The Professionals was a British-made crime drama broadcast by ITV from 1977-1983. The show chronicled the operations of the fictional government agency CI5 [Criminal Intelligence 5], which was tasked with law enforcement duties beyond the purview of the regular police, but which did not necessarily come under the authority of either the British military or MI-5 (the domestic security service).Ã‚ CI5 agents would be granted flexibility in their operations, allowing for frequent use of violence and other extralegal, unconventional activities.
The show focused on the adventures of two CI5 operatives: William Bodie (played by Lewis Collins) and Ray Doyle (Martin Shaw). Bodie and Doyle, in the tradition of cop shows, are temperamental opposites brought together in an unlikely partnership. Bodie is a former SAS paratrooper- tough, hard and ruthless, more willing than Doyle to bend the law and adopt the methods of the criminals he hunts. Doyle, on the other hand, is a former police detective, more open-minded and liberal than his partner but at the same time more impulsive. The two are supervised by CI5 director George Cowley (Gordon Jackson).
In the course of the show, Bodie and Doyle faced a number of different enemies, reflecting the flexible nature of CI5's mandate: episodes might involve spies, drug dealers, terrorists, or various other adversaries. The series is also marked by the contentious friendship between Bodie and Doyle, which attracted many fans to the show and had a major impact on the creation and development of [i]Professionals[/i] fan fiction. It is this relationship that led to The Professionalsbecoming the first fandom that was founded specifically as slash-based.
While popular enough during its initial run, the series was criticized by some for what was seen as excessive violence, as well as for occasional usage of sexist and racist terms. The Professionalsended production in 1981, although episodes continued to be broadcast through 1983. An attempt in 1999 to update the show with a new series, CI5: The New Professionals, lasted a mere 13 episodes.
This collection contains fanzines and individual examples of fan fiction relating to the British crime drama The Professionals. Most of the collection is composed of fan fiction - short stories, novellas and entire novels. A large percentage of this fan fiction is "slash", that is, fiction that concentrates on sexual relationships between two or more characters of the same sex.
Series I in this collection is comprised of materials fromThe Professionals Circuit Library. The Circuit Library (also known as the Circuit Archive) is a singular form of fannish creative association, that for The Professionals fans actually predates the creation of more typical zines. In a standard fanzine distribution, a fan or group of fans will write, edit and publish a fanzine, and the publication will be printed and made available for sale. With The Professionals fandom, things began much more informally. Fans would place their stories 'on the circuit'. That is, they would write their stories and then produce photocopies; the copies would then be circulated among one another via standard mail. In time, certain fans began collecting copies together into 'circuit libraries'. Interested fans could become members of these informal lending libraries, and would receive titles on request, which they could read and /or photocopy and then return to the library. Although, in time, The Professionals fans began producing zines in the same ways that other fans did, much of the fanfiction remained (and remains) on the circuit.
By the late 1980s, two large circuit libraries were in place: one in Great Britain, and another in the United States. They enjoyed considerable overlap in their contents, but because of geographical distance and the informality of circuit distribution did not duplicate each other. In the early 1990s, as zines started entering the electronic era, fans began working to convert the vast number of paper stories into an electronic format that would encourage and increase access (as well as help preserve the much-used paper originals). In 1996, the Circuit Library went online and continues to periodically increase its contents with new stories. The Circuit Library, sprung from humble beginnings, now holds more than 1000 individual stories, which form the backbone of The Professionals creative fandom.
To quote Morgan Dawn, the donor of the collection, "the circuit library in the Professionals fandom is a unique tradition of women writing and sharing fan fiction (often anonymously) without going through the editorial and fanzine publication process. In many ways, it is the precursor to the fan fiction on the Internet where people would read a story, photo-copy it and send it on to someone else, and then write a response story, copy that and mail it on in an endless flow...and because The Professionals was a UK show, you have the unique situation where this communication was crossing both cultural and geographic barriers."
Learn more about the Circuit Library (Circuit Archive) and its contents at http://fanlore.org/wiki/Circuit.
*Note: The materials in Series I are maintained in the same assemblage and order in which Morgan Dawn kept them. Stories from a particular author (or group of authors) or those comprising a particular series were collected in binders by Dawn; each binder was given an informal title which has been retained here. Individual stories for each binder (now each folder) are listed in italics under the general title of each story collection. Other stories, not tied to a particular collection, were individually bound (now individually foldered).
In addition, Series I contains several paper indexes to the various Circuit Library stories. There are also two CD-ROMs on which are stored (arranged in various fashions - i.e. alphabetically by title, author, genre, etc.) electronic versions of the CL's contents. The "Slash Fanfiction Archive 2010", in addition, contains a large variety of supplemental The Professionals reference documents, including episode transcripts, scripts, lists of episode titles and writers, fan-authored articles on the show, and scanned photographs and sound files.
Series II consists of more typical fanzines, although many are photocopies of the originals (suggesting that at least some of them existed originally on the circuit). A few are multimedia anthologies, containing stories that chronicle other media universes as well as The Professionals.