Oh Lewis Collins, time has been unkinder to you than she has to Martin Shaw, the Sam Tyler of his day. You were always the macho, gung-ho half of the Professionals duo, the tough guy who fell for unsuitable women - a self-destructive junkie; a gangster's wife; a double agent - and got his heart broken, whilst still maintaining that stiff upper (usually curled in contempt) lip. You acted first and thought later, to the barely restrained fury of George Cowley (the lovely Gordon Jackson). Martin Shaw's Doyle was always more circumspect, thoughtful, by the book and, to my mind slightly dorkish with his silly hairdo. To be fair he's improved with age and I loved him in George Gently, though not as much as I loved Lee Ingleby. But that's by-the-by. Bodie was everything I, a mere strip of a schoolgirl, thought was exciting in a man. Roughty-toughty but unashamed to cry.
It's funny the things that stick with you...I always remember an episode of The Profesionals that involved drugs and Bodie had become close to a junkie girl. At the end the dynamic duo had to break into her flat (to save her or whatever) but sadly found that she had overdosed and died. Before she succumbed she had been able to write on her bed headboard (and I quote) 'Dear God, I'm only little....' I don't recall her being especially petite but perhaps I watched the episode in a seething state of jealousy and teenage hormones because she got to snog Bodie. She clearly didn't deserve him (unlike me).
One more memory of The Professionals (and I'm sniggering now thinking about it, as I do every time it comes into my head). When I was at my all-girls convent in Dublin being taught by the Sisters of Charity we were on the whole a fairly innocent lot - some might say naive, some might say 'a bit backward' - though I like to think I was maybe a bit less immature and a bit more sussy since I had been transplanted from my particularly malevolent Northern home town only a year earlier. The Professionals was a big hit amongst us girls and one of the popular break time activities was to make up scenarios whereby we were somehow related to the CI5 members and got involved in their derring-do. I suppose it would be called wishful thinking or more likely fantasising. We didn't actually run around with sticks pretending we were shooting people (we were 13, come on!) - we mainly pretended that we were related to them and got involved with their work and 'Bodie said this' and 'Doyle said that'. A major part of it was that you had different names from your own; after all what's glamourous about Linda, Geraldine, Anita, Bernadette and Anne? (There was also Sabina, which is different I suppose but she didn't like it so naturally had a 'nom-de-guerre' too). Well, my friend Geraldine's story was that she was Bodie's niece and the name she'd chosen...I can hardly type this for tittering.....was Jodie. I immediately said 'Jodie? Jodie Bodie?' Geraldine got very flustered and said, 'no, no, he's my mum's brother' but the spell or whatever had been broken. By laughing at her I guess I made everyone think that what we had been getting a lot of fun out of was childish and pathetic. And so the 'Being-Part-Of-The-Professionals-Family' game ended with a whimper.
Surprisingly enough Geraldine was my best friend for a good few years. She was really bright but her mum was a very pushy parent from the North (Norn Ireland that is) and I think she had an adverse effect on Gez. Wonder what happened to her?
And my name in our fantasy life? Well, punk was coming and I was rather busy trying to be Debbie Harry. If pushed I would've been Velda Vomit, gangster's moll and nemesis of CI5...