Mr. Doyle's Neighborhood Series

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The Professionals Fanfiction
Title: Mr. Doyle's Neighborhood Series
Author(s): Kate Nuernberg
Date(s): 1985-1992
Length:
Genre: slash? gen?
Fandom: The Professionals
External Links:

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Mr. Doyle's Neighborhood Series is a Professionals series of stories by Kate Nuernberg. It is a long-running crossover between The Professionals, and The Good Life (aka Good Neighbors), a British sitcom set in Surbiton.

All of the main stories are in British Takeaway, with a couple supplementary stories in Cold Fish and Stale Chips.

Gen or Slash?

Many fans consider these stories to be pre-slash or slash. See comments at British Takeaway for more detail.

According to a 1990 interview, the author considers them gen. See Hatstand Express Interview with Kate Nuernberg.

The Series in Order

"The Story So Far"

Printed in 1989 in "British Takeaway" was a summary of the series "so far":

During a raid on a terrorist stronghold, Ray Doyle was shot in the leg. Because the bullet shattered his right thighbone, he spent several months flat on his back in traction, and then more hospital time getting physiotherapy. Although he now walks with a simple cane, he still gets therapy regularly, and doesn't know when he'll be done with either.

During his long hospital stay, he converted a reluctant George Cowley to a recent ambition that was impossible before his injury — a house of his own. Now he owns a two storey house in Surbiton, and has all the usual problems of a first-time home owner, plus a few unique ones of his own.

His neighbours are rather unusual. Tom and Barbara Good are disciples of self-sufficiency, to the extent that he has quit his job and they are raising crops and animals in their garden in suburbia. They have a goat, two pigs, chickens, a generator in the basement, a loom in the front room, and an effluence digestor in the back garden. They barter for what they cannot produce themselves, and have reduced their lives to the "essentials".

In the house on the other side of the Goods live Jerry and Margot Ledbetter. Jerry, a former fellow employee of Tom's at JJH Limited, is now managing director of that company. Margot is a Managing Direc tor's Wife. She is very good at her job — entertaining a half dozen Japanese businessmen at a half hour's notice, singing the lead in the Surbiton Music society's latest production, and passing judgement on the street's newest resident.

Now Ray has to contend with his new housemate, a stunted, yet determined, white cat; a rotary tiller in his back garden, as Tom turns it into more farm land; Barbara and Tom's very young peapod wine; and Margot's initial certainty that he, Ray Doyle, is a Comnunist Spy (an opinion she has since come to reconsider and regret).

And then there's Bodie.

Bodie has been permanently re-partnered with Susan Harrison. He has been trying to cope with his feelings about that, his guilt over Doyle's injury, and the changes in his and Doyle's working and personal relationships. Recently confronted and somewhat enchanted with the "charms" of Surbiton while recuper ating at Ray's home from his own small injuries sus tained on the job, Bodie has also perhaps found a new basis of communication with his ex-partner.

Ray has been coming to grips with exile to "The Bowels" of CI5 -- the computer section -- under the supervision of Evan Dowling. Cowley has informed Doyle that the long range plans are to use him as a liaison between the streets and the computer teams who supply information to the agents. But Cowley, as usual, has remained close-mouthed on the full impli cations of his plan which, to Doyle, has been slow to materialise. However, the ex-agent has — somewhat unconsciously -- been proving his worth in the posi tion he has been allotted, while recovering both physically and mentally.

When Ray is sent out on the streets again for a job only he can do, he teaches himself and everyone at CI5 new lessons about his capabilities and limitations. Unfortunately, not everyone draws the same conclusions about the "success" of his mission. Ray is less than enthused, Bodie feels his ex-partner still needs time, and Cowley — well — Cowley is still watching and waiting.

And the story continues...

Some Sample Pages

From British Takeaway #4

Slash or Gen?

I know they're not, strictly speaking, slash; but the relationship between Bodie and Doyle is so intense and so intimate, they feel like slash in all but the details. And they're beautifully written.[1]
No, I don't want the Neighborhood to go slash, that's true. But it is difficult, for me at least, to function in a universe where so much of the fiction is slash and not be affected by it. Besides, couldn't two straight men, in the real world, have thoughts like this every once in a while? If readers weren't looking for and hoping for these references, they wouldn't look at them in quite the same way. Also, for the sake of some of my friends (who shall remain nameless), I have tried to turn the Neighborhood slash, even in an alternate universe sort of way. I can't write it. I seem to have a good idea, but when the point comes to jump into bed, they look at each other and say "naaaah!" I guess I just don't believe it. But I don't mind others who want to enjoy the Neighborhood in that way, and maybe even hope...[2]

About Sequels Written by Other Fans

Fans discussing whether it was acceptable to play in each others' universes touched on this series:

... it seems that the Pros library contains a lot of scenes by one author and sequels by another. Is there some sort of implicit agreement that if a story is in the library, it's okay for other people to play around in that universe? In which case, those of us with a slash orientation just have to wait for all of the Neighborhood stories to show up there before we write our own versions.[3]
Another fan responds:
I know I'm taking this example to the extreme. I wouldn't do it. But what about the new fan three years from now who doesn't know any better, and starts writing slash sequels because "it seemed to be going that way". Kate Nuernberg interjects: "For your information, the Neighborhood stories from BT#1 and BT#2 are in the library. And if you want to write slash versions of any of the Neighborhood stories, you have my permission as long as I get a copy, and it's understood that I didn't write them (which would go for any story that I didn't write).[4]

Two examples of fanworks by other fans that employ this universe are Walking Through Broken Glass and Did She Mention My Name?.

Reactions and Reviews

It's a crossover with The Good life, a British series about two couples living in Surbiton (London area). Doyle has been injured, he walks with a cane, he has to leave the active roster and goes to live in Surbiton. He still works in CI5, though. Bodie has Susan as a new partner, and that isn't easy, for any of them. It is not explicitly slash, although I would argue that there are hints and clues that could point to a resolution of the series in this direction. All the stories stand on their own, but... there is a promise of writing more, but I don't know if Kate has written more. If anyone is in touch with her, please ask! I'm pretty desperate. I love the charaaers in the series, it is very well written, subtle, things are half said, and you have to guess a lot at what is really going on there. Also, the crossover works pretty well, giving Doyle an unusual background, someone, finally, in away (excluding Bodie), to whom he can rely to, permanently. His 'hostages to fortune', as Doyle himself says. The stories vary in content, from the more intimate to the action one. I seriously recommend it.[5]

References

  1. from a fan in DIAL #6
  2. from this series' author, in Cold Fish and Stale Chips #7
  3. exchange from Cold Fish and Stale Chips #8
  4. by the author, part of an exchange from Cold Fish and Stale Chips #8
  5. from Discovered in a Letterbox #24