TV's Professionals head for big screen

Martin Shaw, Gordon Jackson and Lewis Collins in The Professionals The original Professionals TV series ran from 1977 to 1983

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Cult crime series The Professionals is to return in a new film version that will show how Bodie and Doyle came to work for British security unit CI5.

The project - co-produced by Lionsgate UK and Eighth Wonder Pictures - is expected to start shooting on location in the UK later this year.

Casting has yet to be announced in what has been described as "an exhilarating, emotionally-charged action-thriller".

Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw starred in the original 1970s TV show.

"The Professionals was such an iconic British crime series that it's a fantastic opportunity for Lionsgate to be able to bring it to the big screen for the first time," said Zygi Kamasa of Lionsgate UK.

"This production will combine the wit and fast-paced action of the original TV series but also completely reinvent it for a new, modern audience."

The original Professionals - which also featured Gordon Jackson as CI5 chief George Cowley - ran from 1977 to 1983.

"To take this 70s TV classic and launch it onto the big screen is a dream come true," said Eighth Wonder's Richard Whelan.

Created by writer Brian Clemens, The Professionals was famous for its propulsive Laurie Johnson theme tune and the Ford Capris its characters drove.

The late Edward Woodward appeared in a short-lived TV remake - CI5: The New Professionals - that aired on Sky One in 1999.

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