Timestamp Special #13: Farewell, Sarah Jane

Farewell, Sarah Jane
(Doctor Who: Lockdown: April 19, 2020)

Timestamp S13 Farewell Sarah Jane

On the ninth anniversary of Elisabeth Sladen’s untimely passing, in the midst of a global pandemic, we were offered a chance to say goodbye.


It was a beautiful and fitting tribute to the character and the woman who brought her to life. Russell T Davies did an amazing job, especially with his bridge between the classic and revival eras. He also put the cap on his vision for The Sarah Jane Adventures which had been considered impossible in 2011.

I, for one, want to experience that adventure with Ace, Sarah Jane, and the Diamond Wolf Clan.

Until then, farewell, Sarah Jane.


UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp: Sarah Jane Adventures Series Five Summary

Sarah Jane Adventures: Series Five Summary

Series Five was a strong finale dedicated to the show’s roots.

It’s an odd position to be in with three stories and an unexpected finale, but those three showcased the found family heart of The Sarah Jane Adventures. That’s really what this series and Sarah Jane herself were all about. The Bannerman Road Gang came together under a common cause and ended up becoming a family bound by purpose instead of blood, from Luke and Maria to Clyde, Rani, and Sky.

It’s a philsophy that so many of my friends (who are like family) live every day, and one that so many  more could learn a lesson from.

Series Five comes in at an average of 4.7. That’s the highest rated set for the show, and in comparison to Doctor Who, it would be second place behind the Ninth Series from the classic era.

Sky – 4
The Curse of Clyde Langer – 5
The Man Who Never Was – 5

Sarah Jane Adventures Series Four Average Rating: 4.7/5


Sadly, this ends The Sarah Jane Adventures on television. After decades of watching television, I understand that endings are inevitable. But the premature ending here is tough. The series overall was quite enjoyable and is something that I would readily recommend to Doctor Who fans, especially if they want something lighter than the normal fare.

Series 1 – 4.3
Series 2 – 4.1
Series 3 – 3.3
Series 4 – 4.3
Series 5 – 4.7

The Sarah Jane Adventures Weighted Average Rating: 4.11/5.00

The premature end of this spinoff meant that several story ideas were left behind. In fact, three more stories were planned for Series Five and a set of four Halloween specials were planned after that to bridge the gap leading into Series Six.

The first was Meet Mr. Smith, written by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman. It would have seen Mr. Smith transformed into a human by an alien called the Ozmo. Mr. Smith’s human form would have been played by the supercomputer’s voice actor Alexander Armstrong.

The next story was The Thirteenth Floor, written by Phil Ford. This tale would have finally united Rani and Clyde as a couple after hinting at the relationship over the course of the series. It would have also potentially featured Amy and Rory. The story was repurposed by Phil Ford for Wizards vs Aliens, another show on the CBBC.

The final story of the Series Five set was The Battle of Bannerman Road, which would have returned the Trickster to the series. The plan was to reveal that he had instilled his essence into Sky at the moment of her creation and manipulated events to leave her on Sarah Jane’s doorstep. The Trickster would have used Sky to take over Bannerman Road and the world, but Sky would turn on him and eventually supervise his imprisonment. Jo and Santiago Jones, Professor Rivers, and the Shopkeeper would also return to help.

The first Halloween story was scheduled to be Full Moon, written by Clayton Hickman. The Bannerman Road Gang would have been pitted against the Pagan gods Gog and Magog, escapees from an alien ship.

The second Halloween story was to be The Station, also written by Clayton Hickman, which would have thrown the Bannerman Road Gang back in time to 1911 and 1934.

The third Halloween tale was also penned by Clayton Hickman but was unnamed at the time. It would feature our heroes encountering a Gargoyle-like creature.

Finally, the last Halloween tale was The Night of the Spectre, written by Phil Ford. It would have been an animated story and featured the return of Alan and Maria Jackson. The team would have faced off against an enemy called the Spectre.

