Profile on Film Director Tom Clegg

Name: Tom Clegg

Born: 16th October 1934

Occupation: Director

Years active: 1970 – 2008

Sweeney 2 Trailer: YouTube Preview Image


Thomas Clegg was born 16th October, 1934 and seved 2 years in Singapore with the RAF back in 1952, before going to art college to study photography. In the 60′s Clegg became established as a cameraman, first with Granada and then ABC Television at Teddington Studios.


The Sweeney

In 1974 Clegg went on to direct Regan, the pilot episode for Euston Films popular cop TV show The Sweeney, remaining as one of the key director’s throughout its reign, which spanned 4 series and 2 feature films. Clegg directed the second feature film, predictably titled Sweeney 2, collaborating with Troy Kennedy Martin (The Italian Job) who wrote the script and would work with him again in the future. Clegg also directed the final episode Jack or Knave, which brought an end to the show on 28th December 1978.

The original Sweeney duo – John Thaw and Dennis Waterman


Throughout the 70′s Clegg directed many other episodes for other TV series – 2 episodes of Van de Valk, 5 episodes of Space 1999, The Return of the Saint, The Professionals and 2 episodes of Hammer House of Horror.

I asked Clegg why he had chosen to direct such diverse material as the Hammer Horror’s, which was a far cry from the gritty realism of The Sweeney, to which he replied; ` The good thing about directing horror is there is no limits. It was a challenge, something all directors look for’.

Clegg directed 2 episodes of the Hammer TV series - The House that Bled to Death, and Children of the Full Moon 



It was during this period when Tom Clegg first met Roger Daltrey, Bill Curbishley and Roy Baird, who had a project in mind for one of their Who Films productions, called McVicar, based on real life prison convict John McVicar, and his escape from Durham prison. Clegg would work closely with John McVicar on the script, and once it was completed shooting began at Pinewood Studios, where a replica of Durham prison was constructed. Other locations included London, and Maidenhead (the railway bridge scene where McVicar hides after his escape.) The budget was £1.4 million and filming ran for 9 weeks, with McVicar permanently on set as a consultant.

The film carried many traits from Clegg’s days on The Sweeney – the harsh realism, violent fights, thrilling bank robbery and a tragic ending (something which many of Clegg’s Sweeney episodes concluded with). It would also inspire another prison film years later – The Shawshank Redemption.

Roger Daltrey as John McVicar


The 1980′s

Tom Clegg would return to Euston Films to direct a few Minder episodes in the early 80′s, including one epsiode The Beer Hunter which would reunite him with actress Georgina Hale, who had small roles in both of Clegg’s last two feature films – Sweeney 2 and McVicar.

And although Clegg was reunited with his old mate Dennis Waterman on Minder, he would also team up with him on Tyne Tees The World Cup – A Captain’s Tale in 1982.

This led to Clegg’s third feature - G’Ole! which was FIFA’s official film of the 1982 World Cup, produced by Drummond Challis and Michael Samuelson, narrated by Sean Connery.

By the end of the 80′s Clegg had worked on CATS Eyes’, Bergerac, One Man’s Death, Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy in India, The Chinese Detective, El Cid, and If the Shoe Fits.



Clegg would go on to direct the Sharpe TV series, starring Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe is the hero of a number of novels by Bernard Cornwell; most, though not all, of the episodes are based on the books. Produced by Central Independent Television for the ITV network, the series was shot mainly in Turkey and the Crimea, although some filming was also done in England, Spain and Portugal.

The series originally ran from 1993 to 1997. In 2004, as part of ITV’s new set of drama, ITV announced that it intended to produce new episodes of Sharpe, in co-production with BBC America, loosely based on his time in India, with Sean Bean continuing his role as Sharpe. Sharpe’s Challenge is a two-part adventure; part one premiered on ITV on 23 April 2006, with part two being shown the following night. More gory than earlier episodes, the show was broadcast by BBC America in September 2006.

I asked Arthur Wooster, the D.O.P on Sharpe, what his opinion was on working with Clegg. He replied; `Highly professional, faultless. A dream to work with…’


Bravo Two Zero, shooting on location


Bravo Two Zero

Tom Clegg would reunite with Sean Bean and writer Troy Kennedy Martin on Bravo Two Zero in 1999. It was originally broadcast in two parts, based on the book of the same name by Andy McNab. The film covers real life events – from the perspective of Andy McNab, patrol commander of Bravo Two Zero, a British SAS patrol , tasked to find Iraqi Scud missile launchers during the Gulf War in 1991. The names of the patrol members killed were changed. The opening scenes were shot in Hereford, but the majority of the film was made in the Northern Cape, a desolated landscape of dried up lakes, spanning 30kms in diameter. The interrogation scenes set in Baghdad were shot in Johannesburg at the old Hillbrow Fort.


External links


Read more on Tom Clegg’s films

Sweeney 2


McVicar filming locations

Bravo Two Zero


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  1. I worked for Tom many times….One of the best guys to work for….Thank you Tom…