Bugs (TV series)

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Bugs (TV Series) Title.jpg
Science fiction
Created byBrian Eastman
Directed byJohn Stroud
StarringJaye Griffiths
Craig McLachlan
Jesse Birdsall
Jan Harvey
Paula Hunt
Steven Houghton
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Executive producersCaroline Oulton
Tony Dennis
ProducersBrian Eastman
Stuart Doughty
Running time50 minutes
DistributorRevelation Films
Original networkBBC One
Picture format4:3
Audio formatStereo
Original release1 April 1995 (1995-04-01) –
28 August 1999 (1999-08-28)

Bugs is a British television drama series that ran for four seasons from 1 April 1995 to 28 August 1999. The programme, a mixture of action/adventure and science fiction, involved a team of independent crime-fighting technology experts, who faced a variety of threats involving computers and other modern technology. It was originally broadcast on Saturday evenings on BBC One, and was produced for the BBC by the independent production company Carnival Films. In July 2014, London Live, a local digital terrestrial station in London, began airing a complete rerun from Series 1. All 4 series (40 episodes) are available to stream in the UK on Britbox.


The series was devised by Carnival boss Brian Eastman and producer Stuart Doughty with input from veteran writer-producer Brian Clemens, who had previously worked on ITV's The Avengers and The Professionals. Clemens described Bugs as "an Avengers for the 1990s". Other notable series writers included Colin Brake and Stephen Gallagher. Two episodes ("Bugged Wheat" and "Hollow Man"), were written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who went on to create the series Smallville. The theme tune was written by Gavin Greenaway. The programme was a mixture of action/adventure and science fiction, with a reliance on fast-paced plots, technical gadgetry, stunts and explosions. Much of the programme's filming took place around the London Docklands area, which had recently been redeveloped with projects such as Canary Wharf. This was intended to give a modern, and perhaps even slightly futuristic, feel to locations of the episodes. The production was originally based at two warehouses of Blackwall Basin, on the Isle of Dogs in London. After the IRA bombing of the South Quay Plaza, the crew had to travel further to find intact buildings for exterior locations.[1]

The plot of the programme involved a team of specialist independent crime-fighting technology experts, who faced a variety of threats involving computers and other modern technology. The main trio of regulars were Nick Beckett (Jesse Birdsall), Ros Henderson (Jaye Griffiths) and Ed (Craig McLachlan in series one to three, Steven Houghton in series four). Initially an independent team, they began working alongside the government agency 'Bureau of Weapons Technology' in series two and from series three, with the original Bureau decimated, they came under the authority of the newly created Bureau 2, whose head was codenamed Jan (Jan Harvey) (her real first name was revealed to be Barbara, but her surname was never given) and her secretary, Alex Jordan (Paula Hunt). The series evolved, as a result, from a series of relatively unconnected one-off episodes to an overarching 'soap opera' complete with office romances. There has been controversy over Ed's surname - because he was never called anything other than "Ed", some people have taken his surname to be Russell, simply because he was addressed as "Dr Russell" in one episode. However, that was more likely a pseudonym, as both Ros and Beckett used plenty of false names throughout the series.

The programme came close to cancellation at the conclusion of its third series, but due to an exciting cliffhanger ending deliberately included by the production team, and strong foreign sales, a fourth was commissioned. The final series suffered from being moved to an earlier timeslot on Saturday evenings, and for only having the first eight of its produced ten episodes scheduled for broadcast.[2] Coupled with the Omagh Bombing forcing the BBC to postpone the series for a week, this meant that the concluding three episodes would not be broadcast until a year later. Another attempt to save the show by giving the series a cliffhanger ending was not successful, and the ending of the final episode — where Alex has just married boyfriend Adam, only to have him killed at the wedding and Ros and Beckett are abducted by an attacker unseen by the audience but recognised by Beckett — was never resolved.

The series has something of a minor cult following in the UK. Overall 40 episodes were produced, ten in each of the four series. Virgin Publishing produced novelizations of the episodes of the first series, but these were not successful and subsequent episodes were not novelised. As of 2005, the series is available on DVD in series-by-series box set form, released by Revelation Films. A complete box set collection of all four series is also available. In 2022, the series became available on the BritBox streaming platform.



Series 1 (1995)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Out of the Hive"Duncan GouldBrian Farnham1 April 1995 (1995-04-01)
Helicopter pilot Ed, electronics expert Ros Henderson and government agent Nick Beckett find themselves working together in an attempt to prevent the theft of a powerful satellite device from a government agency.
22"Assassins Inc."Stephen GallagherKen Grieve8 April 1995 (1995-04-08)
When Ed, Ros and Beckett set out on a mission to bring down hi-tech weapons dealer Irene Campbell, she targets the team with her latest and most lethal technology.
33"All Under Control"Duncan GouldBrian Farnham15 April 1995 (1995-04-15)
When a passenger aircraft is hijacked by remote control, the Gizmos team is called in to investigate the plane's state-of-the-art navigation system.
44"Down Among the Dead Men"Stephen GallagherAndrew Grieve22 April 1995 (1995-04-22)
Hired to investigate the link between the theft of ship components and the former employee of a large city bank, the Gizmos team encounter theft, murder, and a bank heist by submarine.
55"Shotgun Wedding"Colin Brake (uncredited rewrite)Ken Grieve29 April 1995 (1995-04-29)
When the team's plan to protect Italian politician Anna Fabrizi from a lethal assassin goes horribly wrong, Ed is forced to go undercover and must make an impossible decision - kill Anna Fabrizi or die.
66"Stealth"Stephen GallagherKen Grieve6 May 1995 (1995-05-06)

