I've had a great response to my request for further Lewis Collins sightings - many thanks to all those who contributed! A special mention goes to Sandy Hereld, Karen Kaufmann, Nicola Wood, Sue Sandy and Kim Richardson, all of whom managed to dig up some real rarities!
In terms of the actual biography, Nicola Wood unearthed and kindly passed on a great deal of info concerning Lew's time in various bands in the mid sixties. For further reading on the "Merseybeat" genre, there are a couple of books worth taking a look at: 'Let's Go Down the Cavern : The Story of Liverpool's Merseybeat' by Spencer Leigh, published by Vermillion Books in 1984 (ISBN 0-09-158541-4) and 'Thank U Very Much: The Mike McCartney Family Album' by Mike McCartney (Paul's brother, who also played in various bands including The Scaffold), published in 1982 by Granada (ISBN 0 586 04920 7). Both books are now out-of-print, sadly, although in 2004 Leigh issued a follow-up, 'Twist and Shout' which reprints much of the earlier volume. (Thanks to Nicola and "Maxine")
Lewis Collins was born on 27th May 1946 in Birkenhead, England. As a youngster he developed an interest in sports shooting and won several marksmanship tournaments, often competing against adults. His father Bill knew Paul McCartney's family and occasionally acted as road manager for The Beatles. Although adept on drums, Lewis turned down the chance to replace original drummer Pete Best in 1961, believing that there was more money to be made in hairdressing! Taking up an apprenticeship in Andre Bernard's Liverpool salon (alongside Mike McCartney), "Mr Lewis" - as the staff called him - appeared to enjoy the work but cast an envious eye towards the burgeoning success of The Fab Four and decided to take up the guitar. Quitting the salon after three years, Lewis enjoyed brief stints in a string of amateur Merseyside bands including jazz-rock group The Eyes, The Renegades, Kansas City Five and The Georgians (links here and here).
In December 1964 Lewis joined The Mojos as bassist. Although personnel changed frequently within the group, this was to be one of its most stable periods. Previous incarnations had already released a number of singles, notably March 1964's 'Everything's Alright', which reached number nine in the charts.
Although the high-life beckoned (and Lewis recalls being chauffered around in a Rolls-Royce for a time!) the group was pretty much a spent force and Lewis left in late 1966 - the band folding for good the following year.
During his time Lewis passed his driving test and acquired an old van that had been used by the band. He nicknamed it 'Dumbo' because the sliding cab doors were only secured at the top and careering around at high speed corners would cause them swing out and up just like the Disney character's ears!
Despite falling into a few other bands after the decline of The Mojos, Lew was never again to find musical success. He took on a long string of jobs (including a salesman of encyclopedias and of soft-drinks) but could not make a success of them...
"I went from band to band after The Mojos and I ended up on the cabaret circuit. When that came to a close I was doing odd jobs. Finally I was delivering crisps and lemonade in Warrington. It was snowing and I pulled into a lay-by. I thought, 'There's got to be something better than this. I know - I'll be an actor'."
By now it was 1968 and Lewis demonstrated enough ability to secure a place at LAMDA, the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts. He trained there for three years, at one point in a production of Romeo and Juliet: theatre owner John Plews recalled "Lewis Collins... played a remarkable, rough-and-ready Romeo, almost pre-empting his role in The Professionals" (thanks to Nickie Moran). Occasional rep appearances followed which led to several small TV roles for Granada. His first major exposure to television audiences came between 1975 and 1977 with Granada TV's sitcom The Cuckoo Waltz. Although the scripts were weak, it was surprisingly popular. Lewis played the well-off, flamboyant, skirt-chasing Gavin Rumsey supporting a couple of impecunious newly-weds with whom he lodged. Gavin was certainly the show's strongest character and it seemed Lewis was destined for sitcom stardom. Yet major roles still eluded him and, ultimately, he rarely strayed into television comedy.
While his guest appearance alongside Martin Shaw in the 1977 New Avengers episode 'Obsession' was peripheral to the plot, this nevertheless led to his casting in The Professionals after Anthony Andrews was dropped from the show. Lewis and Martin had not got on very well during filming of the Avengers story, and, because the producers were looking for their lead characters to have a "sparky, abrasive" relationship, this is precisely why he was chosen to star with Shaw again! Here we came to view his unstuffy, unpretentious attributes as an actor shine through, though Lew would argue, probably rightly, that the show didn't always allow us to see his "finer points"! Martin on Lewis:
I said to Lew: "Look, you probably know, I didn't want you to do this. I was not in favour of it and I absolutely fought against it.... but I've changed my mind: I think you're really great in the part... and can we be friends?". I think he still thought I was an arsehole... for a while!
