Last updated : 7th February 2014


I thought it might be interesting to gather together a collection of quotes relating to the series, in particular those from the actors, production team and the critics (don't expect a smooth ride!). You'll find some of the quotes already appear on other parts of the site but I think it makes sense to have them all together in one place, too.

It should be noted that the quotes gleaned from press articles are simply taken at face value it may well be that the interviewees have been misquoted. If I suspect this may be the case, I've commented on it in the Notes column. Of course quotes from TV interviews are pretty much incontrovertible though the interviewee him/herself may not be telling the complete truth!

Naturally if anybody has relevant material they would like to share, please pass it on to me!

Many thanks, as ever, to Dave Rogers for advice and assistance!






I've split the quotes in various categories:






The Critics!
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Hilary Kingsley:

"I think what was so good about The Professionals was that it was so politically incorrect all the way through!"

1996 Channel Four doc
Philip Purser:

"Of all the rotten new breed of thuggish cops and secret agents, this little gang is the least attractive... The curly-headed one reminds me fatally of Harpo Marx!"

1978, from one of the UK tabloid newspapers. Reproduced in 'The Guinness Book of Classic British Television'.
Cornell, Day and Topping:

"The problem with the series one that Martin Shaw, trapped in a four-year contract, was well aware of was that it was so consistently moronic. Female characters were ciphers (the 'explosions before characterisation' policy of the show meant that they didn't even get to be 'love interest' very often) and the closest Shaw got to softening his ex-policeman character was the revelation that he occasionally liked to cook a bit of pasta.... The series was geared to appeal to ten-year-old boys everywhere, complete with the prejudices of the man on the street.

"Clemens' involvement had drastically declined by the fourth season and the formula nature of the plots (which were always enlivened by the details and strangeness of Clemens' approach) was making the show boring.

"By [the show's] demise, the public had grown intolerant of this type of action.... its effects on the [crime] genre might not have been significant but it remains a well-remembered example... it's just a shame it couldn't be anything else."

1993, 'The Guinness Book of Classic British Television'. Ouch! I loved the pasta comment, though! And criticism on the fourth season is quite fair, I'm sure many of us would agree.
Cornell, Day and Topping, commenting on the failings of the second season of The New Avengers:

"Clemens and Fennell created... The Professionals, one of the most mindless and crass television series... The Avengers deserved more."

1997, 'The Avengers Dossier'. Don't worry, these comments from Keith and Martin are nothing compared to the roasting they've given Dempsey and Makepeace! Besides, a few years later they came to write a book on the series and had clearly revised their opinions somewhat...
Martin Day and Keith Topping:

"... beneath that surface, in the better episodes, beat a wryly reflective heart.... The Professionals begins to probe the nature of killing and what it does to the hearts and minds of those sanctioned to murder by the State. What Callan did week by week, The Professionals did during those episodes it allowed itself a breather. And if, like Dirty Harry Callahan, it's very easy to see Bodie and Doyle as the ultimate right-wing role model, there's just enough discussion about freedom, liberty and justice."

1999, from the book 'Shut It!'. And...
Martin Day and Keith Topping:

"Episodes like 'Mixed Doubles' and 'Discovered in a Graveyard' show a metaphysical bent, with surrealism and a very real reflection on the ease and difficulty of killing. Most weeks The Professionals was content to blow away its extras. There is a casualness about the deaths in The Professionals that is more sickening than, say, the violence of the two Sweeney films. But at other moments one is brought up short."

1999, from the book 'Shut It!'.
Martin Day and Keith Topping:

"It's the interplay between the two CI5 agents that give many of the early episodes in particular a real dramatic bite: in the absence of any great characterisation elsewhere, at least the... leads... are engaging. The sheer presence of Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins saves more than one dull episode, and with the late Gordon Jackson on the sidelines, lobbing in pithy aphorisms and a hint of world-weary realpolitik, you can almost excuse the more mindless excesses of some of their exploits.

"For this element really to have worked well and, in effect, to carry the series character development should have been central. Attempts were made ('Klansmen' is a good early example) but Shaw and Collins became increasingly frustrated that the writers seemed as keen to split them up... as to let the banter and the slow revealing of character take place. Things were not helped by the shambles that is the original transmission [order]."

1999, from the book 'Shut It!'.
Authors Penny Stempel and Jon E Lewis:

"Macho crypto-fascism of clever spoof on hard-boiled police actioners?... The evidence suggests the former... Episodes consisted mainly of Cowley barking orders (not terribly convincingly, since, for most viewers, actor Gordon Jackson was still the butler Hudson from Upstairs, Downstairs), much rushing around in Doyle's Ford Capri, followed by bouts of violence.

"Perhaps the most damning indictment of The Professionals was that even its own principals disliked it.... Shaw, in a belated display of taste, dismissed his character as a 'violent puppet'... and forbade repeats until 1992. The level of violence was so high that one episode had to be pulled completely. As it happens, the unaired segment, 'The Klansman' [sic], was a well-meaning piece of anti-racism, which proves the difficulty of pigeon-holing the show.

"Despite the bloodspilling, the National Viewers and Listeners Association gave the show its seal of approval for the lack of swearing and sex.

"To their credit Shaw and Collins did their own muscular stuntwork."

1993 book 'Cult TV'. I really can't believe that the NVLA gave the series its "seal of approval". Next up, a word from their president...
Mary Whitehouse:

"Violent, uncouth and thoroughly unsavoury!"

Source unknown Mary is, of course, explaining why she enjoyed the show so much!
Brian Clemens:

"Well the critics hated it, of course, because it was ever so popular. I mean the public loved it!"

1996 Channel Four doc Well you certainly can't argue with that. At the end of the day, it's the viewers who decide how good a show is, not the critics.





Martin Shaw
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin:

"I wrote my letter of resignation six weeks into filming of the first episode [presumably means 'first season'] and said 'I'm unhappy, this isn't working, it's not me and you will let me go, won't you?' And they said 'Are you out of your mind??!!'

"I had thought that if a person was unwilling to work as this was an artistic endeavour you couldn't force them to do so which, of course, they could, they were entitled to and they did!"

1996 Channel Four doc Sure enough: Martin had signed a legally-binding contract...
Martin being asked in early 1979 if it was true he wanted to leave the series:

"Yes... the reports are basically correct. If I could leave in a way that was fair to all concerned, I would. When we started the first series I simply didn't imagine it would be anything like the success that it is. Now I am held to a contract that still has some three years to run. While it is not, in practice, part of my contract, it has resulted in my commitments to the series excluding me from other work.

"Now I feel I'm doing it under sufferance. If I am held to my contract, then I shall go back and do it to the best of my ability.... but it doesn't alter the fact that I would be enormously relieved if I were to be released from my contract."

1979 one-off Professionals magazine from Danacell.
Martin, interviewed during production on the third season:

"I would dearly love to pack it in right now. I couldn't give a damn about being out of work - it would be wonderful.

"It is not possible to [make the show] properly. [The producers] rush through the episodes and realism is sacrificed. We aren't allowed to point guns, swear or smoke because we are heroes. That's ridiculous. [Our characters portray] a filthy job and it shouldn't be glamourised."

1979 interview for The Sun newspaper, 3rd November 1979. The comment about "pointing guns" was probably a criticism of limitations placed upon the show when sales to the USA were hoped for, against that country's, albeit rather odd, censorship rules over television violence. Either way, the show clearly did continue with the stars using firearms.
Martin, same interview:

"[The producers] don't want me to be seen in [any other television show] in case it ruins my screen image. I am desperate to become an actor again. All I am now is a violent puppet. I am not concerned about money. They can keep their money if I can work... I have nothing set aside for a 'rainy day'. But I am ready to go on the breadline if that's what it takes to leave The Professionals. "

1979 interview for The Sun newspaper, 3rd November 1979. Following this producer Ray Menmuir responded...
Producer Ray Menmuir:

"[Martin Shaw] freely signed a contract and he has to stick to it. It's a pity Martin hasn't reached a point of adjustment but sometimes we all do things we regret. I'm proud of the show, the stars and the crew that makes it. As far as Martin's feelings are concerned, it is just his bad luck."

The Sun newspaper, 3rd November 1979.
Martin Shaw, ostensibly to discuss his new television play, Dennis Potter's Cream in My Coffee:

"I'm enjoying every minute of the play, which is more than I can say for working on The Professionals [...] My complaint is with the men who run the series. I suppose it was partly my fault for signing a four-year contract on the verbal understanding that I'd be allowed to accept other offers of work if they didn't clash with my commitment to The Professionals. But when it came to the point, they said 'No' and I've had to turn down several good films because of their churlish attitude...

"These men are not creative people - they are accountants, businessmen. They do not realise how it refreshes an actor to get away from playing the same role over and over again. On The Professionals they have very little respect for the cast, even in little ways like providing chairs for you to sit on between takes. And it is a very exhausting series, with all those punch-ups and all the running around!"

The Daily Mail newspaper, 7th April 1980. This interview led to serious discussion within London Weekend Television as to whether Shaw should be released from the show, which is essentially what he wanted, of course.
Martin on why he agreed to take on the role in the first place:

"There was nothing else on offer at the time."

1992 interview for The Daily Telegraph
Martin:

"It was constant, continual frustration."

1996 Channel Four doc
Martin:

"We've been very fortunate because we've had the most magnificent crew. Thank you for your patience and tolerance."

1980 ITV Awards in which the show won Programme of the Year. Hmmm... cryptic, cryptic...
Hilary Kingsley:

"Here was a very serious actor subsequently he's proved this time and again and he was obviously not so happy with the scripts and thought it was as silly as some of us watching thought it."