The Sarah Jane Adventures also featured ten audiobooks between 2007 and 2011. The first eight – The Glittering Storm, The Thirteenth Stone, The Time Capsule, The Ghost House, The White Wolf, The Shadow People, Deadly Download, and Wraith World – were read by Elisabeth Sladen. The ninth book, Children of Steel, was read by Daniel “Clyde” Anthony. The final book, Judgement Day, was read by Anjli “Rani” Mohindra.

I think it fair to assume that I’ll eventually get to those audio adventures.

The Sarah Jane Adventures finally came to an end in April of 2020 during the global COVID-19 pandemic. During the Doctor Who: Lockdown series on YouTube, Russell T Davies crafted a celebration of Elisabeth Sladen’s life and a capstone for the iconic character of Sarah Jane Smith in his short story Farewell, Sarah Jane.

UP NEXT – Farewell, Sarah Jane

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA28: The Man Who Never Was

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Man Who Never Was
(2 episodes, s05e03, 2011)

Timestamp SJA28 Man Never Was

Slave trades and work simulations.

At Serf Systems, an office cleaner named Adriana Petrescu does her job as an advertisement for the new SerfBoard computer plays on overhead screens. A strange noise draws Adriana to the elevator. When she investigates, she’s pulled inside.

The Bannerman Road Gang is hard at work in the attic as Sky expresses her anxiety about meeting Luke for the first time. Luke notes that his room is no longer his and pops up to the attic for a reunion. He greets Clyde and Rani with the new pet name “Clani”, then has an awkward meeting with Sky. Luke had to leave K9 at the university as the robotic dog is backing up the entire Bodleian library. Mr. Smith is ecstatic at that news.

As the team muses about the SerfBoard launch, Sarah Jane breaks the news that she’s covering it as a journalist. Unfortunately, she only has enough passes for herself, Luke, and Sky. Once there, they meet Lionel Carson, Sarah Jane’s former editor and close friend. As the dress rehearsal begins, Sky tells Luke that she feels a strange buildup of electricity.

Each of the attendees gets a free SerfBoard, a device that sways the normally technophobic Lionel. Sky and Luke also note that Joseph Serf, the president of the company, glitches during his presentation. Luke stays behind after the rehearsal while Sarah Jane and Sky review the footage with Mr. Smith and the gang in the attic. Mr. Smith’s research indicates that, after an accident, Serf became a recluse. Serf also never holds anything.

Mr. Smith commences a deep scan of the SerfBoard while Sarah Jane arranges a rare personal interview with Joseph Serf. Sarah Jane takes Sky along as Clyde and Rani wait for the scan results. The interview is supervised by Mr. Harrison, Serf’s assistant, and Serf refuses to shake hands due to a supposed allergy.

The deep scan comes up with nothing special, so Clyde and Rani investigate the SerfBoard with a great deal of humor. What they find is a typical low-spec budget computer.

At Serf Systems, Luke and Sky discover a sub-basement occupied by Jawa-like aliens who are controlling Serf like an automaton. The controllers get overwhelmed by the complexities of the interview, eventually providing an opportunity for Sarah Jane to spot the glitches for herself. The controllers attempt to hypnotize her, but she sees right through it. As Harrison pulls a weapon on Sarah Jane, Luke and Sky are discovered and surrounded by the cyclopean controllers.

Luke and Sky are surprised when the aliens tell them to run. Sky saves Sarah Jane from being shot by manipulating the controls, but Harrison punishes the aliens. He also spots the intruders on the monitors as Sarah Jane is apprehended and has her sonic lipstick confiscated.

Harrison takes Sarah Jane to the sub-basement and punishes Plark, the lead alien. He reveals that the beings are Skullions that he bought on the black market in Central Asia. The Smiths are astonished at the slave trade, uncovering that Harrison’s plan is simply to make as much money as possible on the SerfBoard launch. Sarah Jane is locked in a storage room with Adriana while Luke and Sky are confined elsewhere. Sarah Jane and Adriana become friends and break out in short order.

