennell were executive producers of the show. They had much experience in British TV producing and writing for many shows including the Avengers during the 1960s and the New Avengers more recently. They also brought in composer Laurie Johnson who had composed music for The Avengers and The New Avengers, to write the music score for this new show. This first series was produced by Sidney Hayers.
Albert Fennell, Brian Clemens and composer Laurie Johnson had worked together in the 1960s and together had created MK1 productions to make the New Avengers. The same team as MK1 productions now produced The Professionals.

Criminal Intelligence 5, or CI5 is a special branch of British Law that deals with crime of a serious nature that go beyond the capability of the police. It is a Unit that is instructed by the Home Secretary.
CI5 is fictitious but it enabled the writers to give our heroes a wide variety of situations to deal with.
It has similar appearance to the real MI5 or CID but being fictitious also gave the show more artistic licence that the portrayal of the Flying Squad in The Sweeney. CI5 deal with espionage, cold war problems, terrorists, civil unrest, and large scale crime.

The head of CI5 is George Cowley, a no nonsense leader that believes in fighting fire with fire. His best agents are Ray Doyle (Martin Shaw), a softer more caring but hot headed ex detective constable who has worked the tough parts of London, and William Bodie (Lewis Collins) who is an ex paratrooper and SAS sergeant with a calmer but tough attitude.
The pair are a solid unit, faithful to each other and prepared to break the rules if it gets the right result.
Both actors Shaw and Collins had played villains on an episode of The New Avengers ('Obsession') together the year before.

This first series has a lot of writing from Brian Clemens and the show has a lot of variety in the plot lines. There is gradual character development and plenty of action. The show is fast paced without a dull moment.
The show was often criticised for its violence even though there is little blood seen. There are scenes of fast chases, car chases, fist fights, shootings, martial arts and asphyxiation however.
One episode here in season one, "Klansmen" was not screened in the UK. After production TV executives withdrew it from transmission for its Race related theme.
The show was also criticised for its "political incorrectness" for use of so called sexist and racist terms.
The controversy and disagreement about its suitability for screening led to the show being blocked for repeating on terrestrial television for over two decades. And the episode Klansmen is always left out.

There are a number of cars featured in the series. Some are from British Leyland in the early series, with some Rover models, some Triumph models, a Leyland Princess and a Dolomite Spirit. Later series feature cars by Ford with the Capri, Granada, Escort and Cortina.

This is a brilliant release both on DVD and Blu Ray and it is really nicely presented in good package where the spine is one and a quarter inch thick. There is an interesting book included.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpieces re-mastered!, 9 April 2014
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Wow! What can I add to what has already been said by others? Before purchasing this, I wanted to read some reviews before parting with my money. I have owned the four Contender DVD box sets since 2003, so I wanted to ensure this would be a worthwhile purchase. I needn't have worried. So far, I have only watched one episode, but the picture and sound quality is now out of this world. Already, I am hearing and seeing things which I had not previously. The surround sound option makes it even better still. Ladies will be admiring Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins, but for me, to see lovely actresses such as Bridget Brice, Diane Keen, Pamela Stephenson and Pam Salem re-mastered to this high standard is a real treat. The little book which comes with this set is worth having too - excellent and very informative. To sum up then, if you are a fan of The Professionals (like me) or 1970s T.V. in general, trust me, you will not regret buying this. I highly recommend it! 5 out of 5!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like it was made yesterday...apart from the clobber and motors., 6 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Incredible picture quality, and a good 5.1 reworking of the old mono sound. It's good to see they didn't carpet-bomb it with noise reduction, so there's still some grain in there in places, but that's a good thing. Brilliant job, Network (yes, I know the BBC did the technical work, but Network shoulder all the risk). It's a very underrated show, and this blu-ray is like watching it for the first time.

I recall how it looked on TV the first time around - rubbish. It looks worse now in the re-runs on ITV4. The earlier filmed drama shows always looked much better, even then, but it seems the film stocks took a dive for the worst when 'The Sweeney', then 'The Professionals', were made. Even 'The New Avengers' (there's another one for you, Network) looked slightly ropey as well.

