Network   |   Features   |   The Professionals

The Professionals 3Jun2013

You think you know The Professionals? You may well believe that. Ever since it crashed on to our screens in December 1977 it has been almost ever-present in our televisual lives – either on air or via some home video format where it has sold in droves.

No matter when or how you saw it, Bodie and Doyle sit alongside Regan and Carter at the pinnacle of the gritty street drama of the time – drama which required a certain and unique film production approach to achieve and which, in turn, broke new ground for the shows that followed years and decades later. Ask director Martin Campbell. Oh, and, as part of our treatment of the show, we are.

So why have Network taken the reins of such an over-exposed series all these years later when, even as this is written, it is being shown on satellite? Quite simply, the pictures you are watching now and, in fact, those which you have always seen, are, in essence, revamps of the pictures first seen in 1978. It is one of the last filmed series that has never been through any kind of credible restoration process from its original film elements, so we are rising to that challenge and giving fans something truly different whilst introducing the series to a new generation.

We have already commissioned a host of new special features for these releases, including production notes, previously unseen material and a thorough history of the series with contributions from those who made it what it is.

The highlight of these new releases, though, is the restoration work currently underway. With unprecedented access to the original film materials the entire series is undergoing a transformation from the gritty (here in an entirely negative sense), smudgy and scratchy images that everyone has always seen on tv, video or disc into something in High Definition that looks like it was filmed last week; a Professionals fit for the 21st century. If you don’t believe what is achievable, take a look at this and the more detailed comparison frame grabs below:

And it’s great news not just for UK fans. As the individual series are released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK starting in 2014, each series will also be available in HD via iTunes worldwide. In the meantime we will be back here with regular updates.


  1. Alex Lydiate Reply

    DREAM release! Absolutely cannot wait, more power to your collective elbow! :D

  2. Stevo Reply

    2014 cannot come quick enougH. Excited is an understatement!

  3. andrew chard Reply

    Fantastic !! After being totally blown away with networks restoration of space 1999, i cant wait for this !! The future of the professionals is in good hands.

  4. Warren Bassett Reply

    This has been a very longtime in the making, and I think most Professionals fans had given up on their favourite series being completely refurbished, and updated in to Bluray/High Definition, and with the bonus of the series also coming to iTunes in a High Def format! The question is, as they’ve been given full access to the original film material, with it be in 4:3 or 16:9. 2014 definitely won’t come quick enough, and with a modern film of our favourite tv series still on the horizon, by Lionsgate UK and Eighth Wonder Pictures, 2014 could be a bumper year!

  5. Wolfgang Karpf Reply

    Greetings from Austria!!!

    Exciting news! Superb project!!! Finally!
    Being a fan of “The Avengers” since childhood this was another of my favourites!
    You already did such marvellous job with “The Persuaders!”… so I can’t await to know all the eps of “The Professionals” my own from next year on!

    Good luck… and many many THANKS!

  6. Hugh Reply

    Great news, cant wait for these to be released!! :-)

    Its a totally different show in every sense but I would love to see Worzel Gummidge get the same treatment. Whoever owns the rights releases the series in knackered scratched old prints and I was shocked on buying some DVDs how bad they were. If only Network had the rights to relese this series too;-(

  7. David Fisher Reply

    At last! Well done again Network!!! This superb series has suffered from low generation transfers for years – I understood the original film elements were thought to be lost? Have you found ALL of the episodes’ negs? Hoping for a Blu Ray release…

    P.S. Can we have some more “Sykes” and “Goodies” please? Oh, and “The Changes” of course :o)

  8. Michael Fuhrer Reply

    Great News. Like David Fisher, I always thought, that the original elements were lost. I’ve already bought the Lads three times, but if they will really appear on BluRay: I buy it.
    And it opens some questions: What Titlesequenz? Landscape-Endcredits?

  9. Dave Curran Reply

    Based on the treatment the first series of the Sweeney got and the likes of the Prisoner and Space 1999, it will be well worth waiting for.

    Any news on the second, third and fourth series of the Sweeney before you get carried away with something else though ;^)

  10. Ronnie English Reply

    Well done Network, its so good that we have a company that cares about british tv and what it releases. I cant wait for this. If only you had access to the BBC library.

  11. Mark Saunders Reply

    Very good, indeed! The test HD transfer looks almost as if it was filmed yesterday! (apart from the fashions, of course!). Can’t wait!

