The original series dealt with the work of the Flying Squad branch of the Metropolitan Police (Sweeney Todd / Flying Squad – it’s a cockney rhyming slang thing) and featured Detective Inspector Regan and his assistant Detective Sergeant Carter. It was, for its time, a faced paced series with much more in the way of on-screen violence than the British television viewing public were accustomed to.
Although the original TV series did spawn a couple of theatrically released feature films (Sweeney! in 1977 and Sweeney 2 a year later), there have been rumours for a while of a fresh film version in the works. The Hollywood Reporter posted a report late last night that Ray Winstone (The Proposition, The Departed, Beowulf) is signed on to star as DI Regan in an adaptation being written and directed by Nick Love (Goodbye Charlie Bright, The Football Factory, The Firm).
An exisiting screenplay has been circling for a while, however Love is said to be working on a fresh draft. Producers Vertigo Films are no doubt hoping that Love’s track record for effectively and realistically portraying criminals and a seemingly sharp ear for dialogue will result in a suitably gritty police drama. Love showed in The Football Factory and The Firm that he can write and direct gritty violence and male camaraderie, so he should prove to be a safe pair of hands for carrying that through to The Sweeney.
There is no further word yet on the rest of the cast, or anything approaching a schedule for filming. This one is very much “In Development” at the moment. We will let you know as we hear more. In the meantime, for those of you who are feeling a bit nostalgic, here’s what The Sweeney looked like last time out.