Lewis enrolled with the Territorial Army (a volunteer armed civilian force) and also tried out for Britain's armed elite, the Special Air Service. Despite passing all the trials he was turned down, apparently on the grounds of his high public profile, which was completely against the SAS' desire for anonymity. (Though in that case, one wonders why he was invited to train with them in the first place...?)
Having been fascinated by the idea of parachuting for many years, his first actual attempt in November 1978 resulted in a broken ankle and the suspension of filming on the second season of The Professionals.
Immediately after The Professionals Lewis was clearly regarded as leading man material, although most of his roles were not a million miles away from Bodie. Most memorable was the action movie Who Dares Wins (aka The Final Option), which was inspired by the Iranian Embassy siege in London during May 1980 and focussed on the dramatic rescue staged by the SAS. Although successful in Britain, the film wasn't as well-received in other countries. (A sequel, set during the Falklands war, was planned but never got off the ground.)
A third bid for international stardom came in 1982 when auditions were being held to replace Roger Moore as James Bond (in the event, of course, Roger decided to stay in the role for another two movies). Undoubtedly Lewis would have made a fine 007 and the media not only agreed but were fully expecting him to take over the superspy mantle. But it was not to be - producer Cubby Broccoli turned Lewis down after an apparently "difficult" interview. Shortly afterwards Lewis spoke to the press:
"It would be nice to get back to the original Bond, not the character created by Sean Connery - but the one from the books. He's not over-handsome, over-tall. He's about my age and has got my attitudes... I was in [Cubby Broccoli's] office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds. I have heard since that he doesn't like me. That's unfair. He's expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around. I think he's really shut the door on me. He found me too aggressive. I knew it all - that kind of attitude. Two or three years ago that would be the case, purely because I was nervous and defensive. I felt they were playing the producer bit with fat cigars. When someone walks into their office for the most popular film job in the world, a little actor is bound to put on a few airs. If Cubby couldn't see I was being self-protective I don`t have faith in his judgement. " (Daily Star, 26th August 1982 - thanks to "GC")
Lewis made a few TV appearances up to the end of the 1980's but has struggled much more since then. The problem appears to be one of typecasting. Many of his early post-Professionals roles were those of a similar character to Bodie, althuogh he successfully broke away from this in 1988 with the Jack the Ripper mini-series where he played a Victorian police sergeant. A lucky break for Lewis - particularly as the part had originally gone to a different actor.
The late 1980's saw Lewis journey to Los Angeles and take low-key parts in a few American productions. He also studied film direction and passed the exams - though he has yet to put this talent to use, as far as I'm aware. Around 1995 he decided to move there permanently with his wife and sons.
In 1994 ex-Professionals director David Wickes approached London City financiers with an idea to produce a brand new series. A 1996 TV advert by car company Nissan UK parodied the old series and was so successful that this seemed to confirm the public's enduring love for the show. Original series producer Brian Clemens and Wickes asked Lewis to revive Bodie, this time as Head of the CI5 unit (essentially to replace the late Gordon Jackson). Sadly negotiations failed after five months and Lewis was dropped from the project - his replacement being eventually announced as Edward Woodward.
Yet that wasn't quite the end of Bodie. Lewis was delighted to lampoon both the role and himself in a comedy drama called The Grimleys in 1998, with his hard-as-nails mercenary commando character dismissing the SAS as "pansies" before taking off on a gun-running mission for Idi Amin!
In 1992 Lewis married a young schoolteacher called Michelle Larret and the couple had three sons, Oliver, Elliot and Cameron.
