sja*

13 Bannerman Road is where Sarah Jane Smith lives, and it’s home to things way beyond your imagination. There’s an extraterrestrial supercomputer in the wall, her son, a genetically engineered boy genius, a schoolgirl investigator across the road, and a whole universe of adventure, right here on the doorstep.

  • Ready?

Always.

What If?: The Sarah Jane Adventures

Original Airdate: 2007-2011

The Sarah Jane Adventures was a CBBC series, revolving around investigate journalist and former time traveller Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen). Along with her young friends Luke, Rani, Clyde and Sky, Sarah Jane combatted extraterrestrial threats to the earth. The series was created and executive produced by Russell T Davies, the man behind the relaunch of Doctor Who. The series was a children’s spinoff of the long-running Who, with Sarah Jane herself already a well established and incredibly popular character from the series. The Sarah Jane Adventures was a great success, winning legions of fans - both children and adult- and numerous awards. However, midway through filming of the fifth series, Sladen sadly lost a closely guarded battle with cancer. Filming was immediately stopped and the BBC announced production on the series would not continue, naturally.    Since Sladen’s death in 2011, various tidbits about where the show was heading have been revealed in magazine articles and interviews. They include: 
  • Three stories of series 5 remained unproduced at the time of Lis Sladen’s death. Those were Meet Mr Smith, The Thirteenth Floor and The Battle of Bannerman Road.
  • Meet Mr Smith was due to star Alexander Armstrong (the voice of Mr Smith) in a physical capacity. The story would see Mr Smith be transformed into a human, by an alien called Ozmo. Ozmo would force Mr. Smith to work for him, carrying out certain tasks for his nefarious scheme.
  • The Thirteenth Floor would begin in a newspaper office, where a journalist would go missing. The next day, Rani would begin a work experience placement at the office and would be intrigued by the mystery of the missing journalist.
  • This was to be a Halloween special episode, taking influence from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • The Thirteenth Floor script was cannibalised and restructured into an episode of the first series of Wizards Vs. Aliens, the series created by the SJA production team to save a full film crew from going out of work.
  • The Battle of Bannerman Road was to be written by show creator and executive producer, Russell T Davies, and looked to be one of the man’s typically loud finales.
  • Former Doctor Who companion, Jo Grant (Katy Manning) and her grandson Diego would return in the story, last seen in 2010’s SJA story Death of the Doctor.
  • Professor Rivers (Floella Benjamin) and The Shopkeeper were also due to return.
  • Long running series villain,The Trickster, was to return. In this episode it would be revealed that he instilled his essence into Sky at the moment of her creation, effectively making her his daughter. The Trickster had been manipulating events to bring Sky and Sarah Jane together.
  • After a long will they/won’t they? Clyde and Rani would finally get together in this story.
  • 13 Bannerman Road may have been blown up at the climax of the story.
  • Clyde and Rani may also have been written out of the series at this point. Both actors felt they were ready to leave the series at this point, but no final decisions were made before production came to its sudden stop.
  • If a sixth series of The Sarah Jane Adventures was commissioned, Russell T Davies hoped to mix things up by relocating Sarah Jane to the fictional Foxglove Village
  • A sixth series would Also see an adventure starring Ace (Sophie Aldred), companion to the Seventh Doctor, and a cameo by the man himself, Sylvester McCoy.
  • In the audio commentary for Death of the Doctor (available only on the Doctor Who story The Green Death DVD), Russell T Davies revealed that were the show to continue, Luke Smith would have been revealed to be gay, per the request of the BBC. The corporation wanted to have "just a normal gay character" on children’s BBC.  

Seeing what was lying ahead for the series makes it all the more upsetting it was halted in such a manner. Though there are a lot of morsels of information here that would excite fans -old and young alike- perhaps the most interesting planned development was Luke’s sexuality. The series was known and praised for the way it tackled sensitive topics for youngsters, including divorce, loss and homelessness. It would have been a bold move by the BBC and the production team, but looking at the talent behind the series, the chances are it would have played out brilliantly.

It’s also interesting to think of what the series would have been up to in Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary year. Russell T Davies has always unashamedly celebrated the series and its mythology in his work for it, so the chances are he would have went all-out in this landmark year for the franchise. Is anyone else revelling in imagining every companion ever paying a visit to Bannerman Road?

Random thought:

What if Class found a way to bring Luke Smith- Sarah Janes alien son - in? Him and Charlie would have a lot in common I think (saving the world at a young age, aliens, not understand all the pop culture references, being gay?) and they could be passed off as cousins or something. I just miss the SJA and would love to see his character brought back in somehow.

next in the “what other Whoniverse ladies can I ship Quill with” series: 

Quill and Sarah Jane

I would pay good money for that meeting, I think it would be genuinely hilarious cos they’d both be trying to bullshit each other about what they’re doing in some suspicious warehouse (they totally followed the same alien)

cue snark and then accidental flirting and flattered Sarah Jane

4

“I am picking up news reports from the International Gallery. The Mona Lisa has been stolen.”
“The
Mona Lisa? I don’t believe it. The security at the International Gallery was supposed to be massive.”
“So the reports suggest.”