|Abbreviation(s):||Pros, Profs (Australia/NZ)|
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|External Links:||IMDB |
The Authorised Guide to The Professionals
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The Professionals is a show about Bodie and Doyle, two hard men doing a hard job, under the gimlet eye of their boss, George Cowley, the head of CI5, a semi-secret government agency that battles organized crime and terrorism in 1970s-1980s Britain.
William Andrew Philip Bodie, always referred to as Bodie, and his partner Raymond "Ray" Doyle operated from a headquarters based in London. Given their orders by George Cowley, the agents took on crimes and criminals that the police could not handle. Although their work occasionally drew them out of the city, the series was largely shot on location in London, with fast-paced action filmed on the Tube, double-decker buses, and in well-known city parks.
In 57 episodes, broadcast over 5 years, the two agents fought the Cold War and home-grown criminals too. Russian and East German spies got traded, uncovered, or killed, while Bodie (agent '3.7' starting in the second series) and Doyle (called '4.5') demonstrated their expertise as interrogators and infiltrators. However, the biggest threat confronting British home security of the day, the IRA, was never depicted in the show. In two zippy Ford Capri cars, the agents broke speed limits stopping crime, and managed to break the hearts of most women who appeared on the show, too. The rapid-fire banter between 3.7 and 4.5, coupled with a high level of physical contact between the two young leads, provided grist for the slashers' mills in the decades that followed.
The timeliness of many themes addressed by the show contributed to its extreme popularity when it first aired, and has been part of its enduring appeal. As agents on television active in the 1970s and early 1980s, Bodie and Doyle were among the first television agents to confront drug use, overdoses, and the occasional death that resulted from heroin and cocaine addiction. As young men living in a sexually liberated era, their natural machismo had to give way occasionally to female CI5 agents, double-agents, and women who simply wanted a career more than marriage [see episodes "The Purging of CI5," "Fall Girl," and "Look After Annie"]. In a world increasingly rejecting overt discrimination, the show tackled the bigotry of a central character (Bodie) and showed the reformation of his beliefs, while attacking those who turned from discrimination to racial violence ("Klansman," never broadcast in the UK). The show was one of the first to offer a sympathetic portrayal of gay men, and showed Bodie, Doyle, and their boss George Cowley combating gay-bashing ("In the Public Interest").
However, the show's greatest attractions were never the deep social issues of the time. The show capitalized upon the good looks of its two younger leading men, Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins; Doyle's wardrobe of tatty jeans and skimpy t-shirts routinely appeared on screen, and later in fanart and fanfiction, as did Bodie's elegant attire. Collins's earlier work as a hairdresser became a show gag and appeared in several fannish stories, working well with Shaw's curly hair that always seemed to need cutting (or fondling).
The immediate appeal of The Professionals fed off of other pop culture hits in the era. The prototype for the CI5 agent has to be seen as James Bond crossed with specialized police officers from another popular UK television show of the 1970s, "The Sweeney." In both cases, operatives were largely unconstrained by usual police procedures. In Bond movies and "The Sweeney" snappy dialogue kept pace with fast cars to hold audiences' attention: The Professionals used the same elements, as did the fans who used the show as a creative source. Bodie and Doyle's skills in martial arts, handling weapons, and drinking large quantities of alcohol while dropping bad puns as often as literary allusions were supplemented by the ability to drive cars fast. The agents could adopt disguises and go 'undercover' in a variety of occupations (fruit vendor, bum, sugarbeet machinery salesman) that invariably let them catch the bad guys. Their skills--in martial arts, weaponry, banter, drinking, driving fast cars, and disguises--would become the raw material of many fanfiction works in later years.
The fan-base for the Pros fandom also developed from Starsky and Hutch fandom. "The two shows were in direct competition in the same time slot on British TV - S&H was on BBC and The Pros was on ITV, I think at either 8 pm or 9 pm on a Saturday night. I had been a Starsky and Hutch fan (and S/H fan) but I took a sideways step into Pros fandom. In the early days I had to fight off a lot of criticism from people who thought of me as a Starsky and Hutch fan - I got accused of disloyalty, for a start." In 2016, one fan explained:
"The Professional is one of the oldest fandoms around, and as such I discovered it long before I got to watch a single episode of the show. Its fans were far less flighty than today when everyone changes fandoms at the drop of a hat, and put far more love and effort into their work than what we're used to these days. The resulting stories were involved and very sustaining for the readers, plus tended to cover a variety of AUs. Handsome, aloof Bodie invited introspective pieces in which the authors pierced his emotional armor and made him realize that he felt far more than simple friendship for his partner, and more emotional Doyle was often written as suffering through periods of unrequited love until his partner finally managed to catch a clue. The obvious friendship between the two of them and the difference between their personalities were more than enough to cover a multitude of sins, e.g. far-fetched plots, racial prejudices and the fact that Lewis Collins who portrayed Bodie had only a very limited amount of facial expressions. Thankfully, the whole series has been released on DVD and is finally available beyond the UK for anyone eager to watch Bodie decked out in polonecks and Doyle in the skintight jeans of his."
