At this stage Lewis was still living at the house in Golders Green along with Bill, but The Mojos and Badfinger were long gone. Sport and fitness were his main hobbies now, particularly squash, and he had converted one of his rooms into a home gym during his Cuckoo Waltz days. Again, his contract limited his sports to frustratingly 'safe' activities but Lewis was at least able to swim and play tennis while waiting for filming to resume. "I'll have a stone off for the next series. I've been jogging and swimming twice a week, and when I'm really feeling masochistic I've got a soundproof room with my drumkit in - I get into a pair of swimming trunks and thrash about for half an hour and lose about a kilo!"30 And "I've become addicted to puzzle books. When I start, I have to finish the whole thing. I find it good therapy though - a bit like Zen really, cutting yourself off from reality for a few hours." Lewis also liked to relax by writing songs, mainly ballads, and poetry – "The odd line is a gem, but most of the stuff goes into the rubbish bin."28 "I'm always jotting things down in a little notebook, observing things, making comments, using my mind. I was writing a film script for The Professionals until I realised Brian Clemens had the rights. As usual I found it very hard to work me into it. Martin had a great part. I'm very generous – when I write songs they're never for my voice either. Very strange that, but then so is my voice!"2
He still enjoyed rifle shooting, and The Professionals had also give him an interest in handguns. On Saturdays he went to the Army range at Bisley in Surrey, where he practised shooting all types of small firearms, "anything up to the powerful 357 Magnum, which sounds like a bomb going off when you pull the trigger."40 "And I shoot for a rifle team against the Army or the police. And, yes, I beat them. But then I beat them as a kid, too."31
In addition to the show’s official fan club, Lewis also set up his own personal one. "It all started by accident. I was always flattered by the fan mail I got when I was in The Cuckoo Waltz, and a few of the people who wrote to me also used to come along and visit me. It was really nice, but after The Professionals started, my fan mail became unbelievable and it became more and more difficult for me to handle it by myself."31 Even with his father helping, it was too much to cope with, so a club was started, and run by fans from Lewis's home. "Gradually they took over my sitting room and everyone had their own particular job. But I insist on signing everything myself - there's nothing like the personal touch is there?"32
By this time, Lewis had an eye on Hollywood and an international career, and to this end, he started making plans. "Right now I should be buying a house. But I won't do that. I've paid all my debts and I'm clear with the taxman. So I've got a reserve of money to help me make artistic decisions. I'm spending money on my appearance, for instance, I've had my teeth done. It's all important for the future rather than spending the money on living it up now.21 I'm very impatient for things to happen - I want the next thing right now!21 I would love to direct films. At the moment I am toying with the idea of making a sort of science-fiction home-movie blended with music."20
Because Lewis had a few things in common with the character of Bodie, mainly a penchant for guns and girls, he was at this stage quite happy to be associated with the character on a personal level, and his training in martial arts also encouraged comparisons. "Other blokes do tend to pick on me. They've seen me on television and they decide to have a go. It's usually great big blokes, too. It gives them quite a shock when I take a swing back. I must admit I do quite enjoy fighting, I come from that sort of background, but it's something I'm trying to get away from. It doesn't make me feel good to get involved in a brawl."17 He also enjoyed his new sex-symbol status but he was, however, mindful of his career too and commented that "I wouldn't like it to be taken too seriously by people in the know. They might think of me as a sort of frivolous light entertainer and there's much more to me than that."21
By the time filming of a second series of The Professionals began in June 1978, the two younger actors were a huge draw for the media and Lewis seemed to feature in some publication or another almost every week. He was always happy to discuss his future plans, and it was all headed in one direction. He intended a trip to Los Angeles when filming of the second series ended, with the movie industry firmly in his sights. "I don't necessarily want to go on playing a cop."38 he said. "I’d rather be out of work than take a step backwards21 but I don't think I really mind what they offer me, as long as it's well-written and well-produced."38 This had to be put on hold though, when at the beginning of November, Lewis brought shooting of The Professionals to a standstill. Having been fascinated with parachuting ever since those childhood days back on the Army ranges at Altcar, Lewis had signed up for a weekend course at Peterborough Parachute Centre. The course involved a Saturday of "running around doing various exercises and Parachute Landing Falls (PLFs), swinging on a harness affair, learning how to operate both your main and reserve chutes." Then on the Sunday, a jump from an Islander plane. For Lewis, this was Sunday 5th November, 1978 and the day began with a final rehearsal before getting kitted out and ready to jump. "It's all unreal – you don't think you’re ever going to do it. In fact, because of the bad weather conditions in England, most people don't get to do their jumps." This seemed to be the case for Lewis too, and most of the day was spent hanging about to see if there would be a break in the weather. Late in the afternoon the break came...
"I’ll tell you, when you fasten a buckle on a parachute harness, you fasten that buckle! You check everything, particularly the things on your shoulders, the capwells. They hold you on to the parachute." In the fading light, Lewis and the others set off. "It's hard to take in if you've not done it. I mean, you’ve just taken off and you're flying, and they suddenly pull that door open and tell you to get out! That's unreal!" Lewis ended up being the last to jump. "Being a celebrity and all that, they had a freefaller going with me, with a camera on his helmet to take pictures, as if I didn’t have enough problems! He didn’t get any shots... Out I go, straight down. I went down like a stone! I’d never come face to face with that much feeling of fear before. You keep thinking of a malfunction. You're 250 feet away from the 'plane before the 'chute opens. It's like being on the Big Dipper continuously – horrible! The longest four seconds in the world. You just can't believe it's ever going to open. And then this thing went yank! and it opened and I was just hanging there, with this maniac free-faller flying around me in circles going click-click-click with his camera. It was like being in some dog-fight!
"There I was at 1,500 feet up in the sky, hanging on a bit of silk, with the A1 and all the car headlights, the pylons coming at me, the forest, everything. I couldn’t see anything apart from the silver planes (in the Drop Zone). I don’t know how far off the ground I was, I was finally beginning to focus on a few things when it hit me. I went bang, and broke my ankle." It's the most frightening thing I've ever done in my life. But I must add that it's also the most exhilarating experience I've ever had - and I can't wait to do it a second time!"41
Mindful of the contract that limited him to 'safe' activities, Lewis initially said he had broken his ankle playing football. Brian Clemens, the series creator, commented afterwards that he would have continued filming with an agent in a wheelchair; after all, the characters Bodie and Doyle did lead a dangerous existence, but the decision was taken to halt filming for three months. This meant that the second series ended a few weeks earlier than originally scheduled, but despite this his character still maintained its popularity, and Bodie (minus Doyle) won third place in a closely-fought battle for the 'Most Compulsive Male Character' category of the TV Times Top Ten Awards 1979.