Sapphire and Steel

Sapphire & Steel is a British television science-fiction fantasy series starring David McCallum as Steel and Joanna Lumley as Sapphire. Produced by ATV, it ran from 1979 to 1982 on the ITV network. The series was created by Peter J. Hammond who conceived the programme under the working title The Time Mendersafter a stay in an allegedly haunted castle. Hammond also wrote all the stories except for the fifth, which was co-written by Don Houghton and Anthony Read.

From 2005 to 2008, Sapphire and Steel returned in a series of audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, starring David Warner and Susannah Harker as the titular Steel and Sapphire.

On 8 July 2015, Neil Cross announced that he was writing a follow-up to the show. In the press release, Cross stated that a British broadcaster was ‘extremely keen’ to finance the reboot. The writer went on to describe the follow-up as “where the enemy is time itself. There’s ghost stories and monster stories and time is the villain.” Cross describes the new series as a ‘Science Fiction/Horror’ mix rather than the traditional 1970s Sapphire & Steel, which was defined as ‘Science Fiction/Fantasy’.

War Grade bottle top find

Whilst out walking today, I found several of these ‘war grade’ bottle necks and screw-in stoppers. They were on the edge of a ploughed field alongside a public footpath.

What does ‘war grade’ refer to? To glass? The stopper, or the contents. I’ve been hammering Google to try to find out.

Sadly, I haven’t come up with much. The stopper is probably made from some sort of recycled plastic due to shortages of other materials during WWII.


Jonathan Creek episode guide

The Wrestler’s Tomb 1997
An exuberant artist is found dead at home. The only suspect is the artist’s wronged wife who was well aware of his affair with his model, but how could she have left her city office without her P.A. seeing her leave?

Jack in the Box 1997
After Maddy successfully campaigns to free a man she believes to have been wrongly imprisoned for murder, the elderly husband of the victim is found shot dead in his nuclear fall-out shelter.

The Reconstituted Corpse 1997
When Zola Zbzewski publishes her autobiography, her cosmetic surgeon and ex-lover is outraged by what she says about him and threatens to sue her. He is later shot dead at his home.

No Trace of Tracy 1997
A teenager girl who loves 1970s rock music goes to visit her idol. She is clearly seen entering his house but then vanishes.

The House of Monkeys 1997
A scientist is stabbed in the back with a Samurai sword. He is found in a locked room. Creek is called in to solve the problem

Danse Macabre 1998
After a well known horror writer is shot dead one night at her son-in-law’s house, her killer simply disappeared. As Jonathan is somewhat uninterested in the case, Maddy investigates for herself.

Time Waits for Norman 1998
A friend of Maddy’s asks her and Jonathan to discover what her husband has been up to after reliable independent witnesses place him on both sides of the Atlantic only minutes apart.

The Scented Room 1998
Jonathan and Maddy investigate the mysterious disappearance of a priceless painting from the home of Sylvester Le Fley and his wife Lady Theresa Cutler.

The Problem at Gallows Gate 1998
Adam’s sister Kitty thinks that she has witnessed a murder – A man is seen committing a murder, but he apparently killed himself three weeks previously.

Mother Redcap 1998
A judge at police protection is killed by a rapier blade to the heart after a brief struggle, but only his wife was in that room at the time.

Black Canary 1998
A retired female illusionist dies in mysterious circumstances. Maddy and Jonathan are called upon to investigate.

The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish 1999
Surviving two bullets to the chest, finding priceless treasures in the garden and a murderer falling at his feet could this be the work of the devil or something to do with his brown eyed girl?

The Eyes of Tiresias 1999
When an old woman experiences dreams of the future, Jonathan must find out what is happening before her dreams of being attacked by a one-eyed man with a sword come to pass.

The Omega Man 1999
Maddy is contacted by a man who makes a living investigating the existence of aliens and who claims to have found a real alien skeleton.

Ghost’s Forge 1999
Ghosts Forge or Ghost’s Forge, does the apostrophe really make a difference. This plus five copies of the same book lead Jonathan to discover who “Killed” Esra Carr.

Miracle in Crooked Lane 1999
A former glamors model is seriously injured when her garden shed explodes, leaving her badly burned. However, a witness insists she spoke to the unharmed woman several hours later as she went to church.

The Three Gamblers 2000
How did a dead body crawl up the stairs? That is the question Jonathan has to answer to stop a man going insane.

Satan’s Chimney 2001
A killer manages to fire a bullet through a plate glass window without breaking it, but how?

The Coonskin Cap 2003
Jonathan and Carla investigate a serial killer who wears a Davy Crockett hat and strangles people named after flowers.

Angel Hair 2003
Without using wigs or doubles, How can a girl have her shoulder-length hair cut off and miraculously grow it all back in just 48 hours? Jonathon and Carla investigate.

The Tailor’s Dummy 2003
There seems to be no doubt that legendary fashion designer Marco Bergman committed suicide. But Jonathan thinks he was murdered.

The Seer of the Sands 2004
A man dedicated to exposing the so-called spirit world dies in a boating accident. Then his body disappears.

The Chequered Box 2004
A respected police officer is photographed in suspicious circumstances. Can Jonathan prove his innocence?

Gorgons Wood 2004
A priceless porcelain statue of the ancient Shinto monk Sikoto-no vanishes from a small town museum under impossible circumstances.

The Grinning Man 2009
Stage musician Lance Gessler lives in a mansion known as Metropolis that has a deadly history. When another victim succumbs to an ominous presence in the attic room, it’s up the Jonathan to unravel the mystery.

The Judas Tree 2010
When the beautiful Emily Somerton is recruited to work as an assistant housekeeper to famous crime writer Hugo Doré, she discovers the premises are home to a bizarre, unsolved Victorian murder mystery.

The Clue of the Savant’s Thumb 2013
Joey Ross draws Jonathan into a complex case involving a secret society, seemingly supernatural events at a girls’ boarding school, and the miraculous disappearance of a body.

The Letters of Septimus Noone 2014
When a classic locked room novel is turned into a West End musical, one of its stars falls victim to a real-life ‘impossible crime’.

The Sinner and the Sandman 2014
A retired local psychic inadvertently makes the most amazing and impossible prediction of his career.

The Curse of the Bronze Lamp 2014
A wealthy kidnap victim appears to pull off a mind-boggling act of teleportation to alert the police to her whereabouts.

Daemons’ Roost 2016
The stepdaughter of horror film director Nathan Clore contacts Jonathan to help her find the answer to the mysterious deaths of her mother and two sisters years earlier.

The Lady of Shalott

By Alfred Lord Tennyson (Painting by J W Waterhouse)

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil’d
Slide the heavy barges trail’d
By slow horses; and unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken-sail’d
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower’d Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse –
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song.
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot.
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame.
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace.
The Lady of Shalott.”