Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sapphire & Steel

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV

Transmitted:July 1979 - August 1982
Country of origin:UK
Genre:British sci-fi, time distortions, Cult classic
Starring:Joanna Lumley, David McCallum, David Collings
No. of seasons:N/A

"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."

An exceptional science fiction / supernatural show that demonstrates perfectly that you need neither a large budget nor spectacular on screen effects to scare the living bejeesus out of people.
Sapphire and Steel are two elements, strange creatures who are sent through time by their mysterious employers to put faults in the timeline right, to correct warps in the fabric of continuity.
Each story concentrates on a particular location and point in time; the pair turn up, and before long bizarre and disturbing occurrences manifest themselves. There's nothing dramatic, no jumpy moments, no blood and guts, and not one moment of violence, but this manages to be one of the singularly most disturbing watches I know of. The tension ratchets through the roof, this is gripping stuff. True, at times it gets a little confusing as it seems the writer, P.J. Hammond, operates on a different plain of existence to most mere mortals. Shown early evening on initial broadcast, this must have come as a total shock after Crossroads!
Essential viewing for all, but ignore the low production values.

The show was never really shown in individual seasons, rather one story at a time as and when one was completed. This was sporadic due to the infrequency of the main stars' availability. The second story was cancelled halfway through transmission due to industrial action at ITV. The final story was broadcast more than a year after the fifth story, so the programme suffered a great deal from poor scheduling.

Find an episode guide here:

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