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Sapphire And Steel: Assignments 1-3 [1979]

4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Oct 07, 2002)
(Aug 12, 2002)

Product details

  • Actors: David McCallum, Joanna Lumley, David Collings, Gerald James, Tom Kelly
  • Directors: David Foster
  • Writers: Peter Hammond
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Carlton
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Aug. 2002
  • Run Time: 505 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0000695K5
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,339 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

DVD Special Features:


TV Times article

Stills gallery

Cast biographies

Ratio: 4:3

Audio: English Mono

Subtitle: English hard of hearing


One of the oddest shows ever mounted for mainstream UK television, Sapphire & Steel was one of ITV's many short-lived attempts at grabbing the sci-fi cult status of the BBC's Doctor Who. Ex-Man From U.N.C.L.E. David McCallum and ex-Avenger Joanna Lumley play human-looking incarnations of the eponymous substances, mysterious investigators working at the behest of an apparent God of Order and zipping about TARDIS-like to cope with anomalies in the time-stream that manifest as apparent supernatural forces in remote English locales like an isolated farmhouse (Adventure One), a deserted rural railway station (Adventure Two) and a high-rise block of flats (Adventure Three).

McCallum and Lumley play their "medium atomic weights" with blank style and a few touches of baffled humour, not to mention visual flair in the case of Lumley's blue fashions and occasional glowing eyes. But the lengthy serial format, strictly limited guest casts and claustrophobic confinement to studio floor sets tend to mean individual serials straggle on with a great deal of repetition, providing longeurs as six or eight-part stories seem to take forever to get moving and then resolve. Shot on video, with a few strange 1970s effects (evil follow-spots, floating pillows), this remains prime cult material, though it's hard to sit still for more than one episode at a time. It will take an extremely devoted fan to get through all three adventures in under six months.

On the DVD: Sapphire & Steel on disc has to be reckoned a disappointment when compared with the wealth of extra material included on the Gerry Anderson or Doctor Who DVDs. This set stretches only to a few press releases and a TV Times article from the launch of the series that tries hard to build up a mystique about the show which it would take some years to actually acquire. There are basic bios of the two stars, and some unresonant stills. Image quality-wise, this looks much the same as previous VHS releases: shot on video, with only a few tiny film inserts for Adventure Three (on the roof of a London building), the series' transfer to DVD is plagued by artefacting of various kinds (some of which can just about be passed off as visual effects), but then again so were the original transmissions. The pristine look is especially unfortunate in exposing the extremely ordinary trickery as far less terrifying than the onscreen characters make them out to be. --Kim Newman

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30 customer reviews

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