Postman from Hilton lands dream debut acting role as his TV drama hero in homage to The Sweeney

John Croft with his Vauxhall Victor. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

John Croft with his Vauxhall Victor. Picture: HELEN DRAKE - Credit: Archant

A new tribute film to The Sweeney, the iconic 1970s’ television police series, stars a father-of-three from Hilton.

John Croft in action.

John Croft in action. - Credit: Archant

John Croft’s life is an homage to the 70s and his dedication to the film, The Flying Squad - Thieves and Weirdos, has helped him fight cancer.

The 51-year-old, a life-long Sweeney fan, plays his hero, John ‘Jack’ Regan, played in the original by the late John Thaw.

The 29-minute movie will be premiered at Haverhill Arts Centre on Saturday, March 28. It could even go to London, as the British Film Institute has shown interest.

This was an acting debut for John, a postman, who has been a devotee of The Sweeney since the first episode in 1974.

“I was 11 but I was allowed to stay up and watch it,” he said. “It was on at 9pm. It was filmed on location, it was fast-paced, had screeching cars and punch-ups. It blew me away.”

John drives a 1971 Vauxhall Victor, he watches Minder and The Professionals and his favourite music is punk rock. His dog, a rescued Staffordshire Bull Terrier from Wood Green, is called Regan.

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John’s love for all things 70s inspired him to continue acting in the film, even after being diagnosed with cancer three months into the two-year project, in December 2013. He was found to have a sarcoma on his thigh. He had four operations and extensive radiotherapy.

He said: “Being part of the film gave me a positive focus. It was surreal and exciting.”

The film, made on a budget of £3,0000, was shot around Hammersmith on the same London streets as the original. John, who grew up on the Oxmoor and went to Thongsley Primary and St Peter’s School, has two sons and a daughter.

INFORMATION: The Flying Squad – Thieves and Weirdos will be at Haverhill Arts Centre on Saturday, March 28 from 4.30pm. There will be more than one showing. Entry £5. There is also a clip on YouTube.