Last updated : 30th March 2014


As the now-defunct London Weekend Television took more control of the series, Mark 1 Productions' own documentation was rendered sparse. As such it's been a very long journey in trying to piece together the show's Production Order! So several wee drams o' Pure Malt Scotch to Tim Beddows, Laurie Johnson, Andrew Pixley, Bob Rocca and Dave Rogers!



Like many long-running television series, episodes were often screened in a significantly different order to that which they were produced. This is certainly true of the first season of The Professionals. For example although 'Private Madness, Public Danger' was the first episode to be broadcast in the UK (in December 1977), it was actually the sixth to be filmed. 'Long Shot' was screened eleventh but was actually the second into production...

Documentation has comes to light which reveals the order in which all 57 episodes were made. An interesting bonus is the inclusion of original titles for some of the episodes: 'The Rack' was to be called 'An Inquiry into Violence' (though I believe it was changed on LWT's instigation, not Mark 1's) and 'Blind Run' had a bizarre prenom of 'Play Up and Play the Game'! 'Not a Very Civil Civil Servant' was apparently called 'Housing and Estates' initially. Amusing mistakes appear, too: the production notes for 'Servant of Two Masters' have it as 'Master of Two Servants' - indeed the episode appears to have been originally broadcast with the erroneous title on-screen, at least in some countries.

Another surprise is that episodes 'Foxhole on the Roof', 'You'll be Alright', 'Discovered in a Graveyard', 'The Ojuka Situation', 'Operation Susie' and 'The Untouchables' were originally supposed to follow straight on from 'It's Only a Beautiful Picture' in terms of actual transmission (ie from January 1981). The decision to delay them until 1982/83 was made by LWT at the last minute.

I've said before that LWT made some very strange decisions when it came to choosing a transmission order. The first season was an utter mess in that respect. As most of you have realised, many episodes became 'detached' from their 'natural' series and shown as part of the following season (although to some extent this was inevitable given incidents such as Lewis Collins' parachuting accident and the industrial action which forced the entire ITV network off the air for several weeks during late 1979).

The table below compares the production order of episodes with the original UK transmission order. The blue arrow indicates an episode that had its transmission "detached" from its "natural" season.

Towards the end of this page is a summary of the table.

ADDENDUM, March 2014: The recent work done by the BBC and Network On Air revealed that the final four episodes of the first season were actually produced in a different order to that which we previously deduced. The table below now shows what, for the time being at least, is the definitive order!...

... That said, the first season still remains awkward as its production ran into many difficulties. Any given day would involve scenes for up to four different episodes(!), while individual scenes for a particular episode may have been shot several weeks after the bulk of its production, with later episodes having already been completed. 'Old Dog with New Tricks' and 'Heroes' are such examples. Indeed the very phrase "Production Order" became increasingly meaningless as the first season progressed! As such I've used the date for when each episode commenced filming as the "definition" here.



Production Order vs Transmission Order
Filming Blocks
Transmission Order for the UK
Filming Block 1 - Commenced Monday 13th June 1977, completed Friday 13th January 1978 Series One - Shown between 30th December 1977 and 17th March 1978
Thirteen episodes in total. Twelve episodes transmitted with 'Klansmen' being withdrawn
   
'Old Dog with New Tricks' 'Private Madness, Public Danger'
'Long Shot' 'Female Factor'
'Where the Jungle Ends' 'Old Dog with New Tricks'
'Killer with a Long Arm' 'Killer with a Long Arm'
'Heroes' * 'Heroes'
'Private Madness, Public Danger' 'Where the Jungle Ends'
'Female Factor' 'Close Quarters'
'Everest was Also Conquered' 'Everest was Also Conquered'
'Close Quarters' 'When the Heat Cools Off'
'Klansmen' 'Stakeout'
'Look After Annie' 'Long Shot'
'Stakeout' 'Look After Annie'
'When the Heat Cools Off'
Filming Block 2 - Commenced approx 5th June 1978. There appears to have been a filming break of two weeks at some stage. And the production was prematurely halted on 6th November 1978 (during filming of 'Backtrack') due to Lewis' parachute accident before recommencing on 12th March 1979. Completed 20th April 1979 (See note below). Series Two - Shown between 7th October 1978 and 9th December 1978
Ten episodes then a five-month gap due to Lew Collins' accident, then a further three episodes. See summary below.
'Rogue' 'Hunter Hunted'
'Hunter Hunted' 'The Rack'
'First Night' 'First Night'
'The Rack' 'Man Without a Past'
'Man Without a Past' 'In the Public Interest'
'In the Public Interest' 'Rogue'
'Not a Very Civil Civil Servant' 'Not a Very Civil Civil Servant'
'A Stirring of Dust' 'A Stirring of Dust'
'Blind Run' 'Blind Run'
'Fall Girl' 'Fall Girl'
'Backtrack'
'The Madness of Mickey Hamilton'
'Servant of Two Masters'
Filming Block 3 - Commenced 23rd April 1979, completed approx 16th November 1979. Series Three - Shown between 27th October 1979 and 15th December 1979
Thirteen episodes in total. See summary below because it now starts to get pretty complicated! Interestingly the documentation notes a "summer break" of two weeks between filming 'Need to Know' and 'The Purging of CI5' Just eight episodes: the three outstanding from Filming Block 2 and five from Filming Block 3. The "shortage" was due to a ten-week industrial strike across ITV's regional companies from August to October 1979 which closed down the channel completely.
'Stopover' 'The Purging of CI5'
'Backtrack'
'Runner' 'Stopover'
'A Hiding to Nothing' 'Dead Reckoning'
'The Madness of Mickey Hamilton'
'Dead Reckoning' 'A Hiding to Nothing'
'Mixed Doubles'
'Need to Know'
'The Purging of CI5' 'Runner'
'Servant of Two Masters'
'Fugitive'
'The Acorn Syndrome'
'Slush Fund'
'Weekend in the Country'
'Takeaway'
'Involvement'
Filming Block 4 - Commenced 16th June 1980 and completed 12th December 1980. Series Four - Shown between 7th September 1980 and 27th December 1980
Thirteen episodes in total. Fifteen episodes: eight outstanding from Filming Block 3 plus seven from Filming Block 4. The original intention was to continue transmitting into January 1981 but LWT changed plans at the last minute due to budgetary problems.
'The Acorn Syndrome'
'The Gun' 'Wild Justice'
'Fugitive'
'Involvement'
'Need to Know'
'Takeaway'
'Wild Justice' 'Blackout'
'Blackout' 'Blood Sports'
'Slush Fund'
'It's Only a Beautiful Picture' 'The Gun'
'Blood Sports' 'Hijack'
'Mixed Doubles'
'Weekend in the Country'
'Hijack' 'Kickback'
'You'll be Alright'
'Kickback' 'It's Only a Beautiful Picture'
'Discovered in a Graveyard'
'Foxhole on the Roof '
'The Ojuka Situation'
'Operation Susie'
'The Untouchables'
Filming Block 5 - Commenced 16th March 1981, completed 22nd May 1981. Series Five - Shown between 7th November 1982 and 6th February 1983
Five episodes in total. Eleven episodes: the six remaining Block 4 stories plus the five filmed in 1981's Block 5.
'Foxhole on the Roof'
'Operation Susie'
'You'll be Alright'
'Cry Wolf' 'Lawson's Last Stand'
'Discovered in a Graveyard'
'Spy Probe'
'A Man Called Quinn' 'Cry Wolf'
'The Untouchables'
'The Ojuka Situation'
'Lawson's Last Stand' 'A Man Called Quinn'
'No Stone' 'No Stone'
'Spy Probe'





