The Sandbaggers

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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:27 am

Hartnell's Wig wrote:You have so much good stuff to come and I don't want to ruin anything, but the relationship between Burnside and his secretary is wonderful as it goes along. That first secretary is the sexiest woman in it IMO, even when Diane Keen and Sue Holderness come along later.


Ah great - her having a bit more to do in the second episode was welcome. It's all a bit man-heavy isn't it.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:31 am

Another thing which struck me - when the phones ring (and boy do they ring loud) they actually get someone to deliver the lines down the other end of the phone.

Nothing significant in that - I've just never noticed it before.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby The Wooksta! » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:38 am

I've a feeling that the aircraft they blew up in episode 1 - a Hunting-Percival aircraft the name of which escapes me - was rescued from an RAF scrap/fire dump. The camo scheme is RAF transport to a tee and just Norwegian markings superimposed.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 pm

Episode 3, aka "What a Bunch of Utter bast*rds", aka "Game of Thrones ain't got nothing on us” done.

Don't read this if you're planning on watching for the first time! Spoiler tags on a 40 year old show seem like overkill though.

Well on a light hearted note, Caine smokes a cigar in the squash courts :lol:

We also have a nice bit of banter between Burnside and Diane along the lines of "Can you tell me why the head of special section has got coffee and I haven't?" One I'll have to remember for work.

And then the plot... so Sandbagger 2 is wounded after a mission to kill a Russian general, is being pursued by Russian soldiers, but lying low. Sandbagger 3 fires a flare to lure him out on Burnside's instruction, and because he's badly wounded, can't move quick enough to escape and gets captured. No bother though! 2 assassinates him. What a bast*rd!

3 returns to Blighty, whereupon he lies to Burnside about getting married as a way to leave the service. He then goes and proposes to his girlfriend, but in fact doesn't really want to marry her... what a bast*rd!

Burnside doesn't want to go down to having one Sandbagger. No worries though - he just instructs Sandbagger 1 to go and dig up dirt on the girlfriend, which they'll present to 3 to get him to ditch his wedding plans... What a bast*rd! The girlfriend goes out to celebrate her engagement... but not with 3 because he's dispatched on a back-to-back mission to Berlin by Burnside to get him out of the way. What a bast*rd! The girlfriend gets drunk and stays on a mate's couch. Burnside then uses surveilance photos to try and blackmail the girlfriend into leaving 3, so that 3 stays in the service. What a bast*rd!

Meanwhile... the brother of a senior shadow cabinet member is having an affair with a boy in Paris. Burnside is offered the job of surveillance so that the civil service (the bast*rds) can blackmail the shadow cabinet minister... who is deemed a potential threat to the government in terms of popularity. Burnside has one Sandbagger hidden away in Berlin so that he can blackmail the girlfriend, and the other sandbagger is trailing her. So in an unusual twist Burnside turns down the chance to be an utter bast*rd. No worries though, because his ex father-in-law, the civil servant, gets someone else to snap the two fellas fondling each other in Paris and blackmails the shadow cabinet minister anyway who resigns. What a bast*rd!

Anyway - it all turns out fine in the end, because 3 gets knocked over by a German taxi and dies. Don't worry about the girlfriend though because she'd just been dumped by 3 and killed herself anyway!! Happy days.

f*****g hell!

(Oh and DW watch... Produced and Directed by Michael Ferguson.)
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:50 am

Episode 4 done

After episode 3's clarity and carnage, I found this one quite difficult to follow and had to keep rewinding to listen to various bits again.

Diane's brief appearances are getting better and better.

Sandbagger 1 is off to Gibraltar to find out why the Algiers agent has been killed there...

So as they're down to one sandbagger, Burnside visits Henry Gordon Jago - spy trainer - to see if he's got anyone suitable. Enter Laura Dickens - beautiful, intelligent, inaccessible, expert in languages, espionage, trained to kill with 487 types of weapon... She gets the job as a temporary stand-in then is promptly sent to look at some paperwork in Algiers to find out why the SIS agent there was in Gibraltar. Meanwhile, action man Willie Caine (Sandbagger 1) who's been sent off to Gibraltar to investigate, confesses he's a crap investigator, so he resorts do to guns and cars.

Then in a pleasantly surprising turn, we learn that Sandbagger 1 struggles with the cars and guns stuff and has thrown up in the hire car. A nice touch showing even the most experienced Sandbagger stuggles to cope with the nature of the work.

Quite hard to follow by itself - and after a sleep I can't recall the resolution to the Gibraltar situation. (ETA: I've gone back because it was bugging me. Some geezers were planning on shooting down the governer's plane!)