Luke and Sky try to befriend a Skullion who brings them food and water, but the being is too fearful. We also learn that the Skullions are allergic to water and thrive on citrus juice. Sky devises a plan to use K9’s dog whistle to signal Mr. Smith. Meanwhile, in the attic, Rani comes up with a plan to crash the launch party as journalists. K9’s whistle, in Morse Code, signals Clani to steal Harrison’s pen.

The Smith family is soon reunited and they enter the Skullion control room. Sarah Jane signals Mr. Smith to arrange a rescue mission for the Skullions while Clyde and Rani snag Harrison’s pen. Sarah Jane and Adriana shepherd the Skullions to the roof while Luke and Sky monitor the control room. Unfortunately, Harrison retreives his pen so Luke and Sky have to drive the Serf simulation.

After some humorous Toy Story-infused hijinks, Luke and Sky use the hypnotic power to secure the pen and destroy it. They also tell everyone at the party that the SerfBoard is garbage before ending the simulation. Harrison arrives on the roof just in time for the Skullions to leave. Harrison inadventently jumps into the transmat beam and is taken for an intergalactic ride.

With the day saved (an Adriana referred to UNIT for a job), the Bannerman Road Gang retires to the attic. Luke has decorated Sky’s room with a custom banner, a signal that he fully accept her. Sarah Jane muses about the adventures she and her found family have shared in a farewell montage.

“I’ve seen amazing things out there in space, but strange things can happen wherever you are. I have learned that life on Earth can be an adventure too. In all the universe, I never expected to find a family.”

And the story goes on…. forever.


The story is a good take for a children’s show on slavery and greed and the cruelty associated with both. It also closes the loop on Luke and Sky, bringing the whole family together for one last adventure on Bannerman Road.

The discussion on slavery is not a new one for the franchise and this take still packs a lot of weight. I also really enjoyed the twists of the puppet president and the enslaved Skullions looking out for the Bannerman Road Gang.

The special epilogue was unexpected and brought several tears to my eyes. In its short span, it covered beautiful milestones of Elisabeth Sladen’s journey with Doctor Who, from The Time Warrior to Journey’s End and The End of Time, as well the scope of her wonderful adventures on Bannerman Road.

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Series Five Summary

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA27: The Curse of Clyde Langer

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Curse of Clyde Langer
(2 episodes, s05e02, 2011)

Timestamp SJA27 Curse Clyde

Where were you on the day of the storm?

Clyde shows Rani the superhero comic he created, The Silver Bullet, and she’s impressed. She’s less enthused about his idea for story starring an adventurer named Susie June Jones. Meanwhile, Sarah Jane and Sky meet with Haresh Chandra about enrolling in the school. They are interrupted by a storm of fish raining from the sky.

The Bannerman Road Gang consults Mr. Smith on the unusual storm. The supercomputer comes up with a possible link to a Native American totem pole on display at the Museum of Culture. Legend says that when the artifact was removed from its hiding place, a storm of fish soon followed.

The team arrive at the museum. After Clyde gives Sky a lesson about homelessness, they inspect the totem pole. Clyde gets a nasty splinter and tries to remove it while Doctor Samantha Madigan, an anthropologist, relates the tale of Hetocumtek. A scan of the totem pole shows no alien activity.

Clyde returns home and has dinner with his mother, after which he finishes his comic book and goes to bed. After he nods off, his name starts to glow on anything that bears it.

The next morning, he visits Sarah Jane to show her his comic. She praises it until Clyde says his name aloud, after which she becomes furious and forces him out of the house. Confused, he crosses the street and consults Rani, but after Haresh says Clyde’s name, the Chandras turn on him as well.

As Clyde retreats, Sarah Jane tears up all of the pictures from Clyde that she can find. Mr. Smith is concerned about Sarah Jane’s attitude, and Sky has a calming effect on her. Sky mentions Clyde and Sarah Jane bans her from seeing him ever again. She orders Mr. Smith to set an alert for Clyde’s presence, Sky seems unaffected by whatever is going on.

Clyde calls Luke only to find that he is affected too. Clyde’s old friend Steve offers to play football until he says Clyde’s name. The footballers turn into an angry mob who smash Clyde’s phone and chase him until Clyde hides.