Tragically Lewis died on 27th November 2013 at his home in Los Angeles, having been diagnosed with cancer five years previously. Although largely disappearing from public life the 1990s as he enjoyed family life, his passing received widespread coverage across the press, which clearly recognised an actor still fondly remembered.
|Year||Film or TV Show title and country||Character||Comments||DVD/Video|
|1974||Z-Cars episode 'Waste' (TV series)||Derek Cunningham||Lew appeared in one episode as, in his own words, "a mentally-retarded lad". Tx 25.02.1974|
|1974||Crown Court episode 'Arson' (TV series)||PC Henry Williams||This was a long-running anthology series of thirty-minute courtroom dramas produced by Granada Television. The jury weren't actors, but actually members of the public and their verdicts were unscripted. An interesting idea but the series went by without a great deal of attention. Tx 4th May 1974|
|1974||Marked Personal (TV series)||?||A Thames Television daytime cheapo soap set in the Personnel Dept (sorry, "Human Resources"!) of a factory in Northern England, eventually clocking up 104 episodes. The main star was Stephanie Beacham. It's not thought that Lew had a regular role in it. Many thanks indeed to Joy Raw and Richard Spurr for help on this one!|
|1974||Warship episode 'Away Seaboat's Crew' (TV)||Leading Seaman Steele||Typical 70's low-budget, minimal sets but high aspirations soap-fare from the BBC. A then-contemporary look at life in the Navy. This particular episode is rather good: Steele and an old adversary, Radcliffe, are assigned to a ship for a routine patrol. Before long the insults are flying and when Steele goes missing, presumably lost overboard, the finger of suspicion falls on Radcliffe. With Steele's close-cropped hairstyle, attitude and pout(!), one can clearly see a prototype Bodie developing here! Watch out for Profs guest stars James Cosmo ('Runner') and Norman Eshley ('Kickback').|
|1974||They Disappear When You Lie Down (TV play)||Bobby||From the popular, long-running series of one-off dramas Play for Today|
|1974||Village Hall episode 'Friendly Encounter' (TV series)||Jimmy Jackson||Another long-forgotten anthology series from Granada that may have run to a couple of seasons. This episode concerns a football match between two amateur teams that goes awry. I presume Lewis plays one of the team members. Tx: 6th August. (Thanks to "The Minister")||Click!|
|1975 and/or 1977||Rooms (TV series)||?||Considering this series clocked up 128 episodes, it's surprising nobody seems to remember it! Anyway the book 'Forty Years of British Television' (by Jane Harbord and Jeff Wright, published by Boxtree) describes it as "Another afternoon soap [telling] the stories of tenants at 35 Mafeking Terrace. The large house had been converted into bed-sitters. Only two charcters were constant: Dorothy the landlady and Clive in the basement. They formed the only thread linking the lives of the house's floating population. Each week new characters would appear in one of the rooms and a two-part drama on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons would tell their stories." I am assuming Lewis only appeared in one of the two-parters. All episodes probably still exist in Thames Television's archives. Again, thanks to Richard Spurr.|
|1975-1977||The Cuckoo Waltz (TV sitcom)||Gavin Rumsey||Lew appeared as the well-to-do lodger of struggling young couple Chris and Fliss (played by David Roper and Diane Keen - who later appeared in 'Killer with a Long Arm'). The scripts had moments of light humour without being wildly funny, to be honest, but Lew was great and definitely the star of the show. By far the best episode was the opener to the second season with Joanna Lumley as a guest star: not only did this have by far the best script, the on-screen chemistry between her and Lewis was sensational. The series enjoyed a final run in 1980 but without Lewis - actor Ian Saynor played new lodger, Adrian Lockett. Many thanks to Robert Moubert and Niki Walton for info and corrections for this entry.||Click!|
|1976||Confessions of a Driving Instructor (Film)||Rugby Team member||Lewis appears in the last few seconds of the film and he's wearing a beard. Given his starring role in The Cuckoo Waltz it's surprising to see him here in what is essentially the role of an extra. Interestingly, though, the actors making up the team are all given credits so perhaps he had a meatier role in the film which fell victim to the cutting-room floor.|
|1976(?)||Must Wear Tights (TV musical)||?||Lew starred with Gemma Craven in a variety/musical type thing from Thames Television. Other cast members were Lionel Blair and (unbelievably) Tommy Cooper and Eamonn Andrews! Later Lew confessed "I think we've all seen from my TV musical that I'm no dancer!"|
