Plan B joins Ray Winstone in Sweeney film

Ben Drew and Ray Winstone Drew (l) was previously seen in Harry Brown with Sir Michael Caine

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Rapper Plan B - real name Ben Drew - is to star alongside Ray Winstone in a new film version of classic cop show The Sweeney, its producers have announced.

Drew will play George Carter, the role Dennis Waterman played in the original ITV series about London's Flying Squad, in Vertigo Films' contemporary update.

Winstone has been cast as Jack Regan, the role played by the late John Thaw.

Drew said working with Winstone on the project - which starts shooting in the autumn - was "a dream come true".

The 27-year-old enjoyed chart-topping success last year with his second studio album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks.

The Sweeney will be directed by Nick Love, whose previous films include The Football Factory and The Firm.

The British film-maker said he was "very excited" about Drew's involvement. "For me, Ray and Ben are the ultimate casting for a character-driven action thriller set in London today," he added.

Created by Ian Kennedy Martin, The Sweeney ran from 1975 to 1978 and spawned two feature-length films.

The show was renowned for its gritty tone and for coining such catch-phrases as "Shut it!" and "You're nicked!"

The casting announcement follows news that another cult 1970s crime show, The Professionals, is also to be revived on the big screen.

Drew was previously seen alongside Sir Michael Caine in the 2009 film Harry Brown.

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