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Pairing: William Bodie and George Cowley
Alternative name(s):
Gender category: m/m
Fandom: The Professionals
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: rare
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Bodie/Cowley is The Professionals pairing of William Bodie and George Cowley.

Some Example Fanworks



Also see Non-Bodie/Doyle stories.

Some Fan Comments


Why might Cowley love Bodie, and why might Bodie love Cowley? Physically Bodie is gorgeous, yes. But Cowley is unlikely to consider the world well lost for a pretty face. Bodie is much younger than Cowley; I think Cowley, all else being equal, would probably prefer a man about his own age. In my stories I've assumed a lover who died in the second world war.

On Bodie's side; I think there is a definite physical attraction. I think Bodie probably is attracted to older, self-confident men; if he left home at fourteen, I think he might subconsciously be looking for a 'father figure - not that this would ever cross his mind directly, and would probably put him off if it did. We can take it for granted, then, that they each find the other physically, sexually attractive. A twenty-five year age gap is an inhibitor, particularly for Cowley, but not a prohibitive one. The difference in age would show up especially in cultural assumptions; in my stories Bodie says gay, Cowley says queer.

They like each other, too; this is obvious. They have the same, distinctly nasty, sense of humour. (My favourite example of this is the scene in 'Fugitive' where the wreath with the message about Bodie [who is being held hostage by terrorists] has just been delivered. Cowley tells Doyle the terrorist conditions for Bodie's release. Both of them are obviously worried, Doyle more conspicuously but not necessarily more intensely. Doyle demands to know, "what if they just take Bodie with them and kill him anyway?" [paraphrase] Cowley says, absolutely dry and level, "Well, in that case, we use the wreath.") Cowley and Bodie are friendly and easy enough with each other to be able to tease each other. (Again in 'Fugitive', when Cowley gives Bodie the overdue library books, and then later on when they have the tiny dialogue about that old calumny that Scots are mean; plain-faced teasing.) Bodie practically never calls Cowley 'sir' when they're alone together; and I've lost count of the number of times he tries to make Cowley laugh.

Friends, then, as well as physically attracted. And Bodie might love Cowley for several reasons; because he trusts Cowley maybe even more then he trusts Doyle, because he admires Cowley,- because, though it makes Bodie sound like a very weird sort of masochist, Cowley is the sort of person who could hold a gun to Bodie's head and mean it. And because Cowley needs him, more than even Doyle needs him. A lot of the arguments I've heard against B/C (and, because of typical British politeness, I've heard very few) basically come down to this: Cowley is too old, and too dignified, and too aware of the dangers to a man in his position from a necessarily- clandestine sexual relationship. Bullshit! Sorry, folks, but it is. I don't know why the fans out there don't go for Bodie/Cowley (I really don't; perverts never understand why everyone else is perverted when they're normal) but these fake-logic arguments are bullshit. Sex is something humans can live without. It's not a need, it's a want. One of the basic human needs, though, is companionship. Most of PROFESSIONALS fandom seem to be stuck in the idea that only Bodie and Doyle are real (one particular idiot even told me that, though she hadn't seen my stories, she just didn't think Cowley had enough characterisation to be slashed), and more perniciously, that sex is only lovely between the young and pretty. Or they^ wouldn't come out with ideas like "Cowley is too dignified". He's human, not a testy sandy-haired robot; and he is intensely lonely, has been intensely lonely for a very long time. It's not something you get used to. So, give Cowley half a hope of company, and especially if Bodie offered himself on a plate, and he'd take what was offered.' But love? Well, Cowley might love Bodie for several reasons; because Bodie is completely loyal to him (definitely to Cowley, and not CI5), because Bodie is probably the first person in years who tried to make Cowley laugh, because Bodie tries so very hard to make Cowley notice him, to be better then the Scotch, and at root simply because Cowley is lonely - and Bodie is determined. And besides, the power interplays going on in this relationship make Avon and Blake look like a pair of tame pussycats.