  12. Mark Smiith Reply


  13. Steve Sullivan Reply

    Network exceeds expectation yet again with another rip-roaring surprise. A series of this pedigree deserves updating one’s tired DVD set to full HD splendour which will happily transport my girlfriend and I back to the 70s/early 80s. I hope this will include every episode, uncut.
    Network Management: How about doing the same with ‘Target’ starring Patrick Mower? That’s if the BBC will release the rights they seem to guard so jealously.

  14. Evie Reply

    Fantastic, thanks so much Network for giving one of my fave TV series the treatment it deserves – can’t wait!!

  15. Ronnie Olsson Reply

    I’d welcome a Blu-ray release of this show but as I was watching the side-by-side comparison.I was a bit concerned about the level of clean-up affecting the detail. In the first clip the detail of the bricks on the houses and the wooden plank are noticably lesser in the HD test remaster (too much grain management?). Contrast is overly boosted as well as colour making the latter almost fluorescent. There appears to be less banding though but all things considered I’m reluctant to double dip on this as far as the HD test remaster indicates at this point. Sorry if I offend anyone but I’m a bit worried, that’s all…

    • OA Reply

      Ronnie, you are absolutely right. This isn’t impressive as the marketing would have you believe. Looks like the show was shot on poor 16mm.

    • Andrew Lamb Reply

      I think it’s just the change in colour, contrast and also the low bit rate of the video making certain aspects look less detailed. But look at Bodie’s jacket! Doyles hair! Then pause the video in the hallway scene and look at ‘Fire Exit’ sign. The improvement is night and day.

      • Ronnie Olsson Reply

        I took a closer look at the still comparisons and think the perceived extra detail is due to too much sharpening being employed on the old SD master so I’m no longer too concerned about the grain management, there is still the contrast boosting though and the pumped up colours. The hallway scene does appear to be a lot more balanced though, the old SD has an overall green cast while the.HD test appears to restore it to its original looks. Another plus is they appear to have opened up the image a bit on all four sides so we get a bit more picture information compared to the old DVD (at least judging by the clip and the stills).

    • Mark Smiith Reply

      Ronnie, bear in mind the footage Network are currently showing is only restoration test footage, so the final result that eventually appears on disc may well be better than it currently looks.

  16. Philip Ayres Reply

    Looks Fab!

    Can we get the original title sequences & ad caps put back on the S1 episodes with the voice over where appropriate?

    But if you do, please slip the version of the newer title sequence with the naration in as an extra/easter egg ?

  17. Bob Rocca Reply

    Really looking forward to this……

  18. Colin Glover Reply

    So will we loose that ‘Transferred to NTSC’ look that the BRITE copies we see on TV & DVD? And where did the internegs come from? Dave Matthews CI5 websitesite says they were missing. I take it they have been found in Clemens’ loft, garden shed, or perhaps fished out of a the Thames behind the LWT Library building

  19. Andrew H Reply

    Don’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud but have to agree with Ronnie O’s comments regarding the remaster. There definitely appears to be LESS detail rather than more in the clips shown here. Yes, the colour balance is nice, but whatever’s been used to remove the grain has removed a lot more as well. I only hope it’s not too late to have another pass at this….

    • Ronnie Olsson Reply

      I’ve backpeddled a bit since I noticed there was quite a deal of sharpening added to the old SD master. You can spot quite a bit of edge halos around people and taking that into account then detail on the HD version appears to look proper. There is still, in my opinion, a bit too much colour and contrast boosting in the image. This is still only based on the above video clip and the two lossy stills.

  20. Kate Green Reply

    WOW! Now can you please restore the complete series of Cribb ( including the pilot episode, Waxwork) with interviews etc. That would be pure heaven!

  21. Kenneth Henderson Reply

    Good work. I hope to get all these in Blu Ray as they are released. Those tests certainly show up the original DVDs that I got way back then.

  22. Darren Reply

    I like the one of the left………..looks more 70’s.

  23. Andrew Lamb Reply

    Great news, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got an email about it! I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for years that Network would get hold of this series. A match made in heaven…

    I agree the old beaten up prints have a certain 70s charm to them, but it would have been a crying shame if the original negs where lost and there was no opportunity for a proper clean up. I’m sure these will look beautiful, and will bring a whole new life to them.

