All images used on this page reproduced by kind permission of Littlebrown & Co, Grandreams Ltd, Lennards/Queen Anne and Dave Rogers. Many indeed thanks to Ann Jones for locating some of the publishers for me!
The main items of interest are the paperback books and annuals. All paperbacks were published in the UK by Sphere and authored by Ken Blake (though this would appear to be an alias – see note below). Note they contain no 'new' material, but simply adaptations of the television episodes. Some stories have been 'expanded' slightly, however.
At least some of the paperbacks were also published in hardcover format. Although one might expect all fifteen volumes to have been issued in this way, I could only find vols 1 to 6 and 15 in the British National Bibliography. Fan Tony Buller kindly advises me that these are the only hardbacks he has been able to locate too, so this seems to confirm the BNB (lack of) entries. Also note that Ken Blake calls himself Kenneth Bulmer on some of these versions! Indeed neither Blake nor Bulmer may be his real name anyway – the BNB threw up at least six other aliases!! Whatever – textwise the hardbacks appear to be identical to their softback counterparts. For info on cover illustrations (again, many thanks to Tony), refer to the comments in the table.
Here is a breakdown of all fifteen paperbacks. Publication dates apply to those in the UK.
|Volume||Title||Episodes covered||First published||ISBN|
|One||'Where the Jungle Ends'||'Old Dog with New Tricks', 'Long Shot', 'Where the Jungle Ends', 'Killer with a Long Arm'||1978||0 7221 5340 6|
|Two|| 'Long Shot'
|'Heroes', 'Private Madness, Public Danger', 'The Female Factor', 'Everest was Also Conquered'||1978||0 7221 5341 4|
|Three||'Stakeout'||'Stakeout', 'When the Heat Cools Off', 'Close Quarters'||1978||0 7221 5344 9|
|Four||'Hunter Hunted'||'First Night', 'Hunter Hunted', 'The Rack'||1978||0 7221 1727 2|
Note pic is reversed – the hardback edition corrects this.
|'Blind Run', 'Man Without a Past', 'In the Public Interest'||1979||0 7221 1728 0|
|Six||'Fall Girl'||'Fall Girl', 'Not a Very Civil Civil Servant', 'A Stirring of Dust'||1979||0 7221 1729 9|
|Seven||'Hiding to Nothing'||'Stopover', 'Runner', 'Hiding to Nothing'||1980||0 7221 1739 6|
|Eight||'Dead Reckoning'||'Dead Reckoning', 'Mixed Doubles', 'Need to Know'||1980||0 7221 1734 5|
|Nine||'No Stone'||'A Man Called Quinn', 'No Stone'||1981||0 7221 1658 6|
|Ten||'Cry Wolf'||'Lawson's Last Stand', 'Cry Wolf'||1981||0 7221 1659 4|
|Eleven||'Spy Probe'||'Spy Probe', 'The Madness of Mickey Hamilton'||1981||0 7221 1661 6|
|Twelve||'Foxhole'||'Foxhole on the Roof ', 'The Ojuka Situation'||1982||0 7221 1662 4|
|Thirteen||'The Untouchables'||'The Untouchables'||1982||0 7221 1663 2|
|Fourteen||'Operation Susie'||'Operation Susie'||1982||0 7221 1664 0|
|Fifteen||'You'll be All Right'||'You'll be Alright', 'Discovered in a Graveyard'||1982||0 7221 1657 8|
Two items of interest here: notice how very few fourth season episodes were adapted – these generally being considered the weakest, of course. Also note that some of the books containing Season Five episodes were published in 1981. This must mean they came out before these episodes had actually been shown on UK television!
And here are the hardback versions. Note the different publishers.
|Volume||Title||"Author"||Publisher||ISBN||Cover (where different to paperback version)|
|One||'Where the Jungle Ends'||Kenneth Bulmer||Severn House||0 7278 0364 6|
|Two||'Long Shot'||Kenneth Bulmer||Severn House||0 7278 0459 6||Same as paperback except picture is reversed – ie wrong!|
|Three||'Stake Out'||Ken Blake||Barker||0 2131 6708 5|
|Four||'Hunter Hunted'||Ken Blake||Barker||0 2131 6707 7|
|Five||'Blind Run'||Kenneth Bulmer||Severn House||0 7278 0602 5|
|Six||'Fall Girl'||Kenneth Bulmer||Severn House||0 7278 0730 7||Picture is that from paperback vol 10 but here it has been reversed and is therefore incorrect.|
|Fifteen||'You'll be All Right'||Kenneth Bulmer||Severn House||0 7278 0940 7||Same, reversed pic as used in hardback version of vol 2.|
Between 1978 and 1984 various publishers produced a total of seven Professionals Annuals. Pictured right is the first one. Most of the annuals pop up regularly at conventions and second-hand bookstores, though the 1980 & 1981 editions are mysteriously a bit rarer! Perhaps Grandreams print runs weren't as large as the other publishers?
