I grew up with the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and the robot dog, K-9. This was my Dr Who. Although I did enjoy the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) and to some extent, Colin Baker, after that, I pretty much grew away from Dr Who as I apparently grew up and moved on to better things. Recently however, my middle daughter has become obsessed with Dr Who – especially the current Doctor, Matt Smith. As such I’ve jumped back into the world of Dr Who with Season 6. There was no K-9, but it was a whole lot of fun, and certainly showed how far Dr Who had come.
So when the opportunity came to review The Sarah Jane Adventures – Series 4 I of course jumped at the opportunity. A Dr Who spin off with one of the most loved companions ever, and the bonus of seeing K-9 again. It had to be a winner.
Of course, Sarah Jane is squarely aimed at kids – more so than Dr Who! As such, the cast is made up of Sarah Jane and three school kids – who do battle in much the same way as the Doctor does – with aliens and such, but are grounded on planet earth and concerned with protecting it rather that the universe and time travel.
Split into 6 two part stories, I’m informed by my middle daughter part way into the season that this is the last, as Elisabeth Sladen (who plays Sarah Jane) passed away after completing only a couple of episodes of Season 5. This adds a kind of poignancy to the last two part episode, titled Goodbye Sarah Jane, where Sarah Jane worries about her health and hands responsibility over to Ruby. Not the best idea, but the season wraps up with the prodigal Luke returning and sorting things out.
In between, we get to see Dr Who (Matt Smith) help out – which adds a nice tie in with the Whovian universe as well as a few other treats.
All in all, Sarah Jane is not as strong as the Dr Who series, at least not from an adult perspective – but then it is aimed more at kids, but is a worth and fun addition to any Whovian’s DVD collection.
As a bonus, and in memory of Elisabeth Sladen, Season Four also comes with the four part The Pyramids of Mars, a Dr Who serial from 1975 starring Tom Baker.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read