  24. nick messenger Reply

    Woo Hoo! Restored version of THE PROFESSIONALS.This is Great News! Really looking forward to seeing this! While we are on the subject of restoring classic crime drama how about a restored BLU RAY version of the complete DEMPSEY AND MAKEPEACE.

  25. David Cashell Reply

    I Have The Series On DVD From Contender, But I Think The Blu Ray Release Will Be The Turning Point Of Home Entertainment. So Here’s To 2014. Oh & I’ll Be Keeping Both DVD & Blu Ray Releases Of The Professionals, Now Here’s To A Blu Ray Release Of The Bill & London’s Burning.

    • Mark Smiith Reply

      Why would you want a BD release of The Bill when the series was only ever shot on SD VT? HD can’t add detail that doesn’t already exist…

  26. Steve Mac Reply

    Oooh, i just know this is gonna be good!!! ALL my boxsets (in particular The Sweeney, Space 1999, The Persuaders and Randall & Hopkirk(D) ) are of a fantastic quality & look like they were made last week! Really hope you can get Martin Shaw & Lewis Collins involved in the special features/commentaries etc along with past stars/directors!!! Network really are THE professionals!! :D
    (All we need now is Space 1999 series 2 & i’d be seriously happy!!!!!)

  27. Stephen Alan Moore Reply

    Hi Guys…

    Like all other fans of this classic series who have already commented on this page, I am absolutely thrilled that it is FINALLY being put through the restoration process and that your company has been given the job. Judging by the excellent work you company has already done on other series such as “The Sweeney”, “The Saint”, “The Persuaders”, etc. (which I happen to own) it is obvious that your company cares a great deal about the quality of it’s product. I was VERY impressed with all of them.

    The Contender editions were all very disappointing with poor picture and sound quality and very few or no extras. Another thing that always irritated me was that they used the second series opening and closing sequences for the first series episodes instead of the first series sequences as originally broadcast. I hope this will now all be rectified.

    As for the extra features, I have a few suggestions of my own to make and they are as follows:

    SERIES 1
    The “Without Walls” 60 minute documentary on the series first shown on Channel 4 in 1992

    SERIES 2
    A new 60 minute profile on Gordon Jackson.

    SERIES 3
    A new 60 minute profile on Martin Shaw.

    SERIES 4
    A new 60 minute profile on Lewis Collins.

    Also, all four series SHOULD each include several audio options like the ones on your excellent “The Sweeney” sets (including audio commentaries on selected episodes with cast members, writers, directors, etc.)

    Guest Star Introductions

    Picture Galleries

    Fashion Features

    Car Features

    Blooper Reels

    Trivia Quizzes

    Merchandising Details

    Website Details

    When it comes to compiling the extra features on these much improved new sets it would be great if we’ve thinking along similar lines and I do hope you will find my suggestions helpful. I look forward to your feedback. Thank you.

    Yours sincerely
    Stephen Moore

  28. Adam Reply

    I am really excited about this. The chances of seeing a release like this in Australia is pretty slim (The Sweeney has been re-released on DVD recently without any extras!) so I’ll be buying this superior product. I’m glad that these classic series are being released for the BR platform as so many are being forgotten when they have the potential.

    I would relish the idea of The New Avengers being released in the same vein, but alas another company is still pedalling inferior products of that :(

    Thanks Network, you are doing the classic TV world proud!

  29. Christoph Fobbe Reply

    Wasn’t it shot on 16mm negative? Sufficient sharpness for HD? We’ll see…

    • Ronnie English Reply

      The first series was on 35mm, the rest on 16mm. I think the Sweeney was on 16mm and that seemed quite good. Anything will be far better than the current prints.

  30. stevebee77 Reply

    They’ve achieve the impossible – Bodie is now even more handsome.

    I need to go and lie down……

  31. MJL Reply

    As you are targeting EU release of this new The Professionals print, could you consider to make subtitles for whole area? I would love to see finnish subs on this :D

  32. Dave Reply

    What about some older shows new proffessionals, minder, and special branch?

  33. The germand Dude Reply

    WOW!Like Star Trek, it looks like someone with a hart takes care of one of the best TV shows EVER! Cant wait to buy!

