The Professionals
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The Professionals

50 min (57 episodes)
Action | Comedy | Crime
IMDB rate:
Country: UK
Release Date: 1977-12-30
Filming Locations: Beckton Gasworks, Beckton, London, England, UK
Did you know?
Martin Shaw publicly disliked the series describing his character as a 'violent moppet'. By contrast Lewis Collins revelled in his tough guy image, becoming a black belt in martial arts and joining the Territorial Army as a paratrooper. Allegedly he also attempted to join one of the Territorial Army's Special Air Service (S.A.S) Regiments but was rejected as being too famous for their covert role. He would go on to play an SAS officer in the films The Final Option (1982) and Code Name: Wild Geese (1984) (Codename Wildgeese). The actors' contrasting attitudes influenced the writing for their characters, Bodie very much being written as a tougher, more ruthless individual with few qualms about his job whilst Doyle is more thoughtful and troubled by the violence he has seen.
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Collins and Shaw first worked together in The New Avengers episode The New Avengers: Obsession (1977), Shaw as a disgruntled RAF officer and Collins playing a mercenary not unlike Bodie. At one point Collins character even remarks to Shaw that they make a good team and should work together again some day. When Anthony Andrews dropped out of playing Bodie in The Professionals the show's creator's remembered Collins and the friction that had existed between him and Shaw on set, creating dramatic tension and earning him the role.
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During the 1984 Libyan Embassy siege crowds of protesters surrounded the British Embassy in Libya chanting "Down with CI5!" unaware that it was a fictional organisation and the name of the British Secret Service is actually MI5.
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George Cowley: Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I've got special men - experts from the army, the police, from every service - these are The Professionals.
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Were any of the stories based on real life?
Yes, 'Hijack' where a consigment of East German silver is stolen was based on a real robbery in the early 80s. The character of Krivas in 'Where the Jungle Ends' is based on Costas Geirgiou, a notorious Greek-Cypriot mercenary from the Angolan civil war. The ' group in 'At Close Quarters' is clearly based on the German Baader Meinhoff terrorist group (also known as the 'Red Army Faction') and the assassins in 'Long Shot' and 'Mixed Doubles' are extremely similar to infamous international terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos the Jackal.
Why were the original actors playing Bodie and Doyle replaced?
Jon Finch was originally cast as Doyle but withdrew at the last moment as he did not wish to play an ex-police officer (ironically Finch was a former member of The Parachute Regiment and SAS, mirroring Bodie's background perfectly). He was replaced by Martin Shaw but when filming began the series' creator Brian Clemens felt that Anthony Andrews playing Bodie lacked chemistry with Shaw and that the two looked too similar. Andrews was dropped and replaced with Lewis Collins who had appeared together with Shaw in an episode of Clemen's previous series, The New Avengers.
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Photos from cast
Alice Krige Nick Brimble Trevor Adams Steve Alder Timothy Carlton Lewis Collins Felicity Dean Lisa Harrow