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"The Sweeney"
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"The Sweeney" (1975) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1975-1978

Videos (see all 2)
The Sweeney -- Trailer for Sweeney: Regan - The Original Armchair Cinema Pilot
The Sweeney -- Trailer for The Sweeney: The Complete First Series


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Release Date:
2 January 1975 (UK) See more »
British police TV series which revolutionized the genre on UK television in the mid-1970s starring John Thaw as a hard-edged detective in the Flying Squad of London's Metropolitan Police. Full summary »
2 nominations See more »
(168 articles)
Warren Clarke 1947-2014
 (From EmpireOnline. 12 November 2014, 7:44 AM, PST)

Lynda Bellingham: a life in clips
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 20 October 2014, 1:49 AM, PDT)

Film Review: ‘Hyena’
 (From Variety - Film News. 18 June 2014, 7:48 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Much imitated but never equalled See more (18 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 4 of 46)

John Thaw ... Det. Insp. Jack Regan (53 episodes, 1975-1978)

Dennis Waterman ... Det. Sgt. George Carter (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Garfield Morgan ... Det. Chief Insp. Frank Haskins (45 episodes, 1975-1978)
Tony Allen ... Bill the Driver / ... (40 episodes, 1975-1978)

Series Directed by
Tom Clegg (14 episodes, 1975-1978)
Douglas Camfield (6 episodes, 1975-1978)
David Wickes (6 episodes, 1975-1978)
Terry Green (5 episodes, 1975-1978)
Mike Vardy (4 episodes, 1975-1978)
William Brayne (4 episodes, 1975-1976)
Ted Childs (2 episodes, 1975)
Jim Goddard (2 episodes, 1975)
Viktors Ritelis (2 episodes, 1975)
Christopher Menaul (2 episodes, 1976-1978)
Sid Roberson (2 episodes, 1978)
Series Writing credits
Ian Kennedy Martin (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Trevor Preston (11 episodes, 1975-1978)
Roger Marshall (8 episodes, 1975-1978)
Ranald Graham (6 episodes, 1975-1978)
Troy Kennedy-Martin (6 episodes, 1975-1978)
Ted Childs (4 episodes, 1978)
Tony Hoare (3 episodes, 1976-1978)
Andrew Wilson (2 episodes, 1975-1976)
Ray Jenkins (2 episodes, 1975)
Allan Prior (2 episodes, 1975)
Richard Harris (2 episodes, 1976-1978)

Series Produced by
Ted Childs .... producer (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Mary Morgan .... associate producer (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Lloyd Shirley .... executive producer (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
George Taylor .... executive producer (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Series Cinematography by
Dusty Miller (24 episodes, 1975-1978)
Norman G. Langley (22 episodes, 1975-1978)
Roy Pointer (6 episodes, 1978)
Series Film Editing by
John S. Smith (26 episodes, 1975-1978)
Chris Burt (17 episodes, 1975-1976)
Ian Toynton (9 episodes, 1975-1978)
Series Casting by
Lesley De Pettit (32 episodes, 1975-1976)
Marilyn Johnson (19 episodes, 1976-1978)
Series Art Direction by
William Alexander (46 episodes, 1975-1978)
Jack Robinson (6 episodes, 1975)
Terry Parr (1 episode, 1976)

Martin Atkinson (unknown episodes)
Series Makeup Department
Michael Morris .... makeup artist (46 episodes, 1975-1978)
Mary Sturgess .... hair stylist (27 episodes, 1976-1978)
Stephanie Kaye .... hair stylist / hairdresser (24 episodes, 1975)
Eddie Knight .... makeup artist (7 episodes, 1978)
Stephanie K. Gillott .... hair stylist (2 episodes, 1975)
Series Production Management
Nick Gillott .... production manager (34 episodes, 1975-1976)
Laurie Greenwood .... production supervisor / production manager (19 episodes, 1976-1978)
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael Murray .... assistant director (15 episodes, 1974-1978)
Bill Westley .... assistant director (13 episodes, 1975-1976)
Derek Whitehurst .... assistant director (11 episodes, 1975)
Ray Corbett .... assistant director (5 episodes, 1975)
David Bracknell .... assistant director (5 episodes, 1976)
Eamonn Duffy .... assistant director (2 episodes, 1975)
Stuart Freeman .... assistant director (2 episodes, 1975)
Bob Wilkins .... third assistant director (2 episodes, 1978)

Christopher Newman .... third assistant director (unknown episodes)
Series Art Department
Roger Bowles .... assistant art director (32 episodes, 1975-1976)
Martin Atkinson .... assistant art director (6 episodes, 1975)
Series Sound Department
Hugh Strain .... dubbing mixer (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Tony Dawe .... sound mixer (45 episodes, 1975-1978)
Mike Silverlock .... boom operator (40 episodes, 1975-1978)
Ian Toynton .... dubbing editor / sound editor (27 episodes, 1975-1978)
Peter Compton .... dubbing editor (12 episodes, 1975-1976)
Mike Murr .... sound editor (7 episodes, 1978)
Derek Rye .... sound mixer (7 episodes, 1978)
Clive Smith .... sound editor (6 episodes, 1978)
Series Stunts
Peter Brayham .... stunt arranger (19 episodes, 1975-1978)
Chris Webb .... stunt performer (4 episodes, 1975-1978)
Rick Lester .... stunt driver (3 episodes, 1975)
Romo Gorrara .... stunt arranger (2 episodes, 1976)

