Cult classic British sci-fi series Sapphire and Steel to get a reboot

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Jul 11, 2015, 7:52 PM EDT (Updated)

Neil Cross, the creator of the famed BBC drama Luther (which put Idris Elba on the map), will be reviving the 1979-1982 time-crime show Sapphire and Steel. If this sentence means nothing to you, you’ve missed out on some absolutely priceless British television. 

Understand my excitement: For those of you who haven’t seen S&S, it starred the luminous Joanna Lumley as Sapphire and the ice-cold David McCallum as Steel. They’re super-powered agents from a shadowy, never-explained agency that stops time from breaking through to the present, infiltrating its way through mixes of past and present, such as antiques in a modern home. 

Considering this show is from England, where many homes contain items from the past, the premise likely put a chill up the audience's spine with each episode.

Sapphire suffered from the constraints of late '70s/early '80s conventions: At one point, a hungry fellow agent arrives, and Sapphire cooks him dinner. But Steel is pure steel, and he makes cold equations and carries out their brutal results. 

According to Cultbox, Cross said, “Sapphire and Steel is a late ‘70s science-fiction horror show, which had an incredibly low budget, so every single episode was a bottle episode where the enemy is time itself … so it would tell ghost stories and monster stories but in every episode somehow time was the villain.”

Although the series had more episodes, there were only six stories (much as Doctor Who had varying numbers of segments per story back in the pre-reboot days). Of these six S&S stories, two were wretched, two were good, one was very good (1: “Escape Through a Crack in Time”), and one (2: “The Railway Station”) was one of the best, most poignant and most compelling stories I’ve ever seen on television. 

For those of you who want more Sapphire and Steel now, Big Finish Audio, a maker of audio dramas, has continued the adventures of Sapphire and Steel, voiced by Susannah Harker and the excellent David Warner. (I recommend "The Passenger.") And for those of you who want even more, Den of Geek points out that "The show was the creation of future Torchwood writer PJ Hammond." His episode, "From Out of the Rain," had a very S&S feel to it.

I plan on celebrating the news by watching the 1979 show on my 2015 television. Hey, wait …

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