Welcome to UK's #1 choice for all things rubber!

Shopping Cart

  • 0 Item
  • |
  • £0.00

The Sweeney

The 1970s British TV series, The Sweeney, was compulsive viewing for fans of police drama series, thanks to its gritty realism and hard-hitting issues. It wasn't afraid to deal with topics that had previously been deemed taboo, such as police brutality in dealing with hardened criminals.

It was the first police drama series that showed officers as being fallible themselves, making them believable characters, who often worked with a disregard for rules and "the system", as long as they got the job done. It was made by Thames Television and was broadcast by ITV from January 1975 until December 1978.



Scriptwriter Ian Kennedy Martin came up with the idea for the series, which began following his one-off made-for-TV film, Regan, in 1974. The title referred to one of the lead characters, Detective Inspector Jack Regan, played by John Thaw. The movie had huge potential to be made into a series, scoring highly in the viewer ratings.

The series was to be called The Sweeney as a result of Cockney rhyming slang, as Sweeney Todd means "Flying Squad" - a branch of the Metropolitan Police that specialises in fighting violent crime, including armed robberies, in London.

However, when Martin began writing the series, his script was more dialogue and less action. Producer Ted Childs wasn't happy with this and as a result, Martin left the project. His idea lived on, thanks to a team of scriptwriters, who were given strict guidelines.

Each episode was to be just over 48 minutes long and was to begin with a three-minute teaser, followed by The Sweeney's familiar opening theme. The episode was to be split into three acts and Regan was to appear in every episode.

Shot by Thames Television's film division on 16mm film, rather than the usual videotape, this gave it more realism and enabled it to be shot almost entirely on location. Editing was done carefully to put the emphasis on action scenes, rather than static scenes at the station.



As well as the great John Thaw playing DI Regan, the other main character was his sidekick, Detective Sergeant George Carter, played by Dennis Waterman. Regan is a tough police officer, angry at having to fight Scotland Yard's red tape as much as he has to fight crime. He does things his way, even if it means breaking the rules.

Carter is from south London and is equally tough. His knowledge of the local area is a massive help - in the pilot episode, Regan asks for his assistance with a case because of his local knowledge and the partnership continues throughout the series. Carter always calls Regan "guvnor".

Regan's supervisor is Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins, played by Garfield Morgan. Prior to joining the police force, he had completed National Service in the Signals Corps. He is more intent on doing things "by the book" and as a result he is frequently at odds with Regan and Carter.


Action scenes

The basis of the show is its thrilling action scenes, peppered with plenty of car chases, such as in the 1978 episode, Money Money Money, when pools winner Eddie Monk is blackmailed over a robbery he committed in the 1960s.

He has now gone straight and understandably doesn't want his past catching up with him, as he was never caught for his crime. However, Monk gets into a fight with his blackmailer, Fischer, and is killed. Regan and Carter set about hunting Fischer down, helped by a former gang member from the criminal underworld.


Top Gear Sweeney-style

The show made such an impact that the long-running BBC motoring show, Top Gear, made its own tribute to The Sweeney in 2012. Presenter Jeremy Clarkson drove Sweeney-style through a static caravan park.

Co-presenter Richard Hammond set off a staged explosion and Clarkson ran into a caravan, as a ball of flames shot into the air and the usual Top Gear mayhem ensued. A caravan was destroyed and large chunks of boiling hot metal flew through the air like mini-missiles.

Clarkson, wearing a very bad comb-over wig, admonishes Hammond for apparently blowing up the wrong caravan, but Hammond argues that it was Clarkson who hit the wrong caravan, ruining the stunt!


Sweeney revisited

The Sweeney TV series finally came to an end on 28th December 1978, after four series and 53 episodes. However, there have also been three spin-off films, starting with Sweeney in 1977, when Regan and Carter are investigating a crime that leads to a deadly political scandal.

Their investigations begin when a prostitute (played by Linda Bellingham) is murdered, but it soon becomes apparent that a government minister and his press secretary are somehow involved.

Released in 1978, Sweeney 2 sees Regan and Carter tracking down a gang of violent armed robbers in Malta. The gang members have been committing payroll and bank robberies all over the UK and don't mind killing anyone who stands in their way - including their own gang.

A new film, The Sweeney, made in 2012, featured Ray Winstone as Regan and Ben Drew as Carter. It brought the action into the 21st century. Regan and Carter arrive at a warehouse as a robbery is in progress, with armed robbers trying to steal gold bars.

The robbers are captured, but the robberies continue at a private bank and a jewellery shop, leading to a civilian being killed. After a long car chase and a shoot-out, the robbers are still on the run, leading to the Flying Squad being suspended and Regan going it alone.

As well as the films, there has been a set of nine Sweeney books published by Futura Publications Ltd in the 1970s.

While we don't recommend you go on a Sweeney-style car chase, Coruba can provide a range of top-quality vehicle rubber matting to help protect the interior of your motor, no matter what you drive.

Available in all shapes and sizes, it is the perfect solution for cars, vans, lorries and pick-up trucks. Please contact us for details.

Recent Posts

How Do Anti-Fatigue Mats Work?

How Do Anti-Fatigue Mats Work?

Posted On: September 24, 2021

Benefits of Kitchen Matting

Benefits of Kitchen Matting

Posted On: August 26, 2021

How to Avoid Electrical Accidents

How to Avoid Electrical Accidents

Posted On: July 21, 2021

Workplace Fall Stats

Workplace Fall Stats

Posted On: June 18, 2021