The edition and actual release dates of the annuals are a tad confusing and, for that reason, I've recently amended what I think may be the true release schedule. However there are still some question marks over this and if anyone has contradictory information, I'd very much like to hear from them. In the meantime, many thanks to fan Carol Jackson for some sterling detective work! It looks like although the first annual was released in late 1978, officially it's the "1979" edition and , in turn, the 1980 edition was released in late 1979, etc.
|Edition||Copyright year/Actual release year||Publisher||ISBN||Comment|
|1979||Late 1978||Brown Watson||None given||I'm not absolutely sure about this because although issued after filming of the second season, this annual contains no pics or references to it.|
|1980||Late 1979||Grandreams||None given||Although there are no pics from the third season, there is a small reference to it being in production while this annual was being put together.|
|1981||Late 1980||Grandreams||0 86227 002 2|
|1982||Late 1981||Stafford Pemberton||0 86030 337 3||This is where my previous theory goes out of the window. I had postulated that there was no 1981 annual because there was no transmission that year. I can only assume Staff Pem had been contracted to produce this annual before tx was pulled. LWT would have been in breach of contract had they tried to shelve the annual for a year.|
|1983||Late 1982||Stafford Pemberton||0 86030 392 6|
|1984||Late 1983||Stafford Pemberton||0 86030 411 6|
|1985||Late 1984||Purnell||0 361 06473 X|
Brown Watson also published a book in 1979 entitled 'TV Detectives' which contains a few pages on The Professionals, The New Avengers, The Saint and the BBC's short-lived, ultra-violent 1977 series Target. Also American shows such as Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, Kojak and Columbo. Mildly interesting but hardly vital.... except for the pics of Joanna Lumley and Jaclyn Smith!
In 1986 Avengers aficionado Dave Rogers published a guide to the series. Entitled 'The Complete Professionals', it provides some interesting background on the show, but fails to go into any great detail. Cover illustration reproduced with kind permission of Lennard/Queen Anne Press.
Unfortunately the book is littered with errors – most notably photo captions referring to wrong episodes. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that, in several instances, character names are wrong and occasionally the episode synopses don't quite match that of what we saw on the screen. When I asked Dave about these problems he revealed that at the time he was given just seven weeks to complete the book and that the incorrect photo captions were due to carelessness on the part of LWT. The plot synopsis and character name errors were due to the fact that he often had to work off the original scripts, which were sometimes changed slightly during actual filming (remember, there were only a handful of commercially-available videotapes at the time). Dave is sorry he wasn't given enough time to do a more thorough job: "It's not a book I'm proud of!" he says. The book is very difficult to find now. The publishers were Macdonald Queen Anne, ISBN 0 356 12341 3.
Also worth keeping an eye out for are the series of Professionals magazines. Under licence from LWT, the first two were issued by Walton Press in 1979, with another eight by Colonna Press between 1980 and 1983. Each includes 32 pages of features, interviews and photos. Colonna also issued six large-sized "postamags" in full colour.
The TV Times magazine regularly included small features on the series (usually when a new season was about to be televised). The edition for 7th-14th October 1978 is rather interesting as it features a short story by televisoin writer Ranald Graham. Two years later this actually appeared on our screens in the form of 'Wild Justice'. 'High Noon' was a working version of Brian Clemens' 'Blackout' episode and featured in the 24th-30th November 1979 edition. (Thanks to Sue Curtis for info.)
Well worth seeking out is the 1979 TV Times Souvenir Extra which contained features on several TV heroes such as The Return of the Saint, Minder and The New Avengers. The Professionals item is a short story written by Brian Clemens and details Bodie and Doyle meeting for the first time. Many thanks to Darren Schroeder for info on this and the scan of the cover.
In August 1981 the UK arm of Mad magazine decided to do their own version of the show, but this time with Cowpat, Dodo and Boyle forming the "greatest team of crime fighters since That's Life" (sorry, only UK readers will appreciate that one!). Some hilarious dialogue and the actual drawings of our heroes are amazing caricatures of Messrs Jackson, Shaw and Collins! Oh and watch out for walk-on parts by various Sweeney, Gentle Touch, Avengers and Shoestring characters, too! Very many thanks to Neil Smith for info and scans!
