DI Frank Burnside

Portrayed by Christopher Ellison

First Appearance as Frank: Just Call Me Guv’nor 4/8/88

Final Regular Appearance: Bare Faced Lies 4/9/93

Returning: Cast No Shadow 1998

Final Ever Appearance: Thug On The Tyne 13/1/00

Call Sign: 75 (DI)
55 (DCI)

Just Call Me Guv’nor…. this says it all about old school cockney detective Frank Burnside. That was the name of the first episode when we met Frank Burnside, who was stood in nothing but his boxer shorts.  We did, however, actually meet Burnside (fully dressed I might add) in previous episodes firstly as a lowly DS trying his luck with DI Galloway, he was called Tommy then. The name change was due to off screen reasons.

Frank was not the most popular choice of other officers to arrive at Sun Hill CID. However, in time officers realised Burnside was a good thief taker and officers under his command knew exactly where they stood with him. He may not have always followed the rule book to the letter but was never bent copper as some had suspected.  It was understandable that some questioned his integrity, during the 1970s Burnside was part of Operation Countryman, a operation to catch rogue officers, but as Bob Cryer discovered Frank was working for Countryman not caught by it. Other officers had more faith in Burnside and when he reappeared years later Jim Carver quickly jumped to his senior officers defence convinced of Burnside’s honesty. Burnside had a fiery temper and came to blows with other officers on more than one occasion but he also showed compassion for fellow officers, being the one to empty Viv Martella’s desk after she shot dead… but only after calling her a silly bitch. .

Burnside may have left Sun Hill under rather mysterious circumstances but away from Sun Hill he did rather well for himself.  The final time Frank graced Sun Hill with his presence he had been promoted to the Head of the regional crime squad.

When we first met Burnside his first name was Tommy.  He was actually renamed Frank Burnside because at the time Frank was brought into The Bill as a regular character there was already a Tommy Burnside in the MET.

Chris was actually offered the role of Ted Roach, which he turned down.


Annoyed? First Class passengers on the Titanic were annoyed. What I’m feeling now goes beyond that.

Ask the real community what they want and they’ll tell you loud and clear. Cuff ’em and stuff ’em.

I don’t get stress… I give it.

Official Website 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellison456

IMDb https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0255177/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Where can I see Chris now?