This is how you do it - publishers take note...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Go Bodie, Go Doyle., 28 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Well, firstly, my review is a bit biased, as I grew up watching the professionals, so this a Nostalgia fest. The box contains all of the first season on 4 discs, and a book. Not just a small folded pamphlet that often gets given away with a box set, but an actual flat spine paperback book. And, boy is it jam packed with info! The print is very small, but that just adds to the amount of info provided.

The quality of the video restoration is outstanding. The print is in the original 4:3 format, but the print is sharp and clean, with only minor grain, which as it was shot on film is nothing to be concerned about. It adds a warmth to the show, the same way the crackle on vinyl adds warmth to classic albums. Speaking of sound, the quality is the fantastic, considering when this was filmed.

As for the show, they have kept the original opening sequence that was used on the first TV run, and although it is nowhere near as cool as the second opening sequence, and the one used on subsequent reruns, it is nice that the show is complete.

Sometimes I find it hard to watch dated cop shows, but this version of this show makes that redundant. The acting of the protagonists is great, the character interplay between Bodie and Doyle is natural and funny. The action is full on, and the 70s fashion never looked so bright as it does in HD!

If you have watched the show, this is the ultimate version. If you have never seen the show, then this would be a wise impluse purchase, although it will raise the bar for what you will expect for remastered 70s shows.

Excellent set. Bring on Season 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, 5 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
After watching this in the 1970's and now showing my age, was so glad to hear that The Professionals was getting a make over. It could have been made yesterday, the picture is so crystal clear and everything is so perfect. Am looking forward to buying the rest of the series when it is released. A wonderful series which brings back so many memories. Shame Lewis Collins is no longer with us. If you want to watch something which shows just how good blu-ray is then get this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Professionals review, 4 Dec 2014
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Bought this for my birthday, and what a treat it is to once again what the show from my childhood, this time in better quality than before. Network have done a fantastic job in remastering the original series and providing a great and rather nostalgic experience for the viewers who watched the great show growing up.
I only have a few concerns about the series. Even though the sound and picture quality has been greatly enhanced, the aspect ratio, at least on my copy, does not fill the whole screen, I believe its 14:9 thereby leaving black sections on the right and left sides, which is a bit annoying, but can be solved by zooming in. The only other concern is some of the wider and outdoor shots are still blurry, however this is probably as a result of the original negatives and Network mustn't have been able to enhance them.

As a whole I would definitely recommend this to any fan of the series purely because it provides the best viewing experience to watch Bodie and Doyle along with their tough, no-nonsense boss George Cowley. Definitely recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yikes - this looks good! This restoration done by BBC Studios and Post ..., 16 Sep 2014
By 
M. Rance (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Yikes - this looks good! This restoration done by BBC Studios and Post Production goes the distance. The original material is 16mm but not all the negative survived in tact which means that some scenes had to be reconstructed from various elements including prints or intermediate elements and made to look as one. It works! This is a stunning example of good restoration reviving a truly unique series and giving it new life. And they paid attention to the sound as well. There's not a lot of music in a show trying to be gritty and real, but having an isolated Laurie Johnson score is a pleasure and a treat. I am a Brian Clemens fan and a devotee of The Avengers, but I had not really seriously watched The Professionals until now. I am glad I waited. Having been turned off and bored by the indifferent copies still being broadcast this stunning restoration just makes me wonder why people put up with crappy copies whether on TV or disc or download when a version like this that's available makes the programs so much more exciting and involving. Worth owning.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A First Class Show Given A Makeover, 28 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Ahhh, the first season of The Professionals in HD. Never thought it would happen. The picture and sound are fantastic, and after years of re watching this show on the shoddy DVD releases it's a revelation to see the restoring work done, drawing in new detail, and clarity to scenes you haven't noticed before. Class A Job. As for the show itself, Season 1 is in essence a lot different than the subsequent ones to follow, the budget is clearly lower, and Cowley is for the most part office based. Martin Shaw takes a little time to grow into the Doyle role, but is away and running after a few episodes. The creator of the show Brian Clemens,contributes a lot of stories and scripts, and it probably contains the very best story lines of the whole series. There are priceless, classic episodes here (Killer With a Long Arm, Private Madness, Public Danger, When The Heats Cooled Off, Close Quarters & The Female Factor), however there are some rather silly episodes too (When The Jungle Ends, Look After Annie, Heroes). What a show though,
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The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray]
The Professionals: Mk I [Blu-ray] by William Brayne (Blu-ray - 2014)
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