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Sweeney! (EMI 1976, John Thaw, Dennis Waterman)

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In the first big screen outing for Regan and Carter the boys from The Sweeney get caught up in a case of political corruption and cover up.

In the pre-credits sequence a major oil producers conference is in full swing, British politician Charles Baker has been having an affair with the much younger Janice Wyatt. She is murdered and, made to look like suicide, left in a hotel room. Her “suicide note” very much implicates Baker.

Meanwhile Regan and Carter are hot on the trail of a gang of armed robbers but become mixed up in the case when one of Regan’s snouts Ronnie Brent (who was also involved with Janice) asks him to investigate after the coroner rules her death a suicide – Baker’s press man, Elliiott McQueen, has organised a cover up, keeping Baker out of it and moving Janice’s body back to her flat.

Regan isn’t overly convinced but when Brent (and several of his men, one of whom is Brian Glover) turn up dead he knows there is something big going on. The situation gets worse for Jack personally once McQueen knows he is involved as he then becomes a target himself. McQueen’s henchmen kidnap Jack force a huge amount of alcohol into him and then send him driving home – he doesn’t get very far before he crashes. Finding himself suspended he is even more determined to get to the heart of the cover up.

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McQueen’s agenda involves blackmailing Baker to broker a deal to sell of Britain’s oil reserves on the cheap. Making him very rich in the process.

We know we are in different territory right from the get go – the much loved familiar theme tune is missing; Lynda Bellingham and Diane Keen have to get their kit off (again mainly so that we know this not the small screen) and the action is a hole lot heavier and more violent. The extra length also allows for plenty of extra banter between Jack and George.

Barry Foster was of course a star of fellow Thames TV show Van Der Valk at the time but pretty much every face is a familiar one and many of the cast had appeared in the show already or would go on to appear in it. Colin Welland, Brian Glover, Lynda Bellingham, Nadim Sawalha, Bernard Kay, Michael Coles, Michael Latimer (also a Van der Valk Regular) and Peter Childs all made Sweeney appearances.

Despite the non appearance of Frank Haskins many of the regular squad also appear, including the likes of Tom Daniels and Burtonshaw as well as Morris Perry as Flying Squad Commander Maynon.

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production details
UK / EMI / 89 minutes / 1977

Director: David Wickes
Writers: Ranald Graham,

cast
John Thaw as Detective Inspector Jack Regan
Dennis Waterman as Detective Sergeant George Carter
MOrris Perry as Maynon
Barry Foster as Elliott McQueen
Lynda Bellingham as Janice Wyatt
Colin Welland as Frank Chadwick
Brian Glover as Mac
Ian Bannen as Charles Baker, MP
Diane Keen as Bianca Hamilton

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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