The Sandbaggers

"Shaken, not stirred", "We're the Sweeney, son - and we haven't had any dinner" and all that jazz.

Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:08 pm

Martin_Kinsella wrote:I am watching sand baggers series 2, first episode at the moment, my wife is out tonight so I have lined up,some great ITV stuff including a crown court, sandbaggers, cribb and armchair theatre.

Series 2 ep 1 done and dusted.

I’d forgotten just how bleak the show could be. No romanticising the spying game.

Burnside is such a cold, cold, person. His visit back to the bolt hole to see the sandbagger who had taken a bullet. No response on an emotional level at all.

Brilliant. It’s lovely stuff.


Sorry - not really in keeping with the mood of the thread nor that scene, but...

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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Martin_Kinsella » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:51 pm

ericthehalfabee wrote:
Martin_Kinsella wrote:I am watching sand baggers series 2, first episode at the moment, my wife is out tonight so I have lined up,some great ITV stuff including a crown court, sandbaggers, cribb and armchair theatre.

Series 2 ep 1 done and dusted.

I’d forgotten just how bleak the show could be. No romanticising the spying game.

Burnside is such a cold, cold, person. His visit back to the bolt hole to see the sandbagger who had taken a bullet. No response on an emotional level at all.

Brilliant. It’s lovely stuff.


Sorry - not really in keeping with the mood of the thread nor that scene, but...




Not my words, Michael, the words of Shakin Stevens.

Just watched S2 E2 Enough of Ghosts. Not too bad but certainly not as good or challenging as the first episode.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:22 pm

S3E2 done

And this is the one that was spoilered for me randomly in my Twitter feed. I won't repeat the offence here, in case anyone's watching for the first time or forgotten. It's the one where D. Int. has gone off on holiday to Malta.

I spent the first 20 minutes concentrating more on whether they were actually in Malta or Bournemouth or Cornwall. It's Malta! I think that's the first time they've been overseas.

There was a nice bit of internal politics/chain of command stuff going on with the A word rearing its head again. C had a bit more to do, but he's still terribly wooden. It's spoiled the whole dynamic a bit. And I was disappointed that there was no hangover from the previous episode regarding Wellingham - just back to business as usual, and Ross and Burnside appear to be best buddies again :(

But a good story, ended once again with a lonnnnnng scene of exposition, but it was better done than last time and quite poignant. I'm generally feeling like the best is behind us at this point now. I'll be presently surprised otherwise.

DW watch - Marco Polo in a surprisingly low key role. And John Alkin - Planet of Fire.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Hartnell's Wig » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:14 pm

This series is the one where the writer went missing and other people wrote episodes, and it really shows although the first three were written by him!

The chat between D Int and Burnside about The Dilemma was lovely though. Beautifully done.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:57 pm

Hartnell's Wig wrote:This series is the one where the writer went missing and other people wrote episodes, and it really shows although the first three were written by him!

The chat between D Int and Burnside about The Dilemma was lovely though. Beautifully done.


Do you know if there's anything notably suspicious about the disappearance of his plane?
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 12:59 pm

S3E3 done

Well that was a turn up for the books! Pretty much a straight comedy (apart from the pesky spying subplot) as Burnside, Peel and Wellingham are dispatched to Greece for a jolly. Lots of good jokes as Burnside gives up smoking and loses his bets with the other two. Wellingham is terrified of accompanying Peel on a cultural tour of the island and we even see him hiding in Burnside's hotel room. After being warned of KGB agents "with their bristols popping out of bikinis" trying to entrap agents, Burnside plays along with some beautiful Greek woman who tries to get him to bed... Burnside cool as a cucumber turns her down because she's a spy, then we find out she wasn't a KGB agent after all :lol:

It showed quite a bit of chutzpah to do this sort of comedy - but I thought it was a lot of fun. They must have had an increased budget for S3 as they’re filming overseas again.

While all the bosses are away, there's an enjoyable plot with Sandbagger2 being sent deep into Russia to retrieve a CIA spy - he eventually gets him out by distracting the road block troops with porn :lol: (or at least we assume he's been got out - it could turn out differently next time I suppose.)