Clyde notes that his finger still hurts and makes the connection back to the totem pole. He asks Doctor Madigan about Native American curses but he’s soon cut off as Sarah Jane arrives to research the totem pole. He finds out that anyone who mentions his name becomes affected by the curse. That includes his own mother who kicks him out of the house.

Now homeless and begin pursued by the police, Clyde tries to get some money from an ATM, but the screen only fills up with his name. As night falls and a thunderstorm begins, Clyde seeks refuge in a doorway. He breaks down in despair but finds solace as the homeless girl he helped earlier beckons him to join her.

After a bit of sleep in a “cardboard city” under a bridge, the girl introduces herself as Ellie Faber. Clyde, inspired by a discarded pizza container, takes the name of Enrico Box. Ellie’s been on her own for two years after her father died and her mother remarried. She tells him of the “Night Dragon”, a threat that causes homeless people to disappear without telling anyone.

Sky investigates the new hatred of Clyde, but Sarah Jane and Rani aren’t forthcoming. At the museum, an electrical storm surrounds the totem pole, so Doctor Madigan calls Sarah Jane to help. The artifact appears to be alive and teeming with alien energy. Sarah Jane urges the anthropologist to close the exhibit.

Clyde and Ellie try panhandling but fail, so Ellie decides to find something to eat. They visit a soup kitchen and meet Mystic Mags, a woman who sees things in tea leaves. She warns that the something worse than the Night Dragon is coming and has put its mark on Clyde. He runs to save Ellie, but she pursues calling him her lucky charm.

Sarah Jane tells Mr. Smith that the totem is no longer dormant. Additionally, Sarah Jane, Rani, and Clyde’s mother are aware that they’ve lost something special but can’t quite figure out what. Sky visits Clyde’s mother and notes the glowing name on an envelope. She connects the dots as, back at the museum, one of the totem pole’s faces starts to move.

Once again sheltering from the rain, Clyde decides to light a fire with his Silver Bullet artwork. They discuss the fish storm, signs, and portents. Ellie tells Clyde that she had lost hope of ever reclaiming her life. Clyde has given her hope again.

Sarah Jane and Rani discuss their feelings of loss in the attic while Sky consults Mr. Smith about the splinter and Clyde’s curse. She forces them to be analytical and they realize that Hetocumtek needs Clyde to be isolated in order to gather power and break free. To break the curse, Sky encourages Sarah Jane and Rani to say Clyde’s name aloud. Acting against their instincts, they do so, break the curse, and resolve to get Clyde back.

Clyde shows Ellie a sketch he made of her, offering to draw for money. Ellie kisses him and leaves to get them a coffee. After she departs, the Bannerman Road Gang arrives and reunites with their missing family. Clyde resolves to find Ellie when the crisis is over.

They return to the attic where Mr. Smith transmats the totem pole. It fights as Clyde confronts it, yelling his name into the artifact until it dissolves into dust. The gang celebrates, then Clyde returns home to an emotional reunion with his mother.

Clyde then embarks on a mission to find Ellie, worried that she’ll think that he abandoned her. He finds out that she took the name from a famous singer’s poster. He also spots a truck labeled “Night Dragon Haulage” which works with a shipping company. A nearby homeless man explains that the drivers often take the homeless to different locations, offering a new chance in a new location.

That night, Clyde lies in his own bed and thinks of Ellie. He hopes that she’s found a better life. All he has left of her is the picture that he drew.


This story digs deep on so many levels.

First is that, as a children’s television series, it is legitimately tackling the subject of homelessness. Moreso, it puts a human face on the epidemic, both from a Clyde’s new perspective and Ellie Faber’s long-term view. It’s a subject that I’m keenly aware because of where I live and where I grew up. Atlanta, Georgia has a huge epidemic of homelessness, driven by a lack of affordable housing, unemployment, and poverty, and much of it can be linked back to the strings of financial crises in the United States. The State of Utah put a different spin on it in the 1990s and 2000s with religion and homosexuality, particulary among the teenage population who came out to their Mormon parents and were promptly disowned and disavowed.