|1977||The New Avengers episode 'Obsession' (TV)||Kilner||Along with Mr Shaw, of course!||Click!|
|1977?||The Cilla Black Show (TV)||Lew joined his fellow Scouser for a song or two.|
|1978||The Freddie Starr Experience (TV)||Lewis and Martin appeared together (with Hazell star Nicholas Ball) on the comedian's show in a rather silly golfing sketch. Lewis doesn't get any dialogue and Martin just speaks a line or two of nonsense. What strikes me as interesting about the lads' appearance here, though, is that as it was apparently filmed in February 1978 – a time when The Professionals would have only been halfway through transmission of the first season – it would seem to confirm that even by this early stage it was becoming a highly-recognised series. To be honest the sketch (and, indeed, the entire show) are about as funny as a wet weekend in Wigan. However the "novelty" is that we see Martin and Lew outside of The Professionals, yet clearly in their Doyle & Bodie personae: they wear familiar clothes and Lewis shoots one of the other golfers!|
|1978||Jim'll Fix It (TV)||See the equivalent entry in Martin's biog for the full SP on this.|
|1978(?)||The Royal Variety Performance (TV)||I'm really not certain of the year here – the commentator mentions that actor Robert Powell (standing next to Martin, Lewis and Gordon) is involved in the remake of The Thirty-Nine Steps which was 1978|
|1980||ITV Awards (TV)||The Professionals won ITV Programme of the Year and Martin and Lewis collected the award together. Some nice, funny banter, too.|
|1980||The Motor Show (TV)||This annual event saw Lew test-drive a new Porsche - apparently he spun off the road!|
|1980||Granada Reports (TV)||ITV regional news show. Lewis and boxer John Conteh are interviewed as they partake in a sponsored walk for handicapped children. Tx: 22nd and 23rd December.|
|Either December 1980 or January 1981||Tiswas (TV)||Daft kiddies' Saturday morning show. Lew initially appears bandaged to the nines in a spoof of 'Jim'll Fix It' and is then interviewed by Sally James. There is then an awful sketch with him being instructed on self-defence by a policeman. The whole thing is an utter embarrassment to be honest.|
|1982||Who Dares Wins (Film, UK - aka The Final Option and Commando)||Captain Peter Skellen||Most agree this is Lew's best film. Brilliant, tense, violent, all-action thriller with Lew in the lead role along with Judy Davis, John Duttine, Edward Woodward, Richard Widmark, Tony Doyle and a load of ex-Professionals support actors and crew such as director Ian Sharp and producer Ray Menmuir. Great music score by Roy Budd, too. Lew plays an SAS officer who goes undercover to foil a group of anti-nuclear terrorists. As far as I can recall, this is the last film of this kind to be made in the UK. Currently having regular reruns on the UK Gold satellite channel.||Click!|
|1982||Midday at the Movies (TV, Australia)||Although ostensibly to promote Who Dares Wins, there is no mention of this in Lew's filmed interview, which I suspect is actually from Professionals days.|
|1982||Stuntman Challenge '82 (TV)||Lew was co-presenter of this one-off show. I seem to remember that at one point Lewis jumped on a powerful motobike and roared off pulling an impressive wheelie! Despite the show's title implying that it would be an annual event, I think this edition turned out to be a one-off.|
|1982||Unknown product (TV commercial)||As my memory of this is very hazy, I may be completely wrong but.... a woman is standing in a street talking to her friend. In the background is a guy with his back to the camera. The woman is telling her friend that she's been on holiday and brought back a "souvenir": something tall, dark and strong - then the guy in the background turns round and it's Lewis! As I say, I might be wrong about this.... can anyone help?|
|1982||This is Your Life (TV)||In a pre-filmed segment, Lewis guests on a show for Diane Keen, the two having worked together on The Cuckoo Waltz and, of course, 'Killer with a Long Arm' from the first season of The Professionals. Memories of Cuckoo prompt Lewis to ask if Diane she has a spare room! Tx 17th November. (Thanks to Lisa de Azevedo)|
|1982||This is Your Life (TV)||Lew himself was the 'victim' this time but the programme nearly never got made! He was to be lured to the studios ostensibly to record a charity appeal for Deaf Children. After a very long wait on that cold winter night, the production crew and frontman Eamonn Andrews realised Lewis wasn't going to brave the wretched weather. Then Freddie Starr had the idea of calling up Lewis on the pretence of inviting him out for a drink after the "charity appeal" recording. Fortunately Lewis agreed. Hidden cameras tracked his eventual arrival outside the studios. Right on cue a car came screeching to a halt beside him, Gordon Jackson jumped out of the passenger seat and shouted "Bodie!!" in true Cowley style! (Stuntman Peter Brayham was driving.) Lewis was visibly stunned. Martin Shaw didn't actually appear in the studio but the programme featured a pre-recorded segment with him from Dartmoor where he was filming for The Hound of the Baskervilles. Tx date was 8th December.|
