TV: Sapphire and Steel
Creator: PJ Hammond
Sapphire and Steel
Years before Joanna Lumley became inseparable from Absolutely Fabulous in the public mind, she was one half of another famous TV duo; the famously baffling 'Time Agents' Sapphire and Steel.
Time Agents' are charged by some mysterious higher authority with the task of dealing with 'irregularities' or mistakes in time, and combating the dangerous forces that seek to break through into the 'real world'. Sapphire (Joanna Lumley) and Steel (David McCallum) were two such agents, paired together because of their apparently complementary powers. Sapphire provided a softer, more ethereal foil to Steel's pragmatism.
With writer P J Hammond onboard throughout the series, the drama maintained admirable consistency of tone: theatrical, weird, ghostly and enigmatic. Sapphire and Steel was a rare example of TV science fiction in which cerebral plotting took precedence over visual effects.
Six series were broadcast on ITV from 1979 to 1982. Though it never quite became the channel's hoped-for answer to the BBC's Doctor Who, the show is nonetheless remembered by many as a perplexing and atmospheric science fiction classic.