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B&D Character Studies - #2 - Doyle

THE PROFESSIONALS: CHARACTER STUDIES
Lil Shepherd
Ina MacAllan

This is the second of the 'character studies' that we prepared some time in 1981/82 (before the final series of The Professionals had aired). It was intended as a discussion document, and is presented here as a piece of Pros history.

Link to Part 1 BODIE: William Andrew Phillip

DOYLE : Raymond.

"With the police you became a boxing champion and a class A marksman with both rifle and handgun. You are interested in Kendo and Karate, and sufficiently interested, in fact, to have actually started a sports club..."

Geraldine Mather
'The Rack'



The known facts about Doyle's background are surprisingly few. He "came from Derby", and at the age of 15 was at school in a nearby town (ITPI). However, there is no trace of Derbyshire in his voice and his East London accent suggests that he spent his formative years in the Dockland area: "Streets where I grew up there was a 'Macklin' on every corner... was a right tearaway - cut up another kid when I was just a kid myself." (MD), and he appears to have stayed by the River, as Alan Reeves points out: "Moved up in the world...across the River...to Chelsea."(Female Factor (FF)). Doyle says he tried 'living off a rich woman', possibly after leaving school. His reasons for "joining the Force" (MD) are not clear. His beats were in rough 'ghetto' areas of London (Chinatown in 'Need to Know' (NtoK)), and he seems to have been involved in more than one police corruption case (Cowley: "You were part (of their case). Police evidence came primarily from yourself..."'H/H'), and in 1971 obtained the conviction of Haydon (Heat). He moved,into the Drugs Squad fairly quickly and was there long enough to become known (and feared) by the underworld. In ' FF' Paula sums up the attitude of his contacts: "Ray Doyle, you're a treasure. You're an unmitigated lousy, slimy, crummy bastard, but you're a treasure too." Bodie's reaction to Doyle's "When I was on the Drugs Squad," in the same episode seems to suggest that he has a fund of stories about that period, and the comment that "That's got to be at least 3 years ago," dates Doyle's final transfer to CI5 as 1974. At that time he had attained the rank of Detective Constable and he appears to have applied to join CI5 on his own initiative. He says he was "...glad to join this mob," (MD) because he was tired of catching criminals only to have them "stick two fingers up at me from the Dock." (Everest).

In addition to the pursuits listed by Mather he seems to enjoy active: (and, incidentally, expensive) hobbies: riding (WITC),motor cycling (WJ), and he is not loathe to be dragged into Cowley's fencing session where he apparently acquits himself better than Bodie (though not much, according to Cowley),(NAVCCS). Although he at one time attended life classes and apparently still does paint as he says in 'The Rack' - if we are to take Bodie's comment: "My friend here does a spot of painting and he finds the view inspiring,"" (ITPI) seriously, he now does landscapes; but there is little evidence of the fact in series. In fact he seems to have lost confidence in his talents in this direction (Doyle: "Should have been artistic...": 'IOABP'). One suspects that he has taken criticism to heart.

Doyle's major talents are his acting ability and a dogged determination to solve problems, which must have stood him in good stead as an undercover detective. He is superb at creating consistent cover identities, both when given full details of the character (be they as diverse as the South African hit man of 'Slush Fund' or the untidy and somewhat stroppy copper in 'IOABP'), and when creating a character on the spur of the moment (eg. the medical student in 'Stake Out'). He is neyer at a loss for an answer and is able to think on his feet, cf his "...post graduate student..." and "I used to be in the Marines." when challenged in 'H to N', and his smooth "Hare as in 'Burke and'." in 'DR'. He can't be tricked or shaken into blowing his cover. Even when using unfamiliar code names he never slips up (Blind Run). He subliminates his own personality completely when 'in character' and it requires a high degree of observational ability to get such character details right. He demonstrates this ability frequently: spotting and identifying the Greek cigarette and the policeman's number in 'Killer', and the bomb under the car in 'Backtrack'.

Doyle carries this attention to detail through into his detective work. Logical deduction from observation makes him conclude, for example, that Meredith could have used the phone to "summon his own executioner," in 'Stopover' and that Ann Seaford's missing fur coat makes it unlikely that she has committed suicide (FF). The same detective ability shows in trivialities. As he says to Bodie: "You haven't played. If you'd played you'd've asked for higher stakes." (Stake Out).

Doyle is a perfectionist. ("Cowley said a dozen" he insists in 'MD'). He is aware of the need for evidence to be watertight (Everest), and is dogged in his determination to find it ('Everest', 'NAVACCS', 'Heat'). Despite a professed dislike of files -in 'Everest' he says that he thought he was going to be able to leave files, paperwork and routine behind when he joined CI5 - he keeps searching them for the evidence he needs (even taking them home in 'H/H'), and must therefore have faith that the answers he wants can be found in them, (A faith Cowley shares, as witness his comments on Suzy Carter in 'Everest': "I want her - from the cradle to the grave."). The same attitude permeates all Doyle's work. He worries at a problem until he finds an answer.

