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Title

BRITAIN ISN'T GUNNING FOR THE PROFESSIONALS SATURDAY PREMIER

Source

The Daily Telegraph

Date

8 August 1998

Author(s)

ALISON BOSHOFF

Spotted by

Jill Woolfenden

Britain isn't gunning for the Professionals

A £12 MILLION version of The Professionals, one of the best-loved television programmes of the Seventies, has so far failed to find a British buyer. Some 41 countries have bought CI5 - The Professionals, and it will be shown across Scandinavia from September.

Large parts of Latin America have signed deals, and France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Argentina, Australia and South Africa have snapped up the rights to show it.

But no deal has yet been reached in Britain. Negotiations have been opened with ITV and the BBC, according to Sovereign Pictures, which is handling sales. But the BBC says it is "not interested" in the idea, while a spokesman for the ITV network claimed that there were no negotiations under way. In the new 13-part show, Bodie, Doyle and the Ford Capris are replaced by a new team of anti-terrorist operatives, including a woman, "millennial" storylines and bigger-budget international settings.

David Wickes, the producer, insisted the company was in "very advanced negotiations" with a British broadcaster, but conceded it was unlikely to be shown here until well into next year.

"We have not sold it yet in Britain but that does not mean that we have failed to sell it. Negotiations are going on with two big companies. It is just that no deal has been signed yet.

"It is odd that it will be seen in many countries before it will be shown here, but that isn't our fault.

"People like to knock British successes, and that is why they are saying that there is no interest here in the series, but I can assure you there is."

The filming of CI5 - The Professionals finished three weeks ago and the series went on the international market in earnest in May. The new anti-terrorist criminal intelligence unit now consists of Chris Keel and Sam Curtis, played by Kal Weber and Colin Wells. A female colleague, Tina Backus, is played by Lexa Doig and Edward Woodward stars as their boss Malone. Storylines involve the theft of plutonium from Russia and the ivory trade.

Martin Shaw came to regret his role as Doyle, describing it as one of the biggest mistakes of his life. He objected to plans for a repeat of the 1977 series, and Lewis Collins, who played Bodie, threatened to sue him.

(c) Telegraph Group Limited, London, 1998.
DAILY TELEGRAPH 08/08/98 P14

 

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