Sarah Jane Adventures

Sarah Jane Smith 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. Sneaking into the TARDIS while the Doctor is preparing to follow the trail of a kidnapped scientist through time, she becomes embroiled in the subsequent adventure in the Middle Ages.

Sarah then finds herself working with the Third Doctor and UNIT on a number of occasions. She is present when he regenerates into the Fourth Doctor at the end of Planet of the Spiders, and continues to accompany him on his journeys through time and space.

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As a companion she is confident and inquisitive, and possesses a sharp mind as well as a sharp tongue. She is also a feminist — in her first appearance she is infuriated when the Doctor asks her to make coffee, and she often verbally spars with fellow companion Harry Sullivan, who has an old-fashioned and unintentionally patronising attitude towards her. However, this does not get in the way of forming a close friendship with him. In The Monster of Peladon, the Doctor advises Sarah to share concepts of Women’s Lib with Queen Thalira, whose power is limited on her planet because of her sex. In later episodes, Sarah’s views become less vocalised, but she never gives the impression that she is less than capable. In spite of the dangerous and frightening situations she often finds herself in, she loves adventure and risk, and in spite of her outward complaints, is always thrilled to go off in search of more adventure. She shares a rapport with the Third and Fourth Doctors, and is consistently one of the Doctor’s most popular companions among fans.[2]

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The exact placement of Sarah’s adventures with the Doctor is part of the UNIT dating controversy. In Pyramids of Mars she states (more than once) that she was “from 1980”, which implies that her adventures with the Doctor took place in the near future with respect to the time of broadcast.

During her time with the Doctor, Sarah encounters Daleks (and is the first companion to meet their creator Davros), Cybermen, antimatter creatures on the most distant planet in the universe, android mummies in 1911 England, ancient evils in 15th century Italy and other dangers, until she is returned to Earth at the end of The Hand of Fear.

Her departure from the TARDIS coincides with the Doctor’s summons to his home planet, Gallifrey, to which he was forbidden to take humans at that point. However, his attempt to materialise the TARDIS near her flat in South Croydon falls short of the mark. Thirty years later, when she encounters the Tenth Doctor in “School Reunion”, she reveals that he had in fact abandoned her in Aberdeen, Scotland. Between being dropped off by the Fourth Doctor and meeting the Tenth Doctor, Sarah was herself summoned to Gallifrey where she was reunited with the Third Doctor, and met the First, Second and Fifth Doctors (in The Five Doctors). In the period after she was returned to Earth, she tells the Tenth Doctor, she gave up waiting for him to return and concluded that he had died on whatever mission he had been sent.

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At the time of “School Reunion”‘, Sarah is still single, and suggests to the Doctor that she found it difficult to hold down a lasting relationship with any man following her experiences with him. At the episode’s conclusion, he leaves her a new K-9 model, to replace the destroyed K-9 Mark III he sent her as a gift in K-9 & Company.

The Sarah Jane Adventures, starring Sladen as Sarah Jane, is produced by BBC Wales for CBBC. It began as a 60-minute special, “Invasion of the Bane”, written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts shown on 1 January 2007 with a weekly series of ten episodes beginning on 24 September.

In the time between “School Reunion” and “Invasion of the Bane” (at least a year and a half), K-9 has left Sarah Jane to close off a black hole but occasionally passes close enough to contact her. Although K-9 appeared in the special and in a scene in one episode, he will not appear as a recurring character: [4] the rights to the character of K-9 are owned by writer Bob Baker, who is developing a separate Australian TV show entitled K-9, an independent production with no other ties to Doctor Who.[5][6][7]

Sarah Jane drives an emerald green Nissan Figaro[8] and investigates alien interactions with Earth aided by a sentient supercomputer named Mr Smith. A watch that scans for alien life and a lipstick-shaped sonic screwdriver were, according to the show’s website, gifts from the Doctor, hidden inside K-9 Mark IV when it was left for her at the end of the events shown in “School Reunion”. Her low-key methods of investigation have helped protect the Earth from alien attack, which contrast to the more abrasive and militaristic approaches of UNIT and the Torchwood Institute, who, according to Sarah Jane, tend to go in “all guns blazing”. Her investigations are covert and remain unknown to her neighbours in Bannerman Road, Ealing which has encouraged her reputation for being formidable and reclusive.

In “Invasion of the Bane”, she adopted a son, Luke Smith, and befriended neighbour Maria Jackson during her investigation of the Bubble Shock! manufacturing plant, remarking that since meeting them she is no longer content to live alone. When asked why she never married, she replies that there was only one man for her, to whom no one could ever compare.

During the course of the first series she learns how to be a mother to Luke and starts to become more “mumsy” as she puts it. She and Maria share a close friendship to the point where Maria is the person Sarah “trusts the most”. Along with Luke and his friend Clyde Langer they defeat various threats to Earth such as the Bane, the Slitheen, the Gorgon and General Kudlak.

In Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? we meet thirteen year old Sarah Jane, played by Jessica Ashworth, in 1964. It is revealed that Sarah witnessed the death of her friend Andrea Yates who fell from a pier they were both playing upon and who Sarah Jane was unable to rescue. It was this event that gave Sarah Jane a thirst for justice, and a strong desire to fight against loss of life.

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Sarah Jane crosses back over to Doctor Who in the two-part fourth series finale “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End”, along with Luke, Mr. Smith, and K-9. Here she encounters Davros again, who still recognizes her. She plays a major role in the episodes, temporarily rejoining the Doctor as a companion. Once she helps summon him with the subwave network and Mr. Smith, she heads out to meet up with him but is stopped by two Daleks who go to kill her. Before they can however, Mickey Smith and Jackie Tyler teleport in and kill them. With Jackie and Mickey she is taken prisoner but manages to escape into a side room in the Crucible before she can be killed by the Reality Bomb. She, Jackie, Mickey and Jack Harkness try to threaten Davros (who recognised her from Genesis of the Daleks and was surprised) into stopping the Reality Bomb with a Warp Star she owned, but are captured once again. She witnesses the disarming of the Reality Bomb, the destruction of all the Daleks and the presumed death of Davros. During the towing of Earth home she pilots the TARDIS herself alongside the Doctor, Mickey Smith, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Jack Harkness but after it lands runs home to Luke. She is also able to shorten the process of transferring the TARDIS base code numerals to Mr. Smith by summoning K-9 to do it.

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