Ouch! As if I didn’t feel old already. Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the first regular episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. Arguably the best spin-off show to burst out of the world of Doctor Who.
Capitalising on the enduring popularity of Elisabeth Sladen’s portrayal of reporter Sarah Jane Smith, the show threw a hardy bunch of kids into ripping yarns on the edges of the Whoniverse. They even managed to get K-9 in on the action sometimes. And Ronnie Corbett!
Sladen wasn’t the original actress cast for Sarah Jane’s debut in 1973's The Time Warrior, but an apparent lack of chemistry prompted a quick rethink. Sarah Jane mark two gelled more readily with Jon Pertwee’s Time Lord.
That spark only increased when Tom Baker took over the TARDIS. Sladen was a key part of the classic show in its prime years.
She reprised the role in K-9 & Company and a couple of radio serials, The Five Doctors and Dimensions in Time. There is also a series of Big Finish audio plays.
Sarah Jane’s return in a 2006 episode of the revived Doctor Who series paved the way for the spin off series which kicked off with a New Year holiday special that introduced her adoptive son, Luke, a genetically engineered construct.
The Sarah Jane Adventures ran for five series, ended by the untimely death of its star. There is a trinity of adventures starting on CBBC tomorrow afternoon, and the iPlayer, which includes an appearance by Bradley Walsh who may or may not be the new Doctor’s companion. But if that’s outside your time zone, try picking up a DVD or checking Amazon Video for a selection of SJA episodes.
As the final episode says, the story goes on ...