The Professionals Update 2Sep2013


The Professionals restoration

Looking back over our history we’ve always been a bit of a nuisance to the licensors when we’ve reached agreement to acquire a film or tv show. A signature, a cheque and delivery of a bunch of tapes is an usual and reasonable expectation of any of the companies we’ve dealt with, certainly in the early days of the label. But the point of delivery was invariably a common point of let down for us, our naively believing we would actually get what we asked for and then getting into a bit of a tussle when we didn’t. We’ve even terminated agreements on the basis of not being allowed to present in a way we know anyone tempted enough to even pick up the box would expect. It isn’t all about the return.

It wasn’t always the case. Our very first release ‘The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe’ had us driving to Paris, initially to sign the agreement with our very accommodating French licensor and a follow up to research and collect the materials, in this case a set of thirteen 16mm prints with English soundtrack (the only prints known to exist) and boxes of images and documents, all residing in a dusty archive in an unpleasant part of the city on the other side of the Périphérique. A dirty and long day that was. Worthwhile, though – one of our signature dishes, it’s still with us sixteen years later and continues to tick over.

Lessons learned, experience gained, it didn’t take us long to draft a policy and now we always insist on unrestricted access to any elements associated with the show we’re putting out as part of any agreement. And because we have a track record, a very good track record if we say so ourselves, pretty well everyone we deal with is happy to go along with that, quickly recognising the benefits for all concerned.The Professionals restoration

So, what does all this have to do with ‘The Professionals’? Well, it demonstrates the lengths we’re prepared to go to to offer something truly definitive and markedly different from anything that has gone before once those doors have been unlocked. We’ll update you on the restoration progress in the coming weeks and months (it is going incredibly well) but we thought we’d share the enormity of the task ahead of us on the paper front first following the dumping of fifteen boxes of material into the managing director’s office. Messy as it looks it tells the whole history of the series, if only one can decode it all. Thankfully writer and TV historian Andrew Pixley is our digit scientist of choice and he’s preparing that definitive history in palatable chunks, as only he can.

Aside of paperwork there are some early U-matics and other obsolete master video recordings, all superseded by at least two format improvements in the intervening years. More useful is the stills library; thousands of images, most of them never previously seen. More late night sessions there but we can at least guarantee a few gasps when they are finally published.

The Professionals restoration

The Professionals restoration

The Professionals restoration

The Professionals restoration

So reviewing our very first release against one of our very latest, very little has changed in terms of objectives or processes. The technology has certainly improved to help us and there is more to review with ‘The Professionals’ because of the larger number of episodes but the striking difference is that we didn’t have to drive to Paris to get what we wanted. These days we have it all delivered.

Comments:29

  1. Ashley George Reply
    13/08/27

    This is just great…

    Ever since I got my first Video Gems videos in the 90’s I’ve been waiting for this kind of a release for The Professionals!

    It is one of those shows that most certainly deserves the Network ‘treatment’ and I can only hope that those gasps you promise will truly be gasps of eye-popping amazement.

    It looks like you’ve got a load to get through if the images above are anything to go by…!

    This is brilliant and I just cannot wait to see more updates and, ultimately, the end result.

  2. Alex Lydiate Reply
    13/08/27

    ENORMOUSLY exciting, more power to your collective elbow :)

  3. Dave Barber Reply
    13/08/27

    This is really brilliant. The best British action series ever will get the treatment it rightfully deserves. Well done.

  4. Shirley Rolls Reply
    13/08/27

    This is just gold-dust! There are so many Professionals fans out here, and I know everyone will be simply amazed to see the goodies you have un-earthed. Please, don’t delete or bin anything! And if you need help going through it all I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one who would gladly volunteer!

  5. Debra Bresnan Reply
    13/08/27

    SO HAPPY – look forward to end product and just goes to show how being a packrat/hoarder can be of benefit to Prokind

  6. Geoffrey Cole Reply
    13/08/27

    Having specifically avoided purchasing this series on DVD, in the hope that one day someone would lavish upon it the attention clearly needed, the continued news of this restoration is a small dream come true.

  7. Mark Smiith Reply
    13/08/28

    I get the feeling these BDs and DVDs will fly off the shelves when they’re finally released next year! Hugely looking forward to seeing the series again in all it’s restored glory. :)

  8. Aaron Hoskins Reply
    13/08/28

    Firstly, thank you for this article and the pictures. I too have a feeling, like Mark, that this is going to be a fantastic release.

    I don’t suppose any of Laurie Johnson’s music survives at all? Would love to see that get the same treatment as the ITC soundtracks (Department S et al)

  9. feline1 Reply
    13/08/28

    I am immensely excited. So much so, I could drive a Ford Granada through a plate-glass window.

  10. Chris Dixon Reply
    13/08/30

    I know from past experience that you will do a wonderful job on this restoration, and I can’t wait to see the end results!

    The newly-discovered collection of stills sounds like a veritable treasure trove, and I sincerely hope that we will be able to see those too.

    Very exciting times for Professionals fans!

  11. tricia Reply
    13/08/30

    I cannot tell you how excited I am about this! It will be the third time I have bought the series but absolutely worthy it to get a really good copy this time.

  12. Nathan Reply
    13/08/30

    So can you PLEASE sort out the TVS archive with Beuna Vista/Disney. Most of the TVS archive is still in Maidstone Studios or Leeds Archive (YTV) but owned by Beuna/Disney.