And that Ross has been up to no good again - sending in Sandbagger 2 in the hope he'll get caught while carrying a false description of their lost agent, increasing the chances of him getting out. I'd like to think when Burnside's back next week, all hell will break loose - but this series doesn't tend to carry forward these specific feuds beyond anything superficial.

I also take back what I said about Marlene - she’s good!

A lot of fun. 4 to go!

DW watch - Ganatus! Rio Fanning - Horror of Fang Rock
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Stevex » Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:50 pm

I thought that was one of the most memorable episodes in fact
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:41 pm

S3E4 done - "My name is Anna Wiseman"

Former SIS and Nato staffer Anna Wiseman is terminally ill and plans to faux defect to Russia, in the hope of uniting Russian dissidents and in the hope of having a powerful message recorded onto a tape broadcast on the BBC World Service or some such. Only Peel won't allow Burnside to give her a leaked document - "the meal ticket" - to persuade the Russians of her good intentions, so Burnside acts on his own and has Sandbagger 2 go and shoot her in the arm as she's defecting...

Well that was clearly supposed to be a powerful and serious episode. But I just didn't get on with it - not least because it's on the heels of a comedy. The actress playing wiseman was boring - too dry and earnest - and to be honest I just didn't care that she was ill or for the message which she wanted to spread... they even played the recording over the end credits - LOOK HOW POWERFUL THIS IS.

Burnside is painted as some quiet hero of the oppressed - and we know from the previous 16 episodes that he isn't that - he's a game player obsessed with the game itself and sees life as a somewhat disposable means to an end, so I just didn't buy his apparent concern for the intended sleeper nor her message.

Cashman - I've not said anything about him so far - but he was dead good in this I thought. Looked convincing handling guns and as a secret agent. Him and Lonnen continue to pull off no-nonsense yet relaxed performances. I like them both a lot.

A bit of a miss this one for me, although I wouldn't be surprised if others enjoy it more and can appreciate the intended significance of the politics etc.

Was that the first non-Mackintosh one I wonder? It felt like someone trying very hard, but just missing the point.

3 to go!

DW watch - Terry Walsh!
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:02 pm

S3E5 done

A businessman and former secret agent fakes his own death in Prague, in order to defect for the love of a woman half his age...

Not too bad this one as the story unfolded, with some nice, well timed twists along the way. It kept you wondering more than anything else about what the businessman's widow was up to. I think they could/should have made more of the reveal that Banks wasn't the person killed - and I missed any explanation of who the dead person was or how the corpse was supplied. It may have been there - but I didn't hear it.

I quite enjoyed Cashman again, this time being spied on by the old woman as he tried to break into the widow's house.

I suppose it didn't quite catch fire because there wasn't the trademark in-house fighting between C, Peel and Burnside. So it wasn't really a Sandbaggers story. Ross showed up for the sake of it, unusually for him standing up - he's usually somewhere between slouched and horizontal. And once again it relied on a little too much garbled exposition at the end - but I don't want to be overly critical - not too bad.

Michael Sheard turning up for 30 seconds as the coroner was very welcome! Nice to see a young Sherrie Hewson too.

Two to go! I'll save the last two for during the week.

DW watch - Michael Sheard. Aimee Delamain - played the old woman in The Two Doctors.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Hartnell's Wig » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:38 pm

ericthehalfabee wrote:
Hartnell's Wig wrote:This series is the one where the writer went missing and other people wrote episodes, and it really shows although the first three were written by him!

The chat between D Int and Burnside about The Dilemma was lovely though. Beautifully done.


Do you know if there's anything notably suspicious about the disappearance of his plane?

Only that he was possibly doing a bit of spying in the area at the time. Possibly.

That Anna Wisemann episode is easily the worst of the entire run.
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 ericthehalfabee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:56 pm

Hartnell's Wig wrote:
That Anna Wisemann episode is easily the worst of the entire run.


I’m glad it’s not just me.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Martin_Kinsella » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:11 pm

ericthehalfabee wrote:
Hartnell's Wig wrote:
That Anna Wisemann episode is easily the worst of the entire run.


I’m glad it’s not just me.



