The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 53: The Man Who Never Was – Part Two (18/10/2011)

‘I expected high class industrial spies, not Mumsnet.’ With this episode, The Sarah Jane Adventures overtakes Blake’s 7 to be the third-longest-running UK science fiction TV show. This wasn’t designed as the final episode, but its messages – that teamwork, tolerance and equality will triumph over greed, oppression and self-orientation – are as good as any final statements. Stopping a people-smuggling operation, freeing enslaved aliens and bringing down an evil corporation are all in a day’s work.

It plays it lightly, but the script contains some genuinely edgy moments in Harrison’s confrontation with Sarah Jane. He mocks her as naïve and idealistic, claiming ‘this is the way the world works.’ And it is, so long as people go along with it. Sarah Jane is willing to put her head above the parapet, to call out the blatantly wrong and refuse to let arrogant men go unchallenged – and not just now, when she has an alien supercomputer at her back but right from the start of her career when the subtle implication is she rejected Carson’s sexual overtures: ‘I could have been so much more.’

That all this can comfortably exist in a children’s TV series is tribute both to Roberts’ script, and a production team that refuse to condescend to their audience. My fears that the introduction of Sky would lead to the show dumbing down and losing the things that make it so special are unfounded. The Sarah Jane Adventures go out on a high, setting a benchmark for quality kids TV. I can’t think of many better legacies for Elisabeth Sladen, or the character she created across 40 years. We won’t forget you, Sarah Jane.

SJA Man Who Never Was 2

Next Time: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

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One comment

  1. Pingback: The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 52: The Man Who Never Was – Part One (17/10/2011) | Next Time...

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