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian Clemens, asked why Martin was kept on:

"I would have been happy to let him go. At the time he didn't tell anyone he wanted to go."

1997 interview for In the Public Interest.
Brian:

"One of the ideas I incorporated into my original format was that it said 'It's got Cowley and his team, and Bodie and Doyle are the two we focus on. But always at the back of my mind was this idea that if we sold the series to America and they said 'Can we put an American character in it?', or if one of the boys became too difficult or left, we could have brought in someone else within weeks. I mean The Professionals was not called Bodie and Doyle, it was about an entire squad, so that idea would have worked."

1985 interview for Dave Rogers' 'Complete Professionals' book Furthermore...
Brian:

"Martin, I think, had his problems - but his problem was a familar one. I have this theory: the difference between American television and British television is that British television is made primarily about forty miles from London, whereas Hollywood is three-thousand miles from... the Broadway stage. I think that what happens with British actors, is that they're in a successful series and they go to [theatres such as ] The Salisbury or The Green Room or some little pub and meet other actors who say "Oh, you're doing that television crap!" - and you find that [their detractors] are carrying a spear at the Lyric! Then there's another thing about British actors that is not true of American actors. American actors are always proud of what they're in and the fact that they're working. I've met actors out there who are in a daytime soap, which is really way down the scale, but they're fine with that because everybody knows them: they get the best seats in restaurants, they're a familiar face - they like being famous, which I think must be part of being an actor, otherwise why would they want to expose yourself all the time? So I think Martin had 'conflicts' about this. Some of the things he's said since, like we wouldn't let him out of his contract were .... well, of course, if you have signed someone to a three year contract [sic] with an option of two beyond that, it's a contract: you can't just keep moving the goalposts because this is an organisation on which thousands of people depend on for their living, so you can't just abandon it .... although that's kind of contradicting myself - I would have abandoned him and brought in another actor, because the nature of The Professionals was that you could change. But London Weekend weren't willing to do that. I'm not even sure it was mooted - but it was mooted behind the scenes."

Unbroadcast segment of 1996 Channel Four doc Indeed Mark 1 and LWT did consider dropping Martin from the show just prior to filming on the fourth season in 1980. Ultimately, of course, the possibility was rejected.
Brian:

"We got into this pain in the arse of actors. Why [London Weekend Television] stood for that, I don't know. Had I been in sole charge, I would have just got rid of the two and had another team... 'cos the whole point of having 'the professionals' was that it was a big organisation, so why stick with them? We could have easily brought in somebody else."

1995 interview for Dave Rogers' 'Stay Tuned' magazine. "I would have got rid of the two" is a reflection that Lewis was becoming a problem too.
Brian on being asked about the potential of replacing Martin Shaw with Steve Alder (Agent Murphy):

"There was no thinking about the Murphy character taking over, I just wanted to remind London Weekend [Television] that we could have other people in it. It wasn't part of the thinking because I think we would have brought in somebody bigger than that - although [Steve Alder] was an excellent actor and wonderful in the part [of Murphy]."

Unbroadcast segment of 1996 Channel Four doc
Martin:

"I bet you [the reporter interviewing him] have been told I'm paranoid about The Professionals. Well it's not true. It's wonderful that it's become a cult show. I'm not now nor ever have been ashamed of playing Doyle, though I wasn't happy about the fame that went with the role. Contrary to some stories, I haven't become 'superior' about my work or keen to sweep Doyle under the carpet."

1999 interview for TV Times magazine.
Martin on fame and fans:

"I like [fame] when it's appropriate. When it's inappropriate [during personal, private events] it's detestable. I used to beat myself up five minutes after being very brusque or even rude to somebody. I would think 'Oh, God, why did I do that? What an awful person [I am]. These people are [in effect] paying my wages."

Interview on the BBC Radio 4 "Midweek" show, 1st September 1991.
Martin:

"I prefer anonymity and privateness [sic]. I asked for the [recognition] by virtue of the fact that I did The Professionals and got all this fame - somewhere along the line I must have really wanted it, so it's up to me, I suppose, to learn to be graceful about it - and very often I don't. Very often I find it intensely irritating: usually what I find is that there is a fair amount of aggression in the approaches that I get, which has more to do with jealousy, I think, than it has to do with wanting to challenge me."

1983 interview for Andy Peebles' Radio One show.
Martin, rather tersely to an interviewer:

"That [Doyle] is not my normal role. That was ONE PART!"

1983, Breakfast Time show (BBC). Yes, that's fair enough...
Martin:

"No, no, I don't hate it. There were bits I liked and bits I didn't. But nobody's interested in the bits I liked they only want to know about the bits I hated. I liked playing with the toys, I liked blowing up cars, I liked playing with machine-guns, I liked joking with Lewis Collins, I liked admiring Gordon Jackson's professionalism. I liked earning money, too!

1983, Breakfast Time show (BBC). He didn't reveal the bits hated!...
Martin:

"It's not that I don't like to talk about [The Professionals]. It's just that I think too much emphasis has been put on it it was a job!"

1983, Breakfast Time show (BBC).
Martin:

"This might sound over-naive but I really don't know what my image is with the public. I would have thought it surprising if, after twenty years, The Professionals is the only frame of reference people have. For me it's just another job that was twenty years ago and I'm bewildered by the constant interest."

Interview for The Birmingham Post newspaper, 19th January 1999 It's obviously frustrating that, when doing interviews, The Professionals is almost always brought up. Yes actors do want to be remembered for other things but unfortunately these tend to only be long-running TV shows. In Martin's case the only other one of note is The Chief.
Martin:

"I don't agree with regrets they're pointless. So wishing I hadn't done The Professionals is a waste of time and energy. It's part of what I am and it's incumbent on me to make the best of it. But it would have been better for my career had I not done it.... [but] I can look at those programmes and enjoy them. There's a point when something that has been a pain in the neck becomes a cult."

1999 interview for The Mail on Sunday.
Martin:

"[The Professionals] disenfranchised my career before it. Prior to The Professionals, my career had been rounded and successful and blessed. But then, because of its success, it was not only as if my career had started there, it was as if that's what I did, so there was no longer the opportunity to do what I had done before. It was as if my personality had been appropriated. It was like being an Action Man doll. No humanity, just a function."

Interview for The Guardian newspaper, December 2001. But in complete contrast to this comment....
Martin being asked whether he regretted doing the series:

"Well, no, I don't because it's made me, as they say, 'bankable' in the West End. But it has a downside as well because it's made me less bankable as far as movies are concerned. I had a flourishing career as a 'chameleon' actor, working all over the place because nobody could put me in a 'box'. Now my agent has actually had people from films phone up and say 'We've got a great part for Martin - have you any idea who we could get?'!"

Interview on the BBC Radio 4 "Midweek" show, 1st September 1991. Bizarre!
Martin on why he considered giving up acting in 1998:

"When I despair it's about dumbing down: the fact that the measure of excellence in our job nowadays is not how moved I was, how truthful it was, how much I enjoyed it; the measure of excellence is how under budget it was, how quickly it was delivered, what the ratings were."

Interview for The Guardian newspaper, December 2001. Although Martin is referring to modern-day productions, it's clear that he has similar troubles with these as he had with a certain other show he starred in! In fairness, though, much of today's television is indeed seen by viewers as being dumbed down, "tabloidised" tosh - which makes up about 80 percent of ITVs schedules these days.
Martin:

"I've got no problems with talking about it, I've got no problems about it being on the screen, I'm delighted they are doing a new series."

1997, This Morning show (ITV). But these comments were made at a time when, according to reports, Martin was trying to block the Granada Plus run!
Martin:

"The downside of not talking [to journalists] is that the cuttings they have in their library just go on and on and on and on and it gets recycled and so you get this kind of Chinese Whispers effect and it ends up being complete cobblers!"

1997, This Morning show (ITV).
Martin on his attitude towards the Press:

"Yes I was prickly because I was so tired of all the lies and inventions about The Professionals. Complete myths surrounding my feelings towards the series. Exclusive interviews I've never given. Stories of why I didn't want it to be repeated that I've never told.

"At the time it didn't matter what I said, the same story was always printed and so I regarded everybody who came to talk to me with the same jaded sense of suspicion. The sub-editor was already putting together the framework they wanted.

Interview for The Birmingham Post newspaper (19th January 1999).
Gordon Jackson:

"I don't think [Martin] enjoyed [The Professionals] as much as he should - I think he rather resented it eventually, being held down in a series. I think the thing to do is, once you've signed a contract for a series - and you can't break it - try to enjoy it. I don't think he enjoyed it as much as he should have. It's not as if [he and Lewis] were moaning about it all the time but I always felt they were a bit unhappy and were relieved when it was over. I, in fact, was very sad when it was over!"

1983, Star Chat (produced by Student Television of Imperial College).
Brian:

"I would love Martin to appear in the new series ['CI5 - The New Professionals'] and the door is always open but he has made it clear he is too serious an actor to become involved in all of this again."

1997, quote in The Daily Mail
Martin:

"I'm told [by friends who read the newspapers] that I disapprove of this new series ['CI5 - The New Professionals'] and that I wouldn't dream of being involved in it because I'm too serious an actor. I mean what is all this crap?!!"

1997, This Morning show (ITV).
Mal Young, Head of Drama at Pearson Television:

"Martin should get back with Lewis Collins and do The Professionals The Return. They could both take over the Gordon Jackson role so they're now running the agency, shouting "Put the kettle on!" at each other and diving across tables. He could put the whole thing to bed by doing the ultimate spoof!

