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Secret Organizations - The Good Guys

S.I.S. - Elite British espionage agency featured on the spy drama THE SANDBAGGERS/ITV/1978-80.


THE SANDBAGGERS chronicles the story of Neil Burnside (Roy Marsden), Director of Operations (“D-Ops”) in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (“S.I.S.”).

Burnside is in charge of the Special Section of field operatives led by senior officer Willie Caine (Ray Lonnen) referred to as "Sandbagger One." They supervise the men and women who work with them on the front lines of the Cold War against the K.G.B. and other hostiles.

Burnside reports to career diplomat Sir James Greeley a.k.a. "C," the director of SIS (Richard Vernon) later replaced by John Tower Gibbs (Dennis Burgess).

Burnside's other colleagues included:

  • Personal Assistant Diane Lawler (Elizabeth Bennett), later replaced by Marianne Straker (Sue Holderness)
  • Career politician Sir Geoffrey Wellingham (Alan MacNaughtan), the Permanent Undersecretary who represents SIS’s interests in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Jeff Ross (Bob Sherman). the head of the CIA’s London station
  • "C's" second-in-command Deputy Chief Matthew Peele (Jerome Willis) who interferes with Burnside's special brand of bureaucratic process
  • Bruce (Paul Haley) Duty Officer in the Ops Room
  • Brian Milton (Barkley Johnson), Duty Officer in the Ops room
  • Edward Tyler (Peter Laird) , the ("D-Int") Director of Intelligence (Episode 1-15)
  • Paul Dalgetty (David Robb) the Director of Intelligence (episodes16-20).

Field Agents included:

  • Jake Landy (David Glydner) "Sandbagger Two" (eps.1-3)
  • Laura Dickens (Diane Keen) "Sandbagger Two" (eps.4-7)
  • Tom Elliott (David Beames)  "Sandbagger Two" (ep.8)
  • Mike Wallace (Michael Cashman) "Sandbagger Two" (eps.9-20)
  • Alan Denson (Steven Grives) "Sandbagger Three" (eps.1-3)

The Sandbaggers was created by Ian Mackintosh, a former a former lieutenant-commander in the Royal Navy with an Intelligence background.

TRIVIA NOTE: According to the "Random House Dictionary," a "Sandbagger" is one who "deceives...coerces, intimidates or thwarts or causes to fail or be rejected."

In Sports, a "Sandbagger" is a would-be Pro Player trying to pass as an Amateur, or an Amateur passing as a Novice with hope of gaining an advantage or reward.

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