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23rd October 2014
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Sapphire and Steel have been assigned!

third-doctor writes about Sapphire and Steel

PJ Hammond


TV: Sapphire and Steel.
Creator: PJ Hammond

Encapsulated. Would you recommend this? why?

'Sapphire & Steel' was the sort of intelligent Sci-Fi that was already becoming rare on British TV at the time it first aired. It's premise was fascinating - the protagonists are mysterious other-worldly beings sent to correct abnormalities in Time. The villain of the piece was often Time itself, which was depicted as a sentient force.

Time and Space: When and where I first encountered it

I was twelve when this came out, and I found it enthralling. Interestingly enough, when I saw the first story again recently it seemed really slow. Do we all have much shorter attention-spans these days?

Recollection and revelations

In my mind, this series is tied in with the events in Britain in the late 70s - it suffered from the last muscle-flexing of the unions (before Maggie Thatcher crushed them underfoot as she heralded-in the self-centred 80s). The second story, the one set in the railway station, sticks in everyone's minds because it was stopped mid-way by union action, then resumed again from the start - appropriate for a programme dealing with time warps and the like. My favourite story was the one with the 'man' who turns up in everyone's photos and can trap people within them.

As with many ITV programmes, 'Look-In' comic did a picture-strip, which is almost as well written as the series, but brilliantly drawn.

Now, 'Big Finish' have brought the series back on audio - and some of these are quite good too.

Before this...

Blake's 7

Written by Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks, this was basically Robin Hood in space. As with all BBC sci-fi, it had a tiny budget, which was a great shame.

After This

'Earthsearch' by James Follet

The 80s had very few good sci-fi series (although 'Doctor Who' was still going strong). This innovative radio series was a breath of fresh air (even if it did have cliched killer robots).

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Highly recommended

We asked some of our top contributors to suggest their favourite tales on the site. Here's a few of the ones they picked:

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"It's great to be a thicky!"

Lostinthought recommends this writer on Ringworld
"Excellent piece on the book and author."

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"Couldn't have said it better myself, and didn't!"

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"Things like this can only be made due to the unique way the BBC is funded..."

darrenhf liked this personal account of Red Dwarf
"Red Dwarf is part of a marriage now."

Sourdust appreciated an analysis of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
"Exposes the shallowness of the lazy critical orthodoxy."

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