"Martin's funky again because he epitomises the 1970's version of the Loaded lad. The Professionals were doing Men Behaving Badly twenty years ago, only it was Haircuts Behaving Badly, so he should stand up and be proud of it."

1997, issue 2 of The Box magazine. As you've probably gathered this (and the next few quotes) are not to be taken entirely seriously! For the benefit of overseas readers, Loaded is a "lads" lifestyle magazine looking at the things us lads like to look at (yep, you've guessed it!)
PR agent Mark Borkowski:

"The Nissan Almera campaign did a lot for [Martin]. People are asking 'Where is Martin Shaw?'. There's a whole generation of Loaded and FHM readers who would love all that."

1997, issue 2 of The Box magazine. On the other hand...
Vivienne Clore (who she?):

"[Martin] should keep away from any television engagement that is set anywhere in the vicinity of a police station. The legacy that was Doyle needs to be completely expunged."

1997, issue 2 of The Box magazine.
Comedy writer Chris England:

"As a comedy writer I would be very wary of using Martin. Years ago he played a hammy Welshman in Doctor in the House and displayed appalling comic timing. He was truly poor. I'm surprised he hasn't tried to stop those being shown.

"He should hope for a huge kitsch revival. And then just sit back and hope for the phone to ring with offers of panto."

1997, issue 2 of The Box magazine. Martin's performance in Doctor in the House - made in 1969 - certainly is rather OTT!





Gordon Jackson
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin:

"Gordon was one of the most delightful, well-balanced and kindest people I've ever met in my life. He had none of these pressures or strains. And he would say [effecting Scots accent] 'Och, dear boy, don't worry aboot the line - it disnae matter - just say it, say it, say it!' And that's what he did!"

1996 Channel Four doc These few words are not only a nice compliment to Gordon but also tell us a lot about what was going on on-set. A great quote! ...
Brian Clemens:

"I only knew Gordon for the span of the series, really. I'd always considered him to be a smashing actor, of course, and very self-effacing sometimes, although he was capable of playing anything. He was so good in the part and I don't remember him complaining about anything once .... although I learned from Kenneth Williams' Diaries that he did have 'worries' about the series... He just took the money and got on with the job - and did a very, very good job for us. He was a kind of oil in the works man. If there was a problem, Gordon would settle it out of his experience and his maturity, he would keep the set a happy one - and deliver the goods. He was always on time, he was always ready rehearsed - he was the perfect actor, the perfect professional. When I heard that he had died, I was very shocked, because he was comparitively young and I had no idea that he'd been that ill - and I was very sorry that I hadn't kept in touch with him as much as I might have done."

1996 Channel Four doc Ditto!
Gordon on coping with acting:

"I am 'automated'... I really am like a Dalek! I work so hard at learning lines - I am a very slow line-learner! [I am] 'cocooned' completely and 'programmed', so if an atom bomb fell, I'd still say my next line!"

"An Invitation to Remember Gordon Jackson", ITV, 1989 Gordon's appearance here is one of a sprightly, healthy man - looking no older than he had ten years earlier. So it's very difficult to comprehend how within just a few months he had passed away.
Brian:

"I think [Gordon] had doubts early on about whether he was right for the part - he expressed it to one or two actor friends. But it was an opportunity to 'bury' [his Upstairs, Downstairs role as] Hudson because otherwise I think he'd have been typecast."

"The Unforgettable Gordon Jackson", ITV, 2012
Martin, giggling:

"[Gordon] used to laugh at himself because he never considered himself [to be] tough in any way at all! And he used to say 'I don't know why I'm playing this part!'"

"The Unforgettable Gordon Jackson", ITV, 2012
Martin, laughing:

"[Lewis and I] used to love shooting the guns - that would be great for us - and to put on these silly, tough faces! But Gordon would get hold of the gun if ever he had to shoot it and go like this... " [mimics Gordon turning his face away in fear]. "And we'd say, 'Now, Gordon, you mustn't shut your eyes!' and he'd say 'Oh, God, did I do that again?!' He was just lovely - the sweetest man!"

"The Unforgettable Gordon Jackson", ITV, 2012
Martin, laughing at how Gordon would prepare:

"Every line was highlighted in the script, to the extent that I once saw him learn a misprint! It was something like... 'Bodie will intercept in his can'. And then the director said 'Cut! Gordon, what is a 'can'?' and Gordon said 'I was wonderin' aboot that!?!' "

"The Unforgettable Gordon Jackson", ITV, 2012





Lewis Collins
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Gordon Jackson in an uncharacteristic outburst over Lewis' criticisms of the show:

"If you want to shape the scripts, I say go away and be a scriptwriter. I have no sympathy with Lewis over locations: it'a all a question of finance. Shooting on location costs money and even just going to the [London's] West End to film is very time-consuming and expensive."

Daily Express newspaper, 10th November 1979 Lewis had complained of a lack of character development in the scripts and the repeated use of the same locations - poassibly referring to Cadby Hall in Hammersmith in particular - over many episodes.
Professionals and Who Dares Wins / The Final Option director Ian Sharp:

"I have extremely fond memories of working with Lewis, he was an absolute delight from day one.

"I've never known anybody to take in a script as fast. He never learnt it, he just looked at it before we were due to do the scene and he was invariably word perfect. He was a professional to his fingertips. The other thing I would say about him [was that] he had a wonderful sense of humour. He was a Birkenhead boy, a real Liverpool lad and he inherited that great sense of humour - so he nicked every scene where there was a funny line.

"I think [he and the character of Bodie] were fairly close. I know that if he hadn't turned to acting then he would probably have gone into the army - but he had this gift. He was this tough old character but he had this soft side to him as well.

"He was an extremely capable and able action man - probably the best I've ever worked with. He could drive, he could fight and he could certainly fire weapons... I went with him to Hereford before filming ['Who Dares Wins' / 'The Final Option'], because they unofficially co-operated. I saw Lewis go on the firing range - which as you can imagine was quite demanding - with a weapons instructor who did not want a film made about the SAS and was a rather fierce individual. He was astounded at Lewis's ability with a gun.

"Everybody agrees Lewis would have made a great James Bond. He had all the right qualities: he had the looks, he had the humour, he didn't take himself too seriously. I've worked subsequently with a lot of action men and hordes of stuntmen but Lewis... You could let him do his own fight sequences. There weren't many others. I think he probably did a fairly aggressive interview thinking that [Bond producer Cubby Broccoli] would buy that.

"It's a mystery to all of us [as to why Lewis' career didn't take off]. I lost touch with him a bit after Who Dares Wins - I think he was a little bit disillusioned with it and I'm not sure why. These days people would grab him with both hands. In those days, they wanted the smoothie type, like Roger Moore and, if you like, he was a Daniel Craig in a Roger Moore era.

"I don't know if he had a reputation for being difficult - he wasn't. Like a lot of actors described as difficult, they're the ones who really care and he did."

Interview for the BBC4, November 2013
Martin, immediately following Lewis' passing:

"It's hard to know what to say. You just suddenly reflect on the years that we spent together. I think my biggest memory of it all was the laughter that we shared. The only way we could get through the rigours of the schedule that we were under and the way that we were treated - which has been commented on many times in the past! - was the comedy that we made out of it.

"We spent a very tough four years together in making The Professionals and shared in the production of what has become an icon of British Television. He will be remembered as part of the childhood of so many people and mourned by his fans. "

ITN News, 28th November 2013 The comment "the way we were treated" - which, unsurprisingly, was snipped from most ITV broadcasts - seems to hark back to Martin's interview in April 1980 where he claimed that the show's producers didn't even provide the actors with chairs between takes.





Martin and Lewis working together
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin:

"If you put two people together for fourteen hours a day, every day, with the stresses and tensions, then there'll be explosions and there were one or two arguments. But nothing that wasn't resolved. Lewis and I are still able to talk to each other and still make each other laugh. The best thing about that relationship, especially on-screen, was that we knew how to work with each other - we had a very good sense of humour about the whole thing."

1983 interview with Gloria Hunniford on BBC Radio 2.
Martin:

"I think if you were doing a film and, in the short term, you needed a sparky, abrasive relationship, then it might just be a good idea to put two people together for six months and see what happens.... [but] if you were intending to keep people together for four years... it was stupid!!"

1996 Channel Four doc But...
Martin:

"I said to Lew 'Look, you probably know, I didn't want you to do this. I was not in favour of it and 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!"

1996 Channel Four doc
Martin asked about his relationship with Lewis on the show:

"Basically it's strictly business. Because of the natural stress and strain entailed during filming, we need to have a break from each other outside. We don't, except for our dedication to work and a similar sense of humour, have much in common."

1979 one-off Professionals magazine from Danacell. I think, though, this changed and they became a lot closer and "matey" during filming of the 1979 episodes. Anyway, here was Lew's view:
Lewis asked about his relationship with Martin and Gordon on the show:

"Workwise we get on fine! I admire Gordon Jackson he's a fine actor. We don't mix socially because I drink and they don't. Martin and I respect each other but basically we are not the same type of people. Our relationship is very much as it is portrayed in the series. Both of us are honest enough to admit it.

"There is rivalry between us, we spur each other on. Sometimes we feel agressive towards each other and the whole cast feel it."

1979 one-off Professionals magazine from Danacell.
Lewis:

"Martin and I always had a bit of a spark because we weren't quite the same animal. But it was good for the show, if not necessarily the happiest time for actors."

1996 Channel Four doc
Lewis:

"I'd always had a sort of junior admiration for [Martin's] abilities... and still do!"

1996 Channel Four doc
Director Martin Campbell:

"First of all there was friction because they're two totally different actors. Martin is from the theatre, he's a professional actor and had been for a long time. Lewis... wasn't."

