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Classic TV Revisited: The Professionals



The Professionals Bodie and Doyle

Cult 1970s-1980s action drama The Professionals starred Martin Shaw (Ray Doyle) and Lewis Collins (William Bodie) as chalk-and-cheese CI5 agents who tackled terrorism and other high-profile crimes.

Collins plays the ex-SAS mean machine Bodie, and Shaw his more liberal partner Doyle, with Gordon Jackson as their surly boss George “the cow” Cowley.

The show is loved for its guns, fights, women and car chases. But it is Bodie and Doyle, speeding around the UK in Ford Capris, leather jackets and wing-collared shirts, who live long in the memory.

Memorable moments
Martin Shaw’s erupting bubble perm. Need we say more? Look out for several star guest appearances including Poirot star David Suchet, Pamela Stephenson and Steven Berkoff. A young Stephen Rea also pops up.

One of the most memorable episodes was Servant of Two Masters from 1979 in which Cowley steals a lethal new nerve gas. A disbelieving Bodie and Doyle are dispatched to track him down and discover he has started negotiating with dangerous foreign powers.

The Professionals Cast

We all know them as Bodie and Doyle, but their full names are William Andrew Philip Bodie and Raymond Doyle.

An episode called Klansmen was banned from broadcast as it featured a story on the Klu Klux Klan.

The Professionals was created as a rival to The Sweeney and was provisionally called The A Squad.

Did you know?
Anthony Andrews was originally to play Bodie opposite Martin Shaw’s Doyle, but they reportedly lacked on-screen chemistry.

Andrews was replaced by Lewis Collins as he and Shaw had worked together on The New Avengers. Apparently the pair hadn’t got on and that created the kind of tension the production team was looking for.

First broadcast: 1977
Creator: Brian Clemens
Stars: Lewis Collins, Martin Shaw, Gordon Jackson
Episodes: 57, five series