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May 24, 2012

Nostalgia corner: Sapphire and Steel (1979-82)

Posted on May 24, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Sapphire and Steel

All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic, heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned.

Ironically, it was only a matter of time until I got round to Sapphire and Steel. Now I have the time, so let's delve into one of the coolest, scariest TV shows there's ever been on UK TV.

I say ironically, because Sapphire and Steel is a show about time - specifically, Time going wrong, usually as the result of things that live in the 'corridor of Time' but sometimes of its own volition. In the world of Sapphire and Steel - which is also our modern world or at least the modern world of the 1970s and 80s - Time is everywhere and it is the enemy. It wants to break in. It wants to trap you. It wants to steal your parents. It wants to eat your soul. And then it wants to do the same to everything and everyone you know.

And to stop the world as we know it being destroyed when this happens, mysterious entities, apparently named after the elements*, perhaps even the incarnations of the elements themselves, intercede using all kinds of weird, unexplainable powers.

However, if you think they're here to help us, you're sorely mistaken, because Sapphire and Steel, played by Joanna Lumley and David McCallum, are not like you and me. Even when they pretend to be on our side, to empathise with the predicaments of the mortal and human, they're not. And they're ever-so-willing to sacrifice every single one of us if necessary if they have to stop time. They have their own morality, their own rules and they don't care about us. But they're the only thing stopping history making us history, so do what they say.

Allow Sapphire to explain to the nature of Time to these annoying children and then follow me after the ever so scary title sequence to explain a little more about this most engrossing of shows:

Alternatively, there's this rather lovely documentary about the show.

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May 23, 2012

The Wednesday Play: Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Posted on May 23, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Alice in Wonderland

Once upon a time, the TV schedules in UK were full of plays. There were strands including The Wednesday Play, Play For Today, Theatre 625, Armchair Theatre, Espionage, Out of the Unknown, Tales of the Unexpected, Play of the Week, Twentieth Century Theatre, The Sunday Night Play and I've barely scratched the surface.

Now, we have Playhouse Presents on Sky Arts and that's about it.

So today, in an effort to boost the 'play count', I'm starting a new strand on TMINE, appropriately entitled 'The Wednesday Play', that's going to feature a different classic play each week. Now, I could start with almost anything, but since we have a taste for the unusual round here, let's start with Jonathan Miller's 1966 adaptation for The Wednesday Play of Alice in Wonderland, starring John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, Michael Redgrave, Michael Gough, Leo McKern, Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Malcolm Muggeridge and Eric Idle.

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May 21, 2012

Review and competition: Fry's Planet Word

Posted on May 21, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Fry's Planet Word

BBC Shop BadgePrice: £19.99 (Amazon price: £14.97; BBC Shop price: £12.99)
Released: February 2nd 2012

Time for another competition, courtesy of the BBC Shop. This time, in a little change of pace, it's your chance to win Fry's Planet Word, a globe-trotting five-part, two-disc expedition by Stephen Fry that investigates language and its use around the world over time.

Follow me after the jump where I'll tell you all about it and how you can win it.

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