Chelsea Transfer Target
May 25, 2019, 10:34 AM
Actor John Ronane has died at the age of 85.
Probably best known for playing Sergeant David Singer in ITV's Strangers, with Don Henderson and Frances Tomelty, but he had many many bit-parts in series such as Z Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, All Creatures Great and Small, and The Sweeney.
The episode of The Sweeney that he appears in is 'Trust Red' (Series 4, Episode 4), where he plays Red Redgrave, an ageing member of a gang of safe-breakers with the personal skill of climbing, allowing him to climb into targeted premises before letting the rest of the gang in. His feelings towards this occupation begin to change after a fellow gang-member falls to their death from a building roof.
The thing about John Ronane's portrayal of Red Redgrave is that it is one of the very few sympathetic villains seen in The Sweeney, with his feelings towards crime, the police, the women in his life and his own ageing process changing as he acknowledges his growing age and weakening body. In parallel, John Thaw's Regan is going through exactly the same emotions, with a realisation of his physical vulnerability coupled with an irritation towards Dennis Waterman's young and increasingly cocky Carter. The episode was filmed in 1978, and it was from about this point that the world-weary side of Regan's character came more to the fore, with his doubts about the job and his life very much now on the turn.
As an episode, it lacks any of the stereotypical car-chases or excessive violence, and for those reasons is a stand-out and rather poignant episode of The Sweeney, with an excellent performance from John Ronane. Well worth watching.