Officially an entry in the Armchair Cinema anthology series Regan serves as a very effective pilot for The Sweeney. Regan investigates when a fellow copper is murdered.
Regan knows he needs to get his old oppo, George Carter, who is now working for Division, back in the Squad. He knows the South London area better than any other copper. George is initially a bit wary of getting back involved with Regan but agrees to help out.
Officially Regan and Carter are not even supposed to be investigating the case, a different squad altogether are handling the investigation. But the dead man, Cowley, was from Regan’s squad and Jack wants the men responsible.
Meanwhile Jack’s ex-wife is thinking of remarrying, however she wants him to continue paying the mortgage on their house because her fiancee Peter has an ex-wife and two kids of his own to continue supporting.
Regan aired on the Tuesday 4 June whilst another Thaw series, Thick As Thieves, premiered the same week on Saturday 1 June. This was a Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais series that co-starred the fabulous Bob Hoskins. It probably would have lasted more than one season were it not for The Sweeney.
The very first words uttered by Regan in the film is the classic “get your trousers on, you’re nicked.” It’s the quote that has become most indelibly associated with The Sweeney but in actual fact it was first uttered by Patrick Mower in an episode of fellow Thames-Euston series Special Branch called Date of Birth that aired a couple of months earlier on 11 April.
Stephen Yardley plays a cop here, he was a regular on many a 1970’s TV series but usually played a villain. Besides Yardley there are lots of other familiar faces too including Morris Perry (a Special Branch regular in it’s early days), Maureen Lipman is Regan’s occasional girlfriend and shirt ironer, David Daker is the nasty Tusser and Don Henderson has a minor role as heavy in a strip club.
ITV – Thames / 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast Tuesday 4 June 1974 at 8.30pm
Writer: Ian Kennedy-Martin / Producer: Ted Childs / Director: Tom Clegg
Series: Armchair Cinema Episode 2 / The Sweeney Pilot
John Thaw as D.I. Jack Regan
Dennis Waterman as D.S. George Carter
Lee Montague as Arthur Dale
Garfield Morgan as D.C.I. Haskins
David Daker as Tusser
Janet Key as Kate Regan
Maureen Lipman as Annie
Morris Perry as D. Supt Maynon
Stephen Yardley as D.I. Laker
Barry Jackson as Morton
Miquel Brown as Miriam
Peter Blythe as Peter
Carl Rigg as D.S. Kent
Michael Da Costa as South
Ron Pember as Landlord
Jonathan Elsom as Interviewer
Betty Woolfe as Mrs Berry
Seymour Matthews as Doctor
Don Henderson as Strip club heavy
Nancy Gabrielle as Johno’s Wife
Del Baker as D.S. Cowley