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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Purdey and Illya--Time Warriors

What's On Wednesday?:

Sapphire and Steel

All irregularities will be handled by 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.

I think Sapphire and Steel was ITV’s answer to BBC’s Doctor Who. There were 6 adventures aired over three years. Each adventure was broken into multipart episodes with Adventure 2 having the most at eight parts and Adventures 4 and 6 having only four parts.

The show combined two actors previously known for their adventure roles. Joanna Lumley had finished The New Avengers and David McCallum had been on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the short-lived The Invisible Man.

Sapphire and Steel were time agents sent to repair and protect the fabric of time. Sapphire was the calm and collected one.

Steel was the cold and callous one.

While Steel could freeze objects and possessed superhuman strength, Sapphire could sense the age of objects, turn back time and had telepathic powers.

When she used some of her powers, her eyes would glow blue.

The show had a very low budget it seems and while the pacing was slow at times, it added to the enjoyment. The individual storylines were not given titles except Adventure 1 , Adventure 2, etc… I have named them after the locations in each adventure for my own amusement and clarifications.

“The House” was the first adventure. A nursery rhyme that was spoken in an 18th century house caused a time rift. A young boy and his little sister discover that their parents have disappeared. Enter Sapphire and Steel, who mysteriously arrive and set about discovering the cause. Half way through the six-part adventure, another element, Lead (Val Pringle), arrives to help.

The second adventure was “The Station”. It was the longest adventure (eight parts) and in some ways my least favorite. The war scenes bored me and it seemed to take too long to solve this one. Ghosts appear at an abandoned railway station and Darkness is using their resentment at dying too soon as nourishment. I know that I said the pacing helps with the enjoyment, but it actually hurt this one in my opinion.

Next was “The Apartment”. This third adventure finds Sapphire and Steel searching for an invisible apartment where a couple from the future is here to observe. Time, itself, begins to terrorize the couple because their time had no animals except for humans. Every organic object in the apartment was a potential threat. Another element appears called Silver (David Collins). He seems to be more of a techie.

One of the best episodes was “The Junk Shop”. This fourth adventure finds our intrepid duo investigating a woman’s disappearance. This one really made you think. It seems that the villain (one of the best of this series and on the top of the list for any series) resides in photographs. He is the person that appears in the background of photos. When he appears onscreen he had no facial features and it was very creepy. His character was called “The Shape”.

My favorite episode was “The Mansion”. In the fifth outing, our heroes come to a party to celebrate the anniversary of the start of a business. During the party, time begins regressing and people appear who weren’t there and are then murdered. It was like an Agatha Christie mystery. Sapphire and Steel ultimately save humanity from a lethal virus.

The final adventure, I call “The Café”, is their last televised adventure. Silver returns to lend a hand, but unfortunately, our heroes are trapped in the café at the end and the show ends on a cliffhanger never to be resolved.

David McCallum’s appearance as Steel didn’t change much over the three years, but Joanna Lumley’s did. I think her look in “The Apartment” was my favorite.

However, she did get to change her appearance a few times during the run of the show in small scenes.

Wouldn’t it be great if Joanna and David reunited for a television movie as Sapphire and Steel for one last adventure?

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