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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Sapphire & Steel: Bid Time Return Sapphire & Steel
"Bid Time Return"
Sapphire & Steel Annual 1981
World International Publishing
Written by: Clive Hopwood (?)
Art by: Paul Crompton and Genn Rix (?)


Two stage actors get pulled out of time.


Read the story summary at Animus Web


Didja Know?


"Bid Time Return" is an 8-page text story that appeared in Sapphire & Steel Annual 1981 published by World International Publishing. According to Steve Holland at the Bear Alley Books website, this story was probably written by Clive Hopwood and art by Paul Crompton and Genn Rix.


The title of this story is from a quote in Shakespeare's Richard II. Sapphire actually speaks the quote at the end of the story.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Bill Richards

Hugh Taverne

Maggie James

Andy Rushley


Kathy (mentioned only)




Didja Notice?


The story takes place in the Grand Theatre at Seahaven. Seahaven is an area of East Sussex county in England. Although there are several theatres in England called Grand Theatre, none of them are located in Seahaven.


On page 1 of the story, Hugh directs Maggie to have Kathy put out a call on the tannoy to have Andy and Nixon report in. Tannoy is a Scottish brand of public address speakers. They are widely enough used in the UK that the brand name has become something of a general use term for a P.A. system.


When Steel explains to Maggie that Time is like a corridor that can occasionally break through a weak spot in the fabric of time, she interjects, "Like now? You mean that there's a crack in Time right here?" Possibly, the author has borrowed the phrase "crack in Time" from the fan title of the first story arc of the TV series, "Escape through a Crack in Time".


After Steel explains the Time corridor to Maggie, Sapphire adds that once Time breaks through, "...the hole enlarges, takes in anything within range--you, this building, this town--anything and everything," and Steel concludes, "Unless we can stop it. Reseal the hole, make the fabric complete again." This goes further in describing the damage likely to be wrought by Time than anything the pair have said in the televised episodes of the series.


    Maggie tells Sapphire and Steel that the play being rehearsed to open at the Grand Theatre this week is Marlowe's Dr. Faustus. Doctor Faustus (complete title The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus) is a late 16th Century play by Christopher Marlowe, based on a German legend of Johann Georg Faust, a 15th Century alchemist, astrologer, and magician who is said to have made a deal with the Devil for success in life in exchange for his soul.

    The inclusion of Marlowe's play in this story along with the title of the story coming from a Shakespeare quote may be an allusion to the argument by some fringe theorists that Marlowe was the actual author of most of the works of Shakespeare.


On page 5 of the story, in paragraph three, the word "page" is typoed as "pge": "She opened the manuscript gently at an arbitrary pge."


The quotes Maggie makes from the pages of Doctor Faustus are actual lines from the play, but they don't all occur in sequential order in the way she says them.


The quotes from the play mention flaming Jupiter, hapless Semele, and wanton Arethusa. These are all characters from Ancient Greek mythology.


Being drawn into the Grand Theatre as it existed in 1880 (or an appearance thereof), Maggie is reunited with the actor Nixon, who says to her, "Mephistopholes welcomes you to his lair." Mephistopholes is a demon from German folklore who appears in Doctor Faustus, acting as the Devil's agent with Faust.


On page 7 of the story, "are you" is typoed as "ar eyou" in "Where ar eyou, what can you see?"


On the final page of the story, Steel finds an antique bottle in the theatre that was the trigger for the tear in time. The bottle is labeled T. Taylor, Apothecary, Seahaven, 1593. This is about the same time that the original Doctor Faustus play was produced.


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