Sarah Jane Smith

Sarah Jane Smith
Doctor Who universe character
Sarah Jane Smith 2006.jpg
Sarah Jane Smith
Affiliated The Doctor (Third, Fourth, Tenth and Eleventh)[1]
Species Human
Home planet Earth
Home era 20th century
21st century
First appearance The Time Warrior
Last appearance The Man Who Never Was
The End of Time (Doctor Who)
Portrayed by Elisabeth Sladen

Sarah Jane Smith is a fictional character played by Elisabeth Sladen in the long-running British BBC Television science-fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-offs K-9 and Company and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

An investigative journalist, Sarah Jane is a regular companion of the Third and Fourth incarnations of the Doctor, on the programme from 1973 to 1976 (seasons 11 – 14), and returns in the Fifth Doctor story The Five Doctors (1983), the 30th-anniversary story Dimensions In Time (1993), and most recently in the episodes "School Reunion" (2006), "The Stolen Earth" / "Journey's End" (2008) and The End of Time (2010) alongside the Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, and other companions of his era. Her final meeting with the Doctor was with the Eleventh Doctor in Death of the Doctor.

One of the Doctor's longest serving companions, she appears as a regular in 18 stories over four seasons of the classic series and four episodes of the revived series, and is (alongside robotic dog K-9) the first companion to appear in a spin-off, the 1981 television pilot K-9 and Company. She is the central character of the series The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Sarah Jane Smith has been regularly voted the most popular Doctor Who companion, although in recent times the character has vied in popularity with Rose Tyler. Ace has also been a previous winner. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]




1973–1976, 1981, 1983; introduction and classic run

Sarah Jane in a publicity photo from Planet of Evil (1975)

Sarah Jane first appears in the Third Doctor serial The Time Warrior (1973), where she has managed to infiltrate a top secret research facility by posing as her aunt, Lavinia Smith, a famous virologist. Introduced as an ardent feminist, Sarah Jane sneaks aboard the TARDIS and becomes embroiled in a battle against the militaristic alien Sontarans in the Middle Ages. Subsequently, she accompanies the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) on several journeys in the TARDIS, and she also assists the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce led by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) on a number of occasions. After Pertwee's departure, Sladen remains following Season 11 finale Planet of the Spiders (1974), in which the Doctor regenerates for the third time. In season 12's consecutive 1975 serials The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks and Revenge of the Cybermen, Sarah and male companion Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) face against the series' three iconic recurring creatures, the Sontarans, hateful alien Daleks and the calculating cyborg Cybermen. In Genesis, Sarah is present at the creation of the Daleks, and meets their creator Davros (Michael Wisher). Sarah Jane departs in the Season 14 serial The Hand of Fear (1976) after the Doctor receives a summons to his home planet of Gallifrey. With regards to her characterisation in this period, Sladen described Sarah as "a bit of a cardboard cut-out. Each week it used to be, 'Yes Doctor, no Doctor'..."[10] The character's tenure alongside Baker, the long-time "favourite Doctor" in the series, earned her a similar accolade of being "the favourite companion" amongst fans.[11]

Following her tenure as de jour companion, Sladen reprised the role of Sarah Jane in an unsuccessful pilot episode for an Earth-based spin-off series, K-9 and Company. In the pilot episode, "A Girl's Best Friend", Sarah Jane receives the robot dog K-9 Mark III (John Leeson) as a Christmas present from the Doctor. The character next appears in Doctor Who for the 1983 anniversary episode The Five Doctors, in which she is transported to Gallifrey by Lord President Borusa (Philip Latham) to take part in the Game of Rassilon in The Death Zone devised by Time Lord founder Rassilon (Richard Mathews). Here, Sarah is reunited with the Third Doctor, and also meets the First, Second and Fifth. The Five Doctors shows that Sarah Jane still owns and is working with K-9. The character made an appearance in the non-canonical Children in Need special crossover with long-running British soap EastEnders, Dimensions in Time (1993), wherein various Doctors and companions are teleported to Albert Square as part of a plot by the Rani (Kate O'Mara). Though Sladen would not make more official Doctor Who television appearances until 2006, the actress reprised her role as Sarah Jane in audio dramas and the unofficial direct-to-video spin-off film Downtime (1995) alongside the Brigadier and Second Doctor companion Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling).