Professionals fandom has a long and involved history, beginning in the UK shortly after the show aired and spreading to the United States. For a complete timeline of the fandom visit The Professionals/Timeline.
Fandom History -- Personal Anecdotes
I first got hooked on the Pros in 1982, I can remember the very moment - I was watching Foxhole on the Roof the day after its first UK airing - recorded (on VHS, back in those not-so-good Olden Days) and doing the ironing - and something about it really grabbed me.
"What if, I thought to myself, passing the iron absentmindedly back and forth over the shirts, what if that one fell in love with that one and -
It took me some time to work out for sure which was Bodie and which was Doyle, and even longer that it was not C-Fifteen but CI5, but you couldn't doubt the enthusiasm, the passion, the enormous thrill and deep emotional joy I got from considering these two men and their strange bleak world.
I had 'form' in the world of fictional gay love, having been into K/S for sometime, and through it I had met a very good friend, ET, who lived near me. She had already noticed the boys and the slash potential, and she was a friend of O Yardley's, who very kindly invited us and about ten others to her house in London when we breathlessly confessed our new obsession.
By this time most of us had a B/D story on the go, or half on the go, which we passed around at this meeting - some of those stories got finished - some didn't. As it happened some very good writers were among O Yardley's little group - HG for one, O Yardley herself obviously, ET, Rob, and others. In fact I think every single one of those people came up with a good or great story in those early years, partly because O Yardley had the idea of each of us writing a Birthday Story for everyone in the group, ie 11 stories a year from each of us, and partly because we were all in it together - inspiring each other and keeping those flames fed on a cycle of passion and euphoria.
We were not the first group of Pros slash-writers in the UK, there existed another - with which we had a rather childish, tho not-very-serious rivalry - they had come first, and, rightly or wrongly, we felt we were seen as brash young upstarts (Looking back on it, they probably thought no such thing). For some reason they called slash-Pros stories 'Hatstands' (yes, they really did.) They also had some absolutely brilliant writers in their group - the Remember Angola author, for a start, who also came up with some other absolutely shattering and heartrendingly powerful classics, but we did not mix much, and kept to O Yardley's group by and large.
We managed several meetings a year, either at OY's (O Yardley's) house (generous, hospitable woman that she was to put up with 11 women sleeping in bags all over the house - or occasionally elsewhere. The format of our weekends together was always the same - all 12 of us piled into one small living room - raucous, energetic and bawdy conversation - lots and lots of episodes running day and night on thrice-copied and sometimes double-imaged VHS, many pauses and rewinds to ogle merest glances between the boys or favourite bits of dialogue - I don't think any of us really ever understood the actual plots but we could quote all the slashy moments word for word.
When we weren't watching, or sitting round OY's dining table eating something hot and delicious from a large casserole dish that seemed to be on the go from dawn till dusk, we were writing - passing scraps and notes around for comment - sometimes people would be sitting there waiting with barely-concealed impatience for HG's pen to reach the foot of a page of Rediscovered in a Graveyard - in longhand! at which moment they would snatch it and scan it and sigh with joy and beg her to write quicker and pass it on to the next in line.
We didn't get much sleep at these weekends. During one of them I was in the bunk on top of HG. Trying not to wake the six others in the room we tossed ideas up and down between the bunks and came up with Two in a Bunk plus a story written all in letters, her taking the part of Bodie and me of Doyle, which we wrote back and forth by post once we were back at home. (What was it called now? lord, I have forgotten.)
Email would have been handy! not to mention PCs - everything was written in longhand, then on typewriters, with three carbons. I sometimes marvel that our stories ever flowed or shone at all, given that in these days of WORD a first draft can be endlessly picked at it, changing a word here and there, polishing and editing and refining over and over - something just not possible in those days. Once you had typed it, it was done, no more fiddling, unless you wanted to Tip-Ex out the odd word here and there.
I don't think those stories were any the worse for their crude manner of execution, and I'll always be glad I was there - right back nearly at the very beginning of Pros-slash - ah, those days, those glorious days....I remembered something else as I was sorting out enamelled frogs for the Halloween awards - in the beginning, once one had finished a 'Hatstand' and submitted it to the Head Hatstander of the Other Group and it was copied and put onto the Circuit, then one was awarded a prize - highly sought-after and very very pretty indeed - a little enamel frog which HH-er used to get from her local market. They came in different colours, I believe mine was blue. How I treasured it when it arrived in the post! I believe a frog, specifically, because of some affectionate and reverent reference to Doyle as 'frog-like' in a story? 
