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Friday, 13 November 2015

Sapphire and Steel have been assigned! - #FanFridays 10


It's Friday again and so I get to geek out and share another of my favourite classic TV shows. Welcome to Fan Fridays 10, where I have chosen to talk about Sapphire and Steel; I hope you enjoy.

Sapphire and Steel Have Been Assigned!

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For those who have never seen Sapphire and Steel, you have missed something superb. It ran from 1979 to 1982 on ITV in the UK and was made by ATV. It stars Johanna Lumley as  Sapphire and David McCallum as Steel, two agents from outside our own dimension who are sent to stop incursions from Time.

Each episode begins with the same voice over, from which I took the title of this post:
All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension.
Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life.
Medium atomic weights are available:
Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel.
Sapphire and Steel have been assigned.

Sapphire and Steel is one of those series that just has that little bit of difference about it and it makes you remember it.

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Sapphire is the personable character, gifted with the power to reverse time, empathy and to analyse objects and people simply by touch.

Steel is the gruffer, practical character, with great strength, thermal and conductive properties and willing to make the hard decisions.

Both are telepathic with each other and other agents.

They balance each other and back each other up to make the perfect partnership.

Lumley and McCallum play off each other so well with perfect chemistry and I simply love both characters.

However, what really hooked me as a child was the plots. There were six adventures filmed and I don't think I saw them all first time round, but those that I did see, like Two and Four really stuck with me. All are brilliant except the last one which I refuse to watch because there is a huge cliffhanger that has never been resolved.

Adventure One: A mother and father disappear from a remote farm house while reading their daughter nursery rhymes in the top room of the house. Sapphire and Steel have to prevent Time breaking through using the old house and everything in it. 6 eps


Adventure Two: There are ghosts gathering in a disused railway station lead by a World War I soldier. Sapphire and Steel must find out why, while distracting a human ghost hunter called Tully. 8 eps


Adventure Three: A time capsule sits invisible at the top of a modern block of flats, an experiment from the far future to investigate how humans used to live. Something malevolent has travelled with them and Sapphire and Steel must enter the capsule to find out what it is and stop it. 6 eps


Adventure Four: Ghostly sepia children run around an old junk shop, where the original landlord, whose hobby was playing with old photographs, and one of the tenants have disappeared. Sapphire and Steel must discover what is going on and how to stop it. 6 eps


Adventure Five: Lord Mullrine is hosting a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his company. He has made sure that everything is authentic, from the clothes to the test match on the radio. Time has used his attention to detail to break through, regressing everything back to 1930, killing the guests one by one, for its own nefarious purposes. Sapphire and Steel pretend to be party goers to prevent Time succeeding. 6 eps


Adventure Six: Sapphire and Steel are called to an abandoned service station to find out why time has stopped.

All the adventures are superbly written and they are all slightly different. I can never decide which is my favourite. I love Adventure One because of Steel's gruffness and the introduction to the characters. I love Adventure Two because the ghosts are just brilliant and we find out Sapphire and Steel are not completely infallible. I love Adventure Three because it's just so skin crawly in places. I love Adventure Four because it makes me want to never have my photo taken ever again. I love Adventure Five because its so intricate and the way Sapphire and Steel enroll a human to help them is brilliant.

However, I think they dropped the ball on Adventure Six.

The whole series is available on DVD at Amazon UK and Amazon US as well as being on Amazon Video US. I have the original DVDs they brought out a few years ago, but I keep eyeing the repackaged versions because I hope they changed the menus. The original DVDs have possibly the worst menus system I have ever come across on a DVD - it's shocking :).

I see there is supposed to be a remake coming as well - I look forward to it. I think Sapphire and Steel could be brilliantly rebooted for the modern era.

So have you seen Sapphire and Steel? Who is your favourite character?

2 comments:

  1. Although I caught individual episodes, and love the actors, I somehow failed to follow the series through. Feels like I missed out on something major. Don't even know why as it ticks all my viewing boxes. Maybe work got in the way.

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes we just have to catch up on the gems we missed later :) In this day and age it's easier (for example Rob and I are just finishing s2 of The Blacklist, having not watched any of it until seeing an ad for s3 :)), back in the early 80s it was much more difficult!

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