The professionals

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Television series
German title The professionals
Original title The Professionals
The professionals tv de.svg
Country of production United Kingdom
original language English
Year (s) 1977-1981
length 50 minutes
Episodes 57 in 5 seasons
genre Crime series
idea Brian Clemens
music Laurie Johnson
First broadcast December 30, 1977 (UK) on ITV
first broadcast
October 7, 1981 on ZDF

The professionals ( engl. The Professionals ) is a British crime - and agent action series .


The television series was produced by the production company Mark One Productions based on an idea by Brian Clemens . This company, which was owned in equal parts by Albert Fennell , Brian Clemens and the series' composer, Laurie Johnson , had been producing the English series With Umbrella, Charm and Melon with Patrick Macnee since 1964 . Both series were the most successful television series in Great Britain until the early 1980s.

Brian Clemens, who had written scripts for British television for years , created the concept for a new follow-up series in 1976, in which the focus should be less on humor and more on action. The A Squad was originally planned as the title for the new series , and finally the title The Professionals was agreed upon .

Leading roles

For the role of the uncompromising boss from CI5, George Cowley, Brian Clemens initially envisaged the actor Clive Revill . When the latter declined, the role finally went to Gordon Jackson , who had already gained great popularity as butler Hudson with the English television audience through numerous feature films and through the television series Das Haus am Eaton Place ( Upstairs Downstairs ) . For Gordon Jackson, the role of Cowley gave him the opportunity to portray a completely different type of character.

For the roles of Bodie and Doyle, neither Lewis Collins nor Martin Shaw were the producers' first choice in the beginning . First, the actor Jon Finch should take over the role of Doyle, but then he canceled. So the choice fell on the second on the list: Martin Shaw. However, he only accepted the role because he had no other television offers at the time. He also tried repeatedly to get out of his contract over the next four years because he was interested in more serious roles. The actor Anthony Andrews was initially planned for the role of Bodie . But after a short time Brian Clemens realized that Shaw and Andrews did not go together. Andrews was released from the contract and the search for a suitable partner began again. Finally, Lewis Collins, who had already worked in an episode of The New Avengers - the comparatively unsuccessful follow-up series of With Umbrella, Charm and Melon in the episode The Campaign of Revenge with Martin Shaw, was hired. Even then, Brian Clemens noticed that there was a private tension between the two that exactly matched the series concept.

As the production progressed, it became clear that the private tensions between Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw continued to increase. Shaw let his hair grow longer in protest against the corresponding guidelines in the scripts, while Collins, in contrast to the casual style of his partner, appeared in tailored suits in order to attract attention. By 1981, however, all planned 57 episodes could be completely turned off.


The starting point of the series was a conference of the British Home Office with members of the police, the army and the secret service. To counter the growing wave of violent crime in Britain, the Scottish ex-major and MI5 boss George Cowley (Gordon Jackson) proposes that a new task force consisting of different units be set up to take up the fight against the crime and do it is largely exempt from statutory provisions. The new special unit CI5 (Criminal Intelligence 5) is founded, headed by Cowley as chief. His best agents are ex-mercenary William Andrew Philip Bodie (code name 3 7) played by Lewis Collins and ex-police officer Raymond Doyle (code name 4 5) played by Martin Shaw.

The two usually work as a team against terrorists and violent criminals, but occasionally also against foreign secret agents. They often get into trouble because of their good faith and daring flirtations. In the duo, Bodie is the one who tends to solve problems with fighting spirit and physical effort. The ex-soldier is known for his rebellious behavior towards leaders and his distrust of everyone and everyone. He is prone to exaggeration and bad jokes. Doyle takes on the role of sensible and considerate teammate, but he still often gets into dangerous situations and is often injured.


The success story of the pros began when it first aired on UK television on December 30, 1977. The series quickly grew in popularity and achieved ratings of up to ten million viewers. However, it took almost four years for German viewers to enjoy the series. The ZDF began with the premiere on 7 October 1981, but showed only 41 of the 57 episodes. Up to 18 million people per episode watched the series. In 1991 Sat.1 showed 15 episodes that had not yet been broadcast. The last missing episode The Gun was shown for the first time in 1995 on the regional broadcaster TV Munich and in 1996 it was broadcast across Germany by Kabel 1 . In the UK, only the episode Klansmen (1977) was not broadcast.


For the release on Blu-ray and DVD, the 5 seasons were divided into 4 boxes.

Cast and dubbing


The synchronization was created by the Arena Synchron in Berlin. Ivar Combrinck and partly Wolfgang Schick directed the dialogue .

The ZDF had early 1980 41 of the 57 episodes synchronize. The 16 omitted episodes were too brutal for ZDF, had technical or dramaturgical deficiencies or dealt too extensively with English conditions. Most of the episodes have been shortened and the content defused.

13 of the 16 episodes not edited by ZDF were initially dubbed in 1988 by Highlight Communications for publication on VHS cassettes ; In addition, the ZDF episode Murder Order for Bodie received a new German version. For the first broadcast in 1991 on Sat.1 , these 13 episodes (together with the three missing episodes) were completely reworked. In the video version, Doyle has a different speaker.


References to Germany , in particular to the Third Reich and the GDR , were partially defused in the course of the synchronization. Instead, the action in the German version mostly refers to fictional dictatorships.