If there is even a whiff of B/C in a story, I'll read it. I have 'Carnall Interests' and the sequel, which are really bad; and 'Merry Christmas, Mr Cowley', which isn't much better; and 'Ghosts', which is really silly; and 'The Test', which doesn't even have sex; and STEW'S 'Alley Cat', which is brilliant. (Besides the ones I've written, there's only about three stories I know of where Bodie and Cowley actually have sex - 'MC, MC', 'AC, and the notorious 'Dark Of The Heart'. This is so frustrating!) I even finished 'Kind Hearts And Coronets', which is snobbish misogynistic fantasy and not even well-written, just because on the second page Doyle remarks that he'd always thought Cowley fancied Bodie.

Cowley. I like Cowley. I may have mentioned this once or twice. I'll read anything in which the writer is trying to work on Cowley's characterisation. I'll even put up with the American idea of what a Glaswegian sounds like, and that's saying a lot. [1]

I hate Bodie/Cowley stories. There, you wanted to know if there were any of us out here. The thing is, I don't think that anyone has the right to mind that you like them. I suppose that we all try to change people's opinions in our own way, but I don't see anything wrong in your liking the Bodie/Cowley mix if that appeals to you. It just doesn't do a thing for me,, and once I've got my pairing they stay paired, let no man put asunder. I can't mix-and-match. Basically, I'm not interested in Cowley's sex life with Bodie or anyone else, but I know other people are, which is always a good reason to keep writing stories based on it. By the way, I'm half Scottish. My dad was from Glasgow, and since my mum is Irish I feel I'm letting the side down a bit by not getting into a real humdinger of an argument, but what the hell, we're all individuals. [2]

I haven't actually read any B/C stories so I can't really comment on them, but I can't see any reason why not. Okay, there's a big difference in age, but so what? Given their respective jobs, their prospective life spans are not dissimilar.

They have a lot in common, and there is an obvious respect there. For all Bodie is relaxed and friendly with Doyle, there does seem to be a very different quality to his relationship with the Cow.

You say most B/C arguments come down to Cowley being too too dignified, and too aware of the dangers to himself and those around him. Well, to take these in order:

Age -Spring/Autumn (okay, maybe closer to Summer/Winter) romances are always seen in society as being 'wrong' because young partner will be 'left' when the older dies, and/or the older partner is robbing the younger of the 'best years of his life will die leaving the now Autumn to find his own Spring to get through what is left of his life. In this case, though, if Bodie does not change his profession he is more likely to die Cowley. So what if there is a difference in age? They are both old enough to make that decision for themselves, neither has any close family to consider.

Dignity - Stupid argument; since when is sex dignified. Does anyone out there know someone who does not have sex purely because it's beneath their dignity?

Dangers - This is probably the most well-used argument, but I think that it misses the point. Gay is not something you choose to be, you either are or are not. The choice is in wither you express a part of yourself or bury it, and Cowley would be fully aware of the dangers of denying a part of your own nature, specially in his job. Denying your own nature leads to all sorts of fault lines which blow under extreme pressure, an everyday occurrence for Cowley (the pressure, I mean). I think that there is enough feeling between them to become love if they let it. [3]

You'll go on hearing a deafening silence from me on the subject of Bodie/Cowley The reason I'm in PROFESSIONALS fandom is that I want to read/write Bodie/Doyle stories, not Bodie/Cowley, Doyle/Macklin, and Murphy with everyone. I have read various stories where the sexual partnership is not B/D but one of them with someone else, and however well-written, the stories irritate me because I want Bodie and Doyle to end up together. [4]


Jane is simply a B/C fan, and has been almost singlehandedly creating B/C fandom for years (in fact, practically all of Jane's friends whom she has brought into fandom start out with B/C, and find the idea of Bodie/Doyle slightly odd -- "But Doyle's straight!") These days B/C doesn't need that kind of excuse, and shows up in mainstream Pros zines -- largely, I think, due to the influence of Jane's work. Other people were writing it as well in the 80s -- I recall Madeleine Lee's "Carnal Interests" and "The Selling Hours," to which her new story in D-NOTICE is a conclusion, and to which Maggie Hall wrote an independent conclusion in a recent Manacles Press zine; and there's always Meg Lewtan's infamous "Ritual Cleansing" -- but I don't think any of those other early B/C stories had the impact that Jane's (and her collaborators') did. Plus, of course, all the ones that I can remember, that I've cited here, work off a conflict between B/D and B/C, while Jane doesn't do that. [5]


Okay, I'm doing this, I have no time, I may have to join in later, but here goes... Cowley/Bodie?


