The Sandbaggers (1978–1980)
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Special Relationship 

When an East German spy in the employ of SIS offers them photographs of a new missile site, Burnside finds that the only person qualified for the job is Laura Dickens. For personal reasons ... See full summary »





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Episode complete credited cast:
Roy Marsden ...
Alan MacNaughtan ...
Sir Geoffrey Wellingham
Diane Keen ...
Laura Dickens
Elizabeth Bennett ...
Diane Lawler
Bob Sherman ...
Jeff Ross
Alan Downer ...
Barkley Johnson ...
Richard Shaw ...
Cyril Varley ...
Brian Ashley ...


When an East German spy in the employ of SIS offers them photographs of a new missile site, Burnside finds that the only person qualified for the job is Laura Dickens. For personal reasons - he's quite fallen in love with her - he's reluctant to send her. When she is captured by the East German security service, he makes a pact with the devil by promising the French secret service access to CIA materials in exchange for a high-ranking KGB agent they could swap for her. In the end, Burnside must opt for a solution that pleases no one, least of all himself. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

30 October 1978 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Sir Geoffrey Wellingham: I'm Permanent Undersecretary, not Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Neil Burnside: You asked me what I wanted.
Sir Geoffrey Wellingham: Neil, Belinda is driving me mad.
Neil Burnside: I remember the feeling.
Sir Geoffrey Wellingham: And I'll remember this conversation.
Neil Burnside: I'd help if I could, but the price is too high.
Sir Geoffrey Wellingham: I'll remember that too.
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User Reviews

One for One
16 September 2016 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

THE SANDBAGGERS "Special Relationship" 1978

The SANDBAGGERS was a UK series set during the Cold War. The series follows a small unit of the SIS, which deals with various intelligence gathering problems. (Or eliminating said problems) The cast includes Roy Marsden, Ray Lonnen, David Glyder, Liz Bennett, Richard Vernon, Bob Sherman and Jerome Willis. The series ran for 20 episodes between 1978 and 1980.This is the 7th episode of the production run.

Roy Marsden is in charge of a covert action section of the UK Secret Service, the SIS.

A source in East Berlin claims to have photos of an important Warsaw Pact complex. The man tells SIS that it is too important to use the normal route of transfer. The man also wants a bump in the cash he gets. Covert action boss, Marsden, must decide who to send into East Berlin to collect the photos. He must also decide if it is a ploy but the Stasi to grab up an agent. Has the contact been caught and turned?

The trick here is they need someone who can speak German like a Berliner. There is a bit of bad luck when the first choice, an embassy man in Bonn, goes down from an accident. The only other choice is the female Sandbagger, Diane Keen. Marsden is rather reluctant to send in Keen as the two have been stepping out together away from the office. Marsden sends in Keen anyway.

Miss Keen is smuggled into East Berlin and heads to the apartment of the East German contact. Marsden's fears of the contact being turned are correct. The East German Stasi are waiting at the apartment with drawn guns. She is soon slapped into a cell for a spot of "friendly questioning".

Marsden is quickly on the phone to various intelligence agencies, MI-5, CIA etc for any captured Red agents they could swap for Keen. The only agency with a suitable body turns out to be the French. Their asking price is to be let in on any info flowing between the CIA and SIS. (The French had dropped out of NATO and were not privy to American intelligence information)

Marsden agrees to the deal knowing full well that if the Americans discover the trade, their "special relationship" will end. Marsden though decides to let his CIA liaison, Bob Sherman in of the particulars of the arrangement. He has had a great working deal with the CIA.

The swap is arranged at a Berlin crossing for the Red agent transfer for Miss Keen. The deal goes sideways as Miss Keen collects a bullet fired from somewhere on East Berlin side. The Red agent is hustled back the West as the trade fails and the French get back the agent. The death was the CIA's way of ending the SIS deal with the French types. The CIA had one of their men do the deed with a sniping rifle.

A pretty intense episode if I do say so myself. Nasty!

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