CI5: The New Professionals
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|CI5: The New Professionals|
|Created by||Brian Clemens|
|Written by||Brian Clemens
|Directed by||Raymond Austin
|Theme music composer||Laurie Johnson|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||David Bainbridge
Frank P. Flynn
|Running time||47-50 min.|
|Original release||19 September – 19 December 1999|
|Preceded by||The Professionals|
CI5: The New Professionals is a British action/crime drama that aired on the Sky1 satellite channel from 19 September to 19 December 1999. An updating of the late 1970s television series The Professionals, the series is set in a fictional government agency CI5 (Civilian Intelligence department 5 as opposed to MI5, Military Intelligence).
The original group of three men (Doyle, Bodie and their boss Cowley) were replaced by a new group of three men and a woman:
- Harry Malone (played by Edward Woodward)
- Sam Curtis (played by Colin Wells)
- Chris Keel (Kal Weber)
- Tina Backus (Lexa Doig)
The team were responsible to a Minister, played by Charlotte Cornwell.
In a similar manner to the original series the show included impressive action sequences, often in a James Bond style. However, the show was not a ratings success and only lasted one season. It did not transfer to terrestrial television in the UK.
David Wickes, episode director for the original series, having formed David Wickes Television and produced/created several lucrative and award-winning productions, such as Jack The Ripper (co-starring The Professionals alumnus Lewis Collins as Police Sergeant Godley) approached original series creator Brian Clemens in the early 1990s after realizing how perpetually popular the original series remained through repeats, video and DVD sales, etc.
He spent the 1990s devising the production of an updated show, based on Clemens' original intentions. Clemens intended for the original series to be an "ensemble" group, not just focusing on the three main characters it in fact did. (This was largely because Clemens semi-retired from writing the show halfway through Season 1, exhausted after working non-stop for several years on one show after another). The new show was intended to return to this intended ideal, with the new 4.5 (originally Doyle) and 3.7 (Bodie) as part of a team effort.
The actor Gordon Jackson having died of cancer some years before, allegedly (though not verified) Wickes "never even thought" of approaching Martin Shaw. Since some of the co-financing for the show was derived from his association with American TV networks, he did however approach Lewis Collins to see if he would reprise his role of Bodie as the Controller of CI5. This was because Collins had based himself almost exclusively in America since the mid-1990s, having finally married in early middle-age in that country. However, in the end, Collins declined to reprise the role, and so instead Edward Woodward, famous for his roles in Callan and The Equalizer came on board as CI5 Head, Harry Malone.
Actors Colin Wells and Kal Weber became Sam Curtis and Chris Keel respectively, whilst Lexa Doig was Tina Backus. Though the main "trio" along with Harry Malone carried the show, several other recurring/secondary roles such as Corrigan, Mills, Richards and Spencer were cast to ensure Clemens' original ideal was adhered to. In contrast to the original show, where the initial hostility between actors Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins is now universally known, Colin Wells and Kal Weber were claimed to get along with each other very well, and this purportedly encouraged Brian Clemens to continue writing for the new series - of the 13-episode run, Clemens solely is credited with writing 7 and co-writing 2 more.
The initial thirteen episode half-season was offered to all major broadcasters in the UK, but only Sky One, a UK satellite channel, chose to invest in it, and it was broadcast in 1999. Sky provided the show with considerable pre-publicity, but the viewer response to the show was extremely poor, with the low production values and perceived low-quality acting being widely mocked among those who watched it. The inevitable comparisons to the original series were uniformly negative and the overall reaction was so bad that Sky, which normally aimed to maximise its value from any of its programming by repeating it extensively, chose never to reshow it after its premiere run. Subsequently, no other British broadcaster considered it worth buying until 2012.
It is alleged that Sky One cut scenes from virtually every episode (in some cases to the point where the plot made no sense) in order to fit in more adverts. At the time, several fan sites for the show had many complaints because viewers who video-taped each episode could see when they checked their tape-counters that some episodes were not even 35 minutes long in terms of programme time (excluding opening/closing credits), whereas DVDs of the original series showed those episodes to be fully 45 minutes of actual programme time excluding opening/closing credits.
Despite the problems caused by the show initially being shown on a satellite channel few UK viewers had access to, it was sold to over 50 countries and was hugely popular in Europe. Allegedly, the show was originally going to continue into a full second season, with possibly a "cameo" appearance by Lewis Collins as Bodie, but this never came about and as 2000 progressed various rumours alleged why the show had not been continued. The most persistent rumour seemed to indicate there was a legal copyright wrangle over the series' theme music, but again this was never confirmed or verified. Whatever the case, the show never returned to the screen.
In the early 2000s, the David Wickes Television website indicated a DVD release of the 13-episode half-season was "imminent", but again this never happened, lending credence to the claim of some legal copyright problem preventing transmission/continuation/release of the show. Such a DVD release was and remains eagerly anticipated by fans of the show as the severe cuts made by Sky One (in some episodes over 10 minutes of programme were removed to make longer advert breaks) would be reversed and the full uncut episodes would be included, plus, presumably assorted extras.
Many fans consider the crux of the show's failure to be renewed to have been the decision to show it first on satellite rather than terrestrial television, thus severely restricting its potential audience. They also point to the almost total lack of publicity for the show and the severe scene-cuts made by Sky One to each episode as other reasons for failure. As of 2009, the David Wickes Television website continues to state the series is coming to DVD.
As of January 2010 the satellite broadcaster Film24 was preparing to show the series. This however did not happen, as the channel went into liquidation in mid-2010.
The series started its run on GBC TV (Gibraltar) on Sunday 6 November 2011, airing every Sunday at 9pm CET. UK Satellite Channel Men & Movies were showing the series (Mon - Fri) at 6pm and 1am, as of 19 March 2012, but with even more judicious edits than shown by Sky One in 1999. In several episodes, whole gun battles were completely removed, with up to 4 minutes of extra footage cut out on top of the versions shown by Sky over a decade before.
In March 2012 work was under-way on two exclusively recorded audio commentaries with Producer/Writer Brian Clemens and Producer/Director David Wickes. Madman Entertainment region 4 (Australia/New Zealand) released the complete series on DVD. It was released on August 2012. Details from their website at: http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/16726/ci5-the-new-professionals.
The satellite broadcaster Movies4Men began broadcasting the series in April 2012, Like the original Sky One broadcasts, the episodes were heavy edited to remove any strong violence and bloodshed. Episodes were shown on weeknights at 8PM.
|Episode #||Transmission Date||Title|
|1-01||19 September 1999||"Back to Business"|
|1-02||26 September 1999||"Phoenix"|
|1-03||3 October 1999||"Tusk Force"|
|1-04||10 October 1999||"Hostage"|
|1-05||17 October 1999||"First Strike"|
|1-06||24 October 1999||"Samurai Wind"|
|1-07||7 November 1999||"Skorpion"|
|1-08||14 November 1999||"Choice Cuts"|
|1-09||21 November 1999||"Miss Hit"|
|1-10||28 November 1999||"Orbit"|
|1-11||5 December 1999||"High Speed"|
|1-12||12 December 1999||"Souvenir"|
|1-13||19 December 1999||"Glory Days"|
- "Heads Up: CI5: The New Professionals on Movies4Men". The MausoleumClub. Retrieved 27 March 2012.