It amazes me that this episode exists, especially as one in a children’s television program, and is hardly mentioned in today’s era of (shall we say?) vigorous discourse about political and social justice topics in Doctor Who. It’s also worth noting that one of the executive producers on this show was Russell T Davies, a man who is no stranger to political and social topics in science fiction.

The second level that I admired was the power of names. Across many cultures and time periods on this planet – spanning Muslim, Jewish, Egyptian, Vedic, Hindu, Christian, ancient and primitive, and more – there is a belief that knowing the name of something or someone gives one power over it. I have met people in recent years that weren’t comfortable telling me their full names until we had gotten to know each other because, in their beliefs, I could use that power for evil. It’s a fascinating belief and it is given life here since the curse of Hetocumtek doesn’t fully engage until Clyde signs his comic. After that, the use of his name sparks the senses of dread, anger, and pain, eventually leaving Hetocumtek as the one who controls it.

The third level was Native American curses. In particular, the mention of the Curse of Tippecanoe. It’s also known as Tecumseh’s Curse, the 20-year Curse, and the Zero Curse, but the basic idea is that Presidents of the United States who were elected in years that end with the digit 0 and are divisible by 20 are cursed to die in office. The curse references then-Major General William Henry Harrison’s military expeditions, specifically when defeated Native American tribes led by Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa at the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811.

Historians claim that the curse is coincidental, but adherents will point to the presidents who followed the pattern: William Henry Harrison (elected in 1840), Abraham Lincoln (1860), James A. Garfield (1880), William McKinley (1900), Warren G. Harding (1920), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1940) and John F. Kennedy (1960) constitute seven of the eight American Presidents who have died in office. The presidents who meet the criteria and were elected after 1960 – Ronald Reagan (1980), George W. Bush (2000), and Joe Biden (2020, incumbent) – did not (or have not) met the curse’s destiny.

It’s a fascinating piece of Americana.

To wrap this up, the obvious bit of Doctor Who trivia is Pyramids of Mars. After all, it’s not the first time that an alien has posed as a god, is it?

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Man Who Never Was

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA26: Sky

Sarah Jane Adventures: Sky
(2 episodes, s05e01, 2011)

Timestamp SJA26 Sky

Welcome back to the attic.

Sarah Jane observes the star-filled sky and reminisces about all of the wonderful things that she’s seen. In that night sky, a meteor crashes into a nearby junkyard, startling a homeless man as a metalloid creature emerges from the wreckage. The newcomer scans the area before cloaking and walking away.

Sarah Jane muses about her found family as the Bannerman Road Gang talks to Luke via video. Sarah Jane misses her son, but finds solace in Rani’s assurance that he’ll be home soon. The next morning brings a doorbell in the early hours. Sarah Jane finds a baby girl abandoned on her doorstep, a baby girl who has the power to blow every light on the street with a cry.

Sarah Jane calls in Rani and Clyde, asking for her help as the Chandras muse about ley lines and electrical disruptions. The teens are hesitant, as is Mr. Smith, but Clyde soon settles the infant with a bottle and a cuddle.

At the Summerwell Nuclear Power Station, an orb of energy appears amidst arcs of electricity around the switchgear – an emergency that the nearby nuclear worker should have called away immediately! – and delivers a mysterious woman onto the plant floor. She is Miss Myers, she is looking for her child, and she enraptures the power plant workers. Miss Myers finds out that the baby is on Bannerman Road.

The Bannerman Road Gang attempt to get away but are intercepted by Gita Chandra. They find out about the meteor strike and inadvertantly name the baby Sky. Rani and Sarah Jane investigate while Clyde remains with Sky at the house. With the help of Professor Rivers, they find the homeless man and an eyewitness account of the metalloid creature.

By the way, that being is also headed for Bannerman Road.

The conflict reaches Clyde and Sky as the the metalloid being attacks them. They are rescued by Miss Myers and taken to the power plant. Rani and Sarah Jane chase after them with help from Mr. Smith. Miss Myers tells Clyde about the conflict between Metalkind and Fleshkind, but his skepticism forces him to run.

