Frank Burnside   Service Record    
Frank Burnside
D.C.I. Frank Burnside

D.C.I. Frank Burnside

Birth Name: Francis
Full Name: Francis Burnside
Alias: Tommy Burnside
Nickname(s): Franny, Gov
IC: Gender
1Male   Male
Date of Birth: December 16, 1946
Occupation: Police Officer
Affiliation: Metropolitan Police
Curr. Posting: National Crime Squad
Curr. Rank: Detective Chief Inspector
Curr. Title: Head of the N.C.S.
Occ. Status
●  Service Record  ●
Portrayed by:Christopher Ellison
 ● First Appearance: Funny Ol' Business - Cops & Robbers
Just Call Me Guvnor
 ● Last Appearance: Thug On The Tyne, Part 2
List of Appearances

DCI Frank Burnside built his reputation on good detective work combined with his unique approach of putting informants' heads down the toilet and making suspects' lives hell. Steely and uncompromising, he was not a man to cross. He could be fiercely loyal to his colleagues - when it suited him - and although essentially a loner since his divorce, he had no shortage of female admirers. C.I.D. had little idea about his life outside the job and that was how he wanted it to stay. Many superior officers tried to tame him but none succeeded - Burnside simply became more devious. He was a man of mystery, not intrinsically bad, but certainly with an edge. Hard-bitten, Burnside was definitely a 'bend the rules' type detective.

Undercover operations formed a large part of his police life and he was an intrinsic part of Operation Countryman, a Met initiative in the 70's to flush out bent coppers, which left many people with the impression that Burnside himself was corrupt. Before his transfer to Sun Hill's C.I.D., he had spent a month in deep cover as part of a covert operation to infiltrate a gang of vicious football thugs.

Burnside first appeared at Sun Hill in 1984 as a D.S. from Barton Street, an old face from Bob Cryer's past. Four years later, Frank returned as Detective Inspector and immediately made an impact - old memories die hard at Sun Hill. Ted Roach, who had been acting D.I., was resentful that he did not get the job permanently, while Bob Cryer didn't trust him an inch. He believed that Burnside had escaped Operation Countryman; Christine Frazer knew that Burnside had been undercover and part of Countryman and set Cryer straight. Burnside's dodgy side seemed to be confirmed in 1989 when he was briefly arrested in a corruption inquiry. However, his accuser had used a vulnerable witness to set him up and Burnside was cleared.

Frank immediately stamped his authority on Sun Hill's C.I.D., making few friends in the process. However, he again came under scrutiny following the failure of a Drugs Squad investigation in 1990, led by Detective Inspector Wray, who later turned up at Sun Hill as his boss. Burnside did win a certain grudging respect for his ability to 'nick villains,' and this was appreciated especially by rookies such as Suzi Croft, who learnt a thing or two from him. Never the sort of character to hang around for too long, he abruptly moved off to a mysterious new job in the Met in 1993. Sun Hill only found out when he failed to show up for work one day.

In 1998, D.S. Boulton and D.C. Carver came across Burnside working undercover whilst on an operation in Manchester, when he smacked Boulton for revealing his affair with a gangster's wife. Since then, and promoted to Detective Chief Inspector, he was part of the Crime Operational Command Unit and put in regular stints at Sun Hill, much to the chagrin of D.C.I. Meadows. In 2000, he went undercover once again, attempting to expose a corrupt detective in Newcastle.

Burnside later became the head of a crack police team in the National Crime Squad. His unit delved into the darker side of crime and became involved in the world of illegal firearms, gang warfare, and the trail of a serial killer.

Actor Chris Ellison shared his memories of working on the series during an in-depth interview about his life and career for The Bill Podcast

Service Record[edit | edit source]

Main article: Service Record
1987- Promoted to DI
1989 - Accused of Corruption, later cleared
1993- Leaves Sun Hill on an undercover operation
1998 - 2000 Returns Briefly as a Detective Chief Inspector

Family and Relationships[edit | edit source]

  • Unnamed wife (divorced)
  • Kim Hyde (Unknown - 1998, her death)

Notes[edit | edit source]

Burnside was originally referred to as "Tommy Burnside" in his first three guest appearances (Funny Ol' Business - Cops & Robbers, Ringer and The Chief Super's Party) before becoming a regular character, Frank Burnside, in 1988. As explained in the documentary The Bill Made Me Famous, the name had to be changed as there was a real Tommy Burnside serving in The Met.

Preceded by:
DI Roy Galloway
Sun Hill DI
Succeeded by:
DI Harry Haines

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