back to article The Professionals set to abseil into cinema

Arse-kicking CI5 operatives Bodie and Doyle are to be brought out of retirement for a big-screen version of The Professionals. Still from The Professionals. From left to right: Martin Shaw, Gordon Jackson and Lewis Collins According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate UK has acquired the rights to adapt the TV series for …


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  1. neb


    "someone sufficiently Scottish and shouty to match Gordon Jackson's performance as George Cowley." step forward Gordon Brown!

    he could even have an eye patch like nick fury, how very fecking cool that would be

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Loud and shouty and scottish...

      ...first thing that sprang to mind was Rab C Nesbit, not Gordon "I cannae count" Brown.

      Then again 'loud and shouty' is the norm in Scotland, so the producers will have a job narrowing down the selection to 2 or 3 candidates. Unless they choose the sober and non-fat ones of course.

      And the sad thing is, I'm Scottish.

      This way to the border is it?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        "Gordon Ramsay, perhaps? :)"

        Too ginger?

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Thumb Down

      No way Gordon Brown

      The man is supposed to take intelligent decisions and show real insight. Not quite the job specs I'd see Gordon Brown match.

      Besides, Cowley knows how to laugh.

  2. LesC

    Another 70's icon bites it

    Hopefully they'll remember to consult Brian Clemens this time or it'll go the way of that dreadful Avengers movie.

  3. weasel

    Gordon Jackson replacement

    Peter Capaldi surely?

    1. Code Monkey
      Thumb Up

      Peter Capaldi

      Beat me to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's Hollywood

      So it's much more likely to be Alan Cummings.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        @Mike Richards

        "So it's much more likely to be Alan Cummings."

        so wrong, and yet...

  4. nichomach

    Bill Paterson for Cowley!

    You know it makes sense!

  5. Steve X

    Scottish and shouty?

    Does it have to be Scottish? What about James Nesbitt? Belfast & shouty could work...Just don't let them put some american-accented celeb in as Bodie or Doyle.

    <--- well, what else could I use?

  6. Vulch


    Last time this idea came up they'd got agreement from either Collins or Shaw to return as the head of CI5 to give some continuity.

    1. Graham Marsden


      ... Judge John Deed as Cowley?!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Just so long as they use the old ones - Escort RS2000, Capri, Mark 1 Granada... All powersliding beautifully.

    A modern-era remake would be far less fun.

    1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      Re Cars!

      You forgot to list the fine piece of British engineering used in the early episodes. Ditched because Triumph would not provide support whereas Ford would.

      It'll be modern muck for sure. This time round if they wany to use something British for the first 5 minutes it'll have to be a Morgan or a taxi.

      1. rhydian

        A title is needed, so here be one...

        BL's Press department would apparently not lend out cars for extended periods, so continuity was a real pain with BL sending a yellow TR for one week's shooting and a blue one for another...

        There are plenty of british made cars that are suitable. Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus...

  8. Alister

    You just know...

    ...It will bare no resemblance to the original except for maybe a name or two, and it will be set in America.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    You just know...

    ...the jobs are going to some A-list US slebs, to howls of derision and eye-rolling in the UK.

    How about:

    - Tom Cruise as Bodie

    - Ben Stiller as Doyle

    - Mike Myers as Cowley

  10. Thomas Gray

    Not the first remake - there was a TV series in 1999

    Under the name CI5:The New Professionals

    1. Elmer Phud


      was the name of the Comic Strip version.

      Lots of car and boxes action - and the homo-erotic stuff that was always boiling underneath.

      Bogie and Foyle, in action , in underpants.

      Also don't miss 'Detectives on the edge of a nervous breakdown' it has all the favourite telly cops.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        @Elmer Phud

        I think it was Bonehead and Foil with Keith Allan as Bonehead and Robby Coltrane as their boss.

        Yes it's an anorak.

  11. fixit_f
    Thumb Down


    I'm so so bored of Nathan Barley type people taking seminal TV series (or films) that bring me and millions like me fond memories and turning it into some half arsed, generic mush just to get a few quid in through the door. Nothing is sacred anymore, I think it started when they re-made the Italian Job and did that "Life on Mars" series that was little more than a crap take off of the Sweeney. If you don't have any original ideas of your own, here's an idea, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE MEDIA YOU TEDIOUS COKE ADDLED PRICK AND MAKE WAY FOR SOMEONE THAT DOES HAVE SOME GOOD IDEAS rather than producing travesty rip offs of other people's original thinking from way back when.

  12. Nigel Brown

    May I propose....

    ..someone sufficiently Scottish and shouty to match Gordon Jackson's performance as George Cowley

    How about Frankie Boyle?

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Thumb Up


      .. that would be the twist of the century. His jokes make grown men cry in interrogation :-).

      Like it..

  13. David Aston

    Set it in the 70's/80's and we'll be alright...

    The original cars are still about and in the hands of enthusiasts. Get the actors right (perhaps British unknowns) and we're there.