When Gizmos are hired to provide security for the launch of a new sports car, they instead become caught up in the theft of a prototype nuclear-powered stealth tank, which could destroy the city if not recovered.

Note: The next episode would be shown in two weeks time due to the BBC's live coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest 1995.[3]
77"Manna from Heaven"Gregory EvansBrian Farnham20 May 1995 (1995-05-20)
Phodex is a revolutionary type of food which could end world famine. When an attempt is made to steal samples, Gizmos are called in to investigate - and they discover that Phodex holds a deadly secret.
88"Hot Metal"Alan WhitingKen Grieve27 May 1995 (1995-05-27)
When a new type of metal is discovered to have explosive properties, Gizmos are brought in to prevent its theft by a mercenary who has developed a way to silence explosions.
99"A Sporting Chance"Colin BrakeKen Grieve3 June 1995 (1995-06-03)
Gizmos encounter the sinister plans of mercenary Colonel Easterhaus when they investigate the collapse of several athletes at a sports institution.
1010"Pulse"Stephen GallagherBrian Farnham10 June 1995 (1995-06-10)
Whilst investigating the disappearance of several company executives, Ed, Ros and Beckett stumble on to a plan to destroy the economic centres of London and Geneva, devised by a criminal mastermind.

Series 2 (1996)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
111"What Goes Up..."Colin BrakeBrian Farnham6 April 1996 (1996-04-06)
Ed goes undercover on a space program to oversee the deployment of a new satellite. But as the seconds tick down to the launch, a saboteur prepares to strike.
122"...Must Come Down"Colin BrakeBrian Farnham13 April 1996 (1996-04-13)
Whilst Ed is stranded aboard the crippled shuttle, Ros and Beckett attempt to unmask the saboteur within Ground Control. Meanwhile, a more deadly enemy resurfaces.
133"Bugged Wheat"Miles Millar & Alfred GoughSandy Johnson20 April 1996 (1996-04-20)
The team comes up against a pesticide company's dastardly scheme to spread worldwide famine, using genetically engineered insects infected with a deadly viroid.
144"Whirling Dervish"Colin Brake (uncredited rewrite)Andrew Grieve27 April 1996 (1996-04-27)
When a consortium of airlines plans to use a stealth plane to bring down a rival passenger airline, Ed goes undercover as a fighter pilot. Meanwhile, the team realise that someone is manipulating them.
155"Blackout"Frank De PalmaAndrew Grieve4 May 1996 (1996-05-04)
A guided tour of a hi-tech nuclear power station turns into a hostage crisis for Ros when the building is stormed by eco-terrorists. However, the situation is not what it seems.
166"Gold Rush"Bruno Heller & Alison LeathartAndrew Grieve11 May 1996 (1996-05-11)

The Monetary Commission recruits the team when a microbe is released into their gold vault which will literally eat the gold. Whilst Ros goes after the antidote, Ed becomes trapped in the vault as lethal security countermeasures are activated.

Note: The next episode would be shown two weeks later due to the BBC's live coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest 1996.[4]
177"Schrodinger's Bomb"Stephen GallagherAndrew Grieve25 May 1996 (1996-05-25)
The team infiltrate a duo of arms dealers for the Bureau, but fall foul of the building's explosive security system which arms to prevent them entering the vault; the only way to prove their guilt may be to blow up the evidence.
188"Newton's Run"Calvin Clements Jnr.Brian Farnham1 June 1996 (1996-06-01)
Nordic terrorists steal a cybernetically-enhanced dog named Newton to place a bomb in a weapons store which will vaporise much of the city.
199"The Bureau of Weapons"Stephen GallagherAndrew Grieve8 June 1996 (1996-06-08)
The Gizmos team race to stop Jean-Daniel after he unleashes an artificial intelligence across the Internet - leading Ros to make a terrible sacrifice.
2010"A Cage for Satan"Stephen GallagherBrian Farnham22 June 1996 (1996-06-22)
As Jean-Daniel puts the final stages of his master-plan into action, Ed and Beckett must prevent Ros from unwittingly activating the deadly computer virus stored within her mind.

