Televisual Advent Calendar #15 – The Professionals

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.

The Professionals

This is my 2019 Televisual Advent Calendar. I did a musical version in 2011 and a cinematic one in 2012. It is in no particular order and I make no apologies for the TV series that I am blogging about. These TV series have either made me think, I have enjoyed or have had some impact on me. These are scripted TV series, some are drama, some are comedy, some are both. I found it really hard to narrow this down to just 24.

The Professionals was a British crime-action television drama series for London Weekend Television (LWT) that aired on the ITV network from 1977 to 1983.

It starred Martin Shaw, Lewis Collins and Gordon Jackson as agents of the fictional “CI5” (Criminal Intelligence 5). I remembered the character names of Bodie and Doyle, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the character name of Gordon Jackson. Thank you internet, it was of course Cowley.

The Professionals

I did think for many years that CI5 was a real organisation that this series was based on, though I never saw it in the news. The concept of CI5 was that it would deal with crime and activities that the regular police did not have the capability or capacity to deal with, but not so much that the military or the secret service (MI5) would be involved.

The “fake” premise of CI5 allowed the makes of the series to deal with a whole range of villians, from foreign agents, terrorists to serious criminals. You couldn’t nitpick the series and say, that isn’t in the remit of CI5… as CI5 didn’t exist!

This was also the era of the standalone episodic drama, each episode was an individual story which wasn’t linked to any other, no story arcs here. This meant you could drop in and out of the series. 

I remember being enthralled watching the antics of Bodie and Doyle, but apart from car chases, firearms, I don’t recall many of the plots… 

Like some other series in the Televisual Advent Calendar, I am discussing series which I really like, or as in some cases have a nostalgic fondness for. The Professionals certainly falls into the latter camp, along with series such as C.A.T.S. Eyes, later Bugs, and others that I remember watching regularly, but really to be honest were quite shallow in many ways. I don’t think they would work today, and I am not sure I would want to watch them again now.

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