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

Sweeney! Foster, Keen, Bannen and Welland

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.

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.

Sweeney! Slow Motion Walk

The boys from The Sweeney channel the Rat Pack and Reservoir Dogs.

John Thaw as D.I. Jack Regan
Dennis Waterman as D.S. George Carter
Barry Foster as Elliott McQueen
Ian Bannen as Charles Baker
Colin Welland as Frank Chadwick
Diane Keen as Bianca Hamilton
Michael Coles as Johnson
Joe Melia as Ronnie Brent
Brian Glover as Mac
Lynda Bellingham as Janice Wyatt
Morris Perry as Flying Squad Cdr. Maynon
Paul Angelis as Secret Serviceman
Nick Brimble as D.S. Burtonshaw
John Alkin as D.S. Tom Daniels
Bernard Kay as Matthews
Antony Scott as Johnson’s Henchman
Anthony Brown as Murder Inquiry Supt.
John Oxley as Chadwick’s Deputy Editor
Peggy Aitchison as Carter’s Neighbour
Hal Jeayes as Manservant
Sally Osborne as Sally
John Kane as Special Branch Sgt.
Chris Dillinger as Johnson’s Henchman
Peter Childs as Murder Inquiry Insp.
Alan Mitchell as Detective Insp.
Leonard Kavanagh as Pathologist
Anthony Woodruff as Coroner
Michael Latimer as P.P.S.
Matthew Long as Traffic Police Sgt.
Joyce Grant as McQueen’s Secretary
Johnny Shannon as Scotland Yard Duty Sgt.
David Corti as Young Boy
Susan Valentine as Chadwick’s Secretary
Nadim Sawalha as Chairman of the Oil Producers’ Conference

crew details
Writer: Ranald Graham
Producer: Ted Childs
Executive Producers: Lloyd Shirley, George Taylor
Music: Denis King
Stunt Arranger: Peter Brayham
Director of Photography: Dusty Miller
Editor: Chris Burt
Director: David Wickes

production details
Country: UK
Studio: EMI
Year of Release: 1977
Duration: 95 minutes

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