|1983||A Night on the Town (TV musical)||George||Lew plays a photographer, co-starring with Ann Reinking as a couple who, while trying on various costumes in a strange little shop, are suddenly transported back to the 1930s. They embark on a tour of the dance-clubs and meet all sorts of strange folk. There's no actual plot and Lewis seems an odd choice for the role considering he is neither a trained dancer nor singer - but he does pretty well. That said the whole thing, at nearly two hours, is way too long and the songs are the ultimate in kitsch. Frank Gorshin (better known as The Riddler in the 1960s Batman TV series) overracts horribly in his early scenes but improves later. One for Lew fanataics only, really. Also stars Elaine Page and Eartha Kitt.||Click!|
|1984||This is Your Life (TV)||This time it was for Scouse comedian Freddie Starr. Tx 14th March. (Thanks to Lisa de Azevedo)|
|1984||Codename: Wildgeese (Film, Germany/Italy)||Commander Robert Wesley||Low budget, badly sync'ed actioner. Not to be confused with 1978's The Wild Geese and it's 1985 sequel Wildgeese II||Click!|
|1984||Bovril (TV commercial)||Despite being set in a gym, this was a remarkably dull advert.|
|1985||Commando Leopard (Film, Germany)||Enrique Carrasco||Positively dire action film! Poor old Lew!||Click!|
|1986||Robin of Sherwood episode 'The Sherriff of Nottingham' (TV show)||Philip Mark||A hugely successful series in its day but denied terrestrial repeats until recently because of a long-running dispute between the series' producers and the actors' union Equity. Lew postures and camps his way through the whole thing - whether this is deliberate, I'm not sure!||Click!|
|1986||Telethon (TV show)||-||This was a one-off Australian charity show which Lewis appeared on during his Deathtrap tour. (Thanks to Nickie Moran)|
|1987||Carley's Web (TV movie, US - aka 'Misfits')||Alexander Prescott||Dull, silly, contrived affair (billed as a comedy thriller, it fails on both counts) about a clerical worker who tries to get to the bottom of a missing consignment of soya beans(!). Lewis has a cameo role lasting all of four minutes, yet the European video release actually has him topping the bill!?! Presumably the distributors felt that his name was the only thing that would make it sell!?!||No longer available|
|1988||The Commander (Film, Germany)||Major Jack Colby||Review by Jesper Antvorskov: Premise: A crime boss hires mercenary soldier Major Jack Colby to overthrow a Cambodian despot who is controlling a large drugs ring. Lewis got himself into trouble again with this film by the same people behind "Commando Leopard". This time it was more of the same problems: non-English speakers were very poorly sound-dubbed, which made the film sound cheap; the story was slow and dull; the dialogue was plain stupid. However Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasance, Manfred Lehmann and, of course, Lewis lent the picture a reasonable entertainment level. But the actors did really struggle in vain! The action scenes were okay but I've seen much better elsewhere and, as with "Commando Leopard", the whole thing was very much in the B-movie mould!! The only reason I can think of why such good actors took part must had been lack of other jobs and MONEY!!! Lewis you have my sympathy because this was really downhill all the way!!!||Cilck!|
|1988||Blue Blood episode 'Scandal' (TV series, Germany)||Hugh Sinclair/Max Zinder||Series pilot written by Brian Clemens. He hates it because of the poor production values and the bad lip-synching! Lew only appeared in the one episode, though the series ran to thirteen. Barely seen outside of Germany, though Dave Rogers kindly informs me Wales' HTV did transmit it.|
|1988||Jack the Ripper (TV)||Sgt George Godley||Co-written and co-produced by David Wickes and made by Euston Films. An absolutely superb dramatisation of this Victorian killing spree, which offers reasons as to why Jack was never brought to justice. The cast includes Michael Caine as the police inspector Abberline and Lewis as his sidekick sergeant. They are both excellent in their roles (in fact Lewis is really at his best here, I think) as are the dozens of support players. Quite a few Professionals faces to watch out for, too (eg Gerald Sim, Michael Gothard, Edward Judd, Gary Shail). In fact the production history behind the mini-series is in itself quite interesting. Originally Abberline and Godley were played by Barry Foster and Brian Capron (the former best known for the eponymous role in Van Der Valk, the latter for his role as teacher Mr Hopwood in Grange Hill). However Euston managed to strike a co-funding deal with an American company to boost production values. As usual, however, the Americans wanted "names" who were known to their own audience. After production was suspended for a few months, both parts were recast - despite Foster and Capron having already shot twenty minutes' worth of footage.||Click!|
