[I gather ewadams wrote first, although I haven't gotten his
> >3) What's so special about Malta, for heaven's sake? Cheap location
> >to film in?
> Sounds good to me!! :)
Now that you mention it, I don't remember anyone ever saying why
they shot in Malta, although one might suspect that Mackintosh
felt it had the strategic value that his protagonist Burnside
ascribed to it.
> >4) Where were the "eastern europe" locations (Sofea, etc.) actually shot?
Ray Lonnen reported that Malta was the only foreign location work they
did. I don't remember him saying what doubled for the foreign
cities, but I think that he reported that the countryside locations,
such as the Kola Peninsula in the first episode, were all shot in
Yorkshire. The London exteriors were filmed in London, and in some
interview somewhere (I think it was "Anglofile's" Marsden interview) it
was said that they were moved along from one building because it turned
out to be a real-life security building.
> >5) Why shoot Laura Dickens? Why not just cut the deal with the French, then
> >renege on it later? Or pass them false or outdated information? That would
> >certainly be Burnside's style.
This was covered, if not actually lingered over. At one point (I think
it was in the hotel room in Berlin) Burnside said something to the effect
that even if they had only pretended to go through with the deal with the
French that the Americans would never fully feel like they could trust the
Brits again. You're free to feel that his conclusion was incorrect, but the
contingency was at least alluded to.
> >6) Was the SIS a branch of the Ministry of Defence?
In real life I believe that its budget is hidden there, but no, it is
pretty directly analogous to the American CIA, in that it is technically
a civilian intelligence gathering body responsible directly to the
civilian government. There is an intelligence coordinating organization,
the Joint Intelligence Bureau or something like that referred to in
"Sometimes We Play Dirty Too," in which the various intelligence bodies
such as SIS (foreign intelligence gathering), the Security Service (the
official name of MI5, which is responsible for domestic counter-
intelligence), the Defence Intelligence Service (military intelligence),
and quite probably other interests of which I'm unaware, get together
to coordinate efforts, but this is not the same thing as SIS (or the
others) being a "branch" of the JIB.
> >Also, were the Sandbaggers Neil's ONLY responsibility, or
> >was he responsible for operations (as D. Ops) in all the local stations
> >around the world as well?
> I would guess that all ops with emphasis on SB.
He was explicitly responsible for overseeing everything with what
they once termed "operational input." In addition to the SB, he
also ran the Special Projects Team (the specialist saboteurs who
went scuba diving in "Always Glad to Help" and whom Burnside
proposed to use instead of the SAS in "Decision by Committee,"
over the objections of the SPT leader) and gave input and tactical
support to operations even when none of his own personnel were
being tasked (such as giving input at the beginning of "Special
Relationship" even though at that point they thought they were
going to use Bonn Station personnel for the handoff). There's
also some evidence to support the idea that D.Ops. is responsible
for procuring replacement Number Two's for foreign stations,
although exactly why he would be is a mystery to me.
> Has there been any talk of reviving the series?
Read the FAQ. There's been talk, but no real promise as yet.