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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Professionals


Starring: Gordon Jackson, Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins
Distributor: Network Distributing
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 31 March 2014

The Professionals - an everyday story of three very butch men who do a lot of shouting, running, punching, car driving, drinking and being serious. Just picking up these discs put hairs on my chest and a whisky in my hand; I suddenly wanted to shout 'villain!', 'bird' and 'blag'...

This is TV with attitude - bad attitude - '70s attitude. No political correctness here - The Professionals is old school... and as a result all rather dull as it happens.

The Professionals is all about a semi-secret police organisation, CI5. They do the dirty work... the hard stuff... the dangerous stuff... the stuff no one else wants to touch. And we know this because the head of CI5, George Cowley, scowls all the time. And he does a lot of shouting. He's tough, you see, and mean.

His two top operatives, Bodie and Doyle, are even tougher - they run and drive with squealing tyres. And they banter about birds and booze. But they're different - one punches people and shags - the other punches people and takes art classes. Not that it matters because they're both about as believe as the Flowerpot Men, albeit with guns and a driving license.

But its not all bad. I really like the opening credits - they are truly amazing. Bodie and Doyle pull up in a Rolls Royce, jump out, run, punch, climb and grimace before jumping back into the car and driving off in a haze of dust and shredded tyres. It's so over the top, so camp and so full of testosterone and macho posturing. You'll laugh out loud, I promise you.

Anyway... there are villains [the Irish ones are also terrorists], master criminals [from gang families naturally], foreign thugs [stupid and easily foxed]... oh, you know the types. They all plan 'bad things' and CI5 stops them, in the nick of time.

On the plus side the restoration of the episodes are fantastic. The show looks clean and sharp - even the stock footage has been polished up to a very acceptable standard. Hats off to everyone involved in the picture processing and colour grading.

The audio, though, is another matter. The original mono track suffers from fluctuating levels - presumably there on the original prints but easily fixed - and during episode one it's out of synch throughout. This is wholly unacceptable and lets things down needlessly. It throws you out of the action, highlighting just how daft much of the dialogue is.

So should you buy The Professionals? Well, if you like late '70s telly and thought The Sweeney [a true telly classic] needed less characterisation and more punching then you'll love it. If you're a fan of camp silliness you might have a bit of a giggle. But if you like characterisation, plot and humour and dislike shouting and macho posturing then give it the swerve... tyres squalling, of course.

Watching The Professionals is like being shouted at by Julian and Sandy. That's James Bona to you ducky... double oh, oh!


Anthony Clark

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