Series 3 (1997)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
211"Blaze of Glory"Stephen GallagherJohn Stroud19 July 1997 (1997-07-19)
During an investigation at a construction site, the team discover a cache of unstable chemical weapons - with disastrous results.
222"The Revenge Effect"Stephen GallagherGwennan Sage26 July 1997 (1997-07-26)
Ed's life is placed in danger when an old enemy returns seeking vengeance.
233"The Price of Peace"Frank De PalmaJohn Stroud2 August 1997 (1997-08-02)
The peace of Eastern Europe is put at risk when an experimental electromagnetic weapon is stolen during a Bureau testing exercise.
244"Hollow Man"Miles Millar & Alfred GoughGwennan Sage9 August 1997 (1997-08-09)
A master print disk goes missing, days before the introduction of a brand new bank note.
255"Nuclear Family"Colin Brake (uncredited)John Stroud16 August 1997 (1997-08-16)
Bureau 2 is called upon to protect a targeted Russian Politician who controls an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
266"Fugitive"Clive HopkinsMatthew Evans23 August 1997 (1997-08-23)
The team are placed under suspicion when damning evidence reveals one has been dealing weapons.
277"Happy Ever After?"Colin Brake (uncredited with Clive Hopkins)John Stroud30 August 1997 (1997-08-30)
When eco terrorists target a water pumping station, they find the perfect leverage.
288"Buried Treasure"Terry BorstMatthew Evans13 September 1997 (1997-09-13)

Ed's loyalties are strained when an old flame turns up and needs his services for a special job.

Note: This episode was due to broadcast on 6 September 1997, although it was postponed following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.[5]
299"Identity Crisis"Colin BrakeJohn Stroud20 September 1997 (1997-09-20)
A new Jan takes charge of the Bureau, but what happened to the old one?
3010"Renegades"Stephen GallagherMatthew Evans27 September 1997 (1997-09-27)
The survivors of the Cyberax incident awake from their comas and set about completing their plan - the installation of Cyberax onto the internet.

Series 4 (1998–1999)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date Viewers
311"Absent Friends"Colin BrakeGwennan Sage11 July 1998 (1998-07-11)5.98
Ros has mysteriously vanished and when her car is found in a river, Beckett is forced to resign. Elsewhere, a dormant eco-terrorist group reawakens when an enormously-powerful government minister begins dealing in bio-weapons.
322"Sacrifice to Science"Colin BrakeBrian Grant18 July 1998 (1998-07-18)TBA
Ros is alive, but her unclear allegiances allow the minister to shut down Bureau 2, the only thing standing between him and vengeance. However, the team are never off the case for long...
333"Girl Power"Colin BrakeGwennan Sage25 July 1998 (1998-07-25)5.57
A fourteen-year-old techno-prodigy, Carly, breaks into the Hive out of boredom. She is assigned to Ros for mentoring into a tech school, but a certain duo decide to make use of the girl's technical prowess in a heist.
344"The Two Becketts"Terry BorstBrian Grant1 August 1998 (1998-08-01)5.62
Following a ten-year absence, Beckett's father comes back to him seeking help with a case against an international gangster, a man with enormous power and resources.
355"Hell and High Water"Alex StewartChristopher King8 August 1998 (1998-08-08)TBA
Contact with a satellite monitoring rig is lost and a satellite is due to reenter the atmosphere, which would be catastrophic unless its self-destruct is activated. The team board the rig, but discover the crew are not who they claim to be.
366"Pandora's Box"Frank De PalmaBrian Grant15 August 1998 (1998-08-15)TBA
A scholar seeks to prove his theory that a toxic waste dump was constructed over the tomb of King Arthur. In his haste to unearth the site, he releases a deadly bacterial plague that starts to kill again.
377"Jewel Control"Colin BrakeJohn Stroud29 August 1998 (1998-08-29)TBA
A Colombian emerald baron plans to use an ancient Continuation of Government structure to rob an emerald exchange. Meanwhile, Jan's competence is assessed.
388"Twin Geeks"Colin BrakeBrian Grant14 August 1999 (1999-08-14)TBA
Genius twin brothers Marcus and Michael, feeling used by their former employer and having their creations stolen, seek explosive revenge. Elsewhere, Ros finds Channing has sold her designs, and she has a matter of hours to buy them back.
399"Money Spiders"Terry BorstJohn Stroud21 August 1999 (1999-08-21)TBA
'Spiders', fragments of computer code designed to harvest secret information, dig up a government project to secure money transfers, and the owner decides to take full advantage, leading Adam to take drastic action to save Alex.
4010"The Enemy Within"Frank De PalmaBrian Grant28 August 1999 (1999-08-28)TBA
Ros' surgery is successful, if eventful, after Wyman infiltrates the hospital to run the CatFlap program. Alex and Adam make amends and their wedding goes ahead, but disaster is never far behind.


  1. ^ SFX Magazine, May 1996, p. 51.
  2. ^ "Season 4 News". Carnival Films. Archived from the original on 5 May 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Broadcast - BBC Programme Index".
  4. ^ "Broadcast - BBC Programme Index".
  5. ^ "Broadcast - BBC Programme Index".

External links[edit]