The Professionals-Dossier 1 (1977)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Isolated Musical Score-Isolated Music & Effects Track On 'Old Dog With New Tricks'
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
|Year Of Production||1977|
|Running Time||707:16 (Case: 705)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (4)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
"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:
A great set of episodes from probably the best action television series ever. Highly Recommended.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a good selection of extras spread across all four discs.
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!
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.
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.
You can play the first episode without the dialogue should you so desire. Certainly lets you listen to the great music without interruption.
Trailers are included for Minder and The Prisoner.
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 biographies are included on this disc for actors Keith Barron & Christopher Ellison along with creator Brian Clemens and composer Laurie Johnson.
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.
Trailers are included for Department S and The Baron.
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.
Trailers are included for The Saint and Return of The Saint.
Text biographies are included on this disc for actors Anthony Booth, Pamela Stephenson & Robert Gillespie.
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.
A trailer created to sell the show in the US featuring lots of highlights from all series and critics' quotes.
Trailers are included for Danger Man and Man in a Suitcase.
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.
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.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|