I had been a Starsky and Hutch fan (and S/H fan) but I took a sideways step into Pros fandom. In the early days I had to fight off a lot of criticism from people who thought of me as a Starsky and Hutch fan - I got accused of disloyalty, for a start. I had to put up with a lot of crap for even *thinking* of writing Bodie/Doyle slash at a time when other people just weren't 'seeing' it; people were really pretty unpleasant about it. I was called 'disloyal' and a 'traitor' because The Pros was considered to be 'a low British copy' of S&H. They both showed in the same time slot on a Saturday evening IIRC so if you did not have a VCR you had to choose; it was as simple as that. I suspect that winter 1980 was when I made my choice. In those days we did not have a VCR and I would not have been writing anything without the direct inspiration of a recent episode." 
The earliest list I have (which dates from about 1981, so the stories had probably been in existence for a while), gives Powerplay as the first Hatstand (B/D) story written and its sequel Deathgame. Both were by Stuartsky. The first stories I actually read were Consequences, by A.N. Other and Jane Doe and its sequels The End of An Illusion, Coldwater Morning and Two Crazy Lovers, by Stuartsky; Light of Day. The next story I read, which is also on the list and which really got me hooked, was Masquerade, by A.N. Other, which I still think is one of the best stories there's been but then I think she's a crackingly good writer. And then Cause For Concern, by Stuartsky, another first class story.'
Other stories on the list are: Aftermath (a sequel to the episode Fall Girl); Christmas Spirit (the slash version of a gen story); Shadow of a Ghost (a sequel to Painting the Clouds); Remember Angola, by Anne Lewis; Nightwatch, and a couple of spoofs - The Poofessionals by Dirk Grapple and Double Take by Anon. Work in progress on the list includes Painting the Clouds, which didn't come out till some years later, which was unfortunate, as it then seemed rather like a pale copy of Masquerade. But the author of Masquerade had written *her* story using the same premise and with the permission and encouragement of the author of Painting the Clouds, only she got it finished and circulated a lot sooner! What else out of that lot? Endgame, by A.N. Other is another story that did get circulated and Of Tethered Goats and Tigers, by A.N. Other, another first class story.
There's a note on the list saying that fans in Australia are writing feverishly. That's the very early stuff from my point of view, dating back before 1981.While the fandom was a slash one from the word go, the same authors did write some gen stories which appeared in various gen zines or as one-off stories. But after the initial flurry, it settled down to being an undercover slash fandom and really took off in the early 80s. Some fans from America were put in contact with me and sent me some of their early stuff (including Mary Sues) and the fandom seemed to get going in the USA in the mid-1980s. Ditto Australia, as well as in the UK.
I'm not sure about how far back you want to go for the Good Old days . I do know that when I first started in fandom in the 70s and 80s, the only place I could get fanfiction or art was through other fans that I met at cons. The slash stuff was underground. By that I mean that I had to ask about it and it was in a box under the dealer's table or in the dealer's room. It was not out and proud by any means. Most of the slash stuff I saw was at SciFi cons where it was mainly Star Trek and B7. Pros was very hard to find.
When I first came online in '98, I was overwhelmed with the treasure trove of choices in nearly every fandom, but especially Pros. It was everywhere, archives and individual pages. You could also order your zines online. It still took a while to get them, but not nearly as long as before. Eventually we got to the point where you could have digital CDs full of fanfiction!!!! And the archives, OMG, what a real gold mine of stories! There are still some zines that are not online, but you do have access to them through different sources. You can track down the vendor or even the writer sometimes to get a copy. Or you can have a fellow fan loan it to you.
The fandom itself has changed, too, because we went from actual letters to mailing lists to Live Journal. I much prefer Live Journal to mailing lists, but it is a different format. We don't seem to have the lively discussions we used to have or maybe I've just missed them. I'm not sure.
Personally, I like the changes. I love the immediate access. Changing to a digital format also means that I can read that fanfic on my Kindle or other eReader, and I'm not stuck reading it off the computer. I can download and keep hundreds of stories immediately instead of waiting 8-12 weeks for a paper zine.
For me the progression to online has been a joy and a positive change. I wouldn't have connected to a lot of my online friends without using the internet, communities, email. For me the only big negative is that there are a lot less zines being published. The costs are often prohibitive considering how available stories are now.... [snipped]
I agree that fandom does seem more open than it once was. I actually stopped writing Pros because of attacks about my stories or my desire for warnings on fic. Some earlier fen could be quite aggressive in their opinions, especially if you wrote Bodie/Cowley instead of their OTP.I think now that I'm older and having been in other, more welcoming fandoms, I might have handled the Pros comments with more grace than I did then. I do think things are calmer and much more inviting than they used to be. 