Everyone comes together at the power station. It turns out that Sky is a weapon, and as the baby primes herself, she transforms into a pre-teen. Sky then launches a lightning bolt at the Metalkind but refuses to finish off her oppponent. The girl is frightened and seeks solace in Sarah Jane’s arms.

Miss Myers reveals that she created the girl in a laboratory. Sarah Jane and the Bannerman Road Gang escape with Sky, returning to the attic. There, Mr. Smith determines that Sky – who enters the scene hesitantly, without fanfare, eager to protect his circuits – is a bomb designed to destroy all of Metalkind across the entire universe and end a centuries-long conflict, an act that would kill Sky in the process.

Sky remembers everything from the moment that she met Sarah Jane. She bonds with Rani as she learns about Sarah Jane, Luke, and what it’s like to be a girl. She later learns about her true purpose and returns to the power plant with the Bannerman Road Gang. Miss Myers is the only person who can defuse the bomb.

Sarah Jane confronts Miss Myers alone while Rani and Clyde shelter Sky at the car. Miss Myers has connected the Metalkind being to the station’s electrical systems to act as a beacon drawing the entire species to Earth. This will force Sarah Jane to surrender Sky to fulfill her destiny since the bomb is programmed to detonate upon contact with the Metalkind.

Sky, Rani, and Clyde enter the plant and find Sarah Jane. Sky believes that she must do what she was created to do in order to save Earth. Sky runs off and Sarah Jane gives chase, tasking Rani and Clyde with shutting down the reactor and removing power from the Metalkind beacon.

Rani and Clyde play a video game to operate the plant – which is not how any of it really works, but let’s roll with it… – while Sarah Jane tries to stop Sky. Luckily, they do the thing and shut down the beacon, forcing a blackout in the surrounding area because the UK apparently doesn’t have any other electrical power facilities.

Sky is knocked out from the effort, but she recovers after the energy backlash reprograms her genetic code. She’s no longer a bomb. The galactic politics removes itself from Earth as the Metalkind grabs Miss Myers, opens a portal, and teleports them off the planet.

The nuclear workers are released from their trance. The Bannerman Road Gang leaves without a word.

Returning home, they are greeted by the Chandras. In return, they get a story about a mix-up between two children at the foster agency. Sky Smith will be staying for the foreseeable future. The gang heads to the Attic where they find the Captain and the Shopkeeper, the servants of the universe who left Sky on the doorstep because she would be safest with Sarah Jane Smith. They teleport away leaving Sarah Jane confused.

The adventure ends with Sky’s introduction to pizza.


Doctor Who and its spinoffs are no strangers to nuclear power, spanning at least The Daleks, The Tenth Planet, Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Hand of FearBoom Town, The End of Time, and Exit Wounds. Science fiction, in general, takes a lot of shortcuts with nuclear power and the plants that generate it, and this story is no exception. It hits every trope in the sci-fi writer’s guide, from strolling around plants like a public park and being able to walk right into reactor containment to treating operations and control rooms like video games.

My nuclear operations background was screaming during this story. Electrical arcs would be called away as an emergency, access would be restricted by badge-locked doors, unauthorized personnel would be intercepted almost immediately by security officers wielding military-grade weaponry. Moving control rods is not like playing Super Mario Bros. and the electrical grid is powered from more than one power source.

At least the main gate guards were somewhat on the ball.

All of that to say this: Since the treatment of nuclear power and operations is so far off-base – it’s hardly ever in the same ballpark, really – I roll my eyes at it but don’t let it sour my opinion of a good story.

Thankfully, this story has a lot of heart. The ongoing theme of The Sarah Jane Adventures is found family, and it continues here with a new member in the Bannerman Road Gang. Sky picks up Sarah Jane’s nuturing, particularly compassion for everyone, and lets it shape her early on. Her wide-eyed innocence takes us back to the first series and almost pushes a reset button on the group dynamic. It suits the franchise well.

