Britain isn't gunning
for the Professionals
£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
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.
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.
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.
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.
is odd that it will be seen in many countries
before it will be shown here, but that
isn't our fault.
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."
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.
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.
Telegraph Group Limited, London, 1998.
DAILY TELEGRAPH 08/08/98 P14