Fandom, and even Pros fandom is a lot more fractured today than it was, although it also was never the "one big fandom" that people sometimes implied or thought it was, either. There were always factions. The first big Pros-specific listserv was a faction that broke away from a multi-fandom listserv. That sounds like Pros fen went off to have their own discussion, but in fact part of the move was people who didn't like the Pros conversations they were engaging in on the big listserv. Ah, fandom. *g*
At any rate, more to your point, I did come in to Pros fandom when "everyone" seemed to at least talk about the same "big" writers --Sebastian, HG, O Yardley, MFae, many more. It seemed like everyone had read the stories. Perhaps that was because ProsLib was also getting its start then, and so much was readily shared that way. Nowadays, I'm not at all sure people have read the same stories that I have read. I don't think we really have "big" names that you could sort of predict that story conversations would center around.
Even stories like "Consequences"...can they have the same impact they did originally? Lots of argument about it, lots of "fixes"; enough knowledge in the fandom that one could make references to it without being explicit about it. I don't see that sort of thing happening anymore--reaction stories, stories that talk to one another. And, perhaps as a consequence, I don't think "fanon" is as strong as it once was. I don't see stories today references "The Game", of instance. And I don't know if newer readers are lost when they see those references in the old stories. Although we do still tend to see Doyle having green eyes... *g*
Anyway, yes, I do think fandom has changed--more fractured, more open in many ways. And that last bit is a good thing, I think. I don't see as many "you can't write them like that" comments as once there was.... [snipped]I do think there was a learning curve with netiquette, and we were grappling with it as we went along. Big Name Fans, I think, still exist, but it's now like it was. Part of that had to do with power dynamics--BNF controlled some zines, controlled some mailing lists back in the day when it was hard to create lists. They actually could silence voices, at least to a certain extent. (People were banished from mailing lists, for instance.) Nowadays...no. I'm sure there are cliques, I'm sure some people throw their weight around, but the very phenomenon of online fandom means that people can find other like-minded people. No one controls anything. *g* 
One of the earliest online websites for The Professionals was Janice's Pros Gallery which went online in 1995. It hosted mainly photos and images of the actors. An archived copy from 1998 can be found here. Alexfandra also maintained a website with an episode guide, actor's bios, fan art and a fandom primer. A copy of the website from 1997 can be found here.
In 1992, Pros slash fan Sandy Herrold co-founded Virgule-L the first slash mailing list. While the list was multi-fandom Pros was a main focus on discussion. In 1992, Sandy Herrold and Megan Kent, along with members of the mailing list, wrote two Pros Primers and the Pros Slash FAQ to help recruit new Internet fans.
Beginning in 1996, the fandom had a second resurgence as new fans found the online fandom.
In Aug '96, LoreleiF (not Anne Higgins or Deb R.) created an e-mail discussion group for The Professionals. This list became the CI5 List -- the first list to split off from Virgule-L. Shortly after its creation, the mailing list became the subject of a heated discussion on Virgule-L about Anne Higgins having the audacity to rewrite the ending to a Sebastian partner betrayal story Catharsis and post it.
Though smaller than it was in days gone by, the rumors of Pros fandom's death have been exaggerated; Pros is still going strong. As of today, it is fairly well integrated across zine-based fandom, list-based fandom, and livejournal-based fandom. A weekly newsletter started in 2007 and continues to be distributed: its editors attempt to gather links to all Pros news, including fannish productivity like art, stories, vids, and icons, regardless of their originating location. In 2010, The Professionals fandom hosted its first Big Bang challenge here, at CI5 Box of Tricks.
The fandom has always been slanted heavily toward slash, although gen has also always had a presence. Gen stories tend to be case stories, although sometimes friendship stories or curtainfic crops up. Het is relatively rare. The primary OTP is Bodie/Doyle, which accounts for the vast majority of the fanfic in the fandom. Other slash pairings include Bodie/Cowley, Doyle/Cowley (rare), and Bodie/Murphy (a recurring character). Doyle/Murphy is another rare pairing, but Bodie/Doyle/Murphy is a recurring menage a trois.
Other roles that the two main leads played are considered fair game in Pros fandom, and it's not unusual for stories about those characters to be included in Pros archives or zines, either in a crossover with Pros or on their own. The most common other sources (in no particular order) are:
- The Chief
- Codename: Wildgeese
- Ladder of Swords
- Who Dares Wins
- Judge John Deed
- Jack the Ripper
- Robin of Sherwood
- George Gently
In the US, the first Pros stories were circulated by hand, mailed from person to person. Eventually these were gathered into the Circuit Library, a huge collection of individual stories that could be requested, 10 at a time, and kept for 2 weeks to read or copy. During the 1990s, amid some controversy, fans began scanning and typing these stories into electronic text files, to preserve them. These were distributed via mailing list, and an annual CD collection (in which stories were not just added but also sometimes deleted from year to year, at an author's request). Eventually, stories from the mailing list/CD collection became partially available online at the Circuit Archive. Some authors have requested that their stories not be included in the online Circuit Archive, making the CD collection indispensable for the devoted Professionals fan. The mailing list, annual CD collection, and the Circuit Archive continue to be updated; the Circuit Archive makes older stories available on the web, along with newer stories. The Circuit Archive is searchable by author, story title, 'zine, publication date, story pairing, genre, and combinations of all these elements, making it one of the most thoroughly accessible story archives in fandom. It can even be searched by story ratings (e.g., NC-17) that were added by the Circuit Archivist; the majority of Pros authors have consistently refused to "rate" their stories, unlike other fandoms.