It was also supposed to bring the Eleventh Doctor back to the title in a story arc for Sky. Since he couldn’t balance this and A Christmas Carol, Matt Smith was replaced by the Captain and the Shopkeeper. Sadly, the story arc will be abandoned by the premature end of the series.

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Curse of Clyde Langer

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp: Sarah Jane Adventures Series Four Summary

Sarah Jane Adventures: Series Four Summary

Series Four was a strong showing for a season of change.

The series started with the departure of another series regular, Tommy Knight as Luke, leaving Elisabeth Sladen as the only remaining member of the cast that started with the show. As it progressed, the chemistry between Sladen, Daniel Anthony (Clyde), and Anjli Mohindra (Rani) carried this block of adventures even when the gaps in the writing were evident.

In a great set of stories, the strongest focused on the most established Doctor Who characters associated with The Sarah Jane Adventures: Death of the Doctor introduced Sarah Jane to the Eleventh Doctor and brought Jo Grant… rather, Jo Jones back to the screen, and Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith focused on Sarah Jane and the natural ravages of time while giving her young co-stars the chance to really shine.

Death of the Doctor also brought Russell T. Davies back to the writing desk for the Doctor, and that was a tour de force that we never quite got from Steven Moffat.

I can’t speak highly enough of this series.

Series Four comes in at an average of 4.3. That’s on par with the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures and tied for the top spot. In comparison to Doctor Who, that’s equivalent to the revival era seasons One, Three, and Five, which are at fifth place in the Timestamps Project.


The Nightmare Man – 4
The Vault of Secrets – 4
Death of the Doctor – 5
The Empty Planet – 4
Lost in Time – 4
Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith – 5

Sarah Jane Adventures Series Four Average Rating: 4.3/5


The Timestamps Project is moving into Series Six with Matt Smith. As that series comes to its halfway point, Torchwood will return with Miracle Day. The two will merge for a bit until Torchwood ends, and then we’ll finish off Series Six around the first part of October.

That plan kicks off with a taste of Christmas in April.

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA25: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

Sarah Jane Adventures: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith
(2 episodes, s04e06, 2010)

Timestamp SJA25 Goodbye Sarah Jane Smith

Who could ever replace Sarah Jane Smith?

A meteor hurtles toward Earth. Mr. Smith redirects the threat into the forest and the Bannerman Road Gang rushes to the scene to deal with a potential pathogen. When they arrive, they find the pathogen neutralized by a stranger who dresses and acts like Sarah Jane Smith.

The team returns to Sarah Jane’s house to discover that the woman has moved in across the street. Clyde sets the car’s hand brake (which Sarah Jane apparently forgot) and the gang confronts the new arrival. She doesn’t receive them well, but we find out that her name is Ruby White. She came to Ealing after hearing about the alien activity, including the Trueman incident, the Bubble Shock! factoryrhinos driving police cars, and alien plant life. Sarah Jane tries diplomacy, but Ruby shows her the door.

Sarah Jane mentally drifts as the team discusses Ruby. She also forgets that Luke is away at university, leaves the front door open, and forgets K9’s name upon calling Luke only two hours after the last time. Rani stops by to check on her friend and suggests Sarah Jane take a break to visit Luke. A red alert interrupts their discussion as the Dark Horde fleet heads for Earth.

Mr. Smith redirects their teleport beam to an uninhabited area. Since transmissions are jammed and UNIT is unreachable, Sarah Jane hands weapons to her teammates and they confront the intruders. Unfortunately, Sarah Jane forgot her sonic lipstick so the weapons are useless. Just before the Horde kills the group, Ruby arrives and saves the day with alien technology and her own AI supercomputer. Sarah Jane and Ruby reconcile from their first meeting and the new arrival joins the gang in the attic.

Clyde and Rani depart as Sarah Jane and Ruby express their pleasure at having adult friends to share alien encounters with. Sarah Jane recalls meeting the Doctor when she was 23, but had trouble with the Time Lord’s name. She later thinks about the memory lapse and asks Mr. Smith for a full medical scan. He determines that she has brain tissue deterioration. She believes that she’s finally too old to defend the Earth, and Ruby slowly moves into her position on the team.