But to complicate things further - there's a chap called Colin Grove from MI5 who wants promotion to the Sandbaggers, but the CIA tip off Burnside that he visits a Hungarian shrink somewhere overseas and is therefore likely to be spilling intel. This shrink is also visited by other government employees, so it's suggested Grove is spying for the Russkies, or not, or is single handedly spying on the shrink and building a file of evidence, or not. But Burnside looks forward to telling MI5 that they've got a dodgy operator...

Something like that anyway. These multiple story threads are very hard to follow - I hope the story telling gets somewhat simpler... Enjoyable nonetheless, and unlike Moffat's DW for instance, it's nice to be challenged.

DW watch - Christopher Benjamin and Hubert Rees (Fury, Captain Combover in The War Games, The Seeds of Doom)
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:09 pm

Episode 5 done

And oh Mammy! It's Peter Miles looking suspiciously brown as a berry and playing a Sheikh trying to chat up Laura Dickens. He's displays all the natural charm of Nyder gunning down his own grandmother.

Burnside and Dickens are going to end up at it, aren't they. Lucky bugger. “Because you’re beautiful. That’s a statement not a compliment. And I dare say if you made a supreme effort you could be passably sociable” :)

I enjoyed that one - rather complicated again but in a pleasing way this time, and rather reminiscent of a Yes Minister farce, with the initial proposition of surveying a suspected Russian spy ship being refused, then in the end executed after rounds of machinations by all involved, except Burnside - the hapless Jim Hacker in this case.

Nice to see Jerome Willis having the upper hand for once - he’s been a bit of a buffoon so far and one of the weaker characters in terms of development.

Good series this, innit.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:45 pm

Episode 6 aka "You Only Live Twice With The Spy From Russia With Love who Loved Me", done

Corr! This is the stuff isn't it!

Burnside's clearly a sociopath, as he visits the secret service shrink to seek advice on how to get Laura Dickens in the sack. What's even worse is that the shrink obliges him with full background information: "it may take you months!"

In episode 5 Willie Caine joked that he was James Bond but not getting paid like James Bond. Well too bloody right! In this episode he meets the new recruit, fresh out of spy school, works out she's been supplanted by a KGB spy (as per From Russia With Love), works with her anyway (The Spy Who Loved Me) to find two kidnapped rocket scientists, one Russian, one British (James Bond 25) in a converted asylum/rocket base (You Only Live Twice). She then guns down the Russian in cold blood, as he had in fact defected.

Then after winning the greatest military victory since Rorke's Drift, Caine goes home and gets bollocked for not framing the Russian Spy - Burnside was very "M" there.

Corking stuff. So good. And the action wasn't bad either :)

DW watch - Kenneth Watson (Duggan in The Wheel in Space, Craddock in Dalek's Invasion Earth 2150AD)
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby The Ginger Cat » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:53 pm

The Rak of the AZ done one of his worst to best articles on this series which might be of interest. Might be a little spoilerific for newbies, so proceed with caution...

WORST TO BEST THE SANDBAGGERS
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:31 pm

Episode 7 done

BLOODY HELL :shock:

DW watch - Richard Shaw (The Space Museum, Frontier in Space, Underworld. I recognised him first as the possessed guy in Quatermass III though)
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Hartnell's Wig » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:54 am

ericthehalfabee wrote:Episode 7 done

BLOODY HELL :shock:

Indeed.

The series pulled no punches and it gets even grimmer in places, starting with ... oh, the next episode! :D
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Stevex » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:20 am

I think one of the best things about the series is how the decision Burnside took in that episode impacts him through Series 2.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:26 am

Looking forward to it. It's not inconceivable I'll finish the entire thing over the weekend. It's certainly compulsive viewing.

I've found a few interesting looking reviews of the series so I'm looking forward to be able to read those, including the Rak's top 20.

I've also seen a biography of Mackintosh on Amazon, which has mixed reviews, but his disappearance sounds intriguing. He was so young as well!

I'm having fun writing my little reviews, if only because it forces me to think exactly about what's just happened. But episode 7 is so spoilerific I might have to revert to spoiler tags. Blimey. No word of a lie - I watched an episode of Bagpuss before bed, so I wasn't dwelling on what I'd just watched. Bagpuss was differently traumatising in its own way because it was full of boobs! Bagpuss!! Boobs!!!
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Servorobot » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:31 am

Damn you all to hell.

This genuine enthusiasm for The Sandbaggers is infectious and made me go out and buy the bloody set.

I haven’t seen it since it was first broadcast here in Australia. My father was obsessed with it. It’s really bloody good, but a lot of it I’d forgotten (although not the end of the first series).

And here’s me trying to reduce my DVDs and blu-rays.

Swines, the lot of you! :D
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:51 pm

I bloody well said Burnside was a sociopath didn't I!

After about 45 minutes I was wondering why the hell everyone was ranting about this episode, then it all went to sh*t :lol:
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Hartnell's Wig » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:20 pm

Servorobot wrote:Damn you all to hell.

