The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Despite the title and the recent interest in retro '70s chic evidenced in the success of Ashes To Ashes, Nick Love decided to locate The Sweeney in a contemporary London setting that shows off some of the more famous tourist sites.
Apart from it being cheaper than recreating period charm, it's obviously aimed at the US market and the same generation there that watched Starsky and Hutch riding around in their Ford Torino.
But with an opening that refers to women being rated as "stunners or shitters" it doesn't seem today's Flying Squad have kept up with the times, never mind the Met's many makeovers.
Its reputation for failing to observe legal, never mind human rights, is as evident now as then when it comes to dealing with peaceful demonstrations and matters of social and political concern.
Not only is this Hollywood London, there's a ludicrous plot in which most of the action is risible when it's not being ridiculous. Everything depends on Ray Winstone doing another impression of Beowulf.
Where John Thaw's Jack Regan was aggressive to the complementary opposites of villain and authority alike, Winstone is like a bull in a china shop, forever bellowing as he batters all before him.
As for reformed crook-turned-copper George Carter (Ben Drew), he changes the idea of "thinking like a crook" to "acting like a criminal to catch a criminal," since they appear to be oblivious to legality.
To complicate matters Regan is being investigated by Internal Affairs chief Lewis (Steven Mackintosh) while shagging his wife Nancy (Hayley Atwell).
As for crime and its detection? The plot centres on a bank robbery where one of the villains shoots a woman in the back of the head. There are only two conclusions - he's either a psycho or she has something to do with the storyline.
That takes about 15 minutes to work out before they decide to take on three robbers despite orders to the contrary, resulting in an unlikely gun battle in Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery before the inevitable car chase.
The fact that Regan's actions lead him to fuck up and get imprisoned where - guess what - the screws don't like him, means belief has to be suspended and all there's left is Winstone's willingness to wallow in the pit megalomaniac. Do we really need another celebration of macho-culture ?