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The Sweeney (ITV 1974-1978, John Thaw, Dennis Waterman)

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Crime drama series The Sweeney changed the way British cops on TV were viewed forever.The series starred John Thaw and Dennis Waterman as Jack Regan and George Carter, two take no nonsense coppers working for the Flying Squad (which is where the title of the series comes from – Sweeney Todd is cockney rhyming slang for Flying Squad!).

This was the force without any gloss on it, typified by scenes of the boys drinking in the pub or routinely having major punch ups with the crooks they are out to catch. Each episode was shot on 16mm and completely on location and always attracted a high calibre of guest stars. The first three seasons featured the classic theme tune and opening blue tinged still shots that most people remember whilst the fourth and final season opted for new titles featuring a prism effect with various chase scenes.

Two big screen outings were made in 1976 and 1978 which ramped up the action considerably whilst 2012 saw a big screen revival starring Ray Winstone as Regan and Ben Drew (aka Plan B) as Carter. Damian Lewis played Haskins. It captured none of the flavour of the original series proper.

production details
UK / ITV – Thames – Euston / 52×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 1974-78

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Creator: Ian Kennedy Martin / Theme Music: Harry South / Executive Producers: Lloyd Shirley, George Taylor / Producer: Ted Childs

cast
JOHN THAW as Det Insp Jack Regan
DENNIS WATERMAN as Det Sgt George Carter
GARFIELD MORGAN as Ch Insp Frank Hoskins

THE EPISODES
PILOT
ARMCHAIR CINEMA: REGAN (4 Jun 74)

SEASON ONE 2 January – 27 March 1975
1. RINGER (2 Jan 75)
2. JACKPOT (9 Jan 75)
3. THIN ICE (16 Jan 75)
4. QUEEN’S PAWN (23 Jan 75)
5. JIGSAW (30 Jan 75)
6. NIGHT OUT (6 Feb 75)
7. THE PLACER (13 Feb 75)
8. COVER STORY (20 Feb 75)
9. GOLDEN BOY (27 Feb 75)
10. STOPPO DRIVER (6 Mar 75)
11. BIG SPENDER (13 Mar 75)
12. CONTACT BREAKER (20 Mar 75)
13. ABDUCTION (27 Mar 75)

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SEASON TWO 1 September – 24 November 1975
1. CHALK AND CHEESE (1 Sep 75)
2. FACES (8 Sep 75)
3. SUPERSNOUT (15 Sep 75)
4. BIG BROTHER (22 Sep 75)
5. HIT AND RUN (29 Sep 75)
6. TRAP (6 Oct 75)
7. GOLDEN FLEECE (13 Oct 75)
8. POPPY (20 Oct 75)
9. STAY LUCKY EH? (27 Oct 75)
10. TROJAN BUS (3 Nov 75)
11. I WANT THE MAN (10 Nov 75)
12. COUNTRY BOY (17 Nov 75)
13. THOU SHALT NOT KILL (24 Nov 75)

The Sweeney Cover Story

SEASON THREE 6 September – 20 December 1976
1. SELECTED TARGET (6 Sep 76)
2. IN FROM THE COLD (13 Sep 76)
3. VISITING FIREMAN (20 Sep 76)
4. TOMORROW MAN (27 Sep 76)
5. TASTE OF FEAR (4 Oct 76)
6. BAD APPLE (11 Oct 76)
7. MAY (25 Oct 76)
8. SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESSION (8 Nov 76)
9. DOWN TO YOU, BROTHER (22 Nov 76)
10. PAY OFF (29 Nov 76)
11. LOVING ARMS (6 Dec 76)
12. LADY LUCK (13 Dec 76)
13. ON THE RUN (20 Dec 76)

SEASON FOUR 7 September – 28 December 1978
1. MESSENGER OF THE GODS (7 Sep 78)
2. HARD MEN (14 Sep 78)
3. DRAG ACT (21 Sep 78)
4. TRUST RED (28 Sep 78)
5. NIGHTMARE (5 Oct 78)
6. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY (12 Oct 78)
7. BAIT (19 Oct 78)
8. THE BIGGER THEY ARE (26 Oct 78)
9. FEET OF CLAY (2 Nov 78)
10. ONE OF YOUR OWN (9 Nov 78)
11. HEARTS AND MINDS (23 Nov 78)
12. LATIN LADY (30 Nov 78)
13. VICTIMS (14 Dec 78)
14. JACK OR KNAVE (28 Dec 78)

THE MOVIES
1. SWEENEY! (1976)
2. SWEENEY 2 (1978)

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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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