He appears to believe that others will share his respect for written authority and tends to use his CI5 ID to back his actions: "If you'd care to read my authority, sir."(Old Dog). Doyle knows the 'rule book' very well, and is capable of quoting CI5 brief verbatim at his boss: "It's in the small print." (FF) , as well as police regulations (cf. his lecture to the cop in the car park about the "minimum of force needed to overcome resistance." ('ITPI')). Doyle's knowledge of police procedure is extensive, and he knows exactly how much leeway the rules allow him, and is reluctant to step over that line, even in 'IOABP'. He frequently lectures Bodie on the subject: "Police procedure here is to keep him talking." (Old Dog). He understands the exact situation inside the police station in 'Old Dog' and has no problems collecting the evidence against Bodie from police custody in 'Fall Girl'. On the other hand he will break the rules if given sufficient reason: Bodie persuades him to play the 'Billy' incident his way in 'Old Dog'; and he will even break the law if ordered to do so by Cowley.(As when they break into the house in 'Backtrack').

Doyle seems to be particularly good at work which requires manual dexterity, such as doctoring the scrambled telephone in 'Kickback' and the 'surgery' in 'WITC'. Even the recreational jigsaw in 'Slush Fund' shows it, and he is almost as fast when he draws his gun with his left hand as with his right (MD).

In spite of his career Doyle likes to believe that people are not all bad and that criminals can be reformed. His description of Ann Seaford as a 'nice' girl is not unusual for him, and he explains the use of this term for a prostitute by the comment: "...but she did have a sort of code...if it came to something really bad she was straight as a die."(FF). He has enough faith in human nature to re-open the case in 'Heat' and to give himself up in 'ITPI'. As he says: "There's got to be some good coppers out there - they're only following orders." and "...good copper. I told you. There's always one." (ITPI). As an extension of this he has an optimistic attitude to social reform (surprising for someone with his background), and is defensive about any evidence to the contrary. He is defensive when Bodie makes a disparaging comparison between Benny's wife's flat and a block he has seen in Holland: Doyle: "Social revolution...all kids make a mess when they're growing up." (Jungle), an attitude which indicates the respect he has for his country, reinforced by the patriotism of 'DR': "I've just discovered I'm married to my country." (NB. the 'and I think I want a divorce' of the book version does not appear in series.)

Doyle abhors corruption, as is obvious from his attitude throughout 'ITPI', and we suspect that this is why he was instrumental in bringing so many bent coppers to justice, and why he was glad to get off the Force and into 'incorruptible' CI5. Neither he nor Bodie consider accepting the bribe in 'Everest', and they are both sure that this attitude is shared. Certainly no one who knows Doyle ever offers him a bribe, and his honesty is recognised by all of his contacts. He seems to rely on a system of reciprocal favours to gain his information:
Paula:" What's it worth ?"
Doyle: "The favour you owe. me." (FF).

He also uses threats and even violence when need be, as in his 'interview' with Tarkos in 'Killer* where, when Bodie congratulates him: "You were great back there." he passes it off with: "...just being...offensive." Both Brownie (H/H), and Sylvester (Mickey H), also indicate that they 'owe' Doyle and are aware that he does call in favours.

He is strongly protective of his contacts. The primary example of this is Benny in 'Involvement', who is the only person Doyle is ever shown to care deeply about, possible because Benny appears to have trusted him absolutely.
Doyle: "He helped me a lot...never received or expected any kind of payment...he loved it. Bit simple..." (Involvement).

Surprisingly he does not expect this loyalty to be reciprocated, and finds it difficult to trust people (even Cowley in 'Blind Run' and 'N to K'), and he seems to almost expect to be betrayed, especially if he is in 'competition' with someone for a favour. He is aware of the code that villains will stick together, a creed which he expresses in 'Everest': "Ghetto means being able to depend on your own kind." and "Don't knock it." He really believes that 'blood is thicker than water' and accuses both Cusak (Jungle), and Tommy (Killer) with the words "He'd have to be your brother!" to taunt them out of defending their contacts. Doyle is willing to bet money (even if only 50p) that Frances will not betray her lover (H to N). In this case he has badly misjudged Prances, something that he tends to do with people, and particularly women. In almost every episode with a strong female character Doyle is completely taken in by her: Shelley (H to N), Annie, Jill (Heat), Kathie (H/H) etc. This is partly because he believes what people tell him about themselves (he sees his own personal honesty reciprocated),and partly because he categorises people. This is particularly obvious with Bodie, whom he should know far better than he apparently does. He seems to have tagged his partner as a 'cold, murdering mercenary', little different from Krivas ("You're no better than he is!" 'Jungle') or Tommy McKay ("What makes you so different?":'Heroes'). As a result of this misjudgement he is wary of trusting people - and his instincts. In his own words he "Had to be sure," of both Ann Holly (Involvement) and Bodie (Fall Girl). However, while working he trusts Bodie absolutely, for example at the end of 'Annie': Bodie: "All right, sunshine, you can pass out now." - and Doyle does.