2006–2011; revived series and spin-off

Following Russell T Davies' 2005 Doctor Who revival, Sladen returned to the show in the Series 2 episode "School Reunion" (2006). "School Reunion" revisits Sarah Jane, still working alongside K-9 since The Five Doctors, when she encounters the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) while they both investigate mysterious goings on at a school run by Headmaster Lucas Finch (Anthony Head). Exposition in the episode reveals that, having waited years for the Doctor to return to her, Sarah assumed he had died, though later came to suspect his involvement when witnessing the alien spaceship above London in Doctor Who Christmas special "The Christmas Invasion". On meeting Sarah Jane, current companion Rose (Billie Piper) reflects on her future after the Doctor. Though K-9 Mark III still assists Sarah Jane, he has fallen into disrepair; after K-9 Mark III sacrifices himself to save Sarah and the Doctor, the Doctor leaves Sarah a new K-9 model, K-9 Mark IV, and takes her advice by inviting Rose's boyfriend Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) aboard the TARDIS as his second companion. The success of "School Reunion" led to the development of The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Sladen as Sarah Jane, produced by BBC Wales for CBBC.

In The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane investigates alien activity covertly from her manor house in Bannerman Road in Ealing, driving an emerald green Nissan Figaro[12] and with the help of her sentient supercomputer Mr Smith (voice of comedian Alexander Armstrong), as well as an alien activity scanner and sonic lipstick device (both gifts from the Doctor). In the special première episode "Invasion of the Bane" (2007), Sarah adopts a son: Bane creation, genetic archetype and boy genius Luke Smith (Tommy Knight), and befriends her neighbour Maria Jackson (Yasmin Paige) during her investigation of Bane leader Mrs Wormwood (Samantha Bond). Sarah remarks that since meeting them she is no longer content to live alone; she discloses she never married after parting from the Doctor, to whom no one could ever compare. Sometime between "School Reunion" and "Invasion of the Bane", K-9 has left Sarah Jane to close off a black hole, occasionally passing close enough to contact her; due to the concurrent development of the K-9 television series, to which creator Bob Baker owns the rights, K-9 only appears in two episodes of the first series.[13][14][15][16] In series one, Sarah learns how to be a mother to Luke, the while strengthening her friendship with teenage neighbour Maria, the person Sarah "trusts the most". Along with Luke and his friend Clyde Langer (Daniel Anthony) they defeat and repel various threats to the contemporary Earth. Amongst these threats, series one introduces the Trickster (Paul Marc Davis), a cosmic being who makes alterations to the timeline to cause chaos and destruction; he becomes a recurring adversary for Sarah Jane. Sarah finds a new enemy in the Slitheen, a family of criminal aliens originally seen in Doctor Who, and an ally in alien research scientist Professor Rivers (Floella Benjamin). Time travel scenes also depict 13-year-old Sarah Jane (Jessica Ashworth), for whom the death of her best friend Andrea Yates (Jane Asher) gave Sarah her resolve to fight against loss of life.

Sarah Jane crosses back over to Doctor Who in the two-part fourth series finale episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" (2008), a crossover with Torchwood and Sarah Jane episode. When Daleks invade Earth, Sarah is summoned along with UNIT officer Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) and Torchwood leader Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) by former PM Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) to help the Doctor save the universe; Davros (Julian Bleach) recognises Sarah from their encounter in Genesis of the Daleks. In Sarah Jane Adventures series two (2008), Maria moves away to America in The Last Sontaran, and Sarah befriends new neighbour Rani Chandra (Anjli Mohindra) in The Day of the Clown; the same episode features Flashbacks to Sarah's (Jessica Mogridge) childhood in her Aunt Lavinia's home. When Sarah saves the lives of her parents, Eddie (Christopher Pizzey) and Barbara (Rosanna Lavelle) in 1951, she plays into the Trickster's hands; her parents choose to die, becoming heroes. In series two finale Enemy of the Bane, Sarah is assisted by old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) against united adversaries Mrs Wormwood and Sontaran Commander Kaagh (Anthony O'Donnell); Sarah feels threatened on a personal level by Wormwood's claim to, in a sense, being Luke's mother. Sladen has relatively scarce screen-time in 'Sarah-lite' serial The Mark of the Berserker due to back-to-back filming. Though K-9 makes no appearances in series two, he appears to assist Sarah Jane in a mini-episode for Comic Relief (2009) against Ambassador Ranius (Ronnie Corbett).

