Book Review – Sapphire and Steel: Dead Man Walking

  • Title: Dead Man Walking
  • Series: Sapphire and Steel
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Nigel Fairs
  • Director: Nigel Fairs
  • Characters: Sapphire, Steel, Silver
  • Cast: Susannah Harker, David Warner, David Collings
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/31/2018

**Spoiler Alert** The most frustrating thing about Dead Man Walking is that it is not a 2-disc release. The second disc included in the CD case is, rather, a Big Finish Sampler – a collection of extended trailers and sneak peaks. While this would have been fine as an extra bonus, I fully expected the actual story to be four episodes (not two) and to span two CDs. Even when the story reached its end, I figured Sapphire, Silver, and Steel would have to go back for some reason. But, nope. So it really feels like the story was cut short.

It’s a pity because the story, as it is, is a rather good one. It opens with a new arrival at a prison being taken to his cell. He freaks out when he sees the cell. The next day, Sapphire and Steel arrive, and face a very overwhelmed, upset, and frustrated prison administrator who doesn’t want to deal with another morale-busting report. But Sapphire assures them they are an independent body looking into the inmate’s suicide.

Sapphire and Steel go to investigate the cell, and Steel is literally kidnapped by Time. Sapphire cannot reach him. Silver arrives and works on a device using a tape recorder to establish communications. Sapphire returns to the prison office and finds the file of Michael Kent – a prisoner with two files at two different times and two lives.

Sapphire realises that there are now multiple timelines in the prison. Once Silver establishes a link, Sapphire communicates with Steel – he is in grave danger, the people in the prison think he is Michael Kent, and they intend to murder him for killing a child. (Britain abolished the Deah Penalty in 1965; Steel is trapped in 1968). Sapphire even thinks they do kill Steel. But he is trapped in a single moment. Steel manages to give Sapphire and Silver a clue: Jackson. Silver and Sapphire talk to Jackson, who thinks they “work for the creatures”. Jackson then says he can’t leave the prison. Literally, he cannot – his legs freeze when he tries. Sapphire and Silver realise immediately he’s made a deal with Time.

Sapphire, with Silver’s help, goes back to when Jackson killed his son as his part in his deal. At first, she thinks Jackson was meant to kill his son. Then she realises, no, he was meant to kill his wife. She goes back, now corporal instead of merely as an observer, and convinces the young boy, Marcus, to play hide and seek with her and hold her hands. A drunk Jackson enters, and abuses, hits, and ultimately kills his wife.

Sapphire, Silver, and now Steel return to the prison, where they find Jackson spent fifteen years in the prison and then died of natural causes. The prison administrator doesn’t know anything about Jackson’s son. But as Sapphire, Silver, and Steel leave, the BBC radio announcer announces that the cello music that the administrator has been listening to is from the London Symphony, with lead cellist, Marcus Jackson.

Again, this was a good story, but the end seemed abrupt. Maybe it was because I was expecting the story to continue on to disc 2, but I was disappointed when it didn’t. There’s also precious little of Steel in this one, though it’s always fun to see Silver. Overall, an intriguing premise, but it wraps up too quickly without the twists and turns in the story that I normally expect in Sapphire and Steel.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website:

Sadly, it looks like the Sapphire and Steel range is no longer available from the Big Finish website. But be sure to check out their other audio ranges.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

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