Summary

Filming Block 1

Commenced June 1977. Thirteen episodes in total. First day's shooting was for that of 'Old Dog with New Tricks', which, ridiculously, was the third episode transmission-wise. Of course several scenes for this story required re-shoots after Anthony Andrews was dropped. The thirteen episodes filmed were simply those that were shown as the first season. Straightforward so far!

Filming Block 2

Commenced approx 5th June 1978. Thirteen episodes in total. Episodes completed were the ten that actually made up the second season (broadcast in the UK between October and December 1978) plus 'Backtrack' , 'The Madness of Mickey Hamilton' and 'Servant of Two Masters' which had completion delayed (until March 12th 1979) due to Lew's accident on November 5th 1978 and eventually shown as part of the third season (between October and December 1979 in the UK). The story goes that despite a leg in plaster, Lewis turned up on set on the morning of Monday 6th November but it was clear he was in no fit state to continue and the entire production was mothballed. Interestingly it appears as though 'The Madness of Mickey Hamilton' and 'Servant of Two Masters' were shot (between 12th March and 6th April 1979) prior to recommencement of Backtrack, which required six days for completion.
Episodes 'The Rack' and 'In the Public Interest' both carry a 1979 copyright date for unknown reasons.

Filming Block 3

Commenced 23rd April 1979 (once Lewis had recovered and finished the three outstanding Season Two stories!). Thirteen episodes in total. Episodes filmed included 'The Purging of CI5', 'Stopover', 'Dead Reckoning', 'A Hiding to Nothing' and 'Runner' which were shown as part of the third season. The other stories to be filmed at this time were 'The Acorn Syndrome', 'Fugitive', 'Involvement', 'Need to Know', 'Takeaway', 'Slush Fund', 'Mixed Doubles' and 'Weekend in the Country' which were all deferred until the fourth season shown between September and December 1980.

Filming Block 4

Commenced June 1980. Thirteen episodes in total. Episodes 'Wild Justice', 'Blackout', 'Blood Sports', 'The Gun', 'Highjack', 'Kickback' and 'It's Only a Beautiful Picture' had just been completed when LWT decided to intersperse these into the deferred Block 3 episodes as the fourth season which began transmission in September 1980. Also filmed at this time were 'Foxhole on the Roof ', 'Operation Susie', 'You'll be Alright', 'Discovered in a Graveyard', 'The Untouchables' and 'The Ojuka Situation' which were shown as part of the fifth season (from November 1982 to February 1983).

Filming Block 5:

Commenced March 1981, completed May 1981. Five episodes in total. These were 'Lawson's Last Stand', 'Spy Probe', 'Cry Wolf', 'A Man Called Quinn' and 'No Stone'. Shown as part of the fifth season (tx November 1982 to February 1983) along with deferred Block 4 episodes (see above). Note 'Spy Probe', not 'No Stone', was the final episode to be completed (the speedboat scenes). Why only five episodes, instead of the normal thirteen? Well it would appear LWT felt the series was becoming too expensive and were going to axe it anyway but also the completion of the fifth story (in May 1981) coincided with the end of Lew, Martin and Gordon's four-year contracts. As we know, Martin and Lew were fed up with the show and it came as no surprise to anybody when they both refused to renew (apparently Gordon would have been happy to continue). And so production came to a swift end.