Series three (2009), Sarah makes a new enemy in the body stealing alien Androvax (Mark Goldthorp) and an ally in the interplanetary police force, the Judoon (from Doctor Who). In the second two-parter, Sarah Jane is able to recover K-9 full-time (reflecting a real-world deal struck with the creators of K9). In a crossover with the parent series, Sarah reveals her intention to marry her secret fiancé, barrister Peter Dalton, in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. However, Dalton's involvement in Sarah's life proves to be a scheme of the Trickster. The Tenth Doctor (Tennant) wedding-crashes to foil the Trickster's plot to make Sarah give up on alien hunting, and explains to Sarah that the Trickster is a powerful former member of the extra-dimensional so-called Pantheon of Discord. The serial clarifies that Sarah owes her independent wealth to her Aunt Lavina's will. In 'Sarah-lite' two-parter Mona Lisa's Revenge, Sarah and Luke have their first argument as he progresses into his teenage years; they argue about the cleanliness of Luke's room. In series finale The Gift, though she is reluctant to use weapons or cause harm, when Luke falls deathly sick for the first time ever to Slitheen cousins the Blathereen, Sarah takes up arms to confront them. In the episode's conclusion, she regretfully is forced to kill them using Mr Smith. Sarah Jane next appears in the Tenth Doctor two-part Doctor Who finale, The End of Time, in 2010. When the Doctor is slowly dying from radiation poisoning, he makes timely visits to his close friends and companions; the Doctor saves Luke's life from an oncoming car on Bannerman Road, and bids a silent farewell to Luke and to Sarah Jane.

In the fourth season (2010) of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah sees Luke off to university in the first two-parter of the series, but continues her adventures alongside Rani and Clyde. The trio encounter the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), as well as Sarah's immediate predecessor as the Doctor's companion, Jo Grant (Katy Manning), in Death of the Doctor; aliens fake the Doctor's death as part of a plot to gain access to the TARDIS using Jo and Sarah Jane's memories.[17] The Empty Planet is this series' 'Sarah-lite' serial; with the rest of the population, Sarah Jane mysteriously vanishes, leaving Rani and Clyde to investigate without her. In Lost in Time, Sarah is sent back in time on a mission from the mysterious Shopkeeper (Cyril Nri). Sarah is convinced to retire by an alien plot in the series finale, earning a new nemesis and doppelgänger in Ruby White (Julie Graham); she is saved from Ruby when Luke drives down from university to her rescue.

The fifth and final series of the show, airing in 2011, was cut short due to Sladen's death. In its premiere story, Sarah adopts a new child in the form of Sky Smith (Sinead Michael), a genetically-engineered alien girl with abilities relating to electromagnetism; the Shopkeeper arranged for their encounter, but declines to explain his motives to Sarah Jane. Sarah Jane's final broadcast appearance comes in series five finale The Man Who Never Was. The final story ends with a short montage of archive footage and audio recordings celebrating Sarah Jane's journey from lone investigator to mother of two surrounded by friends. The series ends with the final caption: "And the story goes on... forever."


