How a professionals slash writer disrupts readers' expectations

Sharon Wheeler

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Many of us who are over 40 remember The Professionals (1977–1983), a 1970s prime-time urban British cop show centered on a fictional law-enforcement agency called CI5, with macho leads, big guns, girlfriends of the week, and the obligatory car chases through the streets of London. It acquired a strong fannish following in the UK, the United States, and Australia, in the main because of its two appealing male leads, Bodie and Doyle. But who would guess that our two ostensibly straight heroes are really gay and living in domestic bliss in rural Gloucestershire? Or so say some of the slashers, fans who use the strong homosocial ties between these CI5 agents to extrapolate a sexual bond as well. A particular favorite of many Pros fans is The Larton Chronicles by Rhiannon, a series of five stories. This alternate universe (AU) series lifts the characters from their usual setting—the mean streets of London, where they are busy fighting terrorism—and shifts them to another time and place—a cottage in a remote Gloucestershire village, in which they live as a couple and are shown celebrating the millennium together. I explore how the series both inverts and subverts the issues of sexuality, class, and race that are touched on in the show, and it will look at Rhiannon's use of canon versus fanon and how she constructs a recognizable fannish shorthand.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransformative Works and Cultures
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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