The Sarah Jane Adventures producer Brian Minchin has revealed that creator Russell T Davies now regrets ending the series.
Featuring former Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen reprising her role as companion Sarah Jane Smith, The Sarah Jane Adventures launched with a 60-minute special in January 2007.
Filming on three of the fifth season‘s six two-part stories had been completed prior to Elisabeth Sladen’s death on 19 April 2011. The BBC announced in May 2011 that no further episodes would be made.
The show’s final episode aired on CBBC on 18 October 2011.
Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, Brian Minchin reflected: “It was doing hugely well on CBBC. We already had scripts commissioned [for future episodes]. We were ready to go. And CBBC wanted more series after that. We’d been in to have meetings.
“Russell [T Davies] was living in LA, but was fully committed to it. Then Lis [Sladen] rang Russell to tell him the news. It was quite a shock.
“It was … January. We were meant to start filming more Sarah Jane in April or May. When she rang Russell, the main thing she asked was that her cancer was kept a secret. She knew it would be quite quick, so she asked that it wasn’t made public. So I had a situation where we had to stand down the crew, over 100 people, and ask them to keep the reason a secret.
“I think it really is a mark of the love and respect that the crew had for her that the news didn’t get out there at all. It was about ten weeks after that phone call that Lis passed away. It was a really sad time.”
Asked if there was any talk about continuing the show without Elisabeth Sladen – to wrap up the younger characters’ storylines, and to pay tribute to Lis within the show – Minchin commented: “Well, we still had some episodes to go out, posthumously, and even though we felt duty-bound to the cast and everyone else to discuss it, our hearts were never in continuing.
“Russell emailed me not so long ago saying, ‘We shouldn’t have stopped, should we?’ He thinks we cancelled the show out of shock. And he’s right. It was such a lovely show, and Lis was fantastic.”
Brian Minchin is currently the executive producer of Doctor Who, alongside Steven Moffat.
Minchin and Moffat’s final season of Doctor Who has been filming in Cardiff since June and will begin airing on BBC One in April 2017.
Do you think The Sarah Jane Adventures could have continued without Lis Sladen? Let us know below…