    You never know, it could be good...The Starsky & Hutch movie did a good job. The Dukes of Hazzard, on the other hand, did not.....

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Hold your horses!

      Starsky and Hutch was an okay film but it was not really in the spirit of the of the original.

      Remakes can work well if they are neither too slavish nor too tongue-in-cheek - then straight parody à la Bullshitters is better. Examples: Battlestar Galactica and, of course, Life of Mars is essentially The Sweeney reimagined and wonderfully slow. The biggest temptation would probably being too topical and working in too much back story - in medias res is the way to do it.

      Where's the film buff icon?

  14. Ralph B

    Seriously for a moment ...

    Tahmoh Penikett does a fair impression of Bodie as Helo in Battlestar Galactica.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll believe it when I see it

    They've only acquired the rights. There's a long way to go before a film actually appears in cinemas (or DVDs, if it's crap).

    There have been all sorts of plans to bring back shows that go nowhere, or to turn things into films which never appear. Whatever happened to the Spooks film that was supposedly definitely happening?

  16. Jim 59
    Dead Vulture


    Abseil ? This is The Professionals, not Who Dares Wins.

    1. Snapper


      the opening titles? Bodie and Doyle abseil through windows, somersault on mats, pick up (I think) revolvers that happen to be just minding their own time, and then shoot the camera-man's assistant standing out of view.

      Or I could be wrong.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's going to

    be shit. They'll make it PC (pun not intended for once) Can't they leave at least one classic show alone?

  18. Velv


    James Cosmo - get rid of the moustache and you've got Gordon Jackson.

    Brian Cox - has a Hollywood background

    Is Robert Carlyle too young? Robbie Coltrane too big ?

    What about the Emperor himself, Ian McDiarmid

    Better still, bring it up to modern times - Cowley is female - Shirley Manson - phoar!

  19. Charles Calthrop

    Re Jim59

    Bodie fails in an abseil assault at the start of wild justice.

    You don't know your professionals.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh god...

    To the producer, SIT AND WATCH the original series.Then do the same again. Even today, its excellent, gritty cop TV at its best....Dont fuck it up.....There have been a few decent remakes in the last few years, but sadly, a lot of uber shite ones.. Dont fucking ruin the Proffesionals!!!!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just one other question..

    Whats wrong with Shaw and collins doing it???

    Cowley would be a feat but the other 2 are alive, fit-ish and perfect for the part...

    1. Justa

      It'll never happen...

      The Sweeney! remake starring Ray Winstone has been 'in production' for years now. This will probably never see the light of day.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, not Brian Clemens

    As he is responsible for the script for the horror that was Highlander II

    I watched the Professionals, but it was hardly great stuff, just shouting and no references to height or alleged sexuality allowed

  23. Cyclist

    Who to play Bodie?

    My old mate Dave, who back in those days was known for bursting into the pub at 10:04 on a Sunday night just after it'd been on, throwing himself across the floor of the snug and rolling up to the benchseat near the fireplace, arms outstretched as if holding a gun to provide cover whilst shouting instructions at the top of his voice. Neat. He didn't have an RS though so is disqualified from being Bodie in any film. Shame - he'd be better than any big-name Yank who doesn't get it.

  24. Doogie Howser MD

    Step forward The Stath

    I would have thought Jason Statham will get in there somewhere, as he's contracted to Lionsgate for some stuff, and he's a bit cockney and well, has got typecast kicking people around as a bit of a geezer.

    Like others, I doubt it'll see the light of day, and if it does, it'll most likely be shite. Still, one from my very young days, so a bit nostalgic none the less ;-)

  25. Stef 4

    Any remake...

    ... and another bunch of people who somehow think that a new version will destroy their VHS/DVD collection of the old show, or somehow delete the memories from their brains.

    In what possible way does it affect the old one if they make an update/remake/film/relaunch?

    Chances are it will be bloody awful, like 80% of films and TV shows (from any era, not just the current. We only remember the good ones. For every "Professionals" or "Avengers" there are a dozen crap shows that I can't even think of for this poorly thought out example). But that doesn't affect the originals in any way. If anything it makes them seem better.

    Of course, this sort of announcement and the outcry also raises another issue: Do the fans really believe that every old episode was pure gold?

    When the new Trek film came out, the die-hards decried it, yet seemed to forget about Spock's brain being stolen, or the operation to re-insert Spock's brain, as talked Spock talked McCoy through the process 1 nerve at a time "Left arm nerve", or the space hippies with Spock's beatnik harp playing, or about 50% of the original shows which were pretty bloody awful (And I say that as a fan).

  26. Anonymous John
    Paris Hilton

    The Champions.

    How about a remake?

    Who to play Sharon MacCready though?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another Bastedo

      Gemma Arterton with blonde hair?

  27. Jim 59


    It will have to pass PC conformance, which means unrealistically strong female characters pushing around unfeasibly useless men.

  28. Mat 3

    Already been done

  29. John I'm only dancing
    Thumb Up

    Guv, Guv Guv!!

    Much preferred the "Comic Strip Presents" version. Even funnier than the original!!

