Lewis Collins : a very under rated actor and a consummate star.
Mr Collins will always be remembered in the UK (and abroad) for his role as Bodie in The Professionals, the late '70s early '80s police show which focused on a secret department known as CI5. His performances always had an edge. Bodie was a tough ex-SAS soldier who was still adjusting to civilian(ish) life. The episodes and scenes where his character went AWOL and tested the patience of his boss Cowley (Gordon Jackson) or his partner Doyle (Martin Shaw) were always some of the most anti-establishment and helped give the series a non-conformist edge that many police shows didn't. The seventies and early eighties was a particularly fine time for shows of this type (Sweeney, Hazel, Chinese Detective) and while The Professionals tended to concentrate on action it was never at the expense of character. It lasted until 1983 because audiences enjoyed the relationship between the central pair and also their boss, who was very much like OO7's M, as well as the violence. Some of the stories still feel relevant today. The show is repeated on TV here and its fun to spot the London landmarks - some are still bomb damaged from WW2!
Lewis Collins' place in James Bond history will always be one of lost opportunities. Cubby Brocolli didn't like him and that was that. It's rather sad as - for me - Collins had everything in 1983 that Daniel Craig had in 2005. I accept he perhaps doesn't possess the gravitas, but if you look at Craig, how he responds to the camera, frames his face and expressions, holds his posture, it is remarkably similar to Collins in some of those reflective scenes in The Professionals.
We can't turn the clock back.
But we can always dream.
RIP Lewis Collins.