The Sarah Jane Adventures


The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Sarah Jane Adventures intro.jpg
The Sarah Jane Adventures title card
Format Science Fiction, Drama
Teen drama
Created by Russell T Davies
Starring Elisabeth Sladen
Tommy Knight
Daniel Anthony
Anjli Mohindra
Yasmin Paige
Sinead Michael
Alexander Armstrong
Theme music composer Murray Gold
Composer(s) Sam Watts
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 53 episodes + 1 short
(List of serials)
Production
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Phil Collinson
Piers Wenger
Nikki Wilson
Producer(s) Brian Minchin
Nikki Wilson
Matthew Bouch
Susie Liggat
Running time 60 min (special)
27 min (series)
Broadcast
Original channel CBBC Channel (2007-2011)
Repeats
BBC One (2007-2011)
BBC One HD (2010-2011)
BBC HD (2009-2011)
Picture format SDTV (576i) (2007–2008)
HDTV (1080i) (2009–2011)
Original run 1 January 2007 – 18 October 2011
Chronology
Preceded by K-9 and Company
Related shows Sarah Jane's Alien Files
Doctor Who
Torchwood
External links
Website

The Sarah Jane Adventures is a British science fiction television series, produced by BBC Cymru Wales for CBBC, created by Russell T Davies and starring Elisabeth Sladen. The programme is a spin-off of the long-running BBC science fiction programme Doctor Who and focuses on the adventures of Sarah Jane Smith, a middle-aged investigative journalist who, in her youth, had numerous adventures across time and space. The series debuted on BBC One with a 60-minute special, entitled "Invasion of the Bane", on 1 January 2007. A full series of ten 25-minute episodes followed, beginning on 24 September 2007.[1] The first series consisted of five two-part stories,[2] and a second series, comprising six two-part stories, began airing on 29 September 2008.[3][4] A third series, once again comprising six two-part stories to make a total of twelve episodes, with Russell T Davies serving as executive producer, aired from 15 October 2009[5] to 20 November 2009.

The fourth series aired from 11 October 2010.[6] Another spin-off series, Sarah Jane's Alien Files, was shown concurrently with each of the first episodes of the stories.[7] Filming for three of six two-part serials planned for the fifth series was completed prior to Elisabeth Sladen's death on 19 April 2011. Although some UK media, including the Sun, reported in early May 2011 that production of the series was to continue,[8] the BBC has stated explicitly that no further episodes will be filmed[9]. The fifth series was broadcast starting 3 October 2011 on Mondays and Tuesdays.[10] It finished just two weeks later on 18 October 2011.

The Sarah Jane Adventures was nominated for a British Academy Children's Award in 2008 in the Drama category, and once again in 2009 for a BAFTA Cymru, in Children's Drama.[11][12] The programme won a Royal Television Society 2010 award for Best Children's Drama.[13]

Contents

Background and development

In 2006, Children's BBC expressed an interest in producing a Doctor Who spin-off. Their initial idea was "a drama based on the idea of a young Doctor Who", but Russell T Davies vetoed this. "Somehow, the idea of a fourteen-year-old Doctor, on Gallifrey inventing sonic screwdrivers, takes away from the mystery and intrigue of who he is and where he came from," said Davies. He suggested instead a series based on the Doctor's former companion Sarah Jane Smith.[14]

The character of Sarah Jane Smith, played by Sladen, appeared in Doctor Who from 1973 to 1976, alongside Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor and later Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor. A pilot episode for another Doctor Who spin-off series, K-9 and Company, made in 1981, featured Sarah Jane and the robot dog K-9; however, a full series was never commissioned. Sarah Jane and K-9 returned to Doctor Who in various media many times over the years, most notably in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors (1983), and in episodes "School Reunion" (2006), "The Stolen Earth" (2008), "Journey's End" (2008) and The End of Time (2010).