|1988||Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode 'The Man Who Knew Too Little' (TV, US)||Bill Stewart||Lew plays some sort of agent who loses his memory in a rather convoluted story about safeguarding a deadly strain of bacteria. Not one of his better performances, perhaps mainly because he seems to struggle with an American accent. Directed by Avengers stuntman and Professionals director Ray Austin.|
|1990||A Ghost in Monte Carlo (Film)||Lord Drayton||Lewis' appearance here (as husband to Jo Lumley's Lady Drayton) is merely a cameo role. (Thanks to Fiona Knight for info!)||Click!|
|1990||This is Your Life (TV)||This one is for Barbara Cartland. Lewis appears briefly and I don't think he actually had anything to say.|
|1992||Cluedo (TV gameshow)||see note||Short-lived gameshow based on the famous boardgame. Lewis appeared in a few 'episodes' of this playing Colonel Mustard and, in his final one, as Jack Peacock, got bumped off by Miss Scarlett (Jo Lumley). Thanks to Frank Harris and Nicola Wood for info.|
|1992||This Morning (TV)||Chat show with Lewis interviewed (for about ten minutes) about the part of Cluedo's Colonel Mustard and about his son, Oliver, and a tour of 'Sleuth' (see later).|
|1993||North Tonight (TV)||Regional Scots news show. Lew is interviewed in connection with his Agatha Christie comedy and briefly recalls his time on The Professionals (see Testimonies page). Tx: September. Thanks to Hughie Urquhart for info!|
|1993||Tarzan (TV, Mexico)||Hauser||French-Canadian co-production filmed in Mexico. Lewis stars in two of the seventy-five episodes made. In Tarzan and the Curse of Death his character takes revenge for the death of his brother by having a witch-doctor cast a spell on Tarzan. In Tarzan and the Pirates' Revenge Hauser tries to smuggle morphine to Bandali. Many thanks to Maria Vrzoc for help with this!|
|1995||Granada Tonight (TV)||Regional ITV news show. Lew popped in briefly to reminisce about his Professionals days... and that was about it, really (mind you they also showed a great clip of him and Jo Lumley in The Cuckoo Waltz!).|
|1995||Automobile Association (TV ad)||Fan James Harris is good at identifying actors from their voice-overs and he is pretty sure Lewis did this one for the first of the AA's "We're the fourth emergency service" campaign.|
|1997||The Show (TV)||Lew was interviewed by comedian Bob Mills. The Professionals was really the only topic of conversation, particularly as Lew revealed he was negotiating to star in the new series. Tx: 28th February 1997.|
|1997||Confessions (TV)||Members of the audience confess to their most embarrassing secrets - who says there's no such thing as quality television anymore? Anyway, Lewis guested in one segment as a surprise to a closet fan of The Professionals.|
|1997||Richard and Judy Exclusive (TV)||The nauseating husband-and-wife team interview Lewis (and other actors including Anna Friel, Jill Gascoigne, Liz Dawn and David Hasslehoff) in a specially-commissioned programme. Tx: 18th June.|
|1998||The Grimleys episode five (TV)||Daryll Digby||
Weak comedy drama set in 1975. Comedian Brian Conley played the character of Doug Digby, a PE teacher with tough-guy pretensions, clearly modelling himself on Bodie (although the series was, of course, set a few years before The Professionals first hit the screens). It was only natural then to get the "real" Bodie in on the action! Lewis appears as an aging commando in what was arguably the best episode of the series. Essentially lampooning his character of Bodie, there are some cheeky references to The Professionals and even a quick burst of the theme! Well worth seeking out!
|2002||The Bill (TV - no episode title given)||Dr Peter Allen||
Lewis plays the central role of a scientist carrying out controversial research on human embryonics. Demonstrations outside the labs are mounting but reasonably peaceful. But when his wife is caught in car bomb, the Sun Hill bobbies investigate known pro-life activists. The trail of clues, however, lead them down an unexpected path. Quite a good story and a nice part for Lewis, giving him something altogether different to play... but he tends to ham up most of his scenes.
