Creative Day – Sapphire And Steel

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.

In the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s on what could called a shoe string budget, the writer Peter J. Hammond used Sapphire & Steel to scare the living day lights out of a whole generation, Unlike Dr. Who and the other shows of that time Sapphire and Steel was on the ITV network so it doesn’t get the same media coverage as it should.

The programme centres on a pair of interdimensional operatives Sapphire and Steel played by David McCallum as Steel and Joanna Lumley as Sapphire, They are two of several elements that assume human form and are sent to investigate strange events, In the series, it is explained that Time is like a corridor that surrounds everything, but there are weak spots where can break into the present and take things. There are also creatures from the beginnings and ends of time that roam the corridor looking for the same weak spots to break through.

These breaks are most often triggered by things, like a nursery rhyme, doctored photograph that mixes period and contemporary elements, or a house decorated to replicate a 1930s setting. Sapphire and Steel would  assess the situation and then, if intervention is warranted, Operators are assigned to deal with the problem by a mysterious unseen authority, to be assisted by Specialists if necessary. Very little is revealed about their purposes or backgrounds in the course of the series

Each adventure usually starts with Sapphire and Steel simply showing up, seemingly out of nowhere, After a short expiation they would then investigate, although it is nearly always the location the humans are in which is of the most interest: an old house which dates back to the 18th century, an abandoned railway station, a modern-day motorway petrol station.

Sapphire and Steel are occasionally assisted by other beings, including Lead and Silver. Silver is stated in Adventure 6 as being a Specialist rather than an Operator. There are 127 operatives in total, including 12 transuranic elements, which cannot be assigned where life exists. Although they are described as elements, many of the code names are non-elements, such as Sapphire, Steel, and Jet, although these could be pseudonyms for aesthetics or discretion

When the show ended it was unclear the fate of Sapphire and Steel as Peter J. Hammond wrote them into a box

But in late May 2004, Big Finish Productions announced that they had secured the rights to produce a new series of Sapphire & Steel audio adventures for release on CD. However, neither McCallum nor Lumley reprised their roles: McCallum was working in the United States and Lumley declined to play Sapphire again. The characters were recast, with Susannah Harker and David Warner taking over the roles. The range is produced by Nigel Fairs and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

It was originally said by Big Finish that the new stories would be set before the climactic final story of the television series, but the released plays are actually set after assignment 6, and at the start of The Passenger, the characters comment that it has been a long time since they last worked together David Collings reprises his role as Silver in the third and fifth stories of the first series of audio plays and then again in the third story of the third series.

At the end of The Mystery of the Missing Hour, Sapphire and Steel once again find themselves trapped. The following story, Second Sight sees the characters ‘reborn’ once more – this time in the guise of two young Australians, played by Blair McDonough and Anna Skellern. At the end of Second Sight, however, Ruby was able to release the previous incarnations of Sapphire and Steel from their trap – with David Warner and Susannah Harker reprising their roles for the rest of the series. The show ends in Wall of Darkness with the characters learning that they never escaped the trap at the end of assignment 6 and that all their apparent escapades since then have been illusions in order to prevent their escape.

That once again Sapphire and Steel ended up trapped in a box



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