Regan comes to Blu-ray

Sunday, 09 October 2011 17:30

“Get yer trousers on, you’re nicked!” was the first line uttered by John Thaw’s iconic character Jack Regan. Making its debut on 4 June 1974 as part of the Armchair Cinema umbrella brand, this was the second in that format’s run, following on from the previous week’s “The Prison”, starring James Laurenson (revolving around a successful Paris magazine proprietor embarking on a destructive voyage of self-discovery, after his wife shoots dead her own sister, with whom he had an affair with for several years).

Although much attention has been rested upon the subsequent series The Sweeney, “Regan” certainly benefits from the remastering and restoration into Blu-ray high definition, which it has never been treated to before. Granted, weighing in originally on 16mm film, it cannot quite reach the dizzy bright heights of those productions originally rendered in 35mm, but it is a significant improvement on what has come before. You’re no longer distracted by the scratches and blips, and can concentrate on the story as it unfolds.

Regan - get your wallet out - it's been restored on Blu-rayThe Sweeney would become known for being one of the spearheads of the rough, tough and dangerous-to-know revision of the police procedural format. It managed to pass me by during its original transmission, perhaps not being seen as suitable for a ten year old (my age when this was first screened). It was only at polytechnic around ten years later that I got any sort of handle on the significance of the series, where we ended up studying an episode. Much was made of the politically incorrect attitude – the sexism, racism and violence. Even just a few years later we saw that this was the start of a backlash against its stylings, but thankfully the wheel has almost turned full circle.

Political correctness is on the way out, as people begin to realise it’s in effect a manufactured construct to stop free expression, and has gone way too far in how it has created a straitjacket for the whole population - whatever their background, culture, or ethnicity. “Regan” should be watched without any guilt, because there is no need for such. It was a reflection of the era it came from, much like The Sweeney, the follow-up series.

Dennis Waterman is soon introduced as Regan’s loyal right hand man, Detective Sergeant Carter, and Garfield Morgan is given a brief opportunity to establish the boss, Haskins, into the Sweeney universe. Tom Clegg takes on the directorial chores, Ian Kennedy Martin was the writer and creator, and Ted Childs the producer,

“Regan” was a critical and ratings hit, which just had to be built upon. This resulted in four subsequent series of The Sweeney and two big screen feature films, which turned up the sex and violence to appeal to what was one of the only significant wedges of cinema audiences that remained in the UK at the time.

For those new to all this, Jack Regan is seen as a ‘good copper’, but his tough, intuitive style is becoming unfashionable in a Scotland Yard seeking a new image. When a policeman is mysteriously murdered, Regan breaks all the rules to find the killer, continuing to work on the case despite being thrown off it. He soon finds there are men in the flying squad prepared, and more than willing, to break him, especially as his frowned-upon methods from the ‘old school’ continue to get results.


Special features on this Blu-ray release include the following:

  • Commentary with Dennis Waterman, producer Ted Childs and director Tom Clegg
  • Dolby 5.1 surround, original mono and music-only soundtracks
  • Interview with writer and creator Ian Kennedy Martin

So, why not grab yourself a little chunk of history, from a time gone by which is just coming back into fashion? Those of you who loved Life on Mars will recognise many common parameters, and realise that although that show went beyond homage, the source material can still stand up to close scrutiny, especially in this sparkling new restoration.

“Regan” is out now on Blu-ray from Network. It has a running time of 77 minutes approx, a ‘15’ certificate, and a RRP of £19.99, or get it for less at


“Regan” – Cast List

John Thaw as Det Insp Jack Regan

Dennis Waterman as Det Sgt George Carter

Lee Montague as Arthur Dale

Garfield Morgan as Det Chief Insp Frank Haskins

David Daker as Tusser

Janet Key as Kate Regan

Maureen Lipman as Annie

Morris Perry as Det Chief Supt Maynon

Stephen Yardley as Det Insp Laker

Barry Jackson as Morton

Miquel Brown as Miriam

Peter Blythe as Peter

Carl Rigg as Det Sgt Kent

Michael Da Costa as South

Ronald Pember as Landlord

Jonathan Elsom as Interviewer

Betty Woolfe as Mrs Berry

Seymour Matthews as Doctor

Don Henderson as Stripclub Heavy

Nancy Gabrielle as Johno's Wife

Del Baker as Det Sgt Cowley

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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