Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Plan B is in The Sweeney. What TV shows should they really be adapting?

Shut it, you slag! Get your kickers on and make us a cup of tea. All of which vintage parody is by way of introducing the news that something called Plan B — he’s a British warbler, apparently — has …

Wed, Apr 6, 2011, 18:55


Shut it, you slag! Get your kickers on and make us a cup of tea.

All of which vintage parody is by way of introducing the news that something called Plan B — he’s a British warbler, apparently — has been cast in the Dennis Waterman role for Nick Love’s upcoming film version of The Sweeney. I have no opinions on Mr B beyond an unfounded assumption that he, sir, is no Dennis Waterman. But there is no denying that Mr Love, though rarely mistaken for Ingmar Bergman, is quite well suited to tackling the shouty 1970s cop series.

Gawd ‘elp us. Sergeant Lewis has let himself go.

As greybeards will be aware, the show, which ran from 1975 until 1978, followed Jack Regan and George Carter (John Thaw and Waterman), two hard-nosed London coppers, as they ran along gravel and threw various ne’er do wells against chain-mail fences. Love is an interesting creature. The director of footie hooligan entertainments such as The Football Factory and The Firm, he has managed the near-unique feat of forging a career directing British films almost solely for a British audience. He is the prince of Geezers. One can easily imagine him remaining aggressively unphased as Jack Regan dangles him from a grubby overpass.

If you want some sense of Nick’s moods and attitudes have a listen to this absolutely priceless, unbelievably sweary director’s commentary for his film Outlaw. The other voice is the extraordinary Danny Dyer — who is to Love as John Wayne is to John Ford. It’s a masterpiece in the vein of Derek and Clive. I don’t take offense at being categorised as a 130-year-old know-nothing. Love you to death, Nick. Love you to death.

Anyway, the imminent arrival of The Sweeney sets me to pondering which vintage British TV series might inspire a halfway decent film. We’ll almost certainly get a Dr Who movie at some point. The only question is which Doctor will be on duty when it is eventually made. I’d quite like to see somebody tackle Department S or its close cousin Jason King. The only challenge would be finding a contemporary actor who can grow a properly fantastic 1970s Zapata moustache. A smart individual could probably make something of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. What about Secret Army?

Then again, there’s Dad’s Army. Making a film of that series is a terrible idea, of course. But it is fun pondering the casting. Britain still produces a fine range of eccentric character actors. I can see Anthony Hopkins as a frustrated Captain Mainwaring and Tom Wilkinson as a laid-back Sergeant Wilson. The aforementioned Danny Dyer is just crying out to play the ducking-and-diving Walker. Hmm? Yeah, it really isn’t a good idea. Is it? Still, the speculation makes for a fine parlour game.

Hang on. What’s that you say? Who’s playing Regan in Love’s The Sweeney. It’s Winstone of course, you bleeding numpty. You got sh*t for brains or what? Bleeding muppet.

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