Sarah Jane appears in several Doctor Who novels and short stories, notably in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels Interference: Book One and Interference: Book Two by Lawrence Miles; and the Past Doctor Adventures novel Bullet Time by David A. McIntee, all taking place after she stops travelling with the Doctor. She appears in Ian Marter's Harry Sullivan's War published by Target Books; Marter played companion Harry Sullivan in seven television serials. Different accounts of Sarah Jane's life have been given in the Doctor Who literature. Interference and the Virgin New Adventures novel Christmas on a Rational Planet, also by Miles, suggest that Sarah Jane married someone named Paul Morley sometime between 1996 and 1998 and took his name. In the short story Lily by Jackie Marshall, in Big Finish's Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury, the Fifth Doctor pays a visit to an older Sarah Jane, who has a daughter, Lauren, and an autistic granddaughter, Lily; Lauren's father is named Will. In the Past Doctor Adventure Bullet Time, Sarah Jane is apparently killed- although the story is ambiguous about whether she actually dies- in 1997 when she sacrifices herself so that she cannot be used as a hostage to stop the Seventh Doctor from taking action to aid an escaping alien ship, contradicting her other spin-off appearances. However, the novel takes place during a story arc where enemies of the Doctor were attempting to eliminate his companions from the timeline- revealed in the later novel Sometime Never...-, and Sarah Jane's death may have been reversed when those enemies are defeated. In any case, other stories have shown her alive after 1997. Sarah Jane was mentioned in the prologue of the Virgin Publishing novelisation of The Power of the Daleks by John Peel. It revealed that Sarah Jane was working as UNIT's official chronicler and that in "1996" she covered the aftermath of the Cybermen's failed attempt to drain Earth of its energy and the technology left behind in their wake (The Tenth Planet, which was actually set in 1986).

Stories written as in-universe articles in Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special 1991 (subtitled "UNIT Exposed"), made statements about Sarah Jane's life after leaving the Fourth Doctor. She wrote a history of UNIT, Fighting for Humankind ("heavily vetted and evidently subjected to considerable censorship"), as well as a series of science fiction novels. These featured an extraterrestrial called the Doctor and his companion Nicola Jones, who frequently encountered WIN (World Investigative Network), commanded by General Lutwidge-Douglas. Titles included Day of the Dinosaurs, Sutekh the Destroyer and The North Sea Monster.[18]

Though there are as yet no original Sarah Jane Adventures novels, many of the television episodes have been novelised.

Audio drama

Between seasons 13 and 14, Sladen appeared as Sarah Jane, with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, in the audio play LP The Pescatons (1976). She appeared with Baker in "The Time Machine", episode three of the BBC Radio series Exploration Earth on 4 October 1976. Sarah Jane (played by Sladen) appeared in two Radio Plays starring Jon Pertwee as The Doctor in the 1990s: The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space. (BBC) The canonicity of Sarah Jane's appearances in the audio dramas is, like all Doctor Who spin-off media, unclear, and they may not even take place in the same continuity as one another. For example, the novels' mention of Sarah Jane as having been married is contradicted by the later Sarah Jane Smith audio play Dreamland, and the Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Invasion of the Bane".

Sarah Jane appears in two audiobook stories based on The Sarah Jane Adventures (released in November 2007) on CD: The Glittering Storm by Stephen Cole and The Thirteenth Stone by Justin Richards, with both stories read by series star Elisabeth Sladen. This is the first time that BBC Audiobooks have commissioned new content for exclusive release on audio.[19] Two new audio stories ("Ghost House" and "Time Capsule") were released in November 2008, both read again by Sladen.[20]

Reprising the role

Elisabeth Sladen returned to the role of Sarah Jane eleven times after leaving Doctor Who in 1976:

