Sapphire & Steel (1979-1982)

UK, 10 July -31 August 1982
4 series, 34 episodes, 25m
videotape (2 Quad format), colour, 4:3
mono, English

A British science fiction series created by P.J. Hammond.

Premise

Interdimensional operatives, of a mysterious and never identified agency, are assigned to protect the universe from unknown evil forces that are trying to damage the space/ continuum. The best of these agents are Sapphire and Steel who tackle a number of bizarre and often terrifying manifestations of the forces in otherwise mundane settings.

Credits

Regular Crew
ATV
Created by: P.J. Hammond
Executive Producer: David Reid
Producer: Shaun O'Riordan

Regular Cast
Joanna Lumley (Sapphire)
David McCallum (Steel)

Episodes

Series One

Assignment One (10 July 1979-26 July 1979)
Directed by: Shaun O'Riordan
Written by: P.J. Hammond
Guest Cast: Steven O'Shea (Rob); Tamasin Bridge (Helen); Val Pringle (Lead) ; Felicity Harrison (mother); John Golightly (father); Ronald Goodale (countryman); Charles Pemberton (policeman)
In a remote house by the sea, a mother's recital of an apparently innocent nursery rhyme fractures space/time, allowing a sinister entity to breakthrough and freeze time itself. As the of the house are menaced by and other apparitions, Sapphire and Steel arrive, later joined by Lead, to combat the menace.

Assignment Two
(30 October-22 November 1979)
Directed by: Shaun O'Riordan (episodes 1-4, 7-8), David Foster (episodes 1-7)
Written by: P.J. Hammond
Guest Cast: Gerald James (Tully); Tom Kelly (Pearce); David Woodcock (submariner / 1st voice); David Cann (pilot/2nd voice)
Darkness descends on an abandoned railway station and begins to feed from the resentment of people who have died before their time, their ghosts haunting the deserted buildings. Sapphire and Steel join ghost-hunter Tully in trying to prevent Darkness from disrupting the timeline.

Series Two
Assignment Three (6 January-22 January 1981)
Directed by: Shaun O'Riordan
Written by: P.J. Hammond
Guest Cast: David Collings (Silver); David Gant (Eldred); Catherine Hall (Rothwyn); Russell Wootton (changeling)
As part of an experiment, a young couple travel 1,500 years from the future aboard their invisible time capsule, landing on the top of a block of flats. But Man's continued survival – it is the only creature left on Earth in the future – has made Time resentful and it attacks the couple and their infant child with animal based products. Sapphire, Steel and Silver are forced to deal with the baby when it is prematurely aged by Time and given tremendous powers.

Assignment Four
(27 January-5 February 1981)
Directed by: David Foster
Written by: P.J. Hammond
Guest Cast: Alyson Spiro (Liz); Philip Bird, Bob Hornery (shapes); Shelagh Stephenson (Ruth); Natalie Hedges (parasol girl)
The landlord of an old junk shop and one of his tenants, Ruth, have disappeared and the remaining tenant, Liz, is unsure of the new landlord, who seems to be a faceless being, The Shape, who can move in and out of old , travelling through time and space as it goes. Sapphire and Steel find Ruth trapped in a photograph but are powerless to save her when The Shape destroys the photograph. Time is running out for Sapphire and Steel as they also find themselves trapped in photographs and only Liz is able to save them.

Series Three
Assignment Five (11-26 August 1981)
Directed by: Shaun O'Riordan
Written by: Don Houghton, Anthony Read
Guest Cast: Patience Collier (Emma Mullrine); Davy Kaye (Lord Mullrine); Nan Munro (Felicity McDee); Jeffry Wickham (Felix Harborough); Jeremy Child (Howard McDee); Jennie Stoller (Annabelle Harborough); Peter Laird (Greville); Stephen Macdonald (George McDee); Christopher Bramwell (Tony Purnell); Patricia Shakesby (Anne Shaw); Debbie Farrington (Veronica Blarney); Valentine Dyall (radio commentator)
At a party to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the day that Lord Arthur Mullrine went into business with the late Dr George McDee, back fifty years and any guest who wasn't born at the time are murdered. As McDee arrives, Sapphire and Steel leant that he created a virus that could have destroyed the entire human race but was killed by a jealous lover. Time has now possessed the lover and is trying to change the past, ensuring that McDee survives and unleashes the virus.

Series Four
Assignment Six (19-31 August 1982)
Directed by: David Foster
Written by: P.J. Hammond
Guest Cast: David Collings (Silver); Edward de Souza (man); Johanna Kirby (woman); John Boswall (old man); Chris Fairbank (Johnny Jack)
Sapphire, Steel and Silver investigate a deserted service station that seems to be caught in a time loop. But as people from 1925, 1948 and 1957 arrive, it soon becomes clear that things are not all that they seem – and that someone, or something, has set a trap for Sapphire and Steel.

Alternative Titles

Safiiri ja teräs – Finland

References

Periodicals

  • DWB no.102 (June 1992) – article
  • Epi-Log no.11 (October 1991) – episode guide
  • Epi-Log Special no.6 (February 1993) – episode guide (reprint)
  • Fantasy Image no.3 (June 1985) – article
  • Look-In 11 August 1979-3 May 1980 – all of these issues featured a Sapphire and Steel comic strip
  • Look-In no.29 (14 July 1979) – cover; article
  • Look-In no.33 (11 August 1979) – interview with P J Hammond
  • Look-In (8 August 1981) – interview with Shaun O'Riordan
  • Starburst no.15 (1979) – illustrated article
  • Starburst no.28 (1980) – illustrated interview with Joanna Lumley
  • Starburst no.91 (March 1986) – article
  • Time Screen no.4 (1985) – article; episode guide
  • TV Times (5-11 July 1979) – illustrated interview P J Hammond and Shaun O'Riordan
  • TV Zone no.4 (March 1990) – illustrated article
  • TV Zone no.35 (October 1992) – illustrated interview with David McCallum
  • TV Zone no.37 (December 1992) – illustrated interview with P J Hammond
  • TV Zone no.50 (January 1994) – illustrated interview with Shaun O'Riordan
  • TV Zone Special no.4 (March 1992) – illustrated article
  • TV Zone Special 6 (August 1992) – illustrated article
  • TV Zone Special no.11 (December 1993) – Illustrated interview with Shaun O'Riordan
  • TV Zone Special no.12 (1994) – illustrated article
  • TV Zone Special no.13 (1994) – interviews with Alyson Spiro and David Collings

Books

  • The Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction (3rd edition) pp.375-376 – credits
  • Look-In Annual 1981 – comic strip
  • Sci-fi Chronicles by Guy Haley (ed.) pp.360