Sarah Jane is frequently voted the most popular Doctor Who companion by both Doctor Who fans and members of the general public.[15] The prospect of a new television series focusing on Sarah Jane was first rumoured in The Sun in March 2006, prior to the airing of "School Reunion"; the report at that time suggested that Sarah Jane and K-9 would both appear in the series.[16] The fact that a Sarah Jane series was being developed was first confirmed in the BBC's in-house newsletter, Ariel, in early August 2006.[17][18][19] These early rumours were associated with the working title Sarah Jane Investigates.[17]

K-9's only appearances in the show's first two series were a cameo in the special and an appearance in the last episode of the first series.[20] This was due to the concurrent development of the independently produced children's series, K-9, which features a remodelled version of K-9 with only indirect nods to Doctor Who.[21] However, in 2009 the canine robot appeared with the Sarah Jane Adventures cast in a sketch for Comic Relief, and K-9 appeared in 6 episodes of the third series.[22]

Production

Production on the full series began in April 2007.[23] Two of the five two-part stories were scripted by the special's co-writer Gareth Roberts. Bad Girls and New Captain Scarlet writer Phil Ford wrote two stories and Phil Gladwin wrote one. Creator and executive producer Russell T Davies was going to write one story but was forced to drop out due to other work commitments.[24]

International broadcast

The BBC's childrens channel CBBC began broadcasting The Sarah Jane Adventures with "Invasion of the Bane" on 13 January 2008, airing the rest of the series back-to-back on Sundays thereafter.[25] The South African channel SABC 2 started airing the series beginning on 9 February 2008.[26] The Hong Kong channel ATV World, which has also aired Doctor Who and Torchwood, aired this series starting 17 February 2008.[27] The first series began airing on Sci Fi in the USA beginning on 11 April 2008,[28] but this is the only season broadcast on American television as of Summer 2010, though later seasons have continued to be released on DVD in America without a prior television broadcast. In Australia, The Sarah Jane Adventures started on 31 October 2008 on Nickelodeon Australia. It also screens in New Zealand on Nickelodeon New Zealand and in Belgium on KETNET.

Cast and crew

The main cast of Series 1 (Left to right) Maria Jackson, Luke Smith, Sarah Jane Smith and Clyde Langer

In addition to Sladen, the first series of the programme stars Yasmin Paige as Maria Jackson, Sarah Jane's 13-year-old neighbour (in Ealing, London) and Tommy Knight as a boy named Luke, who is adopted by Sarah Jane at the conclusion of the introductory story. The third member of Sarah Jane's young entourage is 14-year-old called Clyde Langer, played by Daniel Anthony, who is introduced in the first episode of the proper series. Porsha Lawrence Mavour plays Maria's friend, Kelsey Harper, in the special.[29] Maria and her family are written out of the series in the first story of the second series, The Last Sontaran, but Maria and her father return briefly in the second part of The Mark of the Berserker. In the second story of that series, The Day of the Clown, several new regular cast members are introduced: Rani Chandra and her parents, Haresh, and Gita (played by Anjli Mohindra, Ace Bhatti, and Mina Anwar, respectively).[30]

Joseph Millson appears throughout the first series as Maria's recently separated father, Alan, with Chrissie Jackson, Maria's mother, played by Juliet Cowan. One other regular is Alexander Armstrong of comedy duo Armstrong and Miller, who provides the voice of Mr Smith, an extraterrestrial computer in Sarah Jane's attic.

The main cast of Series 2–4. Clyde, Sarah Jane, Luke and Rani Chandra.

The 2007 special featured Samantha Bond as the scheming villain Mrs Wormwood and Jamie Davis as her PR agent Davey. The first series included among its guest cast Jane Asher as Sarah Jane's childhood friend Andrea Yates, Floella Benjamin as Professor Rivers, who returned in Series 2, Series 3 and Series 5, and Phyllida Law as Bea Nelson-Stanley. The second series guest starred Bradley Walsh as an evil alien clown in the story The Day of the Clown and Russ Abbot as a sinister astrologer in Secrets of the Stars.[30] Also appearing in the second series were Gary Beadle and Jocelyn Jee Esien, who portrayed Clyde's parents Paul and Carla in The Mark of the Berserker; Esien reprised her role briefly in Series 4 and more prominently in series 5. Nicholas Courtney guest starred in Enemy of the Bane as classic Doctor Who character Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart,[31] and Samantha Bond also reprises her role as Wormwood for the episode.

