The Professionals-Dossier 2 (1978)

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Released 4-Sep-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Trailer- Department S, Jason King, Man In A Suitcase, Danger Man
Trailer-The Saint, The Return Of The Saint,The Prisoner, Randall & H
Interviews-Cast-Partners In Crime-Brian Clemens & Laurie Johnson
DVD-ROM Extras-"Stopover" Original Script
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 707:00 (Case: 700)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Martin Campbell
James Allen
Ray Austin
William Brayne
Studio
Distributor

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


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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

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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 between when these shows were made in 1977 and now. They are Bodie (Lewis Collins) an ex-soldier, ex-mercenary and Doyle (Martin Shaw) a 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 2006, despite some of the fashion looking a little out of date. The story lines are still quite relevant including terrorism, racism, nuclear bomb threats, assassinations, extortion and other major crimes. This four disc set (4 x DVD9) contains all 14 shows made for the second season in 1978/79. I was slightly disappointed to note that the packaging has been changed for this second season. Instead of two double amaray cases enclosed in a cardboard slipcover, this season in housed in one 4 disc amaray case. The four disc amaray is not a bad idea but those who like to display their DVDs may be a little annoyed as the packaging looks quite different (and a bit cheaper).

    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.

    To my mind most of the episodes in this second season are of the same high quality as season one, however, there are a couple of episodes here which were not of that quality. I was interested to note that Martin Campbell, the director of films like GoldenEye, was responsible for directing a number of episodes here and you can certainly see the quality of his work in those episodes. This series sees Cowley getting out of the office more and his limp is not as pronounced - these factors are discussed in the extra on Disc 4.

    The episodes included are:

  1. Hunter/Hunted (50:51) - The first episode of the new series is probably the weakest (and most dated) of this collection. Bodie & Doyle are assigned to test a new gun. Someone starts following them trying to get the gun.
  2. First Night (50:38) - An Israeli minister is kidnapped by a masked gang while entering a show and taken away by Hovercraft. The gang want to sell him to the highest bidder.
  3. The Rack (50:40) - An informer gives Bodie & Doyle a tip about a big drug deal going down in the house of a major criminal family. When one of the brothers dies in custody the very existence of CI5 comes under threat. Top episode featuring one of Cowley's impassioned speeches.
  4. Man Without a Past (49:15) - Another great episode where Bodie is having dinner with a girl when the restaurant explodes. She is badly injured but Cowley won't let Bodie work on the case. It becomes clear someone is out to get him.
  5. In the Public Interest  (50:29) - A young Stephen Rea guests in this story about vigilante justice and police corruption. A gay youth club is attacked and the leader approaches CI5 because he believes the police were involved. Another high quality episode.
  6. Not a Very Civil, Civil Servant (50:18) - CI5 are assigned (against Cowley's wishes) to watch over the corruption trial of a building contractor. The government minister involved is trying to protect himself from fallout but more is going on.
  7. A Stirring of Dust (50:34) - Another great episode in which Cowley is meeting with the KGB to exchange information. He is trying to track down an old defector, Thomas Darby who has left Moscow and seems to have returned to the UK.
  8. Blind Run (50:38) - Bodie and Doyle are sent on a dangerous mission to protect a man who is visiting London and needs to make two rendezvous. Cowley tells them they will not get any backup as the mission is not sanctioned. Another excellent episode.
  9. Fall Girl (50:40 ) - An East German star is visiting England with her husband. Bodie recognises her as she is an old flame of his and they agree to meet up. However, there is more to this coincidence than meets the eye.
  10. Backtrack (50:33 ) - This is the second less that excellent episode included here which has a slightly confused story about Arab terrorists, gun runners and murdered witnesses.
  11. Servant of Two Masters (50:22) - Cowley has a new approach for getting terrorists to talk, a gas called PS2. He seems to have become corrupt and is selling it to foreign governments. Bodie & Doyle are ordered to investigate him.
  12. The Madness of Mickey Hamilton (50:47) - A sniper staking out a hospital seems to be searching for a target but then shoots an African Ambassador seemingly by mistake. Stars Ian McDiarmid as the sniper. Another excellent episode.
  13. Stopover  (50:34 ) - A stowaway found onboard a freighter docking in London escapes custody and demands George Cowley be brought to see him. He is an old colleague of Cowley who has escaped from an Asian prison camp after two years and is offering Cowley an ex-KGB man who wants to defect.
  14. Runner (50:41) - A gun shop gets robbed by a group of masked criminals which seems to have the same MO as a group which was thought to be defunct, The Organisation. Stars Ed Devereaux and Michael Kitchen .

    A very good season of an excellent show which includes a couple of slightly lesser episodes. Recommended.

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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. Overall, it was slightly better than Season 1.

    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 cross colouration present every now and again. The blacks were quite good.

    Artefacts consisted of both film artefacts and film-to-video artefacts. There were quite a few hairs and specks and flecks which occurred with some regularity. There was also some macro-blocking in small portions (e.g. 12:55 in Ep 1), some edge enhancement (e.g. 33:30 in Ep 1) and some minor aliasing.

    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. There were a few spots where the dialogue was a little distorted.

    The score of this series by Laurie Johnson is excellent, 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.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    For this second season the extras have been significantly reduced in quantity compared to Season 1.

Menu

    The menus included music, and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles.

Disc 1

Umbrella Propaganda

    Trailers are included for  Department S and Jason King.

Disc 2

Umbrella Propaganda

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

Disc 3

Umbrella Propaganda

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

Disc 4

Partners in Crime (20:49)

    This is an interesting interview (done recently) with Brian Clemens & Laurie Johnson, the creator/writer and composer. They discuss their careers, the development process for the series, casting, issues with the original cars and the composing process. Most of their comments relate more to Series 1 than this series. A worthwhile extra.

Stopover Script (DVD-ROM)

    The complete original script of the episode Stopover is included in pdf form.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Trailers are included for The Prisoner and Randall & Hopkirk Deceased.

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 but does not include any extras according to reviews, despite the case listing them. On this basis the Region 4 is definitely the go. Based on screen shots online, the video quality looks similar.

Summary

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

    The video quality is decent and slightly better than Season 1.

    The audio quality is decent.

    The set has a couple of good quality extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, October 30, 2006
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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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