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.