SEVENTIES TV show The Professionals is set for the big screen treatment later this year, according to the Croydon man who created the series.
Famed for its Ford Capri and star Martin Shaw's dodgy perm, The Professionals was the brainwave of Brian Clemens.
Now the former Oval Primary pupil is acting as executive producer on the big budget re-make and told the Advertiser cameras could be rolling by the end of the year.
The news comes as the 81-year-old, who also created The Avengers, returns to his home town for the premiere of his new play.
The man who cast Diana Rigg in The Avengers, said he is now searching for the next Bodie and Doyle.
He said: "It's going to be a big action movie. The script is done and now we are looking at casting. There's some big names being talked about but it's all about making sure they're available at the same time. Getting the right people is very important because the show means a lot to the fans.
"It will be set in the modern day. It's a huge task to shoot a period film and you'll always get someone complaining there's the wrong sort of phonebox used in one scene or something. The show can easily fit into the modern day.
"To any Professionals fans who are worried about the remake, can I just point out I had nothing to do with the Avengers movie in the 1990s. The less said about that the better."
Brian, who now lives Bedfordshire, said his love of words was fostered in Croydon.
He said: "I grew up in the Blitz so I missed a lot of school but maybe because of that I've always been very enthusiastic to learn and always loved reading.
"There was a teacher called Mr Coe who used to encourage me to write. He obviously saw something in my essays and used to push me to write creatively.
"I had a short story published when I was 12 in HSA magazine, which was a bit like Readers' Digest. That was the start of my career as a writer and here I am 60 years later and it's still a huge part of my life."
Literary success runs in the Clemens family. Brian added: "My uncle traced our family history and found we were linked to Mark Twain. It was very exciting but I wouldn't say it had a big influence on my work."MURDER WEAPON
BRIAN's new play, is premiering in his native Croydon.
"It's a happy coincidence" he said. "I have good memories of Fairfield Halls so I'm glad it will be shown there."
The play, which stars former Brookside actor Marcus Hutton, is an unconventional whodunnit.
Brian explained: "We start with a dead body and a man standing over him with a gun. It's clearly an open and shut case. But then the chief constable starts to investigate and they discover everything is not as it seems."
Brian said: "I'm very eager to see what people think of it. I wasn't involved in the casting but I'm very pleased with how it turned out."
Murder Weapon, which runs from July 24 to 27, is part of Fairfield Halls' Murder Mystery Season.
The season opens with Deathtrap by Ira Levin, starting tomorrow (Wednesday) and running until Saturday. The play, starring former The Bill and Coronation Street actor Stephen Beckett, blurs the lines between reality and imagination as the plot of a murder play starts to creep into real life.
Suddenly At Home by Francis Durbridge is the last instalment of the season from Wednesday, July 31 to Saturday, August 3.
Also starring Marcus Hutton, it tells the story of a man's plot to murder his wife and frame her former lover.
Tickets are available from the Fairfield box office on 020 8688 9291 or www.fairfield.co.uk priced £16. Prices are reduced when buying tickets for two or more plays at the same time.