The Professionals-Dossier 1 (1977)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 12-Jan-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Isolated Musical Score-Isolated Music & Effects Track On 'Old Dog With New Tricks'
Biographies-Cast
Audio Commentary-Brian Clemens (Creator/Exec. Producer) - Episodes 6 And 13
Credits-Original Opening Title Sequence
Theatrical Trailer-Rare U.S.A. Sales Trailer
Trailer-Minder, The Prisoner, Department S, The Baron, The Saint
Trailer-Return Of The Saint, Danger Man, Man In A Suitcase
Booklet
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 707:16 (Case: 705)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dennis Abey
James Allen
Ray Austin
William Brayne
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Lewis Collins
Martin Shaw
Gordon Jackson
Case Slip Case
RPI $69.95 Music Laurie Johnson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Score & Effects Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

"Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat these I've got special men - experts from the army, the police, from every service - these are The Professionals" George Cowley - Head of CI5

    The quote above is the most succinct explanation of what this series is all about - a group of special men who have the job of protecting the English public from whatever comes their way. They have wide-reaching powers and are not restricted in their methods by laws which usually govern the police. The two main characters have become very well-known names over the years. They are Bodie (Lewis Collins), an ex-army, ex-mercenary and Doyle (Martin Shaw), an ex-policeman. Their boss, and head of CI5 (their agency) is ex-army Major George Cowley (Gordon Jackson). Between the three of them, they are a very efficient crime and terrorism fighting force. Bodie & Doyle provide muscle and brains and Cowley more brains than the two of them put together. There are other men in the squad, however the series focuses on Bodie & Doyle and their love-hate relationship with Cowley, who is a tough old bird. In addition to their jobs, Bodie & Doyle add colour to the proceedings by being amusing and irreverent fast talkers and fast drivers.

    I first saw this show as a teenager as repeats on Australian Television and loved it from beginning to end, packed full of action, crime, fights, fast cars and faster women. It still holds up well now in 2005, despite some of the fashion looking a little out of date. The storylines are still quite relevant including terrorism, racism, nuclear bomb threats, assassinations, extortion and other major crimes. This four disc set (3 x DVD9, 1 x DVD5) contains all 14 shows made for the first season, although only 13 of them were shown. The 14th one, Klansmen, was not shown by the original airing network because they felt that the subject matter was not acceptable. It is about a racist KKK style organisation setting up in London. I had certainly not seen this episode before and I actually think it is probably one of the best of the entire season. The set has the episodes in the order they were originally planned to be shown, even though they were not originally shown in this order.

    Some other elements which really make this series work are the great funky score (individually composed for each episode by Laurie Johnson), the amazing variety of fast cars used during the series and the gritty realistic feel of the stories which was something new for police shows at the time (with the exception of The Sweeney). The show was created by the people behind previous series such as The New Avengers, led by Brian Clemens (who wrote quite a few of the episodes). The casting of the leads is perfect and all three became major television stars because of this show.

    The episodes included (four of which were previously available in Region 4 on DVD) are:

  1. Old Dog with New Tricks (50:36) - One of a pair of crime lord brothers is in prison and his brother decides to try to break him out. He and his men hijack an arms robbery and take hostages expecting to use them as bait. A hostage situation ensues and Cowley, Bodie & Doyle get intimately involved. This episode introduces the concept of the squad and includes cameos by Pamela Stephenson and Philip Davis whom you may recognise from a much more recent program, North Square.
  2. Long Shot (50:37) - An assassin called Ramos (Roger Lloyd Pack) is planning to kill Cowley but the squad think the target is a politician attending a terrorism conference. He kidnaps a rich man's daughter as part of his plan. Bodie & Doyle are assigned to protect the politician.
  3. Where the Jungle Ends (50:38) - A group of mercenaries who Bodie used to be involved with hit town and start doing big jobs in order to sell their services to a local crime boss. Bodie must help the squad to track them down. Guest stars Geoffrey Palmer & David Suchet.
  4. Killer with a Long Arm (50:27) - A Greek assassin enters Britain with a long distance rifle. CI5 are called in after a policeman is killed and they must try to work out who he is there to kill in order to catch him. Guest Stars Jonathan Hyde from The Mummy.
  5. Heroes (50:37) - A contract is taken out against a racist American politician who is visiting England. Cowley decides to throw him out of the country but he gets killed before he can be thrown out. When the press publish the names of the witnesses, Bodie & Doyle must act quickly to stop them all being killed.
  6. Private Madness, Public Danger (50:38) - This was actually the first episode put to air in 1978. A mad chemist threatens to poison London's water supply unless his demands are met. CI5 must stop him before he executes his plan.
  7. The Female Factor (50:34) - A shadow minister is set up by a con man using a young woman as bait. Someone Doyle used to know is involved and she tries to contact him. This widens into a plot involving spies and espionage.
  8. Everest was also Conquered (50:29) - After a deathbed confession of murder by the Head of the Security Service, CI5 investigate an old case involving the death of a witness. The death occurred at the same time Everest was first climbed.
  9. Close Quarters (50:37) - A politician is killed at the airport by terrorists. Meanwhile, Bodie has been injured and must take time off. He decides to spend a weekend away with his girlfriend, however they run into the terrorists and end up holed up in a country house.
  10. Look after Annie (50:18) - An old paramour of Cowley's visits England on a political crusade with a Christian bent. She is controversial and attracts violence with her views. Cowley decides CI5 will take on the job of protecting her and they uncover a plot to kill her.
  11. When the Heat Cools Off (50:34) - A case involving the murder of Doyle's old partner from the police is reopened when a girl surfaces with information she says can prove her father didn't do it.
  12. Stake Out (50:00) - A CI5 agent gets information about terrorists but cannot fully brief Cowley before he is killed. Cowley tells Bodie & Doyle to stake out a bowling alley but they don't know what to look for. They end up finding more than they expected. Pamela Stephenson guests.
  13. Klansmen (50:40) - A mentioned above this episode was not shown by the network screening this series in England because they felt the subject matter was too difficult. It is certainly harder hitting and more serious than other episodes, however, it is probably the best of what is a very strong first series. The story involves a black lawyer who is attacked by a gang in white sheets carrying a flaming cross. They are from a local Ku Klux Klan style organisation called The Empire Society. Bodie & Doyle investigate but quickly get in over their heads.
  14. Rogue (50:31) - An older CI5 agent who was Bodie & Doyle's mentor goes rogue and the boys need to track him down. Pamela Stephenson guests.

