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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Sapphire & Steel: The Railway Station (Part 1) Sapphire & Steel
Assignment Two
"The Railway Station" Part 1
TV episode
Writer: P.J. Hammond
Directed by: Shaun O'Riordan and David Foster
Original air date: July 31, 1979


Sapphire and Steel find a human psychical investigator already examining their latest assignment into time incursion.


Read the episode summary at the Sci Fi Freak Site or Watch it at Shout Factory


Notes from the Sapphire & Steel chronology


Steel tells Sapphire that it is currently late October. The year is not mentioned, but it is presumably close to the year this episode was filmed or originally broadcast, so 1978 or '79.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


George Tully



the darkness

soldier (unnamed, spirit form; later named as Sam Pearce in "The Railway Station" Part 5)


Didja Notice?


The reel-to-reel tape recorder used by George Tully is a Uher 4000 Report-5 model. Uher is a German electronics brand and some of the controls on the device seen here are in German, while others are in English; I'm not sure why there would be the disparity.


Sapphire and Steel are dressed in a manner similar, but not exact, to the fashions they wore in the "Escape Through a Crack in Time" storyline.


Though the time is late October, on the railway platform Sapphire is able to feel the warmth and smell the flowers and newly-cut grass of summer. Steel is not able to feel it.


The reception area of the railway hotel is littered with old newspapers. Sapphire picks one up and finds it is dated 1947, suggesting that is around the time the railway station was abandoned. Steel remarks, "They still had steam engines in those days." While technically correct, steam engine use was supplanted by the internal combustion engine from about 1915-1930. It would seem that Steel is not necessarily an expert on Earth history; perhaps not Sapphire either, as she doesn't correct him.


Sapphire describes the flowers that suddenly appear on the railway platform as being "Chrysanthemum compositae,
geraniaceae, caryophyllaceae." These are all actual families of flowering plants.


When Steel asks Tully if he's playing tricks with flowers on the platform, Tully responds, "I happen to be a psychical investigator, not a conjuror." It's probably unintentional, but this sounds like a play on a phrase used repeatedly by Dr. McCoy on Star Trek, "I'm a doctor, not a (fill in the blank)."


As Sapphire shakes Tully's hand, she reads the physical nature of his body, communicating her findings to Steel telepathically, both of them concluding that Tully is human and not a ghost. Sapphire's description of Tully's physical nature seems scientific and removed, as if she and Steel do not share the same characteristics as human life: "Muscular power emission, mass times acceleration times distance divided by time by its power of contraction enables movement to be made. Voluntary muscle existing mainly for movement of the skeleton. Blood circulating throughout the body carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. Blood has four main constituents - plasma, erythrocytes--"


Sapphire seems to have a similar captivating effect on Tully as she had on young Robert Jardine in "Escape Through a Crack in Time". It would seem she has an intentionally enticing effect on human males to aid in her investigations.


The music heard as the spirit-soldier makes itself known at the railway station is "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile" a WWI marching song from 1914 by Welsh songwriter George Henry Powell (as George Asaf). The song is a leitmotif throughout the 8-part storyline of "The Railway Station".


Memorable Dialog


I know you're here.mp3

psychical investigator.mp3

a business associate.mp3


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