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Title

TELEVISION EYE - The New Professionals: Back to Business

Source

THE HERALD SUN

Date

1 October 1999

Author(s)

GARRY MANSFIELD

Spotted by

Jill Woolfenden

The New Professionals: Back to Business

ONE of the most popular shows of the late '70s and early '80s was The Professionals, a British action series as slick as those made in the US, taking over from where Starsky and Hutch ended and giving way to the likes of Miami Vice.

It starred Gordon Jackson, who came to prominence on TV in Upstairs Downstairs and who was well known in Australia for A Town Like Alice. He played George Cowley, no-nonsense founder of CI5, a semi-official, top secret anti-terrorist organisation. The action centred on Cowley's two best operatives, Bodie and Doyle, whose ruthless style led to widespread public criticism that the series was too violent. For its time, it was fairly tough although, these days, it would pass without notice.

CI5 - The New Professionals is a carbon copy with Edward Woodward (The Equalizer) in the Jackson role as Harry Malone, an admirer of Cowley to the extent that he has his photograph on the wall and lives to his motto about "keeping England safe and smelling, if ever so faintly, of roses and lavender".

Malone's two main men are Sam Curtis (Colin Wells), a former British secret service agent, and Chris Keel (Kal Weber), who left the US Navy Seals to join CI5. In keeping with the times, they now also have a female partner, Tina Backus (Lexa Doig).

In the old days, it was the Soviets who always provided the threat. These days, trouble can come from anywhere, the opening episode being about a Bulgarian-led plot to blow up international heads of government gathered to sign an anti-terrorist treaty.

It's full of car chases, explosions and rule Britannia sentiment but the smell, rather than of roses, is that of an old formula gone slightly stale.

Close Contact
(C) 1999 Herald and Weekly Times Limited.
HERALD SUN 01/10/1999 P111

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