Doyle seems to see people as being equated with problems, which is an attitude which work on the Drugs Squad can give you in double quick time. He appears to be a quite genuine idealist, but his caring is generally abstract and at arms length. He is good with people on a superficial level, he says, of Paula, "Know thy subject," (FF) and he treats her superbly, but he tends to deal with people as 'types'. A girl to be chatted up (and for CI5 too, in 'HtoN', where there is no reason to suppose that he has any real affection for Shelley), a contact to be protected or revenged (Brownie in 'H/H' or Ann Seaford in 'FF'), a superior to be respected (he generally gives Cowley far less lip than Bodie does, and far less trouble), or a nutter to be talked out of whatever horror he as about to commit (Mickey H).

There is a lot of self pity in his attitude in 'The Rack' and 'Heat': in the former Doyle is not sorry for the man who died; a crook after all - it is the principle which matters: "Any life is important; I believe that,"; what worries Doyle is that he might have committed murder, and in 'Heat' there is the same attitude: I_ might have made a mistake. I_ might have sent an innocent man to jail. It was Doyle's partner who was killed in that story, but a pretty girl can quite easily persuade him to open the case.

His attitude to the victims of violence etc. is a conventional one. He feels that he should be angry about innocent people getting hurt (eg. the golfer and his (hypothetical) family in 'Killer') and he tends to do what he sees as the 'correct' thing in these circumstances: "I just came to see if you were all right," to Ann Holly (Involvement), and arranging to see Tony Miller's mother at the end of 'Everest'. This attitude springs partly from Doyle's self-consciousness. He is easily embarrassed (particularly by Bodie, who never is; compare Doyle's reaction to being trapped with the bunch of roses in 'Fall Girl': "There's a man acting suspiciously: standing in the middle of the street holding a bunch of red roses and talking to himself..." with Bodie's playing to the bus queue in 'MWAP').

Marge is another person he finds it hard to cope with (Backtrack). This self-consciousness usually stands him in good stead as he knows how he looks to other people:
Bodie: "You see anyone acting suspiciously ?"
Doyle: "Yeah. Us." (Stake Out)

Not surprisingly in view of these characteristics, Doyle appears to be something of a loner. He has apparently had little contact with his fellow officers since leaving the Met: the woman who has not seen him since her toddler's christening is described as a 'close' friend (Runner), and he is not too happy about being left alone with the two girls in 'Fall Girl'. He is defensive about seeing Bodie while off duty: "He's not my idea of a date," (Fall Girl) but he had been doing just that, here and in MD, WITC, FF, H/H etc.

Doyle generally knows where to find his partner, even when Bodie is with a girl­friend ('CQ','Runner').

He dislikes getting involved on any level, and is always ready (sometimes too ready) to take the blame to himself if things go wrong (Bodie: "Ray'd blame him­self for the invention of gunpowder if he could." (Graveyard), a reaction which often leads to self-pity (as Bodie is aware, accusing him of "wallowing in self-pity" in 'The Rack', and making sure that he gets no chance of doing the same thing at the end of ' FF' and 'Involvement'). Doyle is almost painfully honest about his failings, both with himself, and with others: "I wasn't press-ganged into (CI5)." (Involvement), and throughout 'The Rack'.

Doyle is an idealist, (if nothing else we can take Cowley's word for it from 'Graveyard' where he says so in just those words.) "Any life is important - I believe that," he says in 'The Rack', and there is no doubt that he means every word. It is behind his hatred of corruption, and the self-searching examination of his own motives: the bitter "I'm scared of what they've done to me...to us..." (The Rack).

Doyle's major failing is his temper, which he loses very easily and for the most trivial of reasons, eg. with the bowlers in 'Stake Out', with Cusak in 'Jungle' and 3 times in 'Involvement' (although at one point. Bodie deliberately provokes him). His anger seems often to be a cover-up for hurt or rejection - for instance his reaction to the girl who walks out on him at the start of 'First Night' —-{and how revealing of his ineptitude with people that he should send a 'greetings telegram' by way of apology). It is interesting to note that it is Doyle, rather than his partner, who plays the 'hard man' role during interrogations - when that temper can be unleashed to full effect (eg. 'Long Shot').