As of 2010, the UK-based Circuit Library is still active, distributing printed stories to its subscribers via the post. The US circuit stopped operating around 2001. By that time, over 3,800 stories had been written by fans all over the world. This number included both circuit stories as well as fanfiction published in fanzines.
In 2009, fans attempted to recreate a list of the first circulated The Professionals stories with information gained from some early Pros fans. These stories had originally made their way to America via the "paper circuit".
- Power Games (aka Powerplay) by SJ (AKA Sue Stuart)
- Death Games (sequel to Power Games) by SJ
- Two Crazy Lovers by SJ
- Remember Angola by Anne Lewis
- Aftermath by PD
- Painting the Clouds by Calliope
- The Poofessionals by Dirk Grapple
Additional circuit and other stories can be found under the Pros FanFiction Category here.
A fan in 2011 wrote: "I can see myself at 80 still working my way through the Pros archives." 
Episodes of Pros inspired countless prequels, sequels, and interpretive stories that went behind a few lines of dialogue, or linked together disparate eps revealing hidden patterns--that observant fanfic writers had pieced together--while filling in gaps. Crime lords, drug dealers and international terrorists populate fanfiction, just as they crowded the screen. Unlike the series, however, authors routinely stretched the characters to take new directions, some logical, others less so. In fiction, Bodie and Doyle could "take down the IRA" or tackle cases that would be too convoluted for television viewers who were limited to only 50 minutes a week of CI5. Case stories, in which Cowley gave the Lads a problem to solve and the fic revolved around capturing a bad guy, abound in early and current Pros fandom; most writers have been inspired to try to write new and better adventures for the agents.
Another major genre of Pros fanfiction has been hurt/comfort, in which one or both men were physically or mentally injured, to the point of needing both medical attention and some good 'ole TLC. For men who canonically confronted danger on a daily basis, it isn't hard for authors to fabricate threats that would injure Bodie or Doyle! Pros also has quite a few stories that turn on the supposed death of one of the partners; until told otherwise, one agent can mourn the other one who is presumed dead, but really isn't. Sometimes the death has been faked by criminals or terrorists; very rarely, it is faked by Bodie or Doyle.
Just as some writers pushed Bodie and Doyle into ever more threatening situations, other authors were inclined to see them safe and secure. Curtainfic has always been a major area of activity in the fandom, with Bodie and Doyle cooking, cleaning, and keeping house together, either as active agents or in retirement. A host of writers have explored Doyle and Bodie's lives 20 or 30 years after, imagining them as gardeners, cooks, and contented ex-civil servants. These (typically) home based stories are sometimes referred to as "Older Lads" tales, and those with less dramatic tension and more domestic placidity might be considered a sub-genre of curtainfic.
And last but hardly least, Pros has been, almost from the start, a veritable beehive of activity for AU authors.
A Fandom that Began with Slash
- "I've also always wondered why we all seemed to skip the 'preliminary' B&D phase of writing, and went right into B/D (I'm not condemning anyone—I started out the same way!) In S&H fandom, there were TONS of 'straight' zines, and we all went through that very vital period of development before delving into S/H - why the same thing wasn't done in B/D fandom, I still can't understand. The amount of published 'straight' B&D stuff has been negligible - why? Why have most of us in this fandom just ignored that phase of development?" 
- "As far as straight stories go — I've been writing Pros for about five years now, and almost all of the material I've done has been straight stories. But, because in the beginning, there was practically NO market for such things, as Agent 6.2 pointed out in her History of the Circuit, people either tended to write straight stories only for their own amusement (my case), or turned to writing "/" because that's where the audience was." 
- "I'm not sure you're right about this fandom beginning with "/". That may have been the case the U.S. but I have a feeling there were straight zines over here [UK] although I don't have any of them." 
AUs and The Professionals
Pros has more fanfic AUs than most fandoms of the 1980s and 1990s, taking the characters from ancient Greece to the French Revolution to outer space and everything in between. Bodie and Doyle have been turned into elves, pirates, fairy tale characters, Tarzan and Jane (... ish), rabbits, cats, mermen, selkies, novelist and librarian, robot... You name it, there's a good chance Pros did it as an AU 15 or 20 years ago. The 'zine series Other Times and Places featured many AU Bodie/Doyle stories
A Fandom of Exacting Standards?
A 2002 issue of Discovered in a Letterbox asked its readers if Pros was a fandom that "ate its young." The answers were varied.
In answer to the question as to whether Pros fans eat their young and Pros is not a fandom for wimps, I would have to say that, sadly, I agree. Maybe to say that it eats its young is going a little too far, but it is certainly not a fandom for wimps.