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian Clemens:

"I think they [got on together] alright. I don't think they were the greatest of friends... but I don't think they were enemies either. I have the feeling that it probably got better as it progressed. This may not be true but I think that Martin resented Anthony Andrews going, because Anthony was an actor of some note and Martin could relate to him. When we brought in Lewis, who really hadn't been acting that long and had been the drummer in the Mojos and so on, I think Martin didn't have respect for him initially - he didn't think he was much of an actor. But of course, you can't make a series like that without improving every single day and I think that Lewis was perfectly okay and became better and better - but then so did Martin as the series progressed."

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian:

"We put Anthony Andrews with Martin Shaw and it didn't work. Not because either was a bad actor but they just didn't have a rapport. They tended to sit in the car and giggle!"

1990 Kaleidoscope interview with BC Actually they did have a great rapport but not the kind that Brian was looking for! ...
Brian:

"We had actually committed to it Anthony Andrews and Martin Shaw. Then suddenly, after two or three days, I got this trepidation... that it wasn't working as I'd imagined it and we went back to the drawing board and tested again... and tested Lewis Collins."

1996 Channel Four doc







General Views
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin, asked what qualities he looks for in a script for a show/film/play:

"Truth. Plausibility. Integrity. I don't find much in The Professionals to make me explore myself as an artist. But I still apply the same principles as I would to any other work 'Is it true? How well can I do it?' "

1979 Professionals Annual
Lewis, on the same subject:

"If I was offered another Bodie-type role, yes it would be meaty but no it wouldn't challenge me. So I'd prefer a funny little character, perhaps... more like my role in The Cuckoo Waltz."

1979 Professionals Annual
Martin:

"James Bond had been very successful and rightly so. But it had its own particular niche which was 'We are sexy, we are violent but we don't really mean it!'. And it was all very tongue-in-cheek and I thought 'Well that's already been done, so why bother to do it again?'"

1996 Channel Four doc To which Brian Clemens replied:
Brian Clemens:

"We didn't do anything tongue-in-cheek. We tried to inject humour into it, which I think is slightly different."

1996 Channel Four doc
Martin:

"The Professionals was of its time and in its time it was the best. It was great fun to make."

1982, from a book entitled simply 'Television'.
Lewis, initially uncomfortable, talking about criticisms of sexism in the show:

"Oh, you're opening up a can [of worms] there for me, you know this sexism bit!... That's frozen in time now. Whatever it was, it was right for the time. It's OK to look back and say 'Ah well they shouldn't have done this or that'. But I think everything moves in cycles I mean it'll be fashion again to be a 'real man'!

1996 Channel Four doc





The Characters of Cowley, Bodie and Doyle
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Script editor Gerry O'Hara:

"My view of a lot of series in the past was that they had been very pedestrian, very explanatory, the scenes hung around until the climaxes at the end of each act. What I thought I could do as a story editor was bring more depth of character into the stories. I found I couldn't do it so much with the regular characters, [though] more with Cowley than with Bodie and Doyle. I think that Cowley's a glorious character and that Gordon Jackson's a glorious actor... he could play the phone book and make it sound interesting. I think that Cowley, as created by Brian, always had depth.

"Bodie and Doyle had degrees of depth - but the secret of these two characters is that the audience sees them differently, sees them as they want to see them. Regrettably, perhaps, on paper, they haven't been allowed to get the depth that Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins would have wanted, but they were pipped by their own popularity.

"I'm convinced that the audience sees them in special ways. Little girls see them one way, as the fellers they long to have for themselves; young boys in another way, as the heroes they want to be; mothers and fathers see them as sons that they would like to have. Now that sounds absurd because they whip out guns and shoot people to pieces but I think they're 'turn-ons', they're adrenalin-releasers, for all the different kinds of people in the audience. This is where Brian is so clever. He sketched out a background for them but that was all, just sketches, so that they could be changed, pulled around, turned, sent in different directions."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Producer Ray Menmuir:

"Martin and Lewis used to say 'We want more character'. With due respect, what they meant was they wanted scenes where they could toss off, sack-cloth and ashes time, 'Act' with a capital 'A'. But I believe that the audience is really clued in. They pick up on behaviour and actions. We're not really about Freudian analysis. And home psychiatry is the most boring thing on Earth. Over-define a character and you force him to be predictable.

"People in general are constantly surprising. So I always resisted 'motivation'. It has never been questioned by the audience but it was questioned by just about everyone working on the series. 'Is he moving his flat again?', for instance. Audiences don't care about things like that. It's a floating crap game. So he's in a different flat, so he's got 28 apartments. They accept that and we never once explained why. You can make up your own reasons - you can participate."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Gordon on being chosen for the role of Cowley:

"I had not long finished filming Upstairs, Downstairs... when the script was offered to me. I don't know why they picked me... [but] I read the script ['Old Dog with New Tricks'] and I liked it. I thought the part was right for me."

1982 Professionals Annual
Gordon:

"There isn't a great deal you can do with the character of Cowley. You can't really develop him far... we never learn anything about his past, his family or his social life."

1982 Professionals Annual
Brian Clemens:

"When I first conceived the series, I simply made Cowley a Northerner. It was a way of saying that I didn't see him as a Public School boy I wanted him to have a roughness factor. Of course I didn't know who would be playing the parts when I first wrote it but when Gordon became Cowley, we simply adjusted the scripts [to accommodate Gordon's Scots accent]."

1982 Professionals Annual
Lewis:

"Cowley was the big, bad boss... which was hard for Gordon - I think it was possibly his most testing acting role! [Laughs] - because he was such a sweet man. His portrayal had a kind of warmth behind the eyes, even though he was being tough, you know."

1996 Channel Four doc
Hilary Kingsley:

"I wasn't surprised Gordon Jackson took the part because he obviously wanted to show that there were other things in his repertoire than the constipated Scots butler in Upstairs Downstairs! But I didn't think [the role of Cowley] was quite him."

1996 Channel Four doc
Lewis:

"I thought it worked extremely well because [Gordon] went against the grain on that and that, to me, comes across as far more realistic because the last thing you put in the field is someone who looks like what they are!"

1996 Channel Four doc
Lewis commenting on his initial impressions of the show and Bodie:

"It was [just like] Starsky and Hutch and neither of us wanted to play Hutch! Bodie looked limp and lifeless. No depth. A bit of a show-off but also very weak. I thought that if this guy is meant to be an ex-SAS sergeant, then he had better look it. So I toughened him up, tried to look as if I could handle myself."

1978 Professionals Annual And later, once the series was well-established...
Lewis:

"I never get the opportunity to show what I'm good at. Being an ex-mercenary and undercover soldier, Bodie should be the one who creeps up and does the dirty work. You don't see enough expertise in the show. I'm given Bodie, then he's taken away from me, watered-down to some sort of cop instead of an intelligence agent. We're not hard-hitting enough. The show is too bland. The bland leading the bland. People like Bodie actually like killing. No way I could ever be like him."

1979 Professionals Annual The "hard-hitting" part is a debatable point it's true the violence was toned down after the first season. But "bland"??!
Martin on Doyle:

"He's a strange character moralist and killer. Very difficult to portray. But given that I am a moralist and the part I'm playing is a killer, it seems to work out. His character in this latest [third] series is beginning to widen out about time. It's not dialogue-packed but I feel the characters are more filled-out than before."

1979 Professionals Annual
Martin:

"Without, I hope, sounding too pretentious, an actor is not a puppet. An actor is someone who creates and it's very difficult to try to create when you've got somebody's fist down your throat and your arm up your back!"

1996 Channel Four doc But I'm sure we would all agree MS' performance in the show was imaginative and creative.
Lewis:

"[Doyle] was always the one that was more caring and I was more bull-in-a-china-shop... which, you know, didn't show off my finer points, I felt!" [deftly grooms hair in a very camp fashion and smiles cherubically!]

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian Clemens:

"The way I saw it was that Bodie was a swine and Doyle was the one with the conscience."

1982 Professionals Annual





Style (?)
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin, referring to Doyle's perm:

"It seems astounding now but then it was quite a daring thing to do. Long hair was in and I turned up in a leather jacket and a pair of jeans and said 'This is it!' "

1996 Channel Four doc
Martin:

"I was told by the producers that they [Bodie and Doyle] were going to wear suits and... short hair. I thought that was so stupid. I said 'No, no what's much cooler these days is jeans and long hair.' They told me that if I turned up to shoot wearing jeans, they'd send me home. I had my hair permed, so that they couldn't do anything about it, apart from shave my head. I arrived in jeans and a leather jacket. The director didn't know that I'd been issued with this threat. He just said 'Nice' and we started shooting and that was it."

1999 interview for The Mail on Sunday
Brian Clemens:

"Martin settled on a hair-style which I didn't think was great. He now says he regards himself as being a bionic golliwog. Well the golliwog aspect was something he had dreamed up. I think that he thought he was looking too close to Lewis and yet, actually, it was a sort of actors' frailty because he didn't look a bit like Lewis."

1996 Channel Four doc
Lewis:

"I am my own hairdresser."

1979 Professionals Annual No, really??!!
Lewis:

"I ended up with the jackets and trousers. I was the tailor's dummy and he was the cool guy."

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian commenting on how well the show has aged:

"The action is still smashing and the boys look good. There's just one terrible demerit: FLARES! If flares come back, the series will come back!" [Laughs]

1996 Channel Four doc





Scripts
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Brian Clemens talking about the pilot ep, 'Old Dog with New Tricks':

"I never thought the ending was right though LWT said it was fine. But then after a rethink, they decided it wasn't and brought Gerry O'Hara in to rewrite it and it was shot. Then after another rethink they decided it still wasn't right and it was rewritten and reshot again."

