Sarah Jane Adventures: Series 5 – Review

A brief look at the last ever series of the CBBC Doctor Who spin-off.

The final series of The Sarah Jane Adventures has aired, and it’s tinged with more sadness than the average series finale. Because not only is the show going away, but the ending was forced due to the unexpected death of star Elisabeth Sladen earlier this year.

What we have here are the final six episodes (or three two-part stories), filmed before she fell ill, aired as a tribute to her. Because they were not intended to end the series, there’s no attempt to tie up storylines, in fact there are plot threads activated here that will probably never be concluded.

So writing a normal “review” is redundant. All I can usefully say is that the three stories show the series on typically good form, all banter, drama and, at times, surprisingly adult themes, considering it was the child-targeted member of the Doctor Who family.

The first one is a little pre-occupied with starting off subplots and introducing a new character (Sarah Jane’s adopted daughter Sky), but the other two are great work, especially the second. Daniel Anthony, as Clyde Langer, has grown in leaps and bounds over the five years of this show, to the point where the episodes he headlines are some of the best.

There’s a brief montage at the end of the final episode, to let us reflect briefly on the fact it’s all over. For anyone wanting a more substantial tribute, the one aired on the CBBC channel shortly after Elisabeth Sladen died is still on YouTube, including contributions from Matt Smith, David Tennant and her SJA co-stars. Warning: you may cry.

Part of me hopes that we see a Doctor Who episode next year where the Time Lord visits Bannerman Road one last time to wave off the supporting cast and close some storylines. At the very least, perhaps a brief mention, like the Nicholas Courtney tribute in the recent series finale.

But it’s tempting to just take the approach suggested by the final episode itself and assume she kept going forever, saving the world and having adventures. It’s not as if we’re going to forget her.

Nick Bryan

Updated: Oct 17, 2011

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