I’ve never liked it either. Just dull.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Stevex » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:33 pm

From memory you‘ve got one more episode by the same writer as Anna Wiseman, then the finale which is again by Mackintosh.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby The Wooksta! » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:21 pm

Glynis Barber is in one of the series 3 episodes and the Greek woman who comes onto Burnside played Dagmar in the first series of Auf Wiedersen, Pet. Alreet?
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:21 pm

Bugger it - I've watched another :lol:

S3E6 done

Well after Stevex pointing out the writer, I was rather gloomy about this one. But I enjoyed it!

Obviously a different writer and another "let's do something different" idea, but it was alright wasn't it? Burnside has his annual medical and the Doctor rings Peel to report he's suffering from stress. The head of Madrid station kills himself mysteriously and Willie flies off to investigate. C, Peel and the new D Int conspire to have Burnside removed, aided by half a CIA report found in Madrid saying that Burnside is a menace. Then Burnside gets told he's to be promoted to the Madrid station. I wish I could take a less stressful job in Spain for more money :( Then while Burnside's walking around sulking - he gets mugged and hospitalised!

Peel's animosity towards Burnside to the point of trying to get rid of him was a bit sudden and urgent and betrayed the new writer, as did Marlene's bit about Burnside being all cuddly and warm really (although it was well written and delivered.) It's a shame Lady Wellingham turned up - it felt a bit unnecessary. It perhaps was intended to be Wellingham himself. Alan MacNaughtan seems to have been quietly got rid of or unavailable - maybe he'll turn up for the last one? It's a shame if he doesn't... And the resolution was all rather too neat, but it worked and there was a tiny punch the air moment when Ross revealed what was actually written in his review of British intelligence. Old wooden C's volte face didn't really make sense, but I'm not really paying attention to him anyway :lol:

Pleasantly surprised by a not-too-bad episode. Not one of the best, but it's 100 times better than Anna Wiseman.

I couldn't see any DW actors in this who I haven't already named - so have a Metal Mickey one instead: Baroness Lola Young.

Hmm should I finish it tonight? We'll see.
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:18 am

S3E7 done!

I really wanted to do some reading on the series, so I've finished it.

It seems they probably filmed the Malta episodes together, hence this one being last with its clearly planned finale, yet written by Mackintosh.

Burnside wants to put an end to this summit with the Russkies and tries to enable the defection of a KGB double agent, which when broadcasted would enrage the Russians and they'd leave. Wellingham is desperate for the conference to continue for the furtherance of his own reputation - besides he wants to embarrass them as they've provided some false information on missile numbers... Good old Peele (as apparently its spelt - oops) gets to the bottom of Burnside's plan and puts a stop to it.

Then Burnside, 1 and 2 work out that the Russians want any old excuse to pull out, that they'll probably assassinate the defector anyway and in a rushed last minute - Caine spots the sniper and we're left with the intended end of series cliff hanger of Caine lying in a pool of his own blood, with 2 looking on despondently.

Well that was alright - another middling episode I'd say, with the shock ending making it a bit more interesting. For my money Peele had the best of it - but they cut away when he was about to give what would have been a very entertaining bollocking to Burnside and co.

What a great little show this has been! Now un-spoilerable I'm looking forward to reading up on it...

I went back and watched the interviews on disc 1 with Lonnen and Sherman. Filmed a couple of weeks after Macnaughtan had died, and not long before Sherman followed him - but he'd hardly changed in the intervening 20 years! Lonnen was exactly the same as Caine too, at least in character. They talked about the disappearance of Mackintosh and Sherman in particular was of the opinion that he'd defected! S4 was planned with Caine in a wheelchair being D Ops according to Lonnen.

I can't remember who first recommended this on the ME thread, but thanks very much :)

This isn't a conclusion to the thread, but it is a conclusion to my little reviews...
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Mon Apr 29, 2019 2:55 am

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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:08 am

There is a Sandbaggers fan website, with lots of stuff on it. It's redundant now, but there's lots of records on the wayback machine.

Bob Sherman interview:

https://web.archive.org/web/20051225165 ... erman.html
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby Yartek » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:48 am

Great posts eric. I rationed myself to one episode per week when I watched them! :)
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Re: The Sandbaggers

Postby ericthehalfabee » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:14 am

Yartek wrote:Great posts eric. I rationed myself to one episode per week when I watched them! :)


Ha - I think I did the lot in less than a week. No regrets - I can now do other stuff! And thanks :)
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