The original executive producers for The Sarah Jane Adventures were Phil Collinson, Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner. Susie Liggat produced the pilot, but Matthew Bouch worked as producer of the series. Co-writer Gareth Roberts, writing in Doctor Who Magazine, said, "We're all determined that this will be a big, full-blooded drama; that nobody should ever think of it as 'just' a children's programme."[32] Sue Nott was the executive producer of the second series for CBBC.

In December 2007, the BBC released a statement that Julie Gardner would be replaced by Piers Wenger as Executive Producer for Doctor Who in January 2009, but that she would continue to executive-produce Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures through 2008.[33]

The fourth series in 2010 was executive-produced by Russell T Davies and Nikki Wilson, and the producers were Brian Minchin and frequent writer Phil Ford.[7] This team remained in place for the completed episodes of Series 5.[34] The show's abbreviated fifth and final series features a new main character named Sky, played by Sinead Michael.[33]

Main cast

Actor Character Duration Episodes
Elisabeth Sladen Sarah Jane Smith 2007–11 All episodes
Tommy Knight Luke Smith 2007-11 "Invasion of the Bane" to Death of the Doctor Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith, Sky and The Man Who Never Was except The Eternity Trap
Yasmin Paige Maria Jackson 2007–08 "Invasion of the Bane" to The Last Sontaran and The Mark of the Berserker
Daniel Anthony Clyde Langer 2007–11 Revenge of the Slitheen to The Man Who Never Was
Anjli Mohindra Rani Chandra 2008–11 The Day of the Clown to The Man Who Never Was
Sinead Michael Sky Smith 2011 Sky to The Man Who Never Was
Alexander Armstrong (voice) Mr Smith 2007–11 All stories except The Eternity Trap and Lost in Time
John Leeson (voice) K-9 2007, 2009–10 "Invasion of the Bane", The Lost Boy, The Mad Woman in the Attic to The Nightmare Man and Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith except The Eternity Trap

Recurring cast

Actor Character Duration Episodes
Joseph Millson Alan Jackson 2007–08 "Invasion of the Bane" to The Last Sontaran, and The Mark of the Berserker except Warriors of Kudlak
Juliet Cowan Chrissie Jackson 2007–08 "Invasion of the Bane" to The Last Sontaran except Warriors of Kudlak
Floella Benjamin Professor Celeste Rivers 2007-09, 2011 The Lost Boy, The Day of the Clown, The Eternity Trap and Sky
Ace Bhatti Haresh Chandra 2008–11 The Day of the Clown to The Curse of Clyde Langer, except The Mad Woman in the Attic, The Eternity Trap, The Gift, The Nightmare Man and Lost in Time
Mina Anwar Gita Chandra 2008–11 The Day of the Clown to Sky, except The Mark of the Berserker, The Mad Woman in the Attic, The Eternity Trap, Mona Lisa's Revenge, The Gift, The Nightmare Man, Death of the Doctor, The Empty Planet and Lost in Time
Jocelyn Jee Esien Carla Langer 2008, 2010-11 The Mark of the Berserker, The Empty Planet and The Curse of Clyde Langer
Paul Marc Davis The Trickster 2007-09 Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?, The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith and The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith
Samantha Bond Mrs Wormwood 2007-08 "Invasion of the Bane" and Enemy of the Bane
Jimmy Vee Krizlok the Graske 2007-08 Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? and The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith
Anthony O'Donnell Commander Kaagh 2008 The Last Sontaran and Enemy of the Bane
Huw Higginson Mr Cunningham 2008 The Day of the Clown and The Mark of the Berserker
Elijah Baker Steve Wallace 2008, 2011 The Day of the Clown, The Mark of the Berserker and The Curse of Clyde Langer
Mark Goldthorp Androvax 2009-10 Prisoner of the Judoon and The Vault of Secrets
Cyril Nri Shopkeeper 2010-11 Lost in Time and Sky