It could be that he is a little jealous of Bodie's colourful past and utter self confidence, and that may account for his defensiveness about the police (for whom Bodie has very little time). He is certainly fiercely competitive, particularly against Bodie {cf the game of bowls in 'Stake Out',)and he even finds it necessary to cheat at 'Mastermind' in 'Hijack'. The very fact that Bodie puts up the same line twice suggests that he is quite used to this kind of tactic from Doyle. Most of his hobbies seem to demand a measurable competence: 'Class 'A' marksman', motor cycling, even playing pinball. Doyle has to win, and it is a trait which carries through into his work. He does not seem to be particularly lucky though - he'd be better off relying on his own competence rather than chance. Bodie wins all the chance deciding games in 'SoD', and although Doyle bets on horses ('SoD' and 'Heroes') he never seems to win, and the amounts involved are very small: 50p or thereabouts seems to be his standard amount, (cf 'HtoN' where the doubled stakes he offers Bodie are £1.00). Doyle does tend to be mean with money, and with his possessions : "I want that (pen) back." (First Night). He worries interminably about his pay and expenses ('First Night', 'Backtrack', and his comments about his bank manager in 'Kickback').

Doyle's reactions to Cowley and Bodie are very much governed by his attitudes to all the people he comes into contact with. He respects Cowley as a superior, and is plainly afraid for him in 'Long Shot' and 'Purging', but is willing to accept orders from a higher authority to arrest his boss ('NtoK'), and to mis­trust his motives ('Servant' and 'Blind Run'). Ray Doyle has a very suspicious mind, and his loyalty is to CI5, to the ideals of the organisation, and not to any one individual.

Bodie is a complete mystery to Doyle. He seems to have tagged him as the 'callous mercenary bastard', a view which is reinforced by Bodie's black sense of humour and his disparaging comments about himself, not to mention by his reluctance to 'open up' to Doyle (or anyone else) about his mercenary and Army experiences. For instance, in the scene in Doyle's flat in 'The Rack' , Doyle demands: "What happened to the 'look after number one' credo, then ?" of Bodie when the later has never, by word or deed, expressed any such attitude.

Doyle's own sense of humour can be rather cruel, and Bodie is frequently on the receiving end of Doyle's 'jokes' (calling Claire 'Betty' in 'Old Dog', and jerking the car door open to try and deposit a sleeping Bodie on the ground in 'Involvement') though Bodie seems to take all this in good part.

Bodie's very real affection for Doyle is not reciprocated. The most that Doyle will admit when Cowley asks him about his partner in 'CQ' is that Bodie 'gets up my nose', and he very rarely worries about Bodie (the only occasions being for a few moments in 'CQ', 'Fugitive', 'Fall Girl' and 'Blackout') and certainly not in the same way that Bodie worries about him. For example, he is completely unconcerned when Cowley tells him that Bodie is in trouble in 'DR'. On the occasions when Doyle does seem to be concerned it is generally when he is brought up short by the realisation that his partner is not immortal, as in 'CQ' where the line is "...at least we both were (alive) this morning...", which is the only moment, (apart from his yell 'of "Bodie!" on the stairs at the end of the siege) that he sounds in the least concerned. This is not an attitude that Bodie encourages.

Doyle seems, by contrast, to be intensely vulnerable, which results in a seemingly uncontrollable urge on the part of most of his friends to 'mother' him: from Marge in 'Backtrack', to Bodie in 'Involvement' and 'The Rack' and Cowley in 'NtoK'. It is a reaction he can play on when need be (as he does with Marge - he puts up with her advances because she has information which he needs).

He is definitely not a leader, and his self-effacing personality is probably partly responsible for his slow promotion in the police (his habit of shopping 'bent' coppers and his dislike of those superiors who are incompetent can't have helped either). It is unlikely that transfer to CI5 will have helped his promotion prospects all that much and his talent for undercover work would probably be better utilised in one of the Intelligence services.

*****

Miscellany (being those minor facts that wouldn't fit in anywhere else!)

Does not smoke (WITC, FF, Backtrack)
Is a good cook (Involvement)
Has a large book and record collection (H/H, Involvement, Fall Girl)
Goes to rock concerts (First Night) and discotheques (Involvement).
Prefers to dress casually (rarely wears a tie), affects dark glasses (DR, HtoN)
Shoe size 9 (Stake Out)
Has a pinball machine in his flat (Fall Girl)
Drinks: beer, lager (Jungle), vodka and tonic (Fall Girl), scotch, Vodka and
orange (Runner)
Tags: character discussion, fandom history
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