|Dates||Play (and venue)||Character||Comments|
|1971||Twelfth Night (Manchester University)||Valentine||Exact date unknown at this time. (Thanks to Alex Dickinson)|
|17th-28th August 1971||The Dance of Death (Civic Theatre, Chesterfield)||Sentry||I think this might be the role Lew talks about in one of the annuals - he remembers fluffing his one and only line "Halt – who goes there?"|
|12th-23rd October 1971||Love on the Dole (venue unknown)||Policeman|
|26th October to 6th November 1971||Under Milk Wood (Chesterfield Rep)||First drowned, Jack Black, Ocky (?) Milkman and No-Good Boyo||Multi-talented already!|
|Several weeks in 1972||Tamburlaine the Great (Tour - see notes)||See notes.||Sue Sandy kindly informs me that during this tour's early days (which included a stint at the Edinburgh Festival) Lewis played the part of Cosroe but after much juggling around of actors, found himself in the title role at later venues.|
|October and November 1972||The Threepenny Opera||MacHeath|
|November 1972||The Marat Sade (The Close Theatre in Glasgow was one of the venues)||see notes||I'm told by different sources that Lewis played either the title role or that of Alan Martin.|
|November and December 1972||Lear (Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow)||Gloucester||Not actually King Lear but some form of experimental interpretation of the themes presented in the Bard's original, apparently.|
|December 1972 to January 1973||Dracula (Citizen's Theatre and/or Close Theatre, Glasgow)||Van Helsing|
|February and March 1973||The Government Inspector (Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow)||The Provost|
|March 1973||Troilus and Cressida (Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow)||Ulysses|
|26th September 1973 to ?||The Farm (Royal Court, London)||Albert||West End debut|
|1st November 1974 to ?||The Farm (Mayfair Theatre, London)||Albert||Transfer of the above|
|1974||Blues, Whites and Reds (Birmingham Rep)||The Count||The small amount of info here comes courtesy of Lewis himself, via Sue Sandy.|
|1975||Double, Double (Maximist Actors' Arena)||Lewis directed this!|
|1975||The Real Inspector Hount (Leicester Square, London)||Simon Gasgoine|
|1975||Dialogue Between Friends (Open Space, Tottenham Court Road, London)||?|
|September 1976||City Sugar (Arts Theatre, Cambridge)||Leonard Brazil|
|December 1982 to January 1983||Cinderella (Palace Theatre, Plymouth)||Prince Charming||Pantomime|
|2nd December 1983 to 28th January 1984||Babes in the Wood (King's Theatre, Southsea)||Robin Hood|
|22nd December 1984 to 2nd February 1985||Cinderella (Theatre Royal, Hanley)||Dandini|
|30th October 1986 to mid-December 1986||Deathtrap (His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, Australia)||Sydney Bruhl|
|19th December 1986 to 24th January 1987||Cinderella (Davenport Theatre, Stockport)||Dandini|
|1992||Sleuth (UK tour, venues unknown)||?||The tour was cut short when financing failed.|
|26th December 1992 - 24th January 1993||Aladdin (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Merseyside)||Aladdin||(Thanks to Lisa de Azevedo)|
|October 1994||The Decorator (Bromley Theatre)||Walter||Lewis played an out-of-work actor who takes up decorating while "resting". Comedy with Lorraine Chase.|
|December 1994 to January 1995||Aladdin (Bradford)||see note||Lew played one of the villains – either Jafar or Abanazar.|
|Late 1995||Who Killed Agatha Christie? (dozens of venues!)||John Terry||Two-man black comedy with Patrick Mower which ran for twelve months! (I can't think how I managed to miss this!) Towards the end of its run Patrick and Lew started "re-inventing" the script in the form of much ad-libbed humour and general messing about. Thanks to Carmen Voss for info!|
|December 1997 to January 1998||Beauty and the Beast (Canterbury)||Danton||Panto with Lew as the villain. There was some improvisation with the scripts: co-star Daniella Westbrook's character was asked if she would marry Danton, to which she replied "Not in that roll-neck and flares!"|
|August to November 1999||Dangerous Corner (several venues)||Charles Stanton||J B Priestley play concerning a group of friends and relatives who gather for a dinner party leading to all sorts of murky revelations.|
|Date of Publication||Publication||Description|
|November 1977||Photoplay||A preview of "a top new British action series".|
|April 1978||Photoplay||Lewis Collins & Martin Shaw - various pics.|
|May 1978||Photoplay||Twenty questions for Lewis Collins.|
|July 1978||Photoplay||"Lewis and Love"|