Pros fandom is a hard-hitting fandom. I do not find it a terribly comfortable fandom to be in as a fandom, yet on an individual correspondence level I love it, and it is my main fandom without a doubt, leaving my other one almost paling into insignificance... I have not remained a lurker, but one of the sad things I have found is that a number of people are afraid to express the things that I tend to (that is to stand up for the more gentle side of fandom) on a list, preferring to write to me personally to say, 'I agree with you, but I dare not say so.' That to me is really, really sad, and surely not what fandom is/should be about?
One of the consequences of this kind of thing [strident comments by certain fannish faction] is that people from other fandoms tend to think that the vocal minority speak for the whole of Pros fandom - and nothing could be further from the truth. I suspect a large majority of Pros fans are not on lists and many are not even online. Many, I know, have abandoned the larger open lists because they consider the atmosphere on them to be (and I quote) 'poisonous.' I'm not sure I would go that far! But it does seem to me to be a shame that we have somehow frightened away the people who are perhaps less confident and less strident, and as a result their contributions have been lost.
... much of Pros slash stayed on the UK side of the pond for a while due to a variety of factors, not the least of which being that it wasn't aired in the US to any accessible degree. What videotaped material did finally arrive on US shores was so degraded in quality that most US fen had to take fanfic as canon regarding eye color or small scene details. And, as with all other randoms, early Pros slash fanfic was painfully difficult to distribute because of the level of technology at the time. US fans were dependent almost entirely on written material to fuel their obsessions. And the written material that did make it over tended to be of high enough quality to make the effort of exporting and importing it worthwhile. (These are gross generalizations. Exceptions abound.) Further, distribution was controlled by a few "fen centers" where material undoubtedly underwent more sifting. (My conjecture only - not based on known fact.) The result was a body of work composed of reasonably literate material at the down end and incredibly fine writing at the top.
Zines and Fic
Most of the fiction in the fandom started out in print, either in the Circuit Library or in zines. Pros zines consist of both one-shots and series; the original Hatstand Archive includes a masterlist of slash zines in the fandom. Fanlore maintains its own comprehensive fanzine lists (including cross-overs and multimedia fanzines with significant Pros content) at List of Professionals Fanzines.
One of the more controversial series of slash (and hurt/comfort) zines is the five-volume Gentle on My Mind (GoMM), written by Jane of Australia and published by Jane's press, Nuthatch. (Eventually a sixth volume was written, by Dana Jeanne.) The first volume had Doyle involved in a serious accident that left him badly injured, including permanent brain damage. The remainder of the series involved his recovery and new life, with Bodie but no longer an agent with CI-5. This is definitely a series that people either really love or really dislike, based on the premise and Jane's handling of it, and it comes up in conversations on Pros mailing lists and communities every couple of years.
Some of these stories later became zines.
- Consequences, by Tarot and AN Other which sparked around a dozen sequels as well as one of the fandom's most enduring bits of fanon. 
- Of Tethered Goats and Tigers by Tarot, a solid, well-plotted case story that starts from a slightly AU premise (it branches off from canon) and deals with a popular Pros trope: the idea of Bodie and Doyle being groomed by Cowley to jointly take over CI-5 after he retires.
- Waiting to Fall by Rob, the longest standalone story in the Circuit Library, also known as "Waiting to Fuck".
- Master of the Revels by H.G., illustrated by Suzan Lovett - based on a Martin Shaw TV series, Facelift, in which he played a magician in a strange dystopian society.
- Be My Valentine (Pros story), by Gwyneth Rhys
- Category:The Professionals Fanfiction, articles on individual stories on Fanlore
Notable Zine Novels/Novellas
- Classified by Adela Kingsbury & Amy A. Morgan, published by Keynote Press. First published as separate sheets of paper 'taken from a CI5 security file' that tracked the evolution of Bodie and Doyle's evolving relationship. 100+ pieces of paper in folder (thankfully numbered for order) included artwork allegedly drawn by Doyle, coffeecup rings left by other agents, and Cowley's interpretation of the papers. Later published as a bound zine.
- Flesh and Steel Series by Jane of Australia, published by Nuthatch. A set of three novels where Ray Doyle is a vampire and Bodie is a werewolf. Obviously AU.
- Fruit of the Spirit by Cherilyn, published by Gryphon Press.
- Gentle on My Mind by Jane of Australia, published by Nuthatch. A five-volume zine series (later expanded to six volumes by Joana Dey) about a brain-damaged Doyle and his and Bodie's new life together; one of the more controversial zines in the fandom.
- Harlequin Airs by Ellis Ward, lavishly illustrated by Suzan Lovett; a (highly unrealistic but very fun) circus AU
- The Hunting by Jane of Australia, a five-zine elf AU that helped to define elves in the fandom for years
- Jigsaw Puzzle by HG, published by Gryphon Press. Noteworthy for its depiction of Bodie and Doyle from the day they met through many years of partnership, and the running joke that they play on Cowley.