    The credits and associated contact info in ITV’s database should help for licensing and royalties.

    There’s Ruth Rendell (TVS ones), C.A.T.S. Eyes, Perfect Scoundrels, Mr Majeika, Telebugs, Granpa, The Tale Of Little Pig Robinson, Heroes I + II, That’s Love, Country Ways, Bobby Davro Comedy shows +more

    Well done for The Professionals, now Demspey and Makepeace UNCUT could do with a makeover for Bluray :)

  13. Ronnie English Reply
    13/08/30

    Network you are the best. If only you could take on BBC releases.

  14. stevefreestone Reply
    13/08/30

    But would you have driven to Paris in a Capri?

  15. lee brown Reply
    13/08/31

    fantastic news network will be setting new standards with this release

  16. Keith Egerton Reply
    13/08/31

    After two rather poor quality DVD issues by Kult TV (2002 and again in 2005, so-called digitally remastered!) it’s nice to see The Professionals getting the restoration treatment it deserves. After all, it’s getting on for 40 years since its inception, it hasn’t lost its popularity and is always on TV, even now. I would like to see some extras/interviews on the sets, this will help to tempt buyers who’ve already got previously issued versions, so it won’t just sell on its improved picture quality. Good luck Network.

  17. Dave Barber Reply
    13/09/01

    Now all they should do is release Target.

  18. Paul Davidson Reply
    13/09/02

    With all the wonderful work the restoration team do with the Doctor Who releases it’s so good to see another company doing such excellent work on another classic TV show.

    One question; I read somewhere that for the first series of The Professionals the original titles were the ones with the guys doing the big assault course but that was changed for later broadcasts as it was felt to be a bit cheesy ( I seem to remember these credits were used on ” Everest Was.Also Conquered” for the first boxsets). Will you be using the original credits as broadcast for these releases for that first series if what I have heard is correct?

  19. Steve jamieson Reply
    13/09/02

    Great news, i just can’t wait for this

  20. Michael Fuhrer Reply
    13/09/04

    @Paul Davidson: Right, the first series has this Assault Course at the beginning and there are if I remember correctly two diffrent ones. The First with the Theme-Music and a second one with the “Acts of Terror”-Speach by Cowley. Not to forget the different Endcredits, the so called “Landscape Credits”.

  21. Kev Reply
    13/09/05

    I only wish you could release all of THE AVENGERS in Blu-ray

  22. Steve Sullivan Reply
    13/09/06

    If The Professionals HD release is equal to the superb definition of The Sweeney series 1 release (blu ray) Network consumers are in for a feast.
    I had no idea of the lengths Network went to to ensure their releases are well above the norm. The stills in HD (as in your The Persuaders! blu ray release) as an extra would be another ‘gasp’ factor.
    It’s fitting to see the series getting the professional touch from those solid chaps at Network.
    Steve

  23. kostakis Christodoulou Reply
    13/09/06

    Great work. Keep it up. It would be great to have a launch with the people involved and actors.

    Would love to see No Hiding Place and other classics.

  24. Rob Kirby Reply
    13/09/06

    I’d be interested to know if there were any separate soundtrack elements along with the footage when you released The Chain a year or two back now – specifically the uncredited opening music?

  25. George Field Reply
    13/09/06

    Congratulations to all involved in bringing this series back to life. There have been several definitive crime shows that have stood the test of time, with a dedicated fan base, none more so than The Professionals and The Sweeney. These quality dramas paved the way for so many copy-cat shows, but Bodie and Doyle were the original and best. . And all done without special effects. Can’t wait to get my hands on the restored series.

  26. dave boyce Reply
    13/09/07

    this is awesome, I can’t wait !

  27. john gilbert Reply
    13/09/07

    It’s sad to note that Gordon Jacksons wife died the other day, leaving their two sons. I loved Gordon in upstairs/downstairs but he cut such a discerning and harsh (but soft in the centre) militaristic figure in The Pros never afraid to go marching in and castigate ministers. It’s vintage TV viewing at its very best, just like Sweeney at al, none of this health and safety mumbo jumbo now, they did their own stunts with excellence, the plots were believable as that’s what the public ‘thought’ such spying organisations did and the added realism to the props and locations made it unmissable on the TV at the time.

    If there are scripts avaiable, it would be helpful if they were scanned and archived off onto a separate DVD with stills and other material, i’d love to see that as an accompaniment and would gladly pay a premium for it too!

    Well done for your efforts and dont’ stop!

  28. Dan Barratt Reply
    13/09/07

    Thank you so much for the update. The Professionals is so long overdue for a proper restoration and, like everyone else here, I am incredibly excited about this release. I really cannot think of a better company to be doing this work and I know you will make an excellent job of it. Your track record is just fantastic with the superb HD releases of Space 1999, Robin Of Sherwood and The Prisoner. When I first saw these on Blu-ray, it really was like watching them for the very first time. If The Professionals is anywhere near as good as these releases, the results will be stunning! One plea: can have the proper title sequence on all of the season one episodes please? Keep up the good work guys.

    PS: Will we ever see Space 1999 season two on Blu-ray? We have been waiting ages…!

  29. Iain mcdermid Reply
    13/11/11

    After going to all this trouble with restoration, how about some decent packaging such as a steelbook or digibook release?

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