History Files

THE SWEENEY

 

Sweeney Opening Titles Sweeney Closing Titles

A hard-hitting 1970s British police drama series that was the talk of its day, and two decades later was considered to be so politically incorrect (that horrible 1990s catchphrase) that it barely received a screening anywhere.

During pre-production, the concept was originally entitled The Outcasts, and this was changed in time for the pilot film to Regan. This appeared as a single drama episode in the long-running Armchair strand that featured new and daring dramas. Armchair Theatre had been around since its inception in the early 1960s by Sydney Newman, the man most instrumental behind the creation of The Avengers and Doctor Who. In the 1970s, Armchair Cinema was born out of this to feature bigger budget efforts by ITV companies, most notably Thames Television's film arm, Euston Films (run, aptly, by Doctor Who's first producer, Verity Lambert). The series commissioned out of this particular successful features became The Sweeney.

The Sweeney concerned the division of the London Metropolitan police force in charge of robbery. Their official title was the Flying Squad, taken from their modern, powerful vehicles and their ability to react instantly to any call-out. The nickname, Sweeney, is derived from cockney rhyming slang; Sweeney Todd, Flying Squad.

There were 53 episodes, the pilot television film Regan, and two spin-off cinema films, Sweeney! (1976, 89 minutes) and Sweeney 2 (1978, 108 minutes), neither of which compromised the series' reputation for hard, gritty storylines. The first and fourth seasons were screened on Monday nights, with the middle two showing on Thursdays. The time slot was always the same, 9pm-10pm, followed by the then traditional ITV News At Ten, and the series was one of the key viewing events of the week for young and old alike.

British satellite channel UK Gold (then co-owned by the BBC and Thames Television) screened most of the series on Tuesday evenings in the mid-1990s (skipping some episodes - probably the more violent ones), with each episode repeated a few weeks later on Saturday evenings. Another satellite channel, Granada Plus (Granada Television's repeat channel) took over in 1999. By this time, the actor behind the boozing, smoking, swearing Jack Regan had become even better known for playing another policeman, Inspector Morse.

 


MAIN CAST

Detective Inspector Jack Regan John Thaw
Detective Sergeant George Carter Dennis Waterman
Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins Garfield Morgan

 


Created by: Ian Kennedy Martin
Executive Producers: Lloyd Shirley
  and George Taylor
Producers: Ted Childs
Associate Producer: Mary Morgan
Title Music by: Harry South

A Euston Films Production for Thames Television
53 colour 52-minute episodes, one 77-minute feature

 


Armchair Cinema

Regan

Season One

Ringer
Jackpot
Thin Ice
Queen's Pawn
Jigsaw
Night Out
The Placer
Cover Story
Golden Boy
Stoppo Driver
Big Spender
Contact Breaker
Abduction

Season Two

Chalk and Cheese
Faces
Supersnout
Big Brother
Hit and Run
Trap
Golden Fleece
Poppy
Stay Lucky Eh?
Trojan Bus
I Want the Man
Country Boy
Thou Shalt Not Kill

Film

Sweeney! 

Season Three

Selected Target
In from the Cold
Visiting Firemen
Tomorrow Man
Taste of Fear
Bad Apple
May
Sweet Smell of Succession
Down to You, Brother
Payoff
Loving Arms
Lady Luck
On the Run

Film

Sweeney 2

Season Four

Messenger of the Gods
Hard Men
Drag Act
Trust Red
Nightmare
Money, Money, Money
Bait
The Bigger They Are
Feet of Clay
One of Your Own
Hearts and Minds
Latin Lady
Victims
Jack or Knave


Recommended Site: The Sweeney

All details are trademarked and copyrighted by their respective producers. All character and location names are also copyright. No infringement of any copyright is intended.
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