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November 2015

The Professionals mk III

cast: Lewis Collins, Martin Shaw, and Gordon Jackson

creator: Brian Clemens

650 minutes (12) 1979
Network DVD Region 2

RATING: 7/10
review by Jeff Young

The Professionals Mk. III

"I hate flashy drivers, don't you?" The further adventures of super-cops Bodie and Doyle, partners in British TV action, who often indulge in stakeout banter and frequently snide remarks about their hectoring boss Cowley (Gordon Jackson, one of the UK's most undervalued stars).

The strong suit of Brian Clemens' iconic updating of post-Avengers spy-fi telly for The Professionals was always its superbly filmed action scenes, shot on location, using capital-city landmarks but also many London back-roads.

We might imagine the show's producers instructing their street scouts: what's wanted from each and every one of you is a soft-target search of every building site, hospital, post office, corner shop, restaurant, night-club, petrol station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, doghouse, and cathouse in the Greater London area. The results are like time tourism for today's viewers.

The locales lend the work of various directors like Martin Campbell and Gerry O'Hara a gritty and engagingly realistic feel that so few 1970s and 1980s shows matched, especially with tales about organised crime, assassination plots, terrorists' bombing campaigns, and government corruption traceable by "muddy footprints in the corridors of power" of a sort that usually felt torn straight from tabloid newspaper headlines of the day.

This programme's style is also defined by brisk dialogue in dramatic scenes between the car chases and gun-battles, and the stunt work supervised by Peter Brayham was exemplary for small-screen thriller stories. Very capable guest stars such as James Laurenson, Barbara Kellerman, James Cosmo, Ian McCulloch, Lynda Bellingham, and Patricia Hodge, bring their doomed or adversarial and slippery or innocent characters to life with a memorable affect.

This Mark III box-set includes all 13 episodes from season three perfectly re-mastered with a bevy of disc extras.



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