Bodie actor opts for role in panto

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The actor Lewis Collins has turned down his old role of Bodie in the multi-million pound remake of The Professionals in favour of a starring role in pantomime.

Collins, 51, who lives in Los Angeles, has chosen to star as Danton in Beauty and the Beast at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, rather than reprise his television role as the tough cop.

His colleague Martin Shaw, who played his partner Doyle in the original series, wanted nothing to do with the new version, but Collins would have played Bodie as a senior operative in CI5.

The show was wildly popular in the 1970s and the high-profile role could have revived the actor's career in this country.

A spokesman for the series said: "After lengthy discussions with Lewis the directors agreed that because it is going to be a whole new series, they should cast a whole new set of characters. There were many reasons for his decision but we understand he wanted to do panto so he was not separated from his family for so long."

Kate Watson-Smyth