This genuine enthusiasm for The Sandbaggers is infectious and made me go out and buy the bloody set.

I haven’t seen it since it was first broadcast here in Australia. My father was obsessed with it. It’s really bloody good, but a lot of it I’d forgotten (although not the end of the first series).

And here’s me trying to reduce my DVDs and blu-rays.

Swines, the lot of you! :D

*sits smugly looking at TWO sets*

It was that good that when one set started to get a bit gippy in one player, I feared disc rot and bought another.
The key to usable HUMINT (Human Intelligence) is distinguishing the real, highly placed sources from the bullsh*tting wannabes who pretend they’re highly placed sources by making sh*t up

“What Brussels doesn’t understand is low power vacuum cleaners are no good if you want to put your willy in them."

So unprotected oral sex is responsible for the rise of super gonorrhea.. that's it then. I've given my last blowjob!
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Stevex » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:26 pm

ericthehalfabee wrote:I bloody well said Burnside was a sociopath didn't I!

After about 45 minutes I was wondering why the hell everyone was ranting about this episode, then it all went to sh*t :lol:


No he‘s not a sociopath, he suffers.
His father-in-law is though.
Those themes develop through S2.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:43 pm

Stevex wrote:
ericthehalfabee wrote:I bloody well said Burnside was a sociopath didn't I!

After about 45 minutes I was wondering why the hell everyone was ranting about this episode, then it all went to sh*t :lol:


No he‘s not a sociopath, he suffers.
His father-in-law is though.
Those themes develop through S2.


His suffering hasn’t really been demonstrated yet (apart from maybe a couple of seconds at the end of episode 7) - I’ve assumed he’s “acting” any emotion to manipulate.

I look forward to seeing if I agree with you... in any case he’s manipulative as hell and has shown plenty of sociopathic tendencies.

S2 starting now...
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:55 pm

Episode 8 done

Well that was superb, gripping, moving. A fitting bookend to episode 7, for obvious and intended reasons.

The chap who played Sandbagger 2 - I didn't think much of him at the start, but by jove he showed some acting chops from half way. Great make-up too.

And all of Burnside's seniors gave great performances - very assured, especially Jerome Willis again. I'm surprised McNaughtan didn't have a bigger career - a big Hollywood one - he's very suave.

I still haven't seen any clear evidence of Burnside giving a damn. This time he was pretending to his seniors that he had to go to Sofia with the sole reason being to prevent a recurrence of last time. That didn't make sense as last time was all of his own doing... the only thing he had to do last time was NOT arrange the outcome (notwithstanding the pickle he was in).

And I'm enjoying all the budgetary stuff - previously it had been an argument about first class travel. This time it was non-replacement of a sandbagger. It feels very current to me! I suppose we'll find out in episode 9 whether the budget cuts are genuine! Oops - spoiler :)

Great stuff again - that's not lazy praise. It's brilliant telly.

It looks like they were filming at York University or similar, oh and Shad Thames. Probably both wrong!

DW watch - Michael Cashman off good old Timeflight.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Stevex » Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:25 pm

Enjoying reading your reactions Eric/Tim.
Wait till you get to the final epi of Season 2. I‘ll be really interested what you make of that. Very different from the Season 1 closer but in its way equally devastating.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:07 pm

Stevex wrote:Enjoying reading your reactions Eric/Tim.
Wait till you get to the final epi of Season 2. I‘ll be really interested what you make of that. Very different from the Season 1 closer but in its way equally devastating.


Thanks - either's fine. :lol:

I'm enjoying writing these brief reviews, but thank God it's a short series!

Anyway episode 9 done, although to avoid confusion let's call it S2E2

I'm definitely seeing a mixture of styles (or tropes - God I hate that word). I've got no idea if that was deliberate by Mackintosh, or a happy accident.

This one's a mystery/whodunnit. And would you believe it? It's the old German spies wanting to nab a Belgian terrorist group, but don't have access, so they kidnap a senior British civil servant, bringing in the British secret service who do have access, blame the Belgian terrorist group and have the international community bringing pressure to bear on the Belgian authorities to nab them too, and once the job's done they release Wellingham with a pat on the back and "no hard feelings chap" trope.

The bits with Wellingham in perfect comfort being perfectly amicable with the German kidnappers was a lot of fun and a genuine mystery. This one was definitely Macnaughtan's episode to star in.

Willie Caine's had enough... again. I doubt he'll ever leave though. I'm surprised Lonnen didn't have a bigger career... but once you've been in Doctor Who, it's all downhill I guess! I'm saving the serial for a reserve DW watch, along with Burnside's appearance in case I can't spot one later :lol:

DW watch! - Professor Rubeish and Peter Laird - "Chang" in The Wheel in Space. Thank goodness that one's in black and white, eh Wiggy?
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