After the success of Doctor Who’s relaunch in 2005, it was perhaps inevitable that CBBC would come knocking for a spin-off show.
Thankfully, Russell T Davies rejected their ideas and instead capitalised on the success of 2006’s ‘School Reunion’ to create a vehicle for fan favourite Elisabeth Sladen.
Promoted from companion to star, intrepid investigate reporter Sarah Jane Smith was promptly equipped with a talking super-computer, a sonic lipstick and a surrogate family of plucky teenagers.
With frequent references to its parent show, as well as guest appearances from aliens and friends alike, the show even benefitted from a couple of visits from the Doctor himself during its five year run.
Here are our top five tales…
‘The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith’ (2008)
Diving into the background of Sarah Jane herself, we see our heroine trying to alter time and stop her parents dying.
Of course, it’s a cruel plot by the Trickster, takes the chance to alter time and stop her parents from dying, but it is a ploy by the Trickster – a terrifying faceless villain who she battled on three occasion.
Although they are all great and put our heroine through the emotional wringer, we feel that ‘Temptation’ just edges it over ‘Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?’ and ‘The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith’, which guest starred David Tennant’s Doctor.
‘Eye of the Gorgon’ (2007)
Settling into its first season, this second story truly illustrated what the programme could do. Investigating ghostly sightings with her young friends, Luke is given an ancient talisman which turns out to be the key to a sought after time and space portal.
As well as a terrific monster in the Gorgon, concealed as the Abbess of a convent, Phyllida Law puts a great performance as the Bea Nelson-Stanley who suffers with Alzheimer’s but remembers crucial snippets from adventurous younger days.
‘The Curse of Clyde Langer’ (2011)
Through some excellent hokum regarding a totem pole, the curse turned the popular Clyde (Daniel Anthony) into an outcast and saw him sleeping on the streets.
Dealing with homelessness in an impressively upfront way, through the story of the girl who befriends Clyde (Skins actress Lily Loveless), this story demonstrated quite how mature the show had become.
‘Lost in Time’ (2010)
Showing a tremendous level of ambition, this tale despatched three of the show’s principals to different time periods, Clyde to WWII to foil a Nazi invasion, Rani to the Tower of London in 1553 to meet the doomed Lady Jane Grey and Sarah Jane to a Victorian haunted house.
Introducing the mysterious Shopkeeper character (Cyril Nri), who would return again, a race against time in three periods ensues.
‘Enemy of the Bane’ (2008)
Season 2’s finale brought back both Samantha Bond as the villainous Mrs Wormwood, Luke Smith’s creator, but also the lone Sontaran Commander Kaagh.
Its inclusion on this list though is primarily for the wonderful guest appearance of Nicholas Courtney in his final outing (cyber-resurrection notwithstanding) as the former Brigadier, now General Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart!
What’s your favourite The Sarah Jane Adventures story? Let us know below…