1992 interview for Timescreen magazine Well it would certainly be interesting to discover what Brian had in mind for the episode originally.
Martin:

"Neither Lewis nor myself were happy with the quality of the first series' scripts but there has been a greater degree of characterisation in the second series. Unfortunately the market they are aiming at is not one of strong emotional characterisation but exciting physical action."

1979 interview for the one-off Professionals magazine from Danacell.
Brian:

"As executive producer I vetted all the scripts and for the second batch they sent me one called 'Not a Very Civil Civil Servant'. I read it twice and still didn't know what it was about. So I strongly advised against making it but they [LWT] didn't want to buy another script and went ahead. Then sometime later I saw it [on TV] and turned it off halfway through because I couldn't follow the plot and in that situation it becomes boring. Some of the scripts were too complicated for their own good."

1992 interview for Timescreen magazine I was stunned by this I know many of us consider NAVCCS to be an excellent story.





Dialogue
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin:

"[Brian Clemens] has to be credited for the original idea and his storylines were sensational... but I didn't like his dialogue."

1996 Channel Four doc What didn't he like about the dialogue?
Lewis:

"We write a lot of our own dialogue. The writers give us guidelines but we've got to be comfortable with our lines. It's just being ourselves, really."

1979 Professionals Annual And...
Lewis:

"We improvise. Martin and I change all the dialogue."

1980 interview on TV show Tiswas And...
Lewis:

"A lot of the rewriting was Martin and I in a car we spent a lot of time in cars! And we used to knock it around quite a lot."

1996 Channel Four doc And...
Martin:

"Feedback would come from the rushes: 'Hey, those car scenes: absolutely wonderful! More of that, boys!' And we thought 'Are they really this stupid?! Don't they realise this is not the script that was being given to us and that we're making this up?!' "

1996 Channel Four doc
Martin:

"A lot of the scenes that we did in the car, because we weren't faced with the strictures of the crew and everybody else around, we could make up our own comedy dialogue, which we did to great effect. There should be a Professionals joke [film] reel - I wish there was. I think it would open the world's eyes."

ITN news, 28th November 2013 Here's Brian's response...
Brian:

"No the only changes that were made were sometimes they would say 'I'd rather use this word instead of that word' or the changes that can happen only when you're on location, when it was 'Go through this door' and there isn't a door, so you have to change it to 'Get up that ladder'."

1996 Channel Four doc Although there were a few instances of very brief and inconsequential improvisation - for example Lewis's legendary "How come the Bionic Golly gets all the best bits?" in 'A Hiding to Nothing' - judging by the scripts I've seen, there certainly were no wholesale rewrites that Martin and Lewis allude to. In the first season, a number of episodes were found to fall short of the requisite 50 minutes runtime, so were bolstered by the late addition of car banter scenes, though always officially scripted - usually by Brian. And yet...
Gordon Jackson:

"Nowadays [actors] don't seem to do the script that is given to you. In the old days you were given a script, learned your lines and that was it. Nowadays they all seem to be changing all the time - they have no confidence in the material they have, which I think is very wrong. No matter what script I do, having accepted it, I think 'This is King Lear', so every word is absolutely sacrosanct and we must stick to the script. But on The Professionals, for instance, they were constantly changing it here, there and everywhere! The boys used to change their lines and they were marvellous at it but I said 'No matter what happens, just give me the cue and I will say what I have learned' - because it's taken me three weeks to learn it! They could learn it in a [single] morning, just looking at it before they went on the set."

1983, Star Chat (produced by Student Television of Imperial College).





Klansmen
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Lewis:

"The big taboo one was when we did [grimaces] 'Klansmen'. I wasn't a fan of that particular show because my character was written as... [now starts to stumble over his choice of words] ... well... he was... he was definitely a racist. There were some heated words over that."

1996 Channel Four doc The "heated words" presumably took place within LWT...
Brian Clemens:

"He [Lewis] never expressed [his concern over 'Klansmen'] to me. But these shows were made in the seventies and people's attitudes weren't quite the same as they are now.

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian talking about 'Klansmen's' withdrawal by LWT:

"Personally I felt that the whole thing was rather silly because, if they had told us what the problem was, we could have re-shot some scenes and made it acceptable."

1985 interview for Dave Rogers' 'Complete Professionals' book
Brian:

"It wasn't transmitted because [LWT] felt it was racist - when, in fact it was anti-racist. It was about CI5 sorting out a gang that was racist, but along the way we had to use, though not in a negative sense, 'forbidden' words like 'nigger' and so on because you can't portray a racist without him using those words. That offended some people and I think it particularly offended (LWT Head of Drama) Brian Tesler , who was very sensitive about race and indeed many years before had banned an Armchair Theatre episode which, again, was a highly-charged racial subject. "Klansmen" was withdrawn foolishly, I think, because if we could have redressed the problem rather than lose a whole episode, which is a lot of money, it would have been easy for us to reshoot the bits that they found offensive and change some of the language - rather than just junk the whole thing. It's strange, really, because it's been shown all over the world on cable in all sorts of places, and I don't think we ever had one letter of complaint about it... As I say, I was puzzled when London Weekend banned the episode and didn't allow us to reshoot, because we said 'We'll bring you the film. You sit down with us and tell us what offends you and we'll remake it. Okay, it will cost you half the price of an episode, but that is better than losing a total episode!' They wouldn't do it. Another thing to remember is [that] they had one foot in the ditch, because all scripts were submitted to their legal censorship department, as was "Klansman", and obviously nobody read them because the story was made as per the script - nothing was added. Then they came back and said that they didn't like it! That had never happened before. I thought that the failsafe was that we submitted all scripts and got on with the job."

Unbroadcast segment of 1996 Channel Four doc Next up is LWT's official response:
LWT spokesman:

"The 'Klansmen' script was very powerful, very challenging - and very good. But it did not fall into the pattern of the rest of the series. We felt at the time if we had shown it, we would have upset many regular Professionals fans because the story and content were very different from regular Professionals fare. We were also concerned in the light of events in the real world at the time that some viewers would have been disturbed by the characters... expressing extreme points of view. While we often tackle controversial and sensitive subjects in our programmes, we felt The Professionals, as an action/adventure series, was not the vehicle for this particular storyline."

1985 interview for Dave Rogers' 'Complete Professionals' book. Clearly this is a piece of PR department whitewash (pun intended!) to cover up the gaffe LWT made.





Writing and Producing
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Producer Ray Menmuir:

"Because I wasn't there at the formative period [ie Sid Hayers on Season One], I initially regarded The Professionals as a challenge. In very broad terms it's an action series. The challenge for me was to put together a film in a well, then, 1978 way. To use the film shorthand that I believed the audience understood - and was bored to tears if you didn't use because they're always four jumps ahead of you. Using really modern film grammar, cutting time and space, doesn't faze an audience at all.

"So in order to execute some of this, one of the first things I did was to get rid of the standing set, the office. It's very comfortable for us all to pick up our average shooting requirements by having two days on the standing set but it's also a marvellous excuse when a writer can't solve his plot problems to cut back to the office and have it all 'talked out'. So there was no standing set as a matter of principle."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Ray Menmuir:

"When you're producing a series - thirteen hours of film - that's a mountain of work. You've got to have a story department, a story editor. But I didn't want a writer in this role, I wanted a director who could write! Everybody thought I was mad but that's how I came to get Gerry O'Hara. I'd seen some of his films, read some of his scripts and felt he was the guy I needed. I'm a director, he's a director, he'll know what I mean, what I'm trying to do. And he did it superbly well... he puts things into pictures and I think he was an enormous help to the writers in guiding them into "screenplays" and away from "scripts".

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Script editor Gerry O'Hara:

"... [Ray Menmuir and I] had seen most of the first series. We both felt that they were a bit parochial, a bit 'highways and byways of Ruislip'. And Ray also had the feeling that the thing to do was keep the show on the move. So he created the first rule, which was the most difficult for me to cope with as a story editor, in getting rid of Cowley's office and the Briefing Room. That automatically put the whole show on the move. All plot expositions, all instructions, all tensions, were created hurrying to, or from, or within cars, or getting in and out of helicopters, or riding in the back of ambulances.

"So the first year laid down the characters and was extremely successful and established the parameters of the kind of work CI5 would get involved with. And we put it on the streets of London and Ray gave it a kind of buzz. He's got an instinctive film head - he doesn't let shots hang about. And it's that buzz which is one of the big hooks with the audience."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Gerry O'Hara:

"The Professionals has been the most, well, professional of all recent series and the one to best blend domestic television requirements with the 'international' language of film."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Gerry O'Hara:

"The only thing one can really ask for is invention. The beginning is not about 'what?', 'who?', 'where?', 'can I?', 'can't I?' it's about ideas. The more [episodes] we did, though, the more difficult it became. Not because it was fictional but because, by elimination, the area to work in became restrictive. We couldn't go into police work. Having done foreign diplomats, KGB, Chinese, African stories, corruption and English aristocrats and all the other areas, the framework kept narrowing.

"I should think I talked to fifty writers over the four years. Deciding on stories was the most intense and fatiguing part of the whole thing. The ones who couldn't get it on were the ones who always lapsed into static situations, with dialogue coming through in chunks of paragraphs. We're basically an action show, we have to have momentum and that requires short speeches and often throwaway speeches which still give enough information. This became the biggest difficulty and it increased with the number of shows we did. Writers... were running into each other, writing the same dialogue and situations.

"Also, because we set out to make the show 'move', the action content had to be given its head... we keep our pauses as short as we dare, we rarely let our writers stand still, we do create a fluidity."

