This was bizarre, inexplicable, memorable TV created and written by P.J. Hammond who also wrote for ‘Torchwood’. Who or what the title characters were is a mystery. No matter what the memorable opening credits say, neither is an element.
Two children are alone in a remote house as they parents have gone. Two strangers named Sapphire (Joanna Lumley) and Steel (David McCallum) show up to investigate. They poke around. It seems the father smoked a pipe, which would get social workers involved nowadays.
The children are Rob and Helen and Rob and his stage school acting annoys. Sapphire wears an extremely bright RenFaire reject dress while Steel looks like he is there to read the gas meter. How did they get to the house? Who sent them? What are they? Rob asks all those questions and gets no answers. Sapphire and Steel can communicate telepathically and Sapphire can change her appearance and her eyes can glow. Steel is humourless.
This is creepy as nursery rhymes make things go very wrong in the house. Rob needs to shut up and time itself is malevolent. The effects are dated especially the animated opening credits. This is okay but why do Sapphire & Steel knock? How does a door stop them? Why is it their job to fix time?
“I’ve contacted him and told him that everything down here is under control.”
“But it isn’t.”
“No. That’s why we’re here and not him.”
“Old names, an old house, lots of old things, lots of old old echoes.”
“They must never be allowed in. Never, ever.”
Steel tosses Helen’s teddy into the time corridor. Rob still needs to shut up. Sapphire and Steel are most certainly not human. Rob is stupid. This was tiresome.
The SFX crew wave a torch around to make scary lights. Rob is irritating and frustrating. Roundhead soldiers tromp around. Sapphire vanishes into a painting. Helen needs to shut up. Sapphire is in peril and Steel shows off his uncanny powers. This was good.
“Don’t you know your history?”
“I know mine, yes.”
“It’s in here with me.”
This show has a disquieting effect. One of the scary lights is trapped in a freezer. Steel can reduce his temperature to Absolute Zero, but it has an ill-effect on him. Rob needs to shut up. Sapphire says there are 127 of them. But Steel insists it is 115 because “We must never rely on the transuranics.”
Helen is an irritant. Lead shows up due to Steel icing himself up. Lead eats. Why does he need to eat? Rob learns Sapphire, Steel and Lead once dealt with a case on the Marie Celeste. Helen and Sapphire chase a book page around the kitchen. This was good.
Lead shows off his 70’s sideburns. Steel glowers possibly because he is not a tall man. Sapphire burns more books in the aga. Rob is lured by the weirdness in the house, again. Helen needs to shut up and Lead calls Steel a mean man. This was an incompetent ep.
“It isn’t now.”
Rob’s stupid and trapped in the cellar. Steel, Lead and Sapphire stand around glowering. The trio of whatever they are fight the things in the house. In the climax, Lead hilariously shoves Steel out of the way to crush the foundation stone of the house.
Everything is back to normal and only Rob remembers. He last sees Steel, Sapphire and Lead standing ominously on the stairs, glowering. With the parents back, it is clear they are ghastly people and Helen is the favourite. Rob is clearly screwed by all this. This ep was a bit uh, mostly due to Rob and his stage school screaming. Still the sight of the trio on the stairs glowering was creepy.
At a dipiladated railway station, Tully is looking for ghosts. What would Health & Safety have to say about that nowadays? Tully fiddles with his primitives 1970’s tech. Steel shows up. Tully asks who he is instead of asking when Illya Kuryakin got such a bad haircut.
Sapphire also shows up in a dress that looks like one of Kate Middleton’s discards and what look like high heeled ugg boots. Steel wears a tux that looks like something from the prom night scenes in ‘Carrie’. The ‘eerie’ music is really annoying. Tully sips from a tartan thermos as Steel and Sapphire swan around.
There is a darkness lurking in the station so Steel and Sapphire stare straight at the camera in unnerving fashion. This was okay.
“Some would be ghost catcher.”