Intel: The Sandbaggers 45th Anniversary Virtual Event

Welcome back to Spybrary, the ultimate podcast for spy books, spy movies, and spy TV series. In today's ‘intel' episode, we share more about an upcoming Sandbaggers fan-organized virtual event featuring Roy Marsden (Neil Burnside.)

Paul Hodges of the Sandbaggers Facebook community shares ‘that The Sandbaggers Facebook Group will be hosting our first global event, named “Sandbagger Two”, to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the initial UK broadcast of The Sandbaggers. It will be a virtual voice+presentation event held via Zoom on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 11am EDT, 8am PDT, 4pm BST, etc. for 120 minutes. Besides a robust agenda, I am so excited to share the news that Roy Marsden and Greg Rucka will be the keynote speakers at Sandbagger Two. More information is available at our Facebook Group which can be found by searching Facebook for The Sandbaggers Yorkshire Television 1978-1980. I hope to see you at Sandbagger Two.

We asked Paul what fans can expect, what was Roy Marsden's reaction to being invited, and why Paul thinks the spy TV show has maintained such a loyal following after all these years.

This is Spybrary, so we have covered The Sandbaggers in a special three-parter where we reviewed each series. Why not listen to The Sandbaggers Podcast episodes prior to joining The Sandbaggers virtual event?

ZOOM INVITATION #2 – Sandbagger Two – Main Event

Oct 07, 2023 11:00 AM EDT, 8:00 AM PDT, 4:00 PM BST

Below is the Zoom invitation to attend the Sandbagger Two – Main Event.

Zoe and I are pleased to formally announce our first global event, named “Sandbagger Two”, to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the initial UK broadcast of The Sandbaggers. It will be a virtual voice+presentation event held via Zoom.

Additionally, I am so excited to share the news that Roy Marsden and Greg Rucka are scheduled to attend and present at Sandbagger Two! Although I would be fairly certain introductions are not necessary, Roy portrayed the lead role of Neil Burnside, D-Ops, for the entire run of the series. Greg authored the Queen and Country media series which is a quasi-sequel of / inspired by The Sandbaggers. More on both may be found at the Wikipedia entry for The Sandbaggers.

We have asked Roy to share his thoughts on his involvement with the program, how it impacted his career, and what it meant to him personally with moderated Q&A at the end. Greg will share similar thoughts focused on how the program impacted him as a viewer, how it impacted his development of Queen & Country, and how that impacted his career with the same moderated Q&A at the end. Other presenters will be Ferox Hopkirk who will present Ian Mackintosh before The Sandbaggers, myself presenting The Sandbaggers Legacy, and Tim Palgut who has a surprise or two to share in terms of a media drop tied to the 45th Anniversary.

To close, we are excited to present this to our members. The engagement of Roy and Greg truly makes this special and unique. Finally, this is not limited to only members of our Facebook forum. Feel free to invite anyone you think is interested. Look forward to your participation on 07 October!


Hi there,

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Oct 7, 2023 11:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Sandbagger Two – Main Event

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

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So what is The Sandbaggers all about?

The Sandbaggers is a British spy drama television series about men and women on the front lines of the Cold War. Set contemporaneously with its original broadcast on ITV in 1978 and 1980, The Sandbaggers examines the effect of espionage on the personal and professional lives of British and American intelligence specialists. All but three of the 20 episodes of the three series were written by its creator, Ian Mackintosh, who died during the recording of series three. The series was produced by Yorkshire Television, based in Leeds.

Neil D. Burnside (Roy Marsden) is Director of Operations in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (abbreviated ‘SIS'), a.k.a. MI6, although that name is never used in the series. The series follows Burnside as he oversees a small, elite group of intelligence officers, the Special Operations Section, nicknamed “Sandbaggers”, composed of highly trained officers whose missions tend to be politically sensitive or especially vital, such as escorting defectors across borders (or preventing defections from the UK), carrying out assassinations, or rescuing operatives from behind the Iron Curtain.

The series depicts Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and SIS having a co-operative agreement to share intelligence; a regular theme shows SIS as so underfunded that it has become dependent on the CIA. Burnside consequently goes to great lengths to preserve the “Special Relationship” between the CIA and SIS, most notably in the episode of the same name. Episodes frequently revolve around Burnside's frustration at trying to operate his directorate in the face of what he believes to be unwarranted bureaucratic and governmental interference, in particular from his Deputy Chief, Matthew Peele.

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