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Title

They're Back

Source

The Sunday Mirror

Date

1 February 1998

Author(s)

Fiona Wingett

Spotted by

Agent James

They're Back

When we last saw them they wore flares, had gold medallions jangling across their chests and drove a Capri.

Now they're back, driving a Lotus sports car, dressed in designer suits... without a tacky gold chain or polo neck in sight.

Forget Bodie and Doyle. Here come Keel and Curtis - The Professionals fro the Nineties. A new £10million series recreating of (sic) the famous CI5 crime fighters will ht our TV screens in the autumn. And fans of the original series, starring Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw, are set for a few surprises.

The Seventies drama - with it's famous catch-phrase "Cover me!" - was mainly filmed in England.

Now our heroes will travel the world, from South Africa's Cape Town to Canada's Toronto and America's South Carolina.

Helicopter dogfights and dramatic explosion scenes will replace the less expensive stunts of the Seventies.

And as well as having the latest hi-tech gadgetry at their fingertips, Keel and Curtis even have a woman as a crime-fighting colleague.

Canadian-born Kal Weber, 28, who plays agent Chris Keel, is the more rugged of the two. Londoner Colin Wells, 34, has been chosen as the smoothie partner, Sam Curtis.

Their boss and mentor George Cowley, previously played by Gordon Jackson, is replaced by Edward Woodward. And actress Lexa Doig comes in as female agent Tina Backus.

Kal moved to London seven years ago to study acting and says: "I came here and thought, 'In a year, I'll become a famous actor and go to Hollywood.'

Six years later, I was totally broke. I crashed in my brother's spare room for a while and worked in restaurants."

Since then he has won parts in TV's Taggart, Soldier, Soldier and Painted Lady - but now he's been chosen for the big time he has to live up to the sex symbol status of Bodie and Doyle.

He says: "It's a very amusing notion. I never grew up thinking I was a good-looking guy."

Colin, who has been an actor for 15 years and appeared in Mr Bean, Peak Practice and Birds of a Feather, is also coming to terms with landing a star role.

He says: "I got the part on my birthday and was quite confident I had it. You know when something has gone well."

Unlike Kal, who is single, Colin is a family man. He married actress Joanna Macleod in January last year - and they have a four month old baby, Rachael. They met when they were both appearing at the Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow, and Colin says: "We were in different plays and I saw her in the canteen and it was love at first sight."

He adds of Rachael: "She's lovely, she's fab, she's everything that every father ever says. She is the apple of my eye, gorgeous."

When the crew were filming for six weeks in South Africa both Joanna and Rachael went with him - it's written into his contract.

But despite being a dedicated family man, Colin confesses he loves the gun-toting action of The Professionals.

"Being an action-hero is a schoolboy's fantasy come true. It's testosterone gone wild. It's absolutely brilliant."

But he adds: "My head's not going to get big if this takes off. At the end of the day I go back to my wife and baby. I love them to the ends of the earth."

Where did the 70s guys go?

The three stars of the original Seventies series eventually went their separate ways.

Lewis Collins, 51, who played Bodie, spends a lot of time in Los Angeles. He was asked to appear in the new series but chose instead to play panto at Marlowe Theatre, in Canterbury, Kent.

Martin Shaw, 53, who co-starred as Doyle, now prefers highbrow roles and starred in the BBC drama Rhodes.

Gordon Jackson, who played their boss George Cowley, appeared in several films before dying of cancer in January 1991.

(Copyright The Sunday Mirror 1998)

 

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