Monday, 7 April 2014



An East End gangster plots to kidnap the Home Secretary so the authorities will release his incarcerated twin brother. 

001: The prison location is clearly a gym or a squash court. You can see the lines.

002: The Geometry of the Gun. Shooters feature heavily in 'The Professionals' angry, dangerous world. A recurring motif is an unusual camera angle that emphasises the phallic dominance of the weapon and the imposing danger of the armed man (or woman - but mostly men) - as well as the submissive, degraded nature of the victim.  

003: Actor Johnny Shannon essays his usual cockney psycho gangster role, but his performance is fatally undermined by three things: his voice is dubbed; he is wearing a floppy fringed wig and, most damagingly of all, he is given a really shitty sit on mower to drive about.   

004: CI5 are constantly breaking the speed limit, whether they need to or not. They're a menace. In this episode, whilst simply returning to the office from an abandoned warehouse, they screech off at the speed of stupid, blowing a load of dust around and, ultimately, engulfing a couple of uniformed police officers in a great cloud of crap. Bastards!

005: Veteran character actor Basil Hoskins is given stupid asymmetric upside down looking glasses to wear as part of his characterisation as a psychiatrist. In 1985, Dennis Taylor will win the World Snooker Championship in a pair of specially designed sports spectacles that approximate these oddities, but that is eight years away. In 1977, these are just baffling, especially when Bodie puts them on.  

006: It's an obvious comment, perhaps, but how camp is Bodie? He's part killing machine, part pantomime dame. He reminds me of blokes I used to work with in the building trade: strong as oxen, hard as hammers, camp as a row of tents - as if they were so obviously heterosexual, it seemed ridiculous not to try and have a bit of fun with gender stereotypes. Bodie was always my favourite. In this episode he also makes a Samuel Beckett reference and gives a young and gormless Phil Davies (see above) a few pointers on the opposite sex: "All girls are nice girls, as long as they're under 50 and come across".  

007: Two pivotal plot points revolve around members of CI5 endangering lives by randomly impersonating people who they do not resemble in the slightest. 

008: When it becomes apparent that Cowley is going to have to pretend to be the Home Secretary and Bodie his bodyguard, Bodie is sent to find a tailor's shop, buy a suit, shirt, shoes and tie, change into it and return ready for action in ten minutes. In a quiet suburb of Windsor. It's simply not feasible. Believe me, I know - been there, only got a tee shirt. 

009: Fresh from the shitty sit on mower fiasco, Shannon also turns out to be a criminal idiot as his plan goes awry almost immediately and he is panicked into pop eyed hysteria and then rendered almost catatonic by a few seconds of dissonant music and the sight of Doyle holding his brother at gun point in front of a 'Mr. Chippy'. Oh, and Cowley tells him that CI5 make the law, so are quite prepared to kill every last one of them, bury their bodies in a hole and say it never happened and, if someone cared enough to prove it did happen, CI5 would just say they had it coming. As Bodie says questioningly when Cowley tells him he 'broke all the rules': "Rules, Sir?".

Here's that submissive / degraded - gun / cock in face pose again.

010: To finish: not exactly breaking news, but - 'The Professionals' is BRILLIANT!

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