Doctor Who characters

Including K-9 and Sarah Jane, some characters from the past or current run of Doctor Who have appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Actor Character Duration Episodes
Lachele Carl Trinity Wells 2007-08 Revenge of the Slitheen and Secrets of the Stars
Nicholas Courtney Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart 2008 Enemy of the Bane
David Tennant The Tenth Doctor 2009 The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith
Katy Manning Jo Jones (aka Jo Grant) 2010 Death of the Doctor
Matt Smith The Eleventh Doctor 2010 Death of the Doctor

Numerous others have been referenced in dialogue. Several former companions of the Doctor are referenced in the story Death of the Doctor.

Episodes

The Sarah Jane Adventures was first seen by its original British audience in the form of a 60-minute New Year's Day special in 2007, titled "Invasion of the Bane", which was co-written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts.[19] Though it may[original research?] have appeared so to the viewing audience, "Bane" was not a pilot. Instead, it was a holiday special. Nevertheless, because of the atypical broadcast order – holiday specials in Britain typically air after the regular run of the series to which they're attached – the story had many conventional introductory elements common to pilots. Creator Russell T Davies has commented upon the exceptional broadcast situation, saying "Sarah Jane Adventures is slightly unusual in that it was commissioned before we'd written the script. If we'd written a load of rubbish, they'd still have had to make it." He refers to "Invasion of the Bane" simply as the "first episode".[35] The story focused on Sarah Jane's investigation of a popular and addictive soft drink called Bubble Shock!.

Series one of the show aired in September of that year, consisting of five two-part half-hour stories. Individual half-hour episodes aired once a week on BBC One, with episodes airing a week ahead on children's digital channel CBBC. The final part aired in November 2007. The second season started in September 2008 using the same format, with six stories instead of five, ending the season in December. The third season started 15 October 2009, twice weekly (Thursdays and Fridays) on BBC One from 15 October to 20 November.[36]

Due to the illness of Elisabeth Sladen, and her subsequent death on 19 April 2011, filming for the second half of the fifth series, which was due to air in the autumn of 2011, was postponed and later cancelled.[37] Filming for three stories of the fifth season had been completed.[38] The final series started to aired from 3 October to 18 October 2011 on CBBC and ended with a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen in the form of a video montage of scenes from SJA and Doctor Who.[39]

Alien Files

Sarah Jane's Alien Files is a set of 25-minute episodes in which a member of the cast updates Mr. Smith's database about certain aliens. It accompanied series 4 of the series.

Critical response

The Sarah Jane Adventures has been generally well received by critics and the viewing public.[40] At the end of the first series, a reviewer for The Daily Telegraph wrote: "With the debate about the future of children’s TV still rumbling on, this is what the BBC does best, and despite lacking the production values of Doctor Who, it’s still top tea-time programming."[41]

In 2008, The Sarah Jane Adventures was nominated for a British Academy Children's Award (Children's BAFTA) in the Drama category.[11] In 2009, the series was nominated for a BAFTA Cymru award in the Children's Drama category.[12]

The 2009 Comic Relief special achieved a rating of 8.3 million.[42]

Merchandising

Character Options have been awarded a licence to produce Sarah Jane Adventure play sets, action figures, and a 'Sonic Lipstick' toy.[43] Four 2-figure sets have been released: Sarah Jane and Star Poet; Sarah Jane and General Kudlak; Sarah Jane and Child Slitheen and Sarah Jane and Graske. Also released are Sarah Jane's Sonic Lipstick with Watch Scanner and Alien Communicator. Character Options have now discontinued the range due to lack of customer interest.[citation needed]