Frank Henson .... vehicle stunt coordinator (unknown episodes)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Douglas Webb .... still photographer / stills (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
John Maskall .... camera operator (47 episodes, 1975-1978)
Mike Proudfoot .... camera operator / focus / ... (12 episodes, 1975-1978)
Robin McDonald .... focus (9 episodes, 1978)
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
David Murphy .... wardrobe supervisor / wardrobe master / ... (52 episodes, 1975-1978)
Series Music Department
Harry South .... composer: title music (53 episodes, 1975-1978)
Series Other crew
Phyllis Townshend .... continuity (27 episodes, 1976-1978)
Stephen Pushkin .... location manager (19 episodes, 1976-1978)
Jack Quarrie .... technical consultant (14 episodes, 1978)
Marjorie Lavelly .... continuity (13 episodes, 1975)
Doreen Soan .... continuity (13 episodes, 1975)
Laurie Greenwood .... location manager (10 episodes, 1975-1976)
Lindsay Vickers .... location manager (4 episodes, 1975)
Brian Bilgorri .... location manager (3 episodes, 1978)
Eamonn Duffy .... location manager (2 episodes, 1975)
Stuart Freeman .... location manager (2 episodes, 1975)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
60 min (53 episodes)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

As the series debuted in 1975, the names of the main characters - Carter and Regan - are rather prophetic: the same (or very similar to) as two upcoming presidents of the USA, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The 100 Greatest Kids TV Shows (2001) (TV)See more »


What's the jaunty theme music of Stackpole and McGruder, the two Australian con artists?
See more »
36 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
Much imitated but never equalled, 15 August 2005
Author: Dakota from Oxford, UK

**This comment contains spoilers**

The Sweeney is not well known outside the UK but on the list of great British TV series it's up there alongside I, Claudius, Fawlty Towers and The Avengers. Mention The Sweeney to almost anyone in Britain and you will probably be greeted by a reply of 'Shut it!' or 'Get yer trousers on, you're nicked!' Both are lines from the show and have long since become much quoted catchphrases. Quite an accomplishment for a series that ended over 25 years ago.

So why is The Sweeney so great? Well, for a start it features two marvellous characters. The late John Thaw (of Inspector Morse fame) stars as Detective Inspector Jack Regan of Scotland Yard's famed 'Flying Squad' (so called because of their use of high performance squad cars to get them to the scene of major crimes). Routinely mixing with violent criminals, gangsters, informers, strippers and prostitutes in those parts of London tourists never get to see, Regan is a 24/7 copper with an ex-wife and an 8 yr old daughter he rarely sees. And he's nothing like Inspector Morse. At all.

Jack Regan is as hard as they come. He displays no hesitation in beating up villains, threatening suspects, or even, in the episode 'Queen's Pawn', organising a kidnapping(!) so as to put pressure on a suspect. For UK viewers accustomed to the traditional saintly image of the English policeman, Regan was a truly startling creation and Thaw's performance remains utterly convincing not least because, with his craggy features and gruff manner, Thaw never looks like some pretty-boy poseur trying to 'act hard'.

Of course every great star has to have a loyal sidekick with whom to share the good times and the bad and Regan's best mate also happens to be his second-in-command - Detective Sergeant George Carter, superbly played by Dennis Waterman. Although ready to use his fists when required Carter is initially a bit more reluctant to use Regan style methods (although the tragic death of his wife in the sensational second series episode 'Hit and Run' brings him closer to Regan) and the pair spend much of their time exchanging insults, chasing birds and smoking like chimneys whilst trying to drink every pub in the London area dry. The delightful on screen chemistry between Regan and Carter, (one that was mirrored off screen by Thaw and Waterman) is one of the main reasons viewers adore the show. For Regan and Carter feel like real working people caught up in the stresses and strains of increasing bureaucracy, long hours, an unsympathetic boss and a shrinking home life. Like all great popular drama, regardless of setting or era, Regan and Carter's attitude to life connected directly with the millions of viewers who tuned in every week to watch them.

The other key to the success of The Sweeney was the extraordinarily high standard of writing and direction on the show. The crew were much influenced by The French Connection and Dirty Harry and, in a revolutionary approach to TV production they used that documentary style; shooting entirely on location in and around the London suburb of Hammersmith using lightweight 16mm cameras and radio mikes on the actors for a raw documentary feel. Dialogue scenes were kept short and pace, action and humour emphasised. Even more boldly, the villains sometimes got away scott-free. The team also pushed the envelope in the depiction of violence. Excitingly choreographed fight scenes were a hallmark of The Sweeney right from the start and more than 25 years after it finished the brutality still has the power to take your breath away.

The fears and perceptions of crime harboured by the British public and the problems endemic in the police service were all superbly dramatised by a tight-knit group of some of Britain's top scriptwriters. These stories included police brutality ('Big Brother'), know nothing career climbers ('Taste of Fear'), personal involvement with villains ('Lady Luck'), European terrorism ('Faces'), police corruption ('Bad Apple') and hi-tech crime ('Tomorrow Man'). That all of these concerns are still major problems in British policing just goes to show how little the series has dated.

The Sweeney ultimately ran for four seasons, 53 episodes in all with two feature film spin offs, Sweeney! (1976) and Sweeney 2 (1978). A definitive DVD presentation of the show (immaculate digital restoration from the original film elements, commentaries, exhaustive extras, etc, etc) has recently been released in the UK and stands as testament to the show's continued popularity among viewers of all ages.

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