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THE SWEENEY

"Get your trousers on. You're nicked." So, Jack Regan busts another crim with his usual subtle use of the English language.

'The Sweeney' was the first really hard-edged police drama on British TV screens, with doors being broken down by burly shoulders, and criminals not given the option of a "quiet word down at the station."

Beginning with the television film, 'Regan', in 1974, 'The Sweeney' was first broadcast by ITV in January, 1975 (a time when ITV was in its prime, and far removed from this now sad channel's decline into desperate 'reality' shows and general tackiness). Created by Ian Kennedy-Martin, 'The Sweeney' was Cockney rhyming slang, i.e. 'Sweeney Todd' and 'Flying Squad'. The Flying Squad was a specialised arm of London's Metropolitan Police.

John Thaw (D.I. Regan) and Dennis Waterman (D.S. George Carter) were friends off screen, and that obviously helped the on screen chemistry between the two. Regan and Carter were soulmates, and mavericks, and D.C.I. Haskins (Garfield Morgan) was their old-style boss, trying to do things by the book.

Jack Regan doesn't let much get in the way of doing his job (well, maybe women apart...). In one episode of 'The Sweeney', Jack mocks George Carter's compassion, when George is concerned about leaving a shot colleague: "He's not dying, is he?!" Catching the criminals comes first with Jack.

At times it seemed like the film 'Bullitt' on speed, with a plethora of car chases, and then there were the collaring of the villains, with a few traded blows. 'The Sweeney' was a forerunner in style to 'The Bill', and was authentic. Thaw and Waterman were drinking buddies with some real life members of The Flying Squad, who got a bit nervous about the pairs womanising in the series - as the real coppers were fearful as to whether their wives would think they were 'at it' too.

As well as making John Thaw and Dennis Waterman big, even household, names, 'The Sweeney' also had an impressive list of guest stars, including Morecambe & Wise, and up and coming actors such as Karl Howman. There were also two spin-off 'Sweeney' movies. Thaw decided to quit after four series, as he felt the series was so good it could probably only go downhill, and 'The Sweeney' without Jack Regan would have meant the series would have become a pale shadow. So many good TV series do plod on when they're well past their best. Thankfully, 'The Sweeney' wasn't one of them.

- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.


The Sweeney Main Cast List

John Thaw as Det. Insp. Jack Regan
Dennis Waterman as Det. Sgt. George Carter
Tony Allen as Bill the Driver
Garfield Morgan as Det. Chief Insp. Frank Haskins
John Alkin as DS Tom Daniels
Martin Read as DC Jimmy Thorpe
Morris Perry as Det. Chief Supt. Maynon
Benjamin Whitrow as Det. Chief Supt. Braithwaite
Stephanie Turner as Alison Carter
James Warrior as Det. Con. Jellyneck
John Flanagan as DS Matt Mathews
Nick Brimble as Det. Con. Gerry Burtonshaw
Jennifer Thanisch as Susie Regan
Nosher Powell as Kearny's Heavy
Harry Fielder as Bank Robber
Patrick Mower as Colin McGruder
Stuart Wilson as DI Ken Knowles
George Layton as Ray Stackpole
George Sweeney as Tim Cook
Tony Steedman as Andrew Barkis
Colin Douglas as Commander
Christine Shaw as Kathy Peters
Eric Dodson as Mr. Dodds
Stephen Bent as Eddie Hibberd
Richard Hampton as Barnes
Nicholas McArdle as Inspector Wilson
David Ellison as Dutchman
Denis DeMarne as Fred
Jack McKenzie as Len
Roger Davidson as Major Chapman
Peggy Bullock as Old Lady
Jonathan Blake as Stephen Taylor
Helen Keating as Busty Barmaid
Cliff Diggins as Olly
Terence Plummer as Don Sharples
Laurie Goode as Laurie

The Sweeney DVDs available from booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon.co.uk

'Sweeney! Movie Collection (Sweeney!/Sweeney 2) DVD' Sweeney! Movie Collection (Sweeney!/Sweeney 2) [1976] ~ John Thaw, Dennis Waterman
'The Sweeney Box Set DVD' The Sweeney Box Set (Vanilla version) ~ John Thaw, Garfield Morgan
'Regan - The Original Sweeney Pilot Movie DVD' Regan - The Original Sweeney Pilot Movie ~ John Thaw, Dennis Waterman
'The Definitive Sweeney - Complete TV series 1-4, The Sweeney & The Sweeney 2 (18 Discs) DVD' The Definitive Sweeney - Complete TV series 1-4, The Sweeney & The Sweeney 2 (18 Discs) ~ Dennis Waterman, John Thaw

More Sweeney Stuff

'"Sweeney!": The Film and TV Companion'
"Sweeney!": The Film and TV Companion

~Robert Fairclough, et al
Reynolds and Hearn
Paperback - October 3, 2002
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
'Shut It! Music of The Sweeney' Shut It! Music of The Sweeney
~Various Artists
Sanctuary
(Audio CD) - September 24, 2001  
Usually dispatched within 24 hours

Classic TV Action Adventure, Drama, and Comedy Drama DVDs & Videos available through booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The Sweeney Transmission Details

January 1975-March 1975; 14 Episodes
September 1975-November 1975; 13 Episodes
September 1976-December 1976; 13 Episodes
September 1978-December 1978; 14 Episodes

The Sweeney Factoids

'The Sweeney' was produced by Ted Childs, for Euston Films, a subsidiary of Thames Television.
There were 53 50 minute episodes, and one of 77 minutes.
'The Sweeney' has been sold to 51 countries.
Shot on 16mm film, 'The Sweeney' was one of the first TV shows to do so.

 

 

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