"The most vexing thing, though, is that sometimes the most mundane storyline seems to give the impetus for a go-ahead just because it contains the right elements: you can see the action will be there and that the three leading guys will be well exercised."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Writer Chris Wicking on being asked to contribute to the show:

"When [Gerry O'Hara said that] he and new producer Raymond Menmuir were actively seeking writers... who knew about movie-writing, I was intrigued. And delighted when I found that my interest in and admiration for the best American series was shared by them. Film-making, rather than TV-drama-making, was the main aim."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine This comment refers to Brian Clemens' assertion that with The Avengers/New Avengers/Professionals, rather than simple episodic television shows, he wanted "mini-movies" using movie-like lighting, direction, production and, of course, scripts.
Chris Wicking:

"What The Professionals provided was a remarkably generous framework in which to play out our action dreams or explore broad areas of 'current affairs'... or both. I actually got away with a sort of miniature Matter of Life and Death (the 1942 David Niven fantasy film) in 'Discovered in a Graveyard', where Doyle is shot and spends most of the show in a coma, while we go into fantasy sequences in his subconcious mind as he tries to rationlise his life - which seems mainly to consist of killing people - and decide whether or not to die. I say 'got away with' but this is unfair. Ray and Gerry were both excited by the idea and the challenge in pulling it off and [director] Tony Simmons laboured long and lovingly over it. I was again pleased to have been able to write something 'personal' while seeing how far the series' framework could be stretched. Other people stretched it in different directions, while the framework itself allowed for the introduction of brand new talents."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Gerry O'Hara:

"Brian [Clemens] discovered Stephen Lister, who seems to be a boy who grew up with a TV set in his lap and has a remarkable flair for writing action. On Brian's advice, we bought an episode called 'The Purging of CI5'."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Chris Wicking:

"I felt inhibited by the fact that the three main characters were not 'mine' - ie they had a life beyond the one I might give them and I was concerned that some sort of consistency should pertain. Would I write things that they 'wouldn't do' or 'wouldn't say'? I was amazed by the fact that there was no 'Bible', the do's and don'ts of character and overall requirements. This seemed to be some sort of freedom but it was a very worrying one and took me a long time to get used to. It seemed to me that Ray and Gerry didn't know what they wanted. How could you be running a show and not plan the kind of material you would want to use? In fact, of course, they knew exactly what they wanted and this was how they ensured they got it!"

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Ray Menmuir:

"It was a real matter of concern to me that I lay down as few rules as I could, to free the writers from too much of a defined format. It was a continual surpise to me that such freedom alarmed every writer. They seemed to want to have walls put up, even though they were given a maximum inventive capability. Maybe this was so unusual!"

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Chris Wicking on The Madness of Mickey Hamilton':

"I was delighted to get my rocks off and find a way to satisfy the requirements of the series while dealing, however tangentially, with things that concern me. I was delighted, too, with the way Bill Brayne directed it, in a very 'organic', non-flashy style. I had quite conciously shied away from dealing with the three regulars, who function as little more than investigators... part of the 'freedom' [of writing for the show] lay in these very areas."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine
Chris Wicking:

"The Professionals draws on the audience's knowledge of such 'mysterious' groups as the SAS, along with a tacit awareness that a CI5 might secretly exist, but beyond that knows it is in a realm of fantasy. Only The Avengers has been set in a realm where imagination is stronger than imitation. Indeed, in the first season [of The Professionals], when Clemens' original format was in force, the series often resembled The Avengers, only now the outrageous plots had a veneer of actuality, which perhaps made the greater violence and up-front treatment of headline material appear to be more 'gratuitous'.

At its best, then, the series works in the way that Dirty Harry works, with a sometimes dubious morality that is more of a challenge to the audience's preconceptions than it is of any clear 'statement' by the series itself."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine





Stunts
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Director Martin Campbell:

"It does seem incredible to me now that some of the stunts they pulled, they did themselves. Martin Shaw was always doing his own stunts and did them very well as did Lewis."

1996 Channel Four doc
Lewis:

"We were only doubled when there was flying glass or something like that and they didn't want you to be lacerated. But all the effort was ours."

1996 Channel Four doc
Martin:

"There is intense rivalry between Lewis and myself to see who can do the most daring things."

1979 interview for The Professionals magazine (number 2) from Walton Press.
Stunt arranger Peter Brayham:

"[Martin and Lewis] are so incredibly fit and such perfectionists that it was easy to teach them to drive and to fight... They are both excellent drivers but I taught them a few tricks for the camera."

1984 Professionals Annual
Brian Clemens:

"Well they would do handbrake turns and so on, which I could teach you in five minutes anyway but it looks very good!"

1996 Channel Four doc I think that's a bit unfair, Mr C!
Script editor Gerry O'Hara on the chimney scenes in 'Foxhole on the Roof'":

"We had a pair of mountaineers doubling for [Lewis and Steve Alder] and one of them, on cue, does what looks like a 20 feet fall down the side of the chimney which I think is one of the most frightening pieces of film I've ever seen."

1981, autumn edition of Primetime trade magazine





Violence
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Director Martin Campbell:

"There would be a very strong reaction to [the show in general] probably be on quite late at night, I would suspect. People's attitude to violence has changed. People's aversion to guns and violence means it wouldn't stand up."

1996 Channel Four doc Which, of course, explains why the current reruns around the world are a flop! ...
Martin Campbell:

"[The Professionals] was a very hard action piece. It was tougher than Starsky and Hutch and I'm really amazed now at the violence we got away with. I actually saw an episode of it recently, one that I directed, and I said, 'The violence was awful.' It's very contentious for TV and I'd never do it again. In 20/20 hindsight, what you got away with in television violence then was much more than what you could get away with now."

1998 Interview for the Directors Guild of America magazine This from the guy that directed GoldenEye! If it is a true indication of what is permissible on US TV nowadays, then this would not appear to bode well for sales of the new series to America. (Many thanks to Pam Igo for this quote!)
Martin on whether the show's portrayal of violence clashes with his pacifistic beliefs:

"No conflict, I'm just playing games. I don't think people are liable to have their morals perverted by [the show], unless they are very easily swayed. I feel uneasy about violence on television but there is violence in real life. My own political views are basically left-wing and if there is anything like CI5 then by showing it as it is, we are helping to expose it. Of course it's part of the fun to see Bodie and Doyle just be able to go out and do things regardless of the rules people like to identify with it. But, of course, CI5 is an immoral organisation.

"Perhaps there was some extreme violence in the first series. If the networks must create series like Target, The Sweeney and The Professionals, then I think we should portray these characters as realistically as possible. When people get shot they don't just fall over dead. Television and films have perpetrated all kinds of lies about the effects of violence and firearms. When I see my kids playing games like The Professionals, they have no conception that guns like the Browning Hi-Power can lift a man into the air and slam him back with a hole in him. Unfortunately violence exists and we should be realistic about depicting it.

"It's a tricky proposition to create something different and contend with the anti-violence lobby. I prefer to think of what we do as action rather than violence."

1979 interview for one-off Professionals magazine from Danacell. To me that final paragraph somehow seems to contradict everything he had just said! Several years later Martin's had the following to add...
Martin:

"[The violence] didn't bother me because I think it reflects society the way it is and I think that's a function of art. I know 'art' is a very flexible term I'm not saying The Professionals was art! but it was reflecting what happens and I don't think you can legislate for good taste which is why I'm against all kinds of censorship. People have to use their own sense of discrimination about what they want to watch and what they don't."

1989 interview on the Wogan show ...
Brian Clemens:

"I don't think The Professionals are excessively violent. Sure, people are fascinated by violence your newspaper tells you that... But we try to do things with a modicum of taste. We portray things realistically, otherwise we would be left with the now absurd Starsky and Hutch situation where they have to play everything with kid gloves and are not even allowed to frisk suspects because that's supposed to be demeaning and look undignified."

1979 interview for Danacell's one-off Professionals magazine. ...
Lewis:

"We portray what is necessary. I believe we portray truth. When people get hurt, they bleed. I think we have enough realism without having a subliminal effect. If some people had their way, even cartoons which they think are violent would be censured. We would end up with Mary Poppins twenty-four hours a day. Violence exists in real life and people are hiding from it if they think otherwise. The second series is less violent than the first but just because Mary Whitehouse doesn't like it is no reason to change it."

1979 interview for Danacell's one-off Professionals magazine.
Martin:

"[The show] just changed everything. At the time it was thought to be gritty and realistic but, of course, now we know it was not! The first series was pretty 'free' [in terms of restrictions on violence]. And then they decided to sell it to America but the Americans had these extraordinary rules in force, which they [the producers] put in for the later series. So if anybody died, they weren't allowed to die with their eyes open! If you smashed somebody in the face that was alright as long as they didn't bleed!"

1997 This Morning show (ITV)





Realism
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Brian Clemens:

"The style of The Avengers was almost surreal, like pantomime, but with The Professionals I wanted to go the other way. I wanted gritty realism but it had to be an action-entertainment show."

Source unknown, reproduced in the Sky TV Guide, February 1997.
Martin:

"I think the makers have succeeded in creating something that is fairly reality-centred, with a documentary-come-drama flavour and they have achieved a genuine street feel with plenty of pace and action. I think it is a pity that we can't make it like The Sweeney, strictly for the home market with swearing or whatever is required for realism. But we have to at least make the attempt, if only to show the production accountants, a potential overseas market production."

