Ray Winstone was always the first choice to portray Jack Regan in 'The Sweeney'.

Director Nick Love revealed he ''never thought about anybody else'' portraying the police officer in the movie - which is based on the 1970s British TV series - other than the 55-year-old actor, and he believes Plan B, whose real name is Ben Drew, brought a ''fresh'' approach to his alter-ego George Carter.

He told BANG Showbiz: ''I never thought about anybody else doing it. He's very likeable he embodies the 70s.

''Ben is fresh and the idea of him playing a police officer is great.''

Ray admits it was tough to follow in the footsteps of John Thaw, who portrayed Jack in the TV series, but he tried his best to put his own stamp on the role.

Speaking at the UK Premiere of 'The Sweeney' at Leicester Square on Monday night (02.09.12), he explained: ''John Thaw had big shoes to fill so you just can't fill them. You have to bring some of your own to it and make it your own.''

What's more, Ray believes Ben's casting in the film - which also stars Hayley Atwell and Damian Lewis - will bring a ''new generation'' to watch the movie.

Ray - whose daughter Jaime Winstone was also at the premiere - added: ''I knew of him and his music through my daughter. He'll bring a new generation to this film.''

'The Sweeney' is released on September 12.