  30. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Updated version

    Bodie and Doyle go on holiday, get captured by local farmers and Cowley has to ring up and explain they were only there looking for butterflys.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Timothy Olyphant & Martin Sheen (not the old one.)

    Martin Sheen would make an excellent Doyle, and Timothy Olyphant, of Hitman, would make great Bodie, with the right elocution.

    IIRC the original bodie actually passed SAS selection in real life, but they wouldn't let him, on the grounds he was too famous. He also went too far into character in real life, and let off a shotgun. Think he moved to the states and disappeared.

    What happened to Doyle, haven't seen his mullet anywhere.

    1. Simon Coyne

      I'm guessing you don't watch much TV

      Mullet went years ago, but actor underneath is still there.

      Judge John Deed

      The Chief

      Inspector George Gently

      Done bugger all really

  32. Dave Bell


    I always thought that the movie of "The Avengers" had its moments, but you wouldn't have called it a classic episode. And it does seem that the way this sort of thing is handled has changed for the worst. I saw "Quantum of Solace" on TV over the weekend, and there was something almost disjointed about the structure. Danial Craig, Judi Dench, you have some serious acting talent, and it's a shame they didn't have a story to work with, just cut-scenes between action sequences.

    James Bond is a little bit different, but these things have to somehow show the character dynamics of a long-running TV show. You're all too likely to get the awkwardness of a first episode. And it's hard to just play it as something the audience is familiar with because, mostly, they aren't.

    I think I shall go and write my own action-adventure buddy movie. And I expect the special effects will be better too, running in the organic-CGI of my imagination. Though, for some reason, I can't quite get Jeremy Clarkson out of my head.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge


      "I always thought that the movie of "The Avengers" had its moments, but you wouldn't have called it a classic episode".

      It's a good thing I like Uma Thelman in other movies - the Avengers remake was so crap it made the 3D version of Alice in Wonderland look good. This MUST have been made by people who were too young to grok the concept itself, so instead they went for the tick list approach.

      I ritually burned that DVD and the case it came in..

  33. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Ah. Lionsgate

    Never knowingly handicapped by PC concerns ( I recommend Crank 2 to give a flavor of their editorial policy Full body Tourettes anyone).

    Robby Coltrane has had a go back in the day Franky Boyle might surprise (as would his sometime partner in crime Jim Muir AKA Obadiah Steppenwolf III)

    James Cosmo (Renton's dad in Trainspotting) would have been a good choice but probably too old.

    It's less about what Cowley says as what he doesn't say. The impression of being the goto guy for dirty work of all kinds, and the feeling he knows where a *lot* of bodies are buried because he put them there.

    The nearest equivalent would be the head of the agency in the the Destroyer series with Fred Ward as Remo Williams.

    Somehow Wilfred Brimbly didn't have quite the same presence.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sad news

    Lewis Collins qualifies for his free bus pass this year. Where does the time go?

  35. Andy 97

    The reason it took ages for ITV4...

    to get The Professionals was because Lewis Collins hated the show and refused to allow repeats as he'd got an agent who understood the contract system.

    The story goes:

    When Gordon Jackson died he left a penniless widow, Lewis Collins relented and the start of many 47 (ITV) minute-hours began. One of the only shows on the channel that actually still uses the original stings from the show going into any (of their frequent and lengthy) advert breaks.

    The story above was provided by someone that knew the whole sorry tale.

    1. Chris Hunt


      That's the right story, but the wrong "professional". It's Martin Shaw who blocked the show for so long:

      "Martin Shaw was publicly critical of the series during its production, feeling he was playing a one-dimensional character in a one-dimensional show. Several years after the series ended London Weekend Television was contractually obliged to re-negotiate repeat fees with the lead actors. Unwilling to accede to Martin Shaw's demands, plans for further repeat screenings on the UK's ITV network had to be withdrawn, leading to Lewis Collins expressing his anger towards Shaw in an interview for the British press. However, Shaw eventually agreed to UK satellite screenings going ahead, although supposedly only after being made aware that Gordon Jackson's widow, actress Rona Anderson (who guested in Cry Wolf), was suffering financial difficulties."

      That's from Ickypedia, but I remember seeing Collins interviewed on the subject (on Wogan I think) and telling much the same story. Makes more sense that way round - Collins hasn't really done anything since, Shaw was trying to build a reputation as an acTOR.

  36. Daniel Wilkie


    It better be good. I wasn't born in time to see it but got hooked on it when they started showing it on ITV4 and the DVD boxed sets where probably the most viewed thing in our house between myself and my housemate.

    They'd better not cock it up...

  37. Sceptical Bastard
    Thumb Down

    It was godawful then...

    ... and it'll be godawful now.

    The Professionals seemed to have two principle locations: Southall gas works for the 'industrial' scenes and Black Park (near Slough) for the 'countryside' scenes (plus a few streets in west London for the 'town' scenes).

    The acting was similarly limited. And as for those naff Ford Capris...

    Gone but not lamented.

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