1979 interview for the one-off Professionals magazine from Danacell.
Brian:

"At the time I always thought the criminals were getting the better of the deal in many ways and it's coming out now. One doesn't have to be fascist to have that attitude, you just have to have a lot of common sense, really. I think that a lot of people would welcome the CI5 organisation which wasn't so hide-bound by red tape: it did the job, it caught the villains, it stopped the murderer, it defused the bomb without the need for a search warrant. Probably indefensible but it made for damned good entertainment!"

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian:

"It's curious, really, because I invented it but during the Iranian Embassy siege [in 1984] some people were saying 'Down with CI5!'. So it had kind of entered into the public parlance!" [chuckles]

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian:

"The stories still hold up in fact they're as fresh as yesterday's news, or even tomorrow's news! The action is still smashing, the boys look good.

1996 Channel Four doc
Social historian Dominic Sandbrook comparing the series with Brian Clemens' predecessors The Avengers:

"The Professionals is symptomatic of a totally different cultural mood... it's much grittier and by the 1970s secret agents are [regarded as] a bad thing. They are bugging you, spying on you, it's the era of Watergate, [real-life Prime Minister] Harold Wilson's paranoia, the [Liberal Party leader] Jeremy Thorpe [murder conspiracy] business and scandal in high places. You have a sense that in the 1960s with The Avengers, the people hiding beneath the funeral parlour [a reference to the 1969 episode 'Bizarre'] have got a secret plan to take over the world. They are the bad guys - but your people will sort them out. [However] in the 1970's [the bad guys] are your people and they are plotting against you. I think that's why [by then] The Avengers' ethos was out of fashion.

2011, BBC Radio Three series Night Waves In fairness, though, The New Avengers from 1976/77 did have stories concerning skulduggery in government and treachery within the security services.





Research
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin:

"We had researched a bit. As actors you want to research, you want to do it properly. So we found out how these people behave. We'd had a day's training with an SAS regimental weapons instructor. But when we were asked to, say, kick a door down and stand framed in the doorway, with a light behind us, we would say 'No, come on, please, you're an easy target in the doorway: you'd just get cut off at the knees! Can we do it properly?'; 'No, no,' they said, 'nobody will know.'"

1996 Channel Four doc A good case in point here is the episode 'A Man Called Quinn'. Doyle casually kicks down Quinn's door, apparently unconcerned that the armed man might well be waiting for him on the other side."...
Brian Clemens:

"My theory about research is to do it after I've written the script and then change the script because if the research is too detailed... most episodes of almost anything is directed at a lay audience and if you confuse them with too much technicality then they're going to get bored."

1996 Channel Four doc





Miscellaneous Comments
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Brian:

"Being a good producer is like being a good general, and good generals never pick up a gun or go anywhere near a battlefield."

Interview for Dave Rogers' Stay Tuned magazine One interpretation of this might be that Brian had enough confidence in the crew he had hired to let them get on with their jobs, without feeling the need to interfere or constantly check up on them.
Brian:

"We wanted to make a major movie of The Professionals [in 1979] which would have sold the series onto the American network. But Martin Shaw wanted script approval and there was no way I would ever give an actor script approval. Both Martin and Lewis have faded somewhat but if we had made the movie they would have had world-wide exposure and gone onto bigger things."

1992 interview for Timescreen magazine I understand that, in fact, the main reason the movie didn't happen was simply that LWT were not prepared to put up the money.
Brian on whether he is surprised by the show's resurgence:

"Not at all. It is still better produced and better looking than anything they can afford to do nowadays."

1997 interview for In the Public Interest.
Brian on some of his favourite episodes:

"Firstly, 'In the Public Interest' I felt it exposed a serious fascist possibility. Also 'The Rack': at the time we were under fire for violence. I thought it would be fun to attack violence within our own series. And 'Mixed Doubles' because of the intriguing idea that the villains were, in a way, mirror images of our team. Only good and evil separated them."

1997 interview for In the Public Interest.
Brian on why he thought LWT chose to end the show:

"I think it might have been a policy decision by London Weekend. They just didn't want to make anymore. But within two months of making that decision they wished they hadn't, because they didn't have anything to replace it. With hindsight, it could have gone on, I've no doubt at all about that.

At the time of the hiatus going on at London Weekend, I think their internal policy was perhaps influenced by the critics, which always amazes me - when critics who talk about something they can't influence and only pass comment after the event, are listened to so intently by programme makers, when actually an awful lot of the programmes that the critics are not keen on are already in that magical [ratings] top ten and making a lot of money for the country - and keeping a television industry going.

It certainly hadn't run its course. We had lots of letters from people asking when it was coming back. London Weekend wanted to kill [the lead characters] off at the end! I said no, we can't do that because of two reasons: we might be able to bring it back one day, and secondly - and this applies to everything I do - if you kill off your [characters], everybody hates that story, nobody wants to watch that episode. I told them that things could end in a myriad of ways, you don't have to kill people or have them fall down a hole, they just change their jobs - it ends. So it could have run a lot longer."

Unbroadcast segment of 1996 Channel Four doc
Brian on any subjects that were avoided on the show:

"We avoided direct references to the IRA, or called it something else. That was a pretty dangerous subject to be mucking about with then... we didn't want the wrong kind of people knocking on our door! But apart from that the brief was as wide as any writer wanted it."

Unbroadcast segment of 1996 Channel Four doc
Martin Shaw:

"[Ford] Capris are appalling. They are desperately bad. They have a lot of power but they can't [safely] put that power down on the road. And it handles like a perambulator which is absolutely perfect [for the show] because if you take a corner at anything more than 25mph, it's going to screech and go sideways!"

BBC's "I Love 1974" Stunt co-ordinator Peter Brayham had found the Capri ideal for use in the London car-chase sequence in the 1974 John Wayne movie 'Brannigan'. Whether he meant it was ideal simply for stuntwork or "normal" driving is not clear!





UK Repeats
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin:

"I've never had problems or worries of any kind in thirty years as an actor apart from those four years when everything was a struggle. And it's carried over into the whole question of repeats. Negotiations as to reimbursement have never been successfully completed. I just wanted a reasonable re-imbursement for what would be an enormous success for any network that tried to put it on. But seeing as nobody's prepared to talk to us, then it stays where it is in the vaults."

1996 Channel Four doc Next up is something along the same lines and a little more creditable:
Martin being asked why he had vetoed UK repeats:

"It's not entirely like that. The union rule is that copyright lapses after five years [and then] anyone has the right to say 'no more' and the company has to negotiate. But negotiations didn't happen. The way it was presented in the press was entirely wrong - I never had the opportunity to put my point of view. I didn't pull the show."

1989 interview on the Wogan show Martin is wrong about "copyright" - he actually means the contractual agreements over the amount of time that could pass before repeat fees had to be renegotiated. I'm still not convinced by this version of events. If the press reports were "entirely wrong" why didn't Martin sue them for defamation? And Lewis seems pretty sure that lack of repeats was down to Martin. Here's a recent twist in the tale...
Martin

"What I find upsetting is the myth that I'm such a serious actor that I don't want this stuff shown..."

Revealing that he felt he and the other cast members were not offered enough money:

"Unfortunately nobody else had the bottle to stand up and say 'Yeah, that goes for all of us.' And that was when the campaign [against me] started in the press. I was an easy target."

1999 interview on the Sunday Express newspaper
Martin:

"Nothing would make me happier seeing [The Professionals] shown constantly, providing I was paid for it. There is a continuing dispute over the terms of our contracts. And that's sad."

1999 interview for TV Times magazine.
Brian Clemens:

It's very sad that one artiste can stop you from re-showing an entire series. LWT wanted to rerun it, which would have brought in a great deal of money. But Martin Shaw stopped us... which to him would have been worth about 100,000 dollars, worth the same to his co-stars, to me and to lots of other people. He stopped it. ACTORS!"

1995 interview for Dave Rogers' 'Stay Tuned' magazine.
Brian:

"It seemed to be down to Martin's conscience. I can't comment on why Martin did it but to rerun the series required the signatures of the three leads and Martin refused to sign. Why? You'll have to ask him! I think that at the time he thought [the veto] would stop him being typecast and considered for other roles. I think in hindsight he probably was wrong because it would have kept him on-screen a lot longer. I don't see any harm in being typecast in a role that was very popular as far as the audience was concerned. It personally cost me a lot of money, it prevented the series getting into profit until much later. Worse, it cost his fellow artists a lot of money and I thought was the saddest thing of all."

1996 Channel Four doc
Brian asked why he thought Martin had apparently lifted the veto:

"I don't know. Maybe because there's not much chance of it being rerun on network television. Maybe he needs the money? I really don't know. You'll have to ask him that. I'm not sure that he can block the videos I have a feeling that's a different contract. Anyway I'm grateful he has [removed the veto] it's just a little late. And it's very late for Gordon Jackson because he's now dead. "

1996 Channel Four doc - unbroadcast segment I am puzzled by this as an agreement was never reached with LWT (or Granada who took them over), as confirmed by Martin in his own interview for this programme. I am guessing this was faulty research by the person interviewing Brian, although the latter doesn't seem to be surprised by the suggestion that the veto had been lifted.
Lewis on why the series hasn't been repeated on terrestrial TV in the UK:

"I'm not sure about the politics on that, I mean, err... ASK MARTIN!"

1996 Channel Four doc I laughed and laughed at this! "Nice one, Lew!" I thought. He seemed to start out by trying to be very diplomatic about the repeats situation and then obviously thought "No, why the hell should I be?!" and dropped Martin right in it! On a more serious note, however, although Martin may arguably have been justified in refusing repeat runs, there clearly remains a dispute between himself and the others over the issue. However the next quote is the most startling of all and provides yet another twist in the whole saga...
Martin:

"[The UK repeats situation] was an unfortunate sequence of events which I can't really tell you about in detail because it involves individuals and personalities and it would be disloyal of me to go into it.