- The Larton Chronicles by Rhiannon published by Gryphon Press, a five-part AU that people either love or hate; there's no CI-5 here at all, and it's all about country living.
- Never Let Me Down by Shoshanna, published by Manacles Press. Among the few 'zines that depict the variations that exist in what gay men prefer during sex, and the up-and-down qualities of an evolving gay love affair in which both characters are closeted.
- Paper Flowers by Kitty Fisher novel published by Gryphon Press - AU in which Doyle is a hooker.
- Redemption by Kate MacLean, published by Gryphon Press. A Post Show story in which both agents marry and are separated for a time--inspires strong adore it/hate it reactions!
- Up to Standard by M. Krause, one of the few full-length, gen, case-based novels in the fandom
- Whisper of a Kill, by Lois Welling, beautifully illustrated by Suzan Lovett; an AU in which Bodie plays a hit-man who gives up his profession to join CI5
Notable Zine Anthologies
- The three ...As a 3 Pound Note zines published by Oblique Press, featuring the stories of M. Fae Glasgow
- British Takeaway 1-5, a rare gen, het and slash series, edited by Kate Nuernberg
- Guilty Pleasures, a bondage-oriented zine
- The Motet, Variation, and Night Music series, published by Keynote Press
- The Roses and Lavender series, published by Allamagoosa Press
- The Unprofessional Conduct series, primarily slash, published by Gryphon Press
- The Hatstand Express, a letterzine originally published in Australia in the 1980s, then in the US until about --. THE had notable contributors from the UK, Australia and the US. It published stories, poems and letters from fans (some of which are of historical significance, e.g. founding of the US circuit library).
- Short Circuit, a peripatetic Pros letterzine originally pub'd by Lyn Harrild in England, then by Linda Terrell in Florida in the early '90s, then by Joanne Keating in Australia. It also printed reviews and v. short fic.
- Be Gentle With Us, a UK Pros letterzine (does anyone know where the name came from?) in the '90s
- Cold Fish and Stale Chips by Kate Nuernberg in the early '90s; a multiple-Huggy winner, half letterzine and half writing seminar.
- Tea for Two, a mid '90s letterzine (not to be confused with Alexandra's Tea for Two Pros novel)
- Discovered in a Letterbox, a UK letterzine, 1997-2002
- Mixed Doubles (1984-June 1989) -- half Pros, half Starsky & Hutch
- Category:The Professionals Gen Zines
- Category:The Professionals Slash Zines
- Category:The Professionals Zines, non-fiction zines
- there are many multimedia zines with Professionals content
Pros fanart traditionally consisted mainly of zine covers and zine illustrations, with some pieces done for art shows and art auctions at conventions. Among the many artists who created stunning likenesses of Bodie and Doyle were TACS, KOZ, Karen River, and Shelley Butler. Bodie and Doyle have been portrayed in cartoon form many times by K. Eaton and Jane Mailander. These days, art is also being produced and posted online, with numerous innovations made possible by technology. Bodie, Doyle, and Cowley have appeared as backdrops on monthly calendars or in 100x100 pixel icons used at social networking sites like livejournal. Likenesses of 3.7 and 4.5 have also turned up on fannish t-shirts, coffee mugs, computer mouse mats and keychains.
Possibly the most prolific Pros artist has been Suzan Lovett, who illustrated many Pros zines. Some of her work has been uploaded to the Circuit Archive along with the stories they illustrated, and can be found here. Since 2000, an extremely active Pros artist has been Lorraine Brevig, whose artwork has graced the covers of numerous Pros zines.
There have been a lot of Pros vids made over the years, most of them during the VCR vidding era, particularly by Mary Van Deusen, Deejay, and the Media Cannibals. Some of those can be found online now, hosted at the Circuit Archive along with more recent vids by vidders including PR Zed, Lithiumdoll, Justacat, Bistokidsfan, Ancasta, and Josey .
Several of the early Pros vids, originally made on two VCRs with copies of copies (of copies) of tapes as source, have been remastered in recent years, using new DVD source for footage. Justacat has been instrumental in this, remastering several vids for the Media Cannibals along with Gwyneth Rhys, and making them available on a disc that Gwyneth produces.
Vids to look for:
- Too Long a Soldier - Deejay: A Bodie vid that is impressive for its dark emotion, but especially known for its incorporation of non-canon video to tell its story.
- Alone - Mary Van Deusen: A Bodie vid that was renowned for making Doyleys cry.
- A Fire Is Burning - Media Cannibals: Noted for its superfast cutting, unprecedented in VCR vidding, and emphasis on the show's action.
- Detachable Penis - Media Cannibals: Perennially popular look at the series' phallic imagery and emphasis on guns and their connection to masculinity. Some people have interpreted the vidder motivation as being a critique against gun violence in series of the era; however, the vidders had no such intent, and actually enjoy that imagery immensely.
