Sapphire and Steel

ITV (ended 1982)




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Sapphire and Steel

Show Summary

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.

Welcome to the Sapphire and Steel guide at

Sapphire and Steel was a unique blend of science-fiction and thriller. The series concerned two time detectives (played David McCallum and Joanna Lumley) who rectified time disturbances and their bizarre effects. The fact that they often used less-than-decent means to achieve their aims meant that the viewer never entirely trusted them.

The series was intensely claustrophobic and theatrical in its settings, with the atmosphere of menace and unease being conveyed by lighting, sound-effects and moody music. The production team took the restrictions of the show (low budget, small cast, simple special effects, no location filming) and turned them into strengths. Direction was extremely taut with much use being made of cleverly composed visuals. Sapphire and Steel was use of the televisual medium at its best although it never managed to be properly repeated or sold abroad.

After a sporadic four-year run the show ended in 1982 due to the high production costs, frequent unavailability of the two lead stars and loss by ATV of its ITV franchise. Little was seen of the series until its home video release in 1992, when highly respectable reviews and sales of the tapes showed that the stories were still just as fresh and imaginative as they were over a decade earlier.moreless