The Sweeney

ITV (ended 1978)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 4 : Ep 14

    Jack or Knave

    Aired 12/28/78

  • S 4 : Ep 13


    Aired 12/14/78

  • S 4 : Ep 12

    Latin Lady

    Aired 11/30/78

  • S 4 : Ep 11

    Hearts and Minds

    Aired 11/23/78

  • S 4 : Ep 10

    One of Your Own

    Aired 11/9/78

  • Cast & Crew
  • John Thaw

    Detective Inspector Jack Regan

  • Dennis Waterman

    Detective Sergeant George Carter

  • Garfield Morgan

    Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins

  • John Alkin

    Detective Sergeant Tom Daniels

  • Martin Read

    Detective Constable Jimmy Thorpe

  • show Description
  • Welcome to The Sweeney guide at The Sweeney was one of the UK's finest action-drama series of the 1970s and is still talked about today. The Beginning Euston Films, the company behind The Sweeney, was founded as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thames Television in March 1971, to produce filmed drama for the UK with a view to sales abroad. This project began with a series of 90-minute TV films under the Armchair Cinema banner. The intention was to make 13 films, but only six - "The Prison", "Sea Song", "In Sickness and in Health", "Tully", "When Day is Done" and "Regan" - were made. Success… These films, at £85,000 each to make, were considered very expensive at the time, but this was rewarded when most of the films were sold to other countries, with "The Prison" and "Regan" going to 47 countries alone. "Regan" in particular was seen as having the potential to spawn a series, especially after receiving high TV ratings. Work began immediately on 13 one-hour episodes. Most elements of the original film remained, apart from the title, with "Regan" giving way to The Sweeney. "We're the Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner!" The writers brought in to work on The Sweeney were given a series of strict guidelines. Each episode had to run for 48 minutes and 40 seconds, with a three-minute pre-title sequence, or 'teaser' to be followed by the actual opening credits. Each story was to consist of three parts, each running between eight and 19 minutes. As for the characters, Regan would appear in every episode, whilst his sidekick Carter would feature in at least 10 out of the 13 episodes. The scripts had to be centred around three main speaking roles, leaving up to 10 minor speaking parts. Writers had one month to write each script, but at times were pushed so hard to get them done that one episode was completed in three days. Any second drafts were greatly discouraged and third drafts would literally be unheard of. Each episode would take 10 working days to film and every day there would be five minutes of edited screen time. This led to there being a restriction on how many differing locations there could be, so it was limited to ten - one location per day. On Set The 'Flying Squad offices' had its own standing set, which gave an alternative option if the day's filming was affected by bad weather. Ten minutes of any episode was usually set in the offices and this amounted to two days' filming on the set. Exterior night shooting was expensive, due to filming being in the summer, so it was limited to three external night scenes per episode, despite the fact that the real-life Flying Squad operated primarily at night. Each episode would have an eight-and-a half week production schedule. This consisted of two weeks pre-production - for casting, deciding locations and so on; two weeks' shooting, four weeks' picture editing (the first two weeks of which would overlap the shooting), two weeks' sound editing and finally, two days of dubbing. The Sweeney on the Big Screen The great success of the first two series of The Sweeney led to a spin-off feature film. Sweeney! was filmed over the course of five weeks in the spring of 1976 and on location in London. A third and fourth TV series followed, as well as a second feature film, Sweeney 2, in 1978. "Shut It!" The Sweeney ran to 53 episodes across four series. It has since been shown in more than 51 countries and is still regarded by many people as one of British Television's most successful series ever made.moreless

  • Top Contributor
  • TheOldBill

    User Score: 626


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (24)

    • Regan: Get your trousers on, you're nicked.

    • Regan: We're the Sweeney son, and we haven't had any dinner.

    • Regan [ on promotion ]: You stay at what you're good at. There's nothing [upstairs] but ulcers and disappointment.

    • Carter: We live in a world of supply and demand — and you are in demand. Moose: Like a toilet roll. Carter: If you say so, Moose.

    • Regan: Get dressed. Iris: All right. What do you think I should wear? Something inexpensive 'cause of the bullet holes? Or something dark so it doesn't show the blood?

    • Haskins: You were involved in a robbery. Regan: How else am I expected to get close? Put a small ad in Villains' News?

    • Regan: Haskins is doing for the Sweeney what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen!

    • Deller: That's right, it's a blag. And a bloody big one.

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (2)

    • When the series was unveiled to the press in late 1974, this episode was chosen over the first (and second) episodes to be shown to them, as it was felt that this more lightweight, humorous story would go down better with reviewers.

    • With its iconic chase sequences between the Sweeney and the Jaguar (complete with crash through boxes) as well as its harrowing plot, this episode has often been used as an example of the series in retrospectives of both 1970s TV, and TV crime drama in general, not only by ITV, but also by the BBC, Channels 4 and 5, and Sky. BBC Four have shown the entire episode as part of a themed season.

    Trivia (3)

    • This is one of very few episodes where Jack Regan drives the Ford Consul used throughout the series. He does state during a chase with Max Deller that he is not insured or authorised to drive the car.

    • Regan's ex-wife and daughter make a rare appearance in this episode.

    • Regan uses his own car for much of the episode, a green M-registered Ford Capri Ghia Mk. 2.

  • Fan Reviews (2)
  • For a program nearly 40 years old

    By Graybo, Mar 04, 2012

  • The original non pc pcs.

    By sassyj64, Apr 13, 2007

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