Sapphire and Steel Logo

"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."

Produced by ATV (ITV Midlands region) between 1979 and 1982, ‘Sapphire & Steel’ is a unique blend of ghost story, fantasy and thriller, all of which combine to make an innovative and original piece of television history.

The series gives the viewer very little information regarding the eponymous main characters, preferring instead to get straight into the events of the story itself. All that we are told is that Sapphire and Steel are ‘elements’ - beings from another dimension, who have been assigned by a higher power to prevent the fabric of time from being compromised. Time is a ‘corridor’, and creatures from the beginning and ends of time are constantly looking for ways to break into the present and cause chaos. These creatures seek weak spots in the fabric of time, often using anachronistic elements as triggers to break through. These triggers can be the reciting of nursery rhymes in an old house; the use of mirrors and old photographs; or the presence of a resentful ghost haunting a train station.

Of the two agents - or 'Operators' - Sapphire is more gentle and diplomatic, while Steel is cold and calculating, caring little for the people caught up in the events that the two of them have been sent to correct, and choosing to be quite ruthless when it comes to rectifying the situation. Both agents have special powers to assist them in their duties: Sapphire can roll back time to a limited extent, is able to tell the age of objects by touching them, and has some telekinetic powers. Steel is able to freeze objects to near absolute zero - which he utilises to hold off the creatures attempting to break through from other dimensions - and, as suggested by his name, has immense physical strength. Together, both agents also share a telepathic link.

Excellent casting saw Joanna Lumley given the role of Sapphire, and David McCallum as Steel. The fact that the series had a low budget, small cast, simple special effects, and no location footage actually worked to its advantage; it was intensely claustrophobic and dramatic in its settings, with the atmosphere of menace and unease being conveyed by lighting, sound-effects, and moody music, together with tight direction and cleverly composed visuals.

After a sporadic four year run, escalating production costs, the frequent unavailability of the two lead stars, and the reformation of ATV into Central, the show came to an end - and a very downbeat one at that - in 1982. For the next twenty-three years 'Sapphire and Steel' continued to live on people’s memories, as a classic example of cult television… until 2005, when Big Finish Productions announced a new series of audio plays based on the show. Whilst neither Joanna Lumley nor David McCallum returned to reprise their roles, Susannah Harker and David Warner, in the roles of Sapphire and Steel respectively, proved that these new adventures for our favourite time detectives were in good hands!

Note: none of the television stories had on-screen titles, and are generally known as ‘Adventure One’, ‘Adventure Two’, etc. Other titles have come into general use, and were obtained, with one exception, from comments made by Peter Hammond; however the one title that was invented is unknown. I have listed these titles for the sake of completeness.

Sapphire and Steel - Season 1
Sapphire and Steel - Season 2
Sapphire and Steel - Season 3
Sapphire and Steel - Season 4
Sapphire and Steel - Season 4a
Sapphire and Steel - Season 4b
Sapphire and Steel - Season 4c

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Legal Bit: 'Sapphire and Steel' is a registered trademark of Carlton International Media Ltd.; the 'Sapphire and Steel' logo and all images from the television series are copyright Carlton International Media Ltd. unless otherwise stated; music is copyright the original composers and producers; no copyright infringement is intended. All specially created images and text are copyright © Clive Banks; please do not use these without my permission. All rights reserved. No profit is made from this website, and any revenue made from using the banner-links featured goes straight back into the costs of maintaining it, which comes out of my own pocket in the first place. No profit advertising is accepted. This website was created purely to entertain and amuse, and any references to persons living, dead, comatose, in suspended animation, not born yet, trapped in time, or a figment of someone's imagination is purely coincidental. All opinions expressed are my own, so there...

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