THE SANDBAGGERS is a taut British spy series comprising twenty 50-minute episodes produced by Yorkshire Television, an ITV franchise (i.e., a commercial regional British television franchise). The stories centered on the elite covert operations section of British Intelligence, nicknamed the Sandbaggers, and their boss, Neil Burnside, himself a former Sandbagger but now having to battle more with British bureaucracy than with enemy agents. It was set contemporaneously with its original broadcast in the late '70s and early '80s when the Cold War still dominated the Western intelligence agenda. Written by
Ernest W. Adams <email@example.com>
Although Sandbaggers is meant to depict Britain's S.I.S., the structure of Burnside's department is modeled on the C.I.A. Directorate of Operations. See more »
If I want to send an agent to the lavatory, I need the Foreign Secretary's permission. If I want him to do anything when he gets there, I need the Prime Minister's written approval!
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I can't remember how I managed to stumble across this series a good many years ago now, but somehow - and I still haven't been able to work out just how - it managed to hook me almost instantly. There is so much subterfuge, nasty, backroom dealings and internal politics going on and plain intrigue that it hardly matters that there's almost no real action in this series. Virtually everything goes on in the offices of the Sandbagger unit and there's not even very much outdoor camera work, so I suspect this series was made on an incredibly cheap budget, but the scripts are good, the plots are believable, the acting is excellent when you consider that these guys are spies who are not meant to betray too much emotion, and the tension is constant. Good British psychological drama.
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