|November 12, 1978||Sunday Mirror||Report on Lewis' parachuting accident.|
|January 1979||Photoplay||"Will we lose Lewis Collins to Hollywood?"|
|June 1979||She magazine||"Lewis Collins living up to his action-man image."|
|November 3, 1979||TV Times||"The Professonals in real life action". I think this might be about the hovercraft record attempt by Lewis, Martin and Gordon.|
|November 1979||Photoplay||"All you need to know about the Professionals"|
|September 6, 1980||Daily Express||Lewis reveals that he and Martin are concerned that the show is becoming stale.|
|November 28, 1980||Daily Star||"No Moore Roger". Article lists Lew as a 007 candidate.|
|August 21, 1981||Daily Mail||Small article concerning Who Dares Wins|
|November 1981||Photoplay||Who Dares Wins article.|
|November 26, 1981||The Sun||Small article and competition relating to Who Dares Wins|
|March 25, 1982||Daily Star||"Big Soft Bodie"|
|August 1982||Film Review magazine||Lewis interviewed about Who Dares Wins.|
|August 7, 1982||The Times and Daily Express||"Actor named for Falklands film". This was a small article revealing that following the success of Who Dares Wins, producer Euan Lloyd wanted Lewis to head up his next project, an action flick abut the Falklands War. For whatever reasons the film was never made.|
|August 21, 1982||The Sun||"Tough Guy Bodie Joins The SAS"|
|August 26, 1982||Daily Star||"Why I'll never be Bond". The actor reveals why he felt he failed his audition for 007.|
|September 1982||Photoplay||Pics from Who Dares Wins|
|September 1982||Film Review magazine||Who Dares Wins article|
|October 1982||Film Review magazine||Another Who Dares Wins article|
|November 6, 1982||TV Times magazine||"Last shoot-out for the Bisto Kids". In the week that premiered the final season of The Professionals in the UK, some of the actors and crew contribute their thoughts about the previous five years. (Though, of course, production had actually wrapped eighteen months previously)|
|November 11, 1982||The Sun||"Why Bodie will never be Bond"|
|November 18, 1982||The Sun||Lewis talking about terrorism concerns while filming Who Dares Wins.|
|November 27, 1982||TV Week magazine||Interview with Judy Davis for Who Dares Wins|
|November 30, 1982||Woman's Day magazine||"Super cop Bodie is just a softie"|
|December 18, 1982||TV Week magazine||"The pop star turns tough".|
|February 22, 1983||Daily Star||Article on A Night on the Town.|
|March 30, 1983||Weekend supplement in The Times||Lewis recalls being nearly drowned when filming 'Spy Probe'.|
|April 26, 1983||Daily Star||" 'At 36, I've had my day.' That's Bodie's verdict on his sexy image."|
|April 27, 1983||The Sun||" 'Save me from the birds', says Bodie"|
|June 25, 1983||Daily Star||"Your choice for Bond". Although Lewis was turned down in 1981, Roger Moore's tenure in the role was still clearly coming to an end - particularly after Octopussy met with a cool reception. At one stage a fans' poll placed Lewis in second place - just behind Pierce Brosnan. In the event, of course, Moore went on to one more outing as 007 in 1985, by which time Lewis was sadly out of the picture.|
|October 1, 1983||Weekend magazine supplement in The Times||"Next 007? Bet on Lewis Collins".|
|October 1, 1983||TV Week magazine||"Toughie who loves teddie bears"|
|March 8, 1984||The Sun||"Bond may battle with Ace Of Spies". After Kevin McClory's "unofficial" Bond flick Never Say Never Again, he looked to Sam Neill and Lewis for what was to be his follow-up. In the event Eon Productions - prodcers of the official movies - were able to halt McClory.|
|August 17, 1985||The Sun||"Bodie goes gay for Robin Hood". Those fans who have seen the episode "The Sherriff of Nottingham" from Robin of Sherwood will have noticed Lewis' rather camp performance in it. Quite why he played it like this is a bit of a mystery but may explain why he wasn't asked back!|
|April 13, 1988||The Sun||"Angry Bodie's Gunning For Doyle--In Court". This is a report on Lewis' reaction to Martin Shaw attempting to veto further UK reruns of the show.|
|June 12, 1988||News Of The World||" 'What a selfish wally' - Professionals' Lewis Collins slams partner." Another report on the reruns debacle. Note to overseas readers: the term "Wally" - short for "Walter" - was in common use in the 1980s as a colloquialism for "idiot". Not sure of its origin but we all used it!|
|September 8, 1988||The Sun||Lewis complains that he can't find enough work in the UK and is planning to go to the US.|
|September 9, 1988||Daily Mirror||"Tough Luck: Lewis hits out at his hard-man TV image"|