Getting Tough Again
you hung around your TV set in the late
Seventies you would almost certainly have
picked up on the activities of CI5's leather-jacketed
crimefighters Bodie and Doyle, nicking
hardened criminals as they sped around
in their silver Ford Capri.
But in the new Nineties
of the Professionals there is not a medallion,
flare or bubble perm in sight. The new
recruits cut a dash in designer clothes
and drive a gleaming Lotus Esprit, and
the show has had an overhaul - backed
by the series' original creator, Brian
Clemens - complete with hi-tech gadgetry
and exotic locations.
producers have spared no expense with
the multi-million pound 13 part series
(currently screening on Sky One, Sundays
at 8.00pm). The action moves from Cape
Town, Washington DC and Toronto as CI5
wage war against international terrorism
and organised crime.
Kal Weber is a mean, moody former US Navy
fighter pilot, Chris Keel: while English
actor Colin Wells plays smoothie sidekick
Sam Curtis, a linguistics expert. And,
in a tiny nod to political correctness
that would horrify George Cowley, CI5
have a female recruit - agent Tina Backus,
played by Lexa Doig, who knows everything
there is to know about computers.
was a huge fan of the original: "Being
an action hero is every schoolboy's fantasy.
It's testosterone gone wild," he
enthuses. A Londoner, he worked in a bank
before quitting to become an actor and
went to drama school to lose his Cockney
accent: "I may sound posh in The
New Professionals but it's not my
to actress Joanna Macleod, with a young
daughter, Rachael, Wells was picking up
his dole money when he heard that he'd
got the part of Sam Curtis. "It was
the best present I could have had."
born co-star Kal Weber is a real life
action man who rides a powerful Ducati
motorbike and loves surfing, skiing and
climbing. His character, Keel, "comes
from a wealthy American background and
there is a heart-breaking secret in his
past. That's why he's chosen this dark
and dangerous path."
29 year old, who is single, fought to
do his own stunts in the show - one of
his favourite scenes was driving the Lotus
Esprit at top speed while chasing a plane.
He also enjoyed taking on his character's
gung-ho attitude. "We were taught
how to use Uzi machine guns and basic
SAS gun-handling techniques."
two actors became firm friends during
filming and they are equally close to
Lexa, who enjoys a brotherly relationship
with Weber and Wells, both on and off
screen. Tina can crack any code, but half-Canadian
and half-Filipino Lexa laughs as she admits
that she asked her computer programmer
brother Ted to explain her script. "Whenever
I had any questions I would ring him long
distance from London and ask what I was
saying! It sounded like double Dutch."
actor Edward Woodward plays Harry Malone,
CI5 Commander and successor to the abrasive
George Cowley. The 69 year old Woodward,
who has had two heart attacks and a life-saving
triple bypass operation, found himself
hanging out of a helicopter during filming
in South Africa and admits it was the
most terrifying moment in his life. "We
were ducking a diving hundreds of feet
above the ground and I was half out of
the chopper. I was scared out of my wits.
I'm not an action man at all."
says of his character, "Harry's a
bit of a bully and a show-off, but he's
very protective of the agents and fusses
over them like an old mother hen. He's
very fond of them - but of course he'd
never show it."
never saw the original series and has
not seen any of the new episodes. "I'm
always appalled by what I see and apparently
Gordon Jackson was the same, which is
an interesting coincidence."
adds the his wife, actress Michele Dotrice,
and his children are watching it avidly.
"They tell me it's marvellous, but
I probably won't see it until it's repeated!"
(c) Telewest Communications Cable Guide)