  1. In a 1981 pilot for a proposed spin-off television series titled K-9 and Company where Sarah Jane was given K-9 Mark III. She was also said to have worked for the Reuters news agency. However, the planned series never materialised.
  2. Sladen played Sarah Jane again in the 1983 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors, appearing alongside Jon Pertwee once more (K-9 also made a brief appearance, directly referring to the events of K-9 and Company).
  3. Sladen also appeared as Sarah Jane in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time.
  4. In 1993 Sladen voiced the character of Sarah Jane in BBC Radio audio play The Paradise of Death (Radio 5) together with Pertwee as the Doctor and Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
  5. Another BBC Radio drama, The Ghosts of N-Space, was made in 1994 (although not broadcast until 1996, on Radio 2), again featuring Sladen with Jon Pertwee's Doctor and Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier.
  6. In 1995 Sladen appeared as Sarah Jane in the Reeltime Pictures' video production Downtime, together with Courtney as the Brigadier and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield.
  7. Big Finish Productions has also produced a series of nine Sarah Jane Smith audio adventures set in the present day.
  8. In the third episode of the 2006 series of Doctor Who, "School Reunion", Sladen reprised the role of Sarah Jane on television. K-9 also appeared.
  9. In 2007, Sladen received her own series again in The Sarah Jane Adventures, of which the second, third, fourth and fifth series were broadcast in 2008-2011, respectively.
  10. In 2008, Sladen reappeared in the Doctor Who episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End", for which she received star billing in the opening titles.
  11. In 2010, Sladen made a brief appearance in the second part of the two-part Doctor Who Christmas special, The End of Time.


  1. ^ BBC - Doctor Who - Characters - Series Four
  2. ^ Jones, Paul (16 Nov 2010), "Billie Piper's Rose Tyler voted the best Doctor Who companion", Radio Times, 
  3. ^ Russell, Gary (1992), "Editorial Quote “Doctor Who fans constantly voted her the most popular companion of all time.”", Doctor Who Magazine Holiday Special (Sarah Jane Smith): page 3 
  4. ^ The, Editor (22-28 November 2003), "My favourite, Poll result -Favourite Companion 1 Sarah Jane Smith , 2 K9", Radio Times (Doctor Who 16 page pull out): page 5 
  5. ^ Spilsbury, Tom (2007), "2006 Season Survey, Poll Result-Favourite Companion 1 Rose, 2 Sarah Jane Smith. Quote “previous winners SJS and Ace”", Doctor Who Magazine (377): page 51 
  6. ^ The, Editor (2008), "The Best Doctor Who Companions in the world... Ever, Poll Result-Favourite Companion 1 Sarah Jane Smith , 2 Rose", SFX Collection (Doctor Who Special): page 21 
  7. ^ Griffiths, Peter (2009), "The Mighty 200 Survey, Poll Result-Favourite Companion 1 Sarah Jane Smith , 2 Donna Noble", Doctor Who Magazine (414): page 21 
  8. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (2010), "Sarah Jane Smith, Quote “Until November 2010, Sarah Jane Smith was the greatest companion, as decided by RT’s 2003 online poll”", Radio Times The Companions (Special): page 124 
  9. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (2010), "Rose, Quote “Rose was voted the number one companion in RT’s online poll”", Radio Times The Companions (Special): page 121 
  10. ^ Robertson, Cameron (2006-04-18). "Dr Who's 'cut-out' girl back". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
  11. ^ "Doctor Who: Elisabeth Sladen talks". 2006-06-07. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  12. ^ "11 December 2006". Blue Peter. CBBC. 2006-12-11.
  13. ^ "Russell T Davies creates new series for CBBC, starring Doctor Who's Sarah Jane Smith" (Press release). BBC. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2006-09-14. 
  14. ^ Milmo, Cahal (2006-04-24). "Doctor Who's K-9 sidekick is dragged into 21st century in computer-designed cartoon". The Independent. Retrieved 2006-04-24. 
  15. ^ Lyon, Shaun (2006-07-18). "More on K9 Series". Outpost Gallifrey News Page. Retrieved 2006-08-02. 
  16. ^ Nazzaro, Joe (2006-09-28). "Who's Sarah Jane Gets Own Show". Sci Fi Wire (Sci Fi Channel). Archived from the original on 2006-10-14. Retrieved 2006-09-28. 
  17. ^ "The Doctor and Jo Grant join CBBC's The Sarah Jane Adventures in special episodes written by Russell T Davies". BBC Press Office. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  18. ^ Parker, Kevin W., untitled sidebar, Doctor Who Magazine Winter Special, 1991, Marvel Comics Ltd., p. 7.
  19. ^ "The Sarah Jane Audios". BBC Doctor Who website. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  20. ^ "The Sarah Jane Audios". BBC Doctor Who website. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.