Cigarettes (so many cigarettes), flared trousers and Fords. So many Fords. Gritty, brilliant Seventies cop show The Sweeney was the antidote to all the Playboy PI shows so beloved by our boys and the inspiration for ‘The Interceptors’.
In The Sweeney, the cops had much more humble transport – Ford Consuls, Cortinas and Granadas. And now it’s back, in a new movie shooting now, out next year and starring Ray Winstone and, yup, a Ford. A new Focus ST to be precise.
The 250bhp Focus will be the star car – the transport of Winstone’s character DI Jack Regan and his sidekick DS George Carter, to be played by Ben Drew, better known as Plan B. The casting tells you all you need to know about the kind of show The Sweeney was and the film promises to be.
No supercars here; the other parts will be played by Mondeos, Galaxys and, of course, Transits.
In the original series, Jack Regan was played by John Thaw (younger readers will know him better as Inspector Morse) and George Carter by Dennis Waterman (Minder, anyone? OK then, New Tricks).
The Sweeney was about the Metropolitan Police’s now-disbanded Flying Squad (Sweeney Todd in rhyming slang). Made by and for ITV, it was the antidote to the BBC’s pedestrian Dixon of Dock Green and written by Ian Kennedy Martin, brother of Dixon’s writer, Troy Kennedy Martin. Get arrested by PC George Dixon, and you could guarantee to have your rights read to you. Regan and Carter would turn up early doors, spark up a Rothmans International and, more often than not, utter what became their catchphrase: “Get your trousers on, you’re nicked.”
Rozzers stationed at Dock Green were lucky to get an Escort patrol car. They usually rode bikes. Over at The Sweeney, Regan and Carter had some truly aspirational machinery. A 3.0-litre V6 Consul GT in the first series was replaced by a MkIII Cortina and, by the time the show came to the end of its run in 1978, the boys were driving a very wonderful Granada Fastback. A kind of Audi A7 for its day and deeply, deeply cool. Right, we’re off to buy the DVD box set.
While we do, remind yourself of TG’s Interceptors, and then let us know what you make of the Focus ST as Regan and Carter’s choice of automobile…