Thursday 23 June 2011

Sapphire & Steel, Catnip and My Dad

They’re back again.
I’ve just got Bosswell down for the night and Catnip’s twitching and heading the same way, only she can’t because Joanna Lumley wants her to remember her parents – and I’m just upstairs. I’d say something but David McCallum’s clearly some sort of murderer. At least (and he’s already made it clear) that I’m going to have to work very hard not to be the unfortunate cost of victory. In the kitchen an enormous and somewhat worrying stereotype is eating the casserole I left in the oven. Sat camply in the corner of my workroom ‘Silver’ is worrying at his hair and discussing quantum physics with himself, in polari. Things I make out are bad, it’s not at all bona.
I wouldn’t mind but they’re not convincing me that My Dad has historical significance, nor that an unnamed horror has used it to snatch me anywhere. I’ve got a lot more clocks than I used to. None of them work. From what I can make out and visually speaking at least my captors seem to be the Mysterons.
It’s all very scary but they’ve not met my Catnip. My eldest daughter could scare for England - only it’s a team event and last time The Midwich Cuckoos burst into tears and Bill Sykes wet himself. She isn’t allowed in to panto because the Wicked Stepmother keeps on apologising. Cats won’t catch her eye. When she enters a room then Tubular Bells comes on the radio, even if you haven’t got a radio. Rosemary Woodhouse on meeting Catnip went on the pill. I think you know where we are here.
Sapphire & Steel was fantastic and if like me you were a kid in the 70s then in later years you probably never enjoyed Kentish Town station at 2am either. There was always never quite a train, and a dead soldier would insist on whistling Pack Up Your Troubles.
When young you knew about as much of the enemy in the show as you knew about the word ‘transuranic’. But you knew a good ghost story when you sat through one, and this one was a ghost story like something out of good British 50s sci-fi.  It was certainly a lot scarier than all the Hammer films you’d watched recently, enjoyed too.
Ah, Sapphire is squealing. Steel’s emerged having enjoyed relations with the fridge. I can hear a heartbeat, the clocks are chiming the hour and everyone is trying to say the Gruffalo backwards.
Good luck with that one. Catnip’s just lost her temper.
Frankly, they’re doomed.
I’ll clear ‘em up in the morning.


  1. AnonymousJune 26, 2011

    It was thanks to the mineral derivatives mentioned above that I developed and now retain my only real fear.
    "As I was going up the stair I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today. I wish that man would go away."
    I managed to infect my daughters with the same fear. Now grown up and attending a cinematic "Psychological thriller" together, of the entire audience, we were singularly affected by the opening which, in a completely dark, silent, cinema commenced with the said poem written on the screen.

  2. I've watched the first three stories since and the first two certainly hold up still as good tele. I like that things are never explained beyond the train-track pom-pom-pom bit at the beginning and a little bit of Sapphire explaining to people very little. No matter how who the pair are, or what they oppose, is explained it would be reduced by such definition. These're sci-fi ghost stories and we're grown up enough not to need everything put into a nice little box.