Audio adventures

Eight audiobook have been released on CD, all read by series star Elisabeth Sladen. The first two were the first time that BBC Audiobooks had commissioned new content for exclusive release on audio.[44] All stories are read by Elisabeth Sladen in a first person perspective with Elisabeth reading in character as Sarah Jane Smith except for the last two, recorded after Sladen's death. A 20 Minute mini episode in two parts called "The Monster Hunt" written by Trevor Baxendale, read by Anjli Mohindra this episode was made especially for the Monster Hunt game on the Sarah Jane Adventures website.[45] Both parts can only be downloaded by finding aliens around the Sarah Jane Adventures Website. [46] [47] The November 2011 releases were read by Daniel Anthony and Anjili Mohindra after the death of Elisabeth Sladen. It is unclear if these will be the last stories, ending with the series, or if they will carry on after series 5 has ended.

Title Author Release Date Reader
The Glittering Storm [48] Stephen Cole 5 November 2007 Elisabeth Sladen
The Thirteenth Stone[49] Justin Richards
The Time Capsule[50] Peter Anghelides 13 November 2008
The Ghost House[51] Stephen Cole
The White Wolf [52] Gary Russell 3 September 2009
The Shadow People[53] Scott Handcock
Wraith World[54] Cavan Scott & Mark Wright 7 October 2010
Deadly Download[55] Jason Arnopp
Children of Steel[56] Martin Day[57] 10 November 2011 Daniel Anthony[58]
Judgement Day[59] Scott Gray[57] Anjili Mohindra[58]
Complete Audio Collection[60] Stephen Cole
Justin Richards
Gary Russell
Cavan Scott
Mark Wright
Peter Anghelides
Jason Arnopp
Martin Day
Scott Gray
24 November 2011 Elisabeth Sladen
Daniel Anthony
Anjili Mohindra

Novelisations

The Sarah Jane Adventures merchandising revived the concept of the episode novelisation, which had been part of the Doctor Who franchise from the 1970s to the 1990s. The first season and most of the second were adapted in this way, but later seasons saw only a few releases and a transition from print to e-books.

Title Author Release Date
Invasion of the Bane Terrance Dicks 1 November 2007[61]
Revenge of the Slitheen Rupert Laight 1 November 2007[62]
Eye of the Gorgon Phil Ford 1 November 2007 [63]
Warriors of Kudlak Gary Russell 1 November 2007 [64]
Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? Rupert Laight 6 November 2008 [65]
The Lost Boy Gary Russell 6 November 2008 [66]
The Last Sontaran Phil Ford 6 November 2008 [67][68]
The Day of the Clown Phil Ford 6 November 2008 [69]
The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith Gareth Roberts 5 November 2009 [70]
The Nightmare Man (Ebook only) Joseph Lidster 25 November 2010 [71]
Death of the Doctor (Ebook only) Gary Russell 25 November 2010 [72]

DVD releases

Release name UK release date
(region 2)
Australian release date
(region 4)
North American release date
(region 1)
Notes
Invasion of the Bane 29 October 2007[73] 12 January 2009
Re-released 2 March 2010 [74]
Released with Series 1 not
released separately
N/A
The Complete First Series
Also includes "Invasion of the Bane"
10 November 2008 [75] 4 June 2009[76]
Re-released 5 January 2010
7 October 2008[77] N/A
The Complete Second Series 9 November 2009[78] 3 June 2010[79]
Re-released 2 March 2011
10 November 2009[80] N/A
The Complete Third Series 1 November 2010[81] 2 March 2011[82]
Re-released 2 June 2011
4 January 2011[83] Despite being filmed in HD
no blu-ray release[84]
The Complete Fourth Series 31 October 2011[85] TBA 6 December 2011[86] UK release includes Pyramids of Mars as a bonus feature
as a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen.[87]
The Complete Fifth Series TBC TBC TBC N/A

Blu-ray

Release name UK release date

(region B)

North American release date

(region A)

Australian Release Date

(region B)

Notes
The Complete Fourth Series 31 October 2011[88] N/A N/A First Blu-ray release.
UK release includes Pyramids of Mars
as a bonus feature as a tribute to Elisabeth Sladen.[87]
The Complete Fifth Series TBC TBC TBC N/A

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