Sunday, 29 July 2007

Sapphire and Steel

A diversion for you… And I am also practising adding pictures!

Sapphire and Steel was a late 70s / early 80s British TV show that quite frankly scared the sleep out of me when I was a wee kiddie. It starred the ever-beautiful Joanna Lumley as Sapphire, the rather-gorgeous David McCallum as Steel and the premise was they were time-travelling ‘elements’ sent to protect mankind from the trickery of Time itself…Or something. It was a bit convoluted to say the least.

The Ever-Beautiful Joanna Lumley as Sapphire


The Rather-Gorgeous David McCallum as Steel



I wasn’t allowed to watch it (the other TV programmes on the banned list were ‘V’ and The Young Ones), which meant that although the family thought I had gone to bed, I had actually got up and crept halfway down the stairs to peer through the banisters.

Let’s just say that curiosity made for one scared little cat.

It didn’t help that I was a) 4 and b) could only see a vertical stripe of screen between the banisters, which meant I had next to no idea what was going on. Viewing Sapphire and Steel now, some COUGHSPLUTTER years later, and I realise that seeing it full screen makes no difference, I might as well still be peering through the banisters for all the sense it is making.

My two main memories of the show was one episode where children were turned into photographs and another with a baby who got very large and clothes flew around the room. These instances may sound mild, but was enough to give me nightmares for months. Then again, so were the Smash makes Mash robots

But to my surprise, joy and faint trepidation, I recently discovered someone had put all the episodes (adventures, to be pedantic) of Sapphire and Steel on youtube. Oh my God, I can now re-visit the stuff of childhood nightmares… Oh the temptation.

So last night I was by myself, it was quite late and I had just finished up sketching out a draughty synopsis of what I shall hesitatingly call Novel One. I clicked onto youtube, clicked onto Sapphire and Steel and jumped onto this rather nice and detailed site to see what episode I was looking out for. Ah yes… the baby. The Baby of Doom.

Okay, it is ‘of its time’, it possibly had a small budget, and TV was just thinking up what it could do with that funny FX button, but the pared down acting, the music score, the claustrophobic settings and the bloody clever camera angles actually make for quite a creepy show. I had to stop it; there was real danger of me going to bed and, even after COUGHSPLUTTER years, still not being able to sleep because of blooming Sapphire and Steel!

So I had an hour to spare this afternoon and watched it in daylight instead, with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. This was better; I could judge it objectively without having to hide behind a pillow. And thank God for that, as for the first half pillows turned into evil wing-flapping killer swans…

The show did love to labour a point, it was about 20 minutes too long and part of my mind was occupied with how thick and glossy David McCallum’s hair was, but in parts, it was still creepy. I was still lost and confused with the storyline (good to see how much progress I have made in life), but I think the only nightmares I will have connected to Sapphire and Steel will be of the awful satin pantaloon and boots combination poor Joanna Lumley was shoehorned into for the whole of this episode.

2 comments:

musicobsessive said...

Hi! I loved sapphire & steel when it was on TV and now on DVD. The flapping swan episode is probably the worst so don't fret. Try assignment 2 (the railway station) for the best bit of TV since, well, ever. You may need something stronger than a cup of tea but well worth watching. See my blog for more comment.

Jayne Ferst said...

Hello, thanks for popping over! Ah, so it is the railway station episode I should be looking out for? I shall duly pour myself something better than tea when I watch that one then! And will pop by your blog first ;)