TV Cream

TV: P is for...

Professionals, The

The sight of a couple of Arabs coming out of WHSmiths gets Martin trigger-happyGordon requisitions the Whomobile for an emergency trip to Buck HousePYRO PUDDLE-SPLASHING, cardboard box-barging, “cover me!”-shouting, gun-held-with-both-hands, barrel-up-nose-having adventures of crack MI5 (here changed cunningly to CI5) operatives Bodie and Doyle, aka MARTIN SHAW and LEWIS COLLINS. Many a provincial car-park became noisy child haven for months afterwards thanks to the perfunctory stakeout antics, directed by GORDON “UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS” JACKSON. Depicted a London permanently under siege from a) shifty Arab potentates b) Oirish bomb-toting bastards c) Soviet shysters with tiny eyes d) jive-talking African mercaneries, all of which both our protagonists would alternately joyfully beat up or shamelessly imitate.



  1. Arthur Nibble

    August 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    The pillared building used in the opening credits (the old Port of London Authority building near Tower Hill tube station) is being turned into a 120-room hotel.

  2. Dan McDaid

    August 25, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Gordon Jackson looks about a hundred times harder than either of those other two wazzocks.

    I bloody love Gordon Jackson.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    August 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Dan, he was hard in a more subtle way than Bodie and Doyle, being a former army officer who served in some very nasty places( Kenya was mentioned in one episode) and often surprised viewers by a quick display of judo when cornered.

  4. Dan McDaid

    August 28, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Glenn, that is way cool.

    The other contributing factor to Cowley’s “hardness” is his apparent lack of vanity. While the other two are working out, styling their hair or otherwise rubbing themselves, Cowley is drinking scotch and getting down to business.

    I love that in that first pic, Gordon “Action” Jackson gets to carry the gun while Martin Shaw tries to “join in” by touching it a bit and Lewis Collins does nothing. For the rest of his life.

  5. paulus

    May 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    It was a bit Homo… but at least they had guns, like real cops on the yanky TV shows.
    It’s the best we could do at the time….

  6. kandiiyuutaamu

    October 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Paulus….Umm what do mean by that???

  7. IanW1968

    November 29, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Lewis Collins died yesterday…RIP

  8. THX 1139

    January 12, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I’d argue that if it were not for the Ford Granada smashing through the window accompanied by a menacingly low blast of brass at the beginning of every episode (OK, apart from the first series) everybody would have given up on this far sooner. As a scene setter, it was perfect. RIP Brian Clemens, Britain’s most prolific TV scriptwriter (probably).

  9. Glenn Aylett

    February 26, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Shown on ITV 4 for eternity now, probably helps pay for Martin Shaw’s retirement. Early ones are the best for seventies cheesiness, though, often had some disco type soundtrack, Bodie and Doyle in loud shirts with big lapels and women being referred to as birds. An interesting study of what life was like in 1977.

  10. richardpd

    May 2, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    In the 1980s Martin Shaw blocked the repeats of the show because he felt being associated with it was stopping him from getting decent acting jobs.

    He relented when Gordon Jackson died & his widow needed the royalty money.

    Supposedly the banter between Bodie & Doyle was improvised by Collins & Shaw between takes to keep the crew entertained, but it was soon incorporated into the show as it was often better than what the script writers could come up with.

    Pearce Brosnan turns up in one episode as a surveillance van operator. Apparently he took the part to pay for his air fare to the USA to take part in an audition.

    • Glenn Aylett

      May 3, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Yes Martin Shaw hated the show after he left and said it was hampering his career. However, fair play to him for relenting on repeats when he found out Gordon Jackson’s widow had fallen on hard times, and it’s probably a useful extra income for Shaw as repeats are never off ITV 4.
      As a show, early ones can be a bit patchy, but the last three series, where the budget was increased, were highly entertaining and had some good plots often involving corrupt politicians and terrorist groups.

  11. Richardpd

    October 18, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Supposedly Lewis Collins was considered for James Bond twice on the back of his portrayal of Bodie.

    This was first in 1981 when Roger Moore was thinking of retiring, and in 1987 when Timothy Dalton was chosen.

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