A flying squad officer is led a merry dance by gangsters from a London pub and, although he survives a brutal beating 'get rid off this filth,' he subsequently dies. Enter John Thaw's vengeful and unconventional copper 'Regan'.






Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Montague ...
Arthur Dale
Janet Key ...
Kate Regan
Morris Perry ...
Stephen Yardley ...
Det. Insp. Laker
Miquel Brown ...
Carl Rigg ...
Michael Da Costa ...
Ron Pember ...
Landlord (as Ronald Pember)


This one-off TV play became the pilot episode of the British police series 'The Sweeney', and introduced the tough detective Jack Regan, whose hard, unconventional methods of detection bring him more trouble from his bosses than from criminals. Written by D.Giddings <darren.giddings@newcastle.ac.uk>

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Release Date:

4 June 1974 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


After Cowley is run over, there is a shot of his warrant card when a witness to the collision takes it from his pocket. The card says his name is "Alan Cowley". However in the later scene when Regan goes to break the news to Cowley's grandmother, Cowley is referred to as "Tom". See more »


[Cowley lived with his grandmother. Regan has just been to break the news to her that he is dead]
Det. Sgt. George Carter: How did she take it?
Det. Insp. Jack Regan: D'you know something? That old lady's got no reason to go on living now. Whoever killed Cowley killed *two* people.
See more »


Featured in TV Heaven: TV Heaven 1974 (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Enter the characters of Jack Regan and George Carter.

A series called "Armchair Cinema" surfaced in the mid 1970s. It was a series of plays that were shot entirely on film and represented major changes for British television. Now, viewers would be watching programmes which would cast aside the constraints of the studio and give television a more natural and less flamboyant look. Each play from "Armchair Cinema" was a self-contained story and with some fine actors. In all honesty, a few of them aren't very good, the stories weren't interesting enough. However, a few others are great. The plays were broadcast between 1974 and 1980. In my honest opinion, "Regan" is by far the best play. It was the only one out of all of them that led to its own series and that gives me a slightly proud feeling. Meet Detective Inspector Jack Regan of the Flying Squad at Scotland Yard - unorthodox in his methods and constantly clashing with his fellow officers. Regan usually achieves good results but at a cost. He's always going by his own hunches and doesn't feel a need to function as part of a team. In today's world, Regan would struggle to fit into the kind of "politically correct" world that we inhibit. After a police officer is fatally beaten by a London syndicate, Regan takes it upon himself to investigate and to bring those responsible to book. He secures the help of George Carter, a Detective Sergeant, in uncovering something quite complicated and sinister regarding warring London syndicates. The writing and the acting are exceptional. The tone and the style that would follow with the series of "Sweeney" is immediately established, which is vital. The play had a few twists and turns and I was enthralled. The play has a much more harsh and gritty style than the other ones from "Armchair Cinema." Neither Regan or Carter are more or less brave or heroic than your typical Police officer. They just carry out their duty to the best of their ability and hope they catch some criminals. Television of this quality is rather seldom nowadays.

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