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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Sapphire & Steel: Death of an Officer Sapphire & Steel
"Death of an Officer"
Look-In (1979) #46-51
Written by: Angus Allan
Art by: Arthur Ransom


An anchor provides the key to the untimely death of a Napoleonic officer.


Read the story summary at Animus Web


Didja Know?


Comic strips in Look-In magazine were generally not credited to author and artist. According to the Animus Web site, the Sapphire & Steel strips were written by Angus Allan and drawn by Arthur Ransom.


All of the strips feature Sapphire and Steel dressed in the clothes they wore in the first television storyline, "Escape Through a Crack in Time". The artist must have had only photo references from those early episodes.


This story appeared in six issues of Look-In, a UK magazine geared towards kids. The story is told in comic strip form and appeared in two-page chapters of each issue.


The story itself is untitled. I borrowed the title "Death of an Officer" and short description from the Sapphire & Steel Chronology on the Look-In wiki.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


David Rochester

Mrs. Rochester

Lee Rochester



Napoleonic French lieutenant (unnamed, vision only)

parson (Mrs. Rochester's brother, unnamed, mentioned only)



Didja Notice?


The opening narrative of the story refers to a place called Keeper's Cottage, the site of a lighthouse on the southeast corner of England. There does not appear to be a site by that official name, "keeper's cottage" being a general term used for the home of lighthouse keepers in England and its colonies. There are a number of lighthouses in the southeast corner of England this could indicate.


Young Lee finds an old anchor in the mud in Ouze Field. Ouze Field appears to be fictitious.


After the anchor is mounted to the wall of his bedroom, Lee has a nightmare about the death of a Napoleonic French naval officer. The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of European conflicts of France, ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, against most of the other nations of Europe and the UK.


On page 3, panel 2 of the story, Sapphire seem to refer to Steel as Steve!



On page 8 of the story, Sapphire is seen to have the ability to see how the timeline would change if events in the past were altered. This ability is not seen in any of the TV episodes. Here, she sees that if the Napoleonic French officer does not die in the war as he should have, his influence would result in Britain losing the war and being conquered by French forces.


On page 9 of the story, Sapphire holds time still except for herself and Steel so that Steel can intercept the French naval officer before he grabs Lee. Sapphire also demonstrated the ability to hold time in "The Railway Station" Part 8.


Steel grabs a hold of the French naval officer and freezes him down to a simple ice cube! Steel demonstrated an ability to freeze himself to absolute zero in "Escape Through a Crack in Time" Part 4.


On page 10 of the story, Sapphire places the ice cube inside the Rochester family's Electropak freezer. As far as I can tell this is a fictitious freezer brand, though there are companies using the name Electropak for other sorts of devices.


Still physically exhausted from freezing the French naval officer, Steel is unable to assist Sapphire directly with the errant British troops, but is able to call for help telepathically from Lead. Lead previously appeared in "Escape Through a Crack in Time", parts 4-6.


When the British troops rush him, Lead tells them, "Fools! Waste your Satanic energy, then!" This is the first time the evil minions of time have been referred to "Satanic".


Lead changes the errant soldiers into toy figures! These are presumably lead figures, which may also explain why he tells young Lee they're not the sort of toys he'd want to play with; lead is toxic to living organisms when a sufficient amount accumulates in the tissues and bones.


Lead knows Lee's name, seemingly without having been told it. It's possible Steel filled him in telepathically on the participants of their latest assignment.


The end of the story states that Steel leaves with the ice cube, Lead with the toy soldiers, and Sapphire with the old anchor that started the whole time incursion. But on page 10, Sapphire had told the Rochesters to simply bury the anchor again well away from their home. I guess she thought better of it!


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