Production: GB, 1979-82

Cast: Joanna Lumley, David McCallum, David Collings.

A typical British science- fiction serie, and a very worrying one. It is not clear who Sapphire and Steel are: they look as two sort of “time agents” who act when breaks or paradoxes in time happen and a reparation is needed to fix the space-time continuum.
The opening speech of every episode does not help very much: “all the irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Trans-uranic 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.” In the final list several names are not chemical elements (included the two stars), but, during the serie, we can meet other two collegues, “Lead” (Val Pringle) and “Silver” (David Collings). During an episode a new collegue is created, “Brass” (Jeffry Wickam, and he is not an element too…).
Main characters are Joanna Lumley (already seen in “The new Avengers”), who plays Sapphire, and David McCallum (seen in “Man from U.N.C.L.E.”) who plays Steel.

Clothes and behaviour are coherent: Sapphire is blond-haired, has ot blue eyes and alwayswears bluette dresses, she is simpatetic with human victims of time breaks and has the power of  “rewinding time” to search for its irregularities.
Steel always wears grey suits, is intolerant and dislikes humans as inferior beings, he is cold and rational and can lower his body’s temperature to absolute zero.
The show was created in 1979 by private network ATV, attempting to rival with BBC’s “Doctor Who” which was then at the top of popularity, thanks to Tom Baker.
Considering its great (maybe excessive) originality, the two series can’t be compared for popularity: “Doctor Who” begun in 1963 and is still running, despite a 16 years stop, while Sapphire and Steel had only 6 miniseries, aired since 1979
to 1982.
The episodes were initially untitled, and were simply numbered: only later were titled in some way.
Due to little number of stories, they can be summarized.

Adventure one (or “The clocks”), 6 episodes, 1979.
In a house full of clocks, two children (a pre-adolescent boy and a younger sister) see their parents vanish. Sapphire and Steel arrive, and discover that the irregularity has been triggered by a rhyme that mother was reading to the little girl. With the help of Lead, come there for help, the two agents discover that in the cellar an execution had happened during the puritan revolution…

Adventure two (or “The station”), 8 episodes, 1979.
An elderly parapsychologist is doing his researches in an old abandoned railway station, infested by ghosts of soldiers of the two world wars. So he is very angered by the presence of Sapphire and Steel, who are facing a more serious problem: the station is under control of an entity which feeds itself by the soldiers’anger. They alla died for unfortunate coincidences and are asking for revenge…

Adventure three (or “The time capsule”), 6 episodes, 1981.
A couple coming from the far future with a time machine to study XX century Earth is no more able to contact their time (1.500 years in the future) and to go back home.
Sapphire and Steel don’t understand what causes the problem, then the couple vanish and their child suddenly grows-up, but only in the body.
Silver comes in to help the two agents, and the truth slowly becomes clear: the time capsule is “alive”, and is in anger with its masters…

Adventure four (or “The photographs”), 4 episodes, 1981.
Sapphire and Steel are in an old house full of old photographs, and suddenly are attacked by a group of children dressed with antique clothes and… in black and white. The children came from the photographs, and the time break has been opened by the invention of photography itself.
On the contrary, a girl and her landlord have been imprisoned in a photograph,

and the man’s hobby of trick photography has freed an evil entity…

Adventure five (or “The dinner party”), 6 episodes, 1981.
In a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a company, the invited people wear clothes of the 30s, to recreate the atmosphere of those years. Sapphire and Steel join the party acting as husband and wife, attracted by the mix of past and present. But the atmosphere becomes suddenly real when comes in one of the company founders, dead in a fire 50 years before…

Adventure six (or “The garage”), 4 episodes, 1982.
Sapphire and Steel join Silver at an old service station. The irregularity
consists in the arrival of a Rolls Royce coming from 1948, like its occupants. What is more odd is that the Rolls passengers don’t seem disturbed for being more than 30 years in the future, although they have realised they have travelled in time.
Also Silver’s presence is strange, something very wrong is happening…





HOME                              SERIES