I have discovered that, apart from the fics I've specifically mentioned above [6], I really do have a problem with C/B (specifically) and even the very idea of C/D. And I was trying to figure out why. Cos I like Cowley - I really do. I want him to be happy. I honestly can't see him with that hideously misguided Annie Irving, but someone smart and sensibly clad in decent brogues as I'm sure Miss Walsh is, then yes. I even can see him having had a tragic gay love affair in the distant past (although it doesn't half make me think of what Bodie said at the end of HG's Honour's Even (on the cd) - "Christ, is the whole of CI5 bent?") I just don't want him getting in the way of B/D. And I especially don't want Doyle left out of the whole sordid affair! I have come to the conclusions that: a) When Doyle is missing from a fic I am dreadfully disappointed; b) I just don't fancy Cowley and I think that's a big part of it right there - I get him as a benevolent, or even malevolent father-figure type just not as a love interest for the lads, cos, well, he was old when I was first watching Pros, and that was a long time ago! Even the lads were old-ish when I was first watching Pros but that has somewhat worked in my favour (I take great comfort in the fact that they were-ish the age I am now!)! and basically and hypocritically, older is not my thing and c) no matter the connections that I can imagine/see between C/B and C/D the connection between B/D is so clear and shining bright that anything else just has to be secondary... And that's my story and I'm sticking to it. For now. [7]


I've always been a huge Cowley fan, but I can't imagine him as a romantic interest. At least not for me. I'm a bit too rough around the edges!

I always see him with somebody clever and ladylike, but the sort of lady who'd have no qualms about rolling up her sleeves and getting stuck in, if she was needed.

But I have seen a couple of fic where rather than 'authority figure' Cowley is more 'mentor', giving Bodie someone he can trust to download on, without having to worry about losing face. Someone he's not afraid to be weak in front of. I think with Doyle sometimes, they're still butting heads and testing each other's strength.

I can see that as a relationship, slash or otherwise, between them.

They make sense as a pair, similar backgrounds, both have a sense of humour, both have a brain and a mutual respect each for the other. But the first time I read a Bodie/Cowley I was traumatised.

Maybe because Cowley's so complete you find yourself believing he sprang fully formed into being? Was always a crusty, Machiavellian, ruthless old bastard? It's hard to imagine him having a softer side? [8]

I think Cowley is a great character, i love writing him. But I can't see him wanting Bodie at all. Sure, he's fond of him--and he's fond of Doyle, too, as evidenced on the show. (There's more than one caress in Need to Know.) But fondness and sexual attraction are not at all the same thing. Bodie is fond of Cowley as well, but it's a soldier/commander relationship, not a sexual/lover relationship. (This is a problem for me as I have a strong equality kink in my relationship preferences.) I have a very hard time imagining Cowley thinking it at all proper for him to have a relationship with a subordinate. Even if he felt any of that for Bodie, he'd deny himself. So, on a character level I just don't see it--for either man. And for me, well, I see scene after scene of spark/attraction/love between Bodie and Doyle, and I'm a canon-based fan. I'm obsessed with the show because of that central relationship that I see on the screen. Therefore, other pairings don't come into it at all. [9]

I'm another B/D OTP soul, and as such, share a squick or two about this particular pairing. Having said that, there are occasions within certain limits (ie. nothing explicit) where I can appreciate a persuasively written alternative pairing of this sort. I enjoy it when an author writes well enough to make me consider a scenario through their eyes. [10]