  34. Matthew Reply

    Best bit of news i have heard all year in fact this decade . One thing please NETWORK please
    do the covers of the DVD’s justice , in line with the new covered Regan and the First series of the Sweeney boxesthat are sharp pictures and in reference to the opening titles, maybe you can adapt that to the Professionals individual series boxes with the CI5 font logo and silouettes and such with reference to their opening tiltes etc and break bumpers included. And you have probably already thought of this but as an added feature can the New Avengers episode from series 2 called “Obsession” where Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw are teamed up pre Professionals be included on one of the discs as you have this already in your catalogue. Watching that episode and seeing the part where Collins says to Shaw “Maybe we should work together again , good team” is great knowing what we know already.
    Again great news , want it to be 2014 already.

  35. Malle Nicole Reply

    What would be absolutely fantastic would be if you added English HoH subtitles to this new, definitive release! There are a lot of HoH or deaf fans out there, not to mention the foreigners one (I am both – hard of hearing and not of English maternal tongue) who would give an arm and a leg to be able to better understand what they say in this wonderful series. Adding subtitles, I understand, is not a big deal and not very expensive for the producers – and it would be such a bonus for a lot of people out there! Can we at least hold a little hope for it?
    Thanks if you could tell us about this!

  36. Fizz Reply

    I’ve no doubt this will be a fitting tribute to Lewis Collins, may he rest in peace. :(

  37. Darran Cawkwell Reply

    Great news long time coming,looking forward to it.
    Shame that Lewis Collins could not be around to witness it. Rest in peace Lewis.

  38. K. Williams Reply

    Yes this does indeed look like a very fine restoration from the guys at Network who always do great things with old well loved shows. I don’t know if i’ll be picking it up though certainly not right away anyway, as i already own the last contender box released and moneys very scarce at the moment and probably will be for the foreseeable…

    And to add to the two comments above, it is a terrible shame that Lewis Collins/Bodie isn’t here too see his greatest hours finally been given the treatment they so richly deserve… R.I.P. HERO

  39. baz taylor Reply

    So looking forward to this! The New Avengers episode and an episode of Ther Cuckoo Waltz would be great extras to throw in, along with a nice long doc, maybe a commentary or two, some footage (if any exists) of Anthony Andrews as Bodie and some bloopers please!!

  40. Chris H. Reply

    Great to have another series out on blu ray nicely restored, but will we ever see any of the ITC classics , in particular Randall and Hopkirk, The saint, Department S etc which have been out on sample discs for several years now, finally be released as an entire series ? Please Network can you supply any info on likely future BD releases?

  41. Martin Gear Reply

    After viewing the test video I must say I am not that impressed. The removal of the apparent colour cast and the brightening of the image is OK, but there is a significant loss of detail. You only have to pause the video to see this. There also seems to be a reduction in the colour graduation detail in the actors faces. Pause the image and look at Doyle’s five o’clock shadow. In the restored version the detail is lost and seems softened. Also look at the scene in the office where there is a picture of a building visible through the door; there is much less detail visible.

    Having said this, I am prepared to give the restorers the benefit of the doubt based on the excellent results achieved on other restorations like the Sweeney. I will almost certainly still buy this even if only for the extra features.

    I would like to second the request made by another commenter for a restoration of Minder. A culturally significant series that deserves the same treatment and it would be nice to do it whilst dear old George Cole is still available for interviews and commentaries etc.

  42. Trisha Eamer Reply

    Will most certainly buy this,especially if extras contain outtakes and bloopers.
    It would be a fitting tribute to Lewis Collins,and something his many fans have waited for,
    as I am sure many will be very funny given his humour,there are a few mishaps that have stayed in the episodes shown,so it would be good to see how many times some scenes were shot.
    Commentaries are also beneficial and often amusing insights to the episodes.

  43. joeb Reply

    Excellent news. I just saw part of an episode on ITV4, and it’s disgraceful quality to say the least. Martin Gear, how you can say there is a loss of detail is beyond me! It’s much better. I think you’re suffering from Video Stockholm Syndrome…

    Now, Network – how about having a crack at U.F.O.? You know you want to…


    Fond memories of watching The Professionals as a nine year old. It was the first show that my parents allowed me to stay up late to watch. Also the fact that a lot of it was filmed around West London where I grew up makes it mean so much more. To know that Lewis Collins drove the Capri mk 2 passed my house gives me goose bumps ! Just counting the days to the blu ray release.

  45. robertHHH Reply

    Is this available in NTSC for us blokes in the States ???

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