    A great set of episodes from probably the best action television series ever. Highly Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is decent but despite the fact that the box is plastered with Digitally Remastered little has been done to the video quality except transferring it to DVD. There are many imperfections in the material and considering the great work done on older UK series such as The Prisoner, I was hoping for more.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout considering the age of the material, with no evidence of low level noise. There was grain throughout. The shadow detail was poor.

    The colour was quite dull and lifeless with some minor cross colouration present every now and again.

    Artefacts consisted of both film artefacts and film-to-video artefacts. There were quite a few hairs and specks and flecks which occurred with great regularity. Episode 8 was particularly bad. There were also occasional jumps, quite a bit of aliasing on tracksuits, truck grilles, shirts and ties, minor tape tracking artefacts and some very mild edge enhancement. Not much clean up has occurred.

    There are no subtitles.

    There were no layer changes in episodes that I noticed.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is fine considering the age of the source material.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, although there was some rather obvious ADR work, especially in the first episode.

    The score of this series by Laurie Johnson is excellent, and full of funky sounds from the seventies. For me, the score is one of the absolute highlights of this show, especially the fantastic title tune. I noticed some distortion in the music at the beginning of Episode 11 but generally it was fine.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a good selection of extras spread across all four discs.

Menu

    The menus included music, and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles. The scene selection menus for each episode include some quotes from Cowley which are great!

Booklet

    A 12 page booklet is included which includes some great information about the show's development, casting and other interesting trivia including the genesis of Martin Shaw's boofy hairstyle! Great reading for fans of the show.

Disc 1

Text Bios

    Text biographies are included on this disc for actors Gordon Jackson, Martin Shaw, Lewis Collins, Roger Lloyd Pack, Nadim Sawalha, Ed Bishop, David Suchet & Geoffrey Palmer.

Isolated Music & Effects Track - Old Dog With New Tricks

    You can play the first episode without the dialogue should you so desire. Certainly lets you listen to the great music without interruption.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Trailers are included for Minder and The Prisoner.

Disc 2

Commentary - Brian Clemens - Creator for Private Madness, Public Danger

    A very interesting commentary by the creator with an interviewer. Whilst it does not refer too much to what is going on on-screen, he does have some very interesting and forthright things to say about the series. He discusses why this episode was actually screened first, the show's development, how the title was agreed upon, casting, the relationship with the network, the music, the issues with Martin Shaw and many interesting anecdotes. Great Stuff.

Text Bios

    Text biographies are included on this disc for actors Keith Barron & Christopher Ellison along with creator Brian Clemens and composer Laurie Johnson.

Original Opening Title Sequence

    The title sequence which was originally used for this first series. The one everyone knows with the car crashing through a window was actually created for series two and added to this series on repeats only. It's not a bad opening but the other one is better.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Trailers are included for Department S and The Baron.

Disc 3

Text Bios

    Text biographies are included on this disc for actors Lalla Ward & Gerald Sim along with Executive Producer Albert Fennell, Producer Sidney Hayers and co-creator Dennis Spooner.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Trailers are included for The Saint and Return of The Saint.

Disc 4

Text Bios

    Text biographies are included on this disc for actors Anthony Booth, Pamela Stephenson & Robert Gillespie.

Commentary - Brian Clemens - Creator for Klansmen

    Another interesting commentary from Brian where he discusses this episode and why the network banned it despite the script being pre-approved. His commentary seemed slightly out of sync with the on-screen action at times but it is certainly worth a listen.

Rare US Sales Trailer (5:56)

    A trailer created to sell the show in the US featuring lots of highlights from all series and critics' quotes.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Trailers are included for Danger Man and Man in a Suitcase.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This series has also been released in Region 2. The Region 4 version of this set misses out on;

    The Region 2 version of this set misses out on;

    On this basis the Region 4 is definitely the go, especially for the commentaries.

Summary

    A great set of 14 episodes from one of my favourite TV shows of all time.

    The video quality is decent.

    The audio quality is decent but unspectacular.

    The set has a good collection of extras better than anything available anywhere else.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Professionals episodes -