Sarah Jane offers leadership of the Bannerman Road Gang, along with the house and its contents, to Ruby. Ruby accepts and Sarah Jane transfers Mr. Smith’s command to Ruby. Once it is done, Ruby reveals that she is responsible for Sarah Jane’s condition. Sarah Jane is teleported to a secret cellar which houses Ruby’s stomach, since the new arrival is a Qetesh, a creature that devours peoples’ thrills and emotions. Ruby was fascinated by Sarah Jane’s exciting and adventurous life.

Ruby has her AI spoof a farewell message from Sarah Jane while the Qetesh’s stomach begins devouring our hero. Ruby gloats as the planet is undefended. It will make an excellent feast for alien species across the universe.

Clyde and Rani watch the spoofed video and lament the news. Clyde storms out and calls Luke after blaming Rani for putting the idea of a vacation in Sarah Jane’s head. Later, Mr. Smith tries to warn Clyde, but Ruby shuts down the computer and teleports Clyde to her orbiting ship. The ship was her prison until she reprogrammed the game console what was her only entertainment. That console took her from planet to planet as she consumed each one. She decides that Clyde is too smart for his own good and leaves him to suffocate in her prison cell.

After talking to her mother, Rani tries to call Clyde. She opens her door to find Luke (with K9 on video conference). K9 tracks Clyde to the orbiting ship and analyzes the Qetesh. Together, they discover that the Dark Horde invasion and the meteor strike were holographic simulations and they devise a plan to reboot Mr. Smith.

Meanwhile, in orbit, Clyde records a goodbye message.

Rani distracts Ruby as she puts the plan into motion. Ruby realizes that it is a ruse, but she’s too late. Mr. Smith is restored, Clyde is teleported to the attic, and Ruby is trapped in a containment vortex. The team locates Sarah Jane and as Clyde and Rani rush to the rescue, Luke arranges for Ruby to be trapped on Earth. Ruby breaks free of containment and confronts the team as they release Sarah Jane.

Luke enters the cellar and warns Ruby to leave Earth. When Ruby refuses, Luke tells her console to initiate his own custom distraction. The console broadcasts a simulation of meteor strikes to the entire world, overwhelming the Qetesh with a meal she cannot handle. The stomach overloads, restoring Sarah Jane’s mind and splurting Clyde in the process (as is customary).

Sarah Jane returns Ruby to her prison cell. The Qetesh vows revenge as the ship rockets into the deep dark. Back in the attic, the team finds that Mr. Smith and K9 have finally become friends. Sarah Jane cherishes her friends and treats them all to a night off in celebration of their victory.


This story is bittersweet. It was the last serial of the series to air before Elisabeth Sladen passed away from cancer, making the title and the plot ironically poetic. The question presented in this story – “Can Sarah Jane Smith be replaced?” – is answered by the giant hole Elisabeth Sladen’s absence has left in the Doctor Who universe. She’s still sorely missed.

I understand that her daughter, Sadie Miller, has taken up her character in the recent Big Finish line. I may need to track down that story.

As far as this story is concerned, I really enjoyed it. I love stories where the companions get a chance to shine, and the Rani-Clyde team did not disappoint. I especially loved how Luke and K9 came back as well to help save Sarah Jane. If there is a fault to be found, it would be the overdramatic scenery-chewing from Ruby’s side of the house, but there is a certain charm in an over-the-top melodramatic performance in an otherwise solid story with a fun villainous twist.

The two big franchise mythology ties that I loved in this serial were Clyde’s anger and anxiety over Sarah Jane abandoning him like his father did and the use of “Contact!” when K9 and Mr. Smith link up, echoing back to The Three Doctors.

All told, this was a great way to end Series Four, and a fitting episode to mark Elisabeth Sladen’s departure from this plane.

Travel well, Sarah Jane.

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Series Four Summary

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA24: Lost in Time

Sarah Jane Adventures: Lost in Time
(2 episodes, s04e05, 2010)

Timestamp SJA24 Lost in Time

It’s a good core with poor wrapping.

The Bannerman