Click on the links below to view scans of the pages.
DISCLAIMER: The images are copyright to Mad Magazine. Requests for clearance to use them go ignored for some reason. If anyone from Mad is reading this page and has a problem, please do contact me.
Around 1990 a group of avid fans published 'Professional Insight'. This 200-page A4-sized volume has a wealth of well-researched information such as episode synopses, filming locations, clunkers, motors, etc. There are also chapters dealing with the characters' backgrounds, CI5 headquarters, weapons and clothes. Being written by female fans, there is also a "Camera Angles" paragraph for each episode – I'm not quite sure what all that's about! ;-)
'The Television Crimebusters Omnibus' (published in 1994 by Orion Books) features a Professionals story penned thirteen years earlier (and has, therefore, probably been published elsewhere, too) by Dennis Spooner entitled 'The Christmas Killers'. Thanks to Tricia from Australia for info on this. She tells me that the four-page story involves the lads staking out Harrods at Christmas in an attempt to catch Ramos and features Cowley undercover as Father Christmas! The book also contains stories from other series such as Sweeney, Starsky and Hutch, Kojak, Spender, Z-Cars and even Dixon of Dock Green! The Professionals piece isn't brilliant, Tricia says, but I'm sure many of us would like to get a copy! Orion still carry it it in paperback form, priced 5.99GBP. ISBN is 185 797 736 X. Orion Books, Orion House, 5 Upper St Martin's Lane, London WC2H 9EA, tel: 0171 240 3444. If you contact their distributor on 01903 828800 and ask for Mail Order, you can order it direct. Alternatively order it online through the UK-based Internet Bookshop.
How did The Sweeney manage to drink so much and still make arrests? Were the staggeringly macho Bodie and Doyle secretly in love with each other? Why did Regan shout all the time? These are just some of the earth-shattering questions posed by Martin Day and Keith Topping in their book "Shut It!".
To be published by Virgin (ISBN 0-7535-0355-7) in April 1999 at 5.99GBP, the title is, of course, a reference to The Sweeney's Jack Regan. The Professionals also receives major coverage. A comprehensive Episode Guide covers Birds, Booze, Shooters, Motors, Jargon and Threads. Critical analysis is provided through sections such as Shaft Guitar, Non-PC Moment, and, most importantly of all, Doyle-Cooks-a-Bit-of-Pasta. Along with some of the stand-out dialogue for each ep, there is also a wealth of general notes. You've probably guessed by now that it's all a tad tongue-in-cheek (how about this from 'The Ojuka Situation': "The gunmen arrive in a pea-soup coloured Austin Maxi: death is too good for them.") and a highly entertaining read, I can assure you! I am not happy, however, with the book's subtitle 'A Fan's Guide to 70's Cops on the Box' – there were so many other cop shows back then, so I think it's a bit misrepresentative. I understand from Martin that they did want to afford other shows proper coverage but Virgin were rather stingey over word-count!
Cheers to Martin and Keith! Info and cover shot used by permission.
Here's a review kindly sent in by Sharon Brondos:
'Shut It!' is a must-have for all serious Pros fans. While one might take issue with a point here or there in an episode description and certainly with some of the items under the special headings, this is a well-done study. I have to confess familiarity only with The Professionals so don't apply any of this to The Sweeney.
The authors have done popular culture study a service here by raising questions about the social impact and value of the shows, giving the reader an opportunity to think in addition to just enjoying.
I was delighted to see the attention paid to some examples of the lads' relationship. I have to say that while the authors missed many such moments or chose not to draw attention to them, they were quite good at what they did see and I (and many others) thank them for that!
Overall, devoted readers of my episode reviews will note, the authors and I have the same "shudder" reaction to many of the wardrobe extremes as well. I did find one politically incorrect Bodie moment left out when in Close Quarters no mention is made of Bodie slapping Julia when she starts yelling at him. Hmmm. And I do disagree with the interpretation of Bodie's attitude toward lesbians in Everest. Strikes me he's rather sympathetic. All in the eye, I suppose. A read-through with a mind to discussion of disputed details is terrific fun!
Again the more serious aspects of the worth or social implications of the two shows are presented in a thoughtful manner, tongue only slightly to cheek. The glossary is a valuable tool for those of us for whom English English is a second language. Lots and lots of excellent material.
This book is well worth the price of importing if you don't live in the UK. Can be found at Amazon's UK site.