Other elements of political action have also been changed: in the episode Im Labyrinth , an Arab diplomat Cowley explains in the ZDF version that the USA would supply Israel with weapons. He also explains that the Arabs have often been equated with terrorists, but that this has now changed and that negotiations are now being set. They do not want to mess with the USA and therefore do not do business with Biebermann, the Israeli minister. In the original version, he instead states that the Israelis have always refused to negotiate and the Palestinians would campaign for Biebermann's freedom in order to be able to exchange him for prisoners. Since at the time of broadcasting in 1982 the political situation in the Middle East after the Yom Kippur War had changed compared to 1978, ZDF felt obliged to take the new development into account. In some cases, specific references to the IRA were removed, which was replaced by anonymous organizations.


role actor Voice actor Season Role description
Major George Cowley Gordon Jackson Edgar Ott Season 1–5 Head of CI 5
Raymond "Ray" Doyle Martin Shaw Uwe Paulsen
VHS: Ulf-Jürgen Wagner
Season 1–5 Agent 4-5
William Andrew Philip Bodie Lewis Collins Ivar Combrinck Season 1–5 Agent 3-7
Betty Bridget Brice season 1 secretary
Benny Trevor Adams Hans-Jürgen Dittberner
Ronald Nitschke
Season 1, 2 CI 5 agent
Jax Joseph Charles Charles Rettinghaus season 1 CI 5 agent
Murphy Steve Alder Lutz Riedel
Tom Vogt
Gunther Beth
Season 4, 5 CI 5 agent


  1. S2E10: The trap : Marikka does not come from the GDR, but from an unspecified Eastern Bloc country . Biermann's past as a concentration camp commandant is also kept secret and he was renamed Beckmann to avoid confusion with Wolf Biermann .
  2. S3E07: Dangerous Plans


The well-known Ford Capri 3.0 S, which is most associated with the series

The series made the Ford Capri very popular. It is only from the second season that it becomes clear that Ford sponsored the vehicles for the series. In the first season, more vehicles from British ( British Leyland MC ) production were in use. It was the same with the weapons used in the series, which were closely based on the British army arsenal. Other European and American models were also used.



Bodie and Doyle were equipped with the FN Browning HP from Canadian production until the second season . Cowley himself with a Smith & Wesson Model 36 revolver. From the third season onwards, Doyle used a Walther P38 and Bodie a Smith & Wesson Model 19 revolver .


  • Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins played together in the episode The Revenge of the series The New Avengers . In it, Kilner (Lewis Collins) works for Larry Doomer (Martin Shaw) in preparation for an act of revenge. When the two finally split up, Kilner says prophetically: “ We should work together again - good team! "
  • Gordon Jackson, who died in 1990, received a medal from the Queen for making a positive contribution to the image of the British police force by portraying his role in the series.
  • The heroes of the series must have moved all the time. In each new episode they lived in a different, never-returning apartment. It is similar with Cowley's office, which changed over a dozen times during the course of the series.
  • Ford- branded cars are used almost exclusively in the series, except in the first season when Doyle drives a Rover P6 or a Triumph Dolomite Sprint. In seasons two and three he drives a Ford Escort , in the last season he drives a Ford Capri like his colleague (each in the colors silver and gold metallic) after the Ford Escort was stolen while filming. Cowley is regularly out and about in a Ford Granada , but also in a Rover SD1 in the first season .
  • In October 1997 began - with a new cast - filming for a sequel to the series. The CI5 now operated internationally, but with its headquarters in London. A total of 13 episodes were shot with Edward Woodward as CI5 boss. In 1999, ARD broadcast the series for the first time under the title Die Profis - The Next Generation ( CI5 - The New Professionals ). The new edition of the series could never build on the success of the original.
  • As a result, dies A sportsman had Pierce Brosnan a small supporting role. He plays a police officer in a bugging car. He used the fee to finance his first flight to the USA. In addition, some actors, directors and crew members ( Martin Campbell , Phil Meheux , Stuart Baird and others) from the James Bond series worked for the series.
  • The series was one of the first to appear on VHS cassettes.
  • The episode Racial Hatred ( Klansmen ) was the only episode that was not televised in the UK. In Germany, it was only shown on television when it was broadcast on SAT.1.


  • From August 2005, Universal Deutschland released the complete series on DVD in four boxes. The episodes are based on the partly cut German TV versions, but still offer the original English sound.
  • From March 2016, the series was released by Koch Media in four Blu-ray (in HD resolution ) and four DVD boxes. The series was first published in full and with an improved picture. 13 of the 14 VHS dubbed versions are included as bonus material.
  • In 2008 the soundtrack for the series was released in the CD box The Music of Laurie Johnson Vol.2 .


  • Werner Schmitz: The professionals. On the trail of the CI5; the big book for the series. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-89602-704-7 .
  • "Drop everything ... including your pants!": The professionals and "hard" action TV. In: Bill Osgerby, Anna Gough-Yates (Eds.): Action TV. Tough Guys, Smooth Operators and Foxy Chicks. Routledge, London / New York 2001, ISBN 0-415-22621-X , pp. 127-141.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Broadcast dates of the episode “The Gun” on
  2. a b Werner Schmitz: The professionals. On the trail of the CI5; the big book for the series. Berlin 2006, pp. 98-101.
  3. VHS version on OFDb
  4. Blu-ray publication by the professionals on