The Professionals first aired in the UK on ITV between 1977 to 1983. The show was created by Brian Clemons, one of the talents behind the iconic 1960s TV series, The Avengers.
Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw are Bodie and Doyle, no-nonsense members of CI5, an elite undercover unit which is called in when the going gets tough. The duo’s approach to law enforcement leaves much to be desired and it’s often much to the chagrin of their long-suffering boss George Cowley (Gordon Jackson).
The success of the show is all down to the casting – and Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw make for a winning duo. Shaw’s perm may grab the glory but Collins was the man whose name was thrown into the ring for James Bond once the show became a hit. Collins went on to star in a variety of action movies (starting with Who Dares Wins) and Shaw became a perennial favourite on British TV.
Is The Professionals a little dated? Sure it is (how could it not be, it’s over 40 years old), but that only adds to the charm of this show, which is very much a product of its time. The politics might be on the dodgy side and the action might not match the budgets of what you see on TV today, but there’s enough tension and ingenuity in each of the episodes to keep you hooked. On the surface this may look like the UK version of Starsky And Hutch (and that’s how it was purposed) but this has its own merits. At times the show deals with some big themes and it can be a touch on the violent side, but it all makes for damn good television.