"[Being able to veto repeats] was a power that anyone who had ever appeared on The Professionals had. It's an old Equity rule which says that copyright lapses after five years and The Professionals was being shown outside of that copyright. At the time nobody was acknowledging that but I was the one who was standing up and saying 'Excuse me, you're not allowed to do this.' It got very acrimonious. The happy side of it is that now that's resolved - there is an entirely new management [in place] and I expect The Professionals to be repeated at some point."

Interview on the BBC Radio 4 "Midweek" show, 1st September 1991. Taking each point in turn, it probably is true that any actor who appeared in the show could have banned a repeat of his/her particular episode. (Indeed a few New Avengers segments were blocked by guest artistes.) The "copyright" issue is incorrect - what Martin means is the contractual agreements sipulated that five years after original transmission, LWT was required to renegotiate repeat fees if they wished to rescreen the series on the ITV network. The last comment took me completely by surprise: if Martin and the "management" (presumably that within LWT) had reached an agreement, why wasn't the series rerun and why was it that five years later Martin told the Channel 4 documentary that, in fact, an agreement never had been reached. I can only assume that his 1991 comments were a tad premature and the deal fell through at the last minute. Certainly LWT rescreened six episodes in 1991 - albeit only in its own "region" rather than network-wide. It's all very confusing!
Martin, somewhat rueing his refusal to accept the repeat fees that were offered:

"I should have remained dignified and kept my trap shut. I became precious, although I was sensible enough not to say, 'I am an actor.' It harmed me. I didn't work for a couple of years. Morally, you should say what you think, but that's not the way it works."

Interview for Radio Times magazine, February 2014.





Other Work
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Lewis, referring to his acting jobs prior to The Professionals:

"I went through years and years of, you know, classical, you name it."

1996 Channel Four doc Yes, Lewis had certainly had some varied, if often minor, roles.
Martin on offers of work from America during his time on The Professionals:

"I turned them down because they were more of the same kind of stuff."

1989 Wogan TV chat show.
Martin on his play 'A Country Girl':

"It's such a pleasure to work on something as finely crafted after such a long time doing... well let's be generous... fairly ordinary scripts! But I don't want to put The Professionals down too much: that in its own way was very finely crafted it's just a totally different medium in that we had one of the most professional crews in the world."

1983, TVAM breakfast show (ITV).
Martin talking about filming The Chief:

"It's only four months out of the year and they don't care that I go out and do other things. They see me as an actor, not as a personality, which is something I abhor being a personality I mean, I'm a worker, I'm a jobbing actor.

1992, a television interview. Martin had previously claimed that during The Professionals, he had had to turn down other roles because either Mark 1 or LWT (not sure which) refused him permission to take time out. Having said that, work on The Pros was generally only for six months of the year...? (Thanks to DanaJeanne for this one.)
Lewis, asked about the "shadow" of The Professionals:

"In the '80s it was a bit of a millstone around my neck but now it's rather pleasant to go back to it because people are forgetting it and the kids don't even know what we're talking about. So it's a nice memory now, it's not a bad thing at all and I think that if it generates work then that's great."

1995 interview for a Scottish regional news programme, I think. "The people are forgetting it"???!!!





Lewis' accident
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Martin, giggling:

"Poor sod, he did this parachute jump and he broke his leg and we had to stop shooting and they were thoroughly annoyed with him!"

1996 Channel Four doc Ah, the British talent for understatement! I suspect "thoroughly annoyed" might be a polite way of saying the producers and crew were absolutely furious about it! Brian continues...
Brian Clemens:

"I would have continued shooting because there are so many stories you can write about an agent who's in a wheelchair. It heightens the series because you think 'Well he's supposed to be doing these dangerous things and getting his ankle broken... and here he is with it!'. I would have taken that tack.

1996 Channel Four doc An interesting comment in that it appears to confirm that while Brian remained as Executive Producer, he had essentially relinquished control over the series. Another point is that when Patrick Macnee broke his leg during filming for the Linda Thorson season of The Avengers, Brian quickly adapted the script for the episode 'Noon, Doomsday' to incorporate this. Having said that, I don't think it would have been practicable to have had Lewis in plaster for three or four episodes!





CI5 - The New Professionals
Interviewee and Quote Year & Source Notes
Journalist Paul Bracchi:

"While Bodie has become the boss behind the operation, Doyle has simply disappeared. Martin Shaw, who counts his stint as the permed crimefighter as the biggest mistake of his career, refused to consider a return to the role."

1997, Daily Mail newspaper
Journalist Stephen Armstrong:

"We are only too prepared to award junk items the status of a classic when they don't really deserve it... as well as all those kids' programmes you probably coo about at dinner parties. I'm sorry but no matter how affectionately you feel about them, programmes such as Captain Pugwash and The Herb Garden are actually barely watchable. I fear it will be the same with The Professionals. Just to prove my point, neither ITV nor the BBC seem particularly keen to snap up the new series, saying it's deeper drama such as Cracker they are looking for. Maybe Bodie and Doyle will stay off our screens after all."

1997, Sunday Times newspaper Well... I saw The Herb Garden recently and it was just as delightful as I remembered it. And who would say old faves such as The Clangers or Danger Mouse had lost any of their immense appeal? However, Armstrong may certainly be correct about the complete lack of interest from the Beeb or ITV.
An uncredited journalist detailing the new CI5 philosophy:

"You are the bistro (sic) kids you get the slightest whiff of anything and you call me straightaway on the mobile so I can get budgets drawn up and expenses approved. You move in, shake 'em down, crush 'em subject, of course, to the Criminal Justice Act 1996 and hit 'em in the goolies after the clearly delivered warning of 'Armed police! Put down your weapons... if you don't mind.' "

1997, The Times newspaper, 'Style' section.
Brian Clemens, speaking very early on in the planning stages of the new series :

"There will certainly be a few women working for CI5 and the boys will have lovers, of course, but it's the same basic two-man format."

1997, quote in The Sunday Times Of course it didn't quite work out that way!
David Wickes:

"I intend to keep the unique heart of The Professionals so that its massive cult following will not be disappointed. But The New Professionals will not operate in a timewarp: the nineties squad will be made up of millennium men and women dealing with millennium dangers. The world is a much more dangerous place than it was twenty years ago."

1997, quote in The Daily Mail Furthermore...
David Wickes:

"The idea is the same, the concept is the same, the whole approach is the same but, of course, the people are different. I expect there will be some die-hards who say the old one was better but, on the other hand, there will be a lot of people who have never seen the old one. I hope that we'll appeal to them."

1998 interview for BBC Radio 5's Media Show
Brian:

"We ought to have the courage to bring back what made it a success in the first place."

1997, quote in The Daily Mail But this was soon to follow:
Brian:

"The new series is a bit more politically correct and the guys are not as macho as they were."

1998, Daily Mail newspaper.
David Wickes, when asked how the action on the new series will compare with the budget-hindered stunts on the old:

"You're going to see locomotives driving through walls, helicopter dogfights, underwater stuff, elephant hunts and vast explosions!"

1998, quote in The Sunday Times 'Style' section
Journalist Roland White, after listing several designer labels to be seen in the new series:

"We can only hope Curtis and Keel feel as passionate about catching the bad guys as they do about shopping!"

1998 in The Sunday Times 'Style' section
Lexa Doig on her character Tina Backus:

"I'm not 'arm candy' or set dressing. I enjoy the luxury of not being the 'token' female. I think we should be beyond being surprised by having a tough female character. Having Backus is definitely not about being politically correct. She's a nineties woman and her name is a play on 'back-up' because she frequently comes in to save Curtis and Keel's bacon!"

1998, Daily Mail newspaper.
David Wickes:

"Introducing a female role creates interest for the male viewer. The previous series had a higher percentage of female viewers, now the balance is redressed with the inclusion of Tina Backus, a pretty girl for the guys to look at, as well as two hunky blokes for the girls."

1998 press release from DDA
David Wickes on whether he felt pressured by the success of the old series:

"Definitely. It's a hard act to follow but we feel confident that we've matched it."

1998, DDA press release.
Edward Woodward:

"In many ways, it's better to bring a fresh approach to the role and the new series and not try to ape the old."

1998, press release from DDA.
Edward:

"You can take over a role but not somebody else's persona nor should you even try. And, of course, that's not what this is about because this character is an entirely different sort of person. If we were doing a slavish copy, then I don't think we would stand a chance."

1998 interview for BBC Radio 5's Media Show
David Wickes on the similarities between Malone and Cowley:

"The job is very similar, but Edward Woodward plays it in a very different way. He's the boss but is an entirely different character and an entirely different approach."

1998, press release from DDA.
Kal Weber:

"[The original series] is such a huge thing in England and it's a bit daunting sometimes when you think of what you have to live up to. All you can really do is hope people will accept you for what you are in the present moment. They are bound to make comparisons that's to be expected. But we are a completely different show the production values are totally different: instead of rolling a Capri in the back of Elstree studios, we are hanging out of a helicopter."

1998 interview for BBC Radio 5's Media Show
David Wickes, asked whether it would have been sensible to retain one of the original actors:

"Not really. Also it wasn't really possible. Gordon Jackson is sadly no longer with us, Martin Shaw never really liked the series and we decided not to cast Lewis Collins."

1998, press release from DDA. A statement on why they "decided not to cast Lewis" has never been forthcoming - indeed in his commentary for the series' DVD release, David Wickes said that Lewis being dropped was for reasons that could not be discussed.