- I Know You're Out There Somewhere by kat-byrd - This vid combines original Professionals footage along with footage from later programmes in which one of the main actors appeared, to present the idea that an older Doyle is searching for his former partner.
- Thirty Years of Sunshine by Crimson - This vid, produced for the 30th anniversary of the show in December 2007, combines favourite clips suggested by fans with a hauntingly beautiful song: "You will not be forgotten, you will not be alone."
Category:The Professionals Vids for articles about Pros fanvids on Fanlore.
- The Circuit Archive -- hosts fanfic, fanart, and vids
- The Hatstand -- hosts fanfic and a variety of Pros resources, including essays, reviews, story lists by category, a list of zines, lists of vids, etc. Closed to new fanfic submissions, but continues to accept non-fiction resources.
- The Automated Hatstand -- the sister site of the Hatstand, for new story submissions.
In 2013, a fan posted: "All older fandoms have this problem of losing fic on the net as the years pass and smaller, single-owner archives disappear. I would love to see more of the previous Pros writers archiving their work at AO3; I would love that so much. Or even if someone could get permission from one or more of them to do the actual work of formatting and uploading, just so we could have that (almost certainly guaranteed) back-up. But we are extremely lucky in Pros to have Proslib and the CD! Another of my older fandoms--not quite as old as Pros, but suffering the same problem of good previous writers' work not being archived at AO3--doesn't have anything similar to Proslib, so if a site disappears, the stories are just gone." 
Lists and Communities
- CI5alltheway (list) dsicussion (slash) (inactive)
- CI5 Box of Tricks (comm) -- Home of the Fandom's Big Bang Challenge
- Discovered in a Livejournal (comm) -- fanwork challenges
- PROSfanfic (list) -- fanfic (gen-only)
- Proslanguage (list) -- discussion, language help
- Proslib (list) -- fanfic
- Pros-Lit (list) -- discussion
- ProsSlash (list) -- discussion (slash-only)
- ProsStoryfinders (list) -- story finder list
- Tea and Swiss roll (comm) -- Fun for fans of the Professionals. Fiction, fan art, vids, tea time chat.
- The Professionals Lounge (comm) -- discussion, reference works (cars, eps, weapons, characters), fanfic (gen-only)
- The Safehouse (comm) -- discussion, fic, art, vids
- Palelyloitering (website) -- gen and slash zine and author list
- The Daily Professionals (tumblr) - a tumblr blog
Notable Authors and Artists
- Anne Higgins
- Courtney Gray
- Ellis Ward
- Kitty Fisher
- Helen Raven
- Jane of Australia
- Jane Carnall
- Kate Maclean
- Meg Lewtan
- M. Fae Glasgow
- O Yardley
- Pamela Rose
- Suzan Lovett
- Two Pros Primers, Archived version written for new slash fans in 1992: one by Sandy Herrold, one by Megan Kent
- Bodie/Doyle Ship Manifesto written by Justacat in 2005. Part Two. Also archived here.
- The Hatstand Professionals slash zines Master List
- How a Professionals slash writer disrupts readers' expectations by Sharon Wheeler (2012)
- comment by Sue S at byslantedlight's LJ, October 21, 2009
- the professionals fan fiction - recommendations by Allaire Mikháil, accessed March 18, 2016 .
- post to the Hard Facts Forum; WebCite
- Sue S at byslantedlight's LJ
- Pros Fandom History - post the third... dated Oct 2009; webCite.
- comment by Istia at Random Thursday; archive link, October 1, 2015
- spelled "Gold Old Days" in the original post, corrected by the poster to "Good Old Days" in a subsequent post
- The Good Old Days...I've been wondering...
- The Good Old Days...I've been wondering...
- See for example "Pure Poison."
- A lengthy, linked set of stories featuring this pair are Jane Mailander's "Land Bridge" works.
- Results from an informal survey of fans done in 2001. Source: Morgan Dawn's personal notes, accessed March 5, 2001.
- blueamaranthe, Reviewing Prosdom's Earliest Stories, September 11, 2009; WebCite
- 2011 comments at How did you get into Pros fandom?
- One such 'linked' story using fragments from multiple episodes is "Bonding" by Stew, in the 'zine Concupiscence 2.
- a comment in The Hatstand Express #7
- a comment in The Hatstand Express #9
- a comment by O Yardley in The Hatstand Express #17
- "Tarot" is the name this author chose to use on the online versions of her Professionals stories, and is the name they're archived under. Please don't correct it to an earlier, print version.
- See Professional Dreamer covers and interiors.
- Incredible black on black Bodie portrait in Chalk and Cheese 14.
- See her simply wonderful black and white illo of Doyle in Playfellows 8.
- istia at here; reference link
- reference link; reference link.
- WebCite Part 1 and WebCite Part 2.