Decision by Committee
‘I wasn’t worried. I knew you
wouldn’t let me down.’
Iraqi terrorists hi-jack Willie‘s and Karen’s Boeing
707. It lands in Turkey, and a stalemate begins.
This is a script that measures up to the convictions of its premises.
The suspense of having to plan a mission, while one’s masters
debate whether a mission should take place, is frustrating and
maddening. This highlights a fundamental difference between The
Sandbaggers and, say, Star Trek. Unlike Captain Picard, Burnside
is not at the top of the chain of command. Moreover, 'sending
in the troops' is not some magical tool that makes all the problems
go away, as it is often portrayed.
Wellingham’s coming clean about what the government is
thinking plays well, even to-day. The panicked scramble ending
the episode plays well, particularly to-day.
The ten days of rehearsal given to the episodes really shines
through here. Watch Burnside’s rows with Peele and later
with Ross. The speed and confidence with which the dialogue is
delivered is a pleasure for the anyone who admires the actor's
If your Sandbaggers videos are poor copies, you might not be able
to make out Karen Milner's note to Willie. It says: Baddies’
deadline is 1800. Maybe intend shoot two men first class. Both
British Military Brass.
Burnside refers to having lost ‘four Sandbaggers in 19 months,’
maintaining the series continuity. He adds, ‘My predecessors
lost one in six years’; that's another reference to Bob
Judd in A Proper Function of Government. On the topic of Wellingham's
kidnapping in the previous episode, Burnside tells C that Wellingham
has ‘never talked about it - at least not to me.’
The episode makes reference to two incidents at from the period:
Entebbe and Mogadishu.