I was going to make this post about something else entirely, but then I heard this morning that Lewis Collins had died. Instantly I heard the theme tune to The Professionals in my head. It was one of my favourite television programmes as a kid.
I think my first childhood crush was on Martin Shaw (closely followed by Kevin Keegan - odd to think that I may have had a thing about perms?) but I loved everything about it from the opening credits, with the car breaking through the window, to the solid plot-lines and thrilling (to a young viewer in the late 70s/ early 80s) stunts and car chases. We used to play The Professionals in the playground, ducking behind doorways and running along corridors to fling ourselves on the floor shouting 'Cover me!'
What stood out most, however, was the excellent characterisation, dialogue and chemistry between the actors. They seemed real people with a sense of humour and a past that influenced their actions, rather than just puppets mouthing the words to advance the story. Bodie and Doyle were among the finest TV detective duos I have ever seen, and they established my appreciation for the gritty/ witty drama I have admired ever since.
Apart from Bodie and Doyle (who are unquestionable leaders of this genre), I would also like to make a special mention of the Doctor (Christopher Eccleston/ David Tennant) and Rose. Their partnership across time and space was a powerful one, although they can't really be included in this list as they are not strictly detectives.
5 Favourite TV Detective Duos:
- Sam Tyler (John Simm) and Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) - yes, there is Life on Mars. This was such a wonderful concept with brilliant acting, and the sum of these two was way more than their parts.
- Inspector Morse (John Thaw) and Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whatley) - later Inspector Lewis and Detective Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox) - the interaction between the characters in Morse was as important as the sleuthing, and the spin-off series of Lewis was equally (but differently) remarkable.
- Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) - the reinvention of this famous duo was superb. Once again, individual talent is more than doubled.
- John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) - The Avengers was the stuff of my childhood dreams, and nightmares.
- Maddie Hayes (Cybil Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis) - the first two series of Moonlighting were the best thing on American television - the mixture of comedy and drama with witty dialogue and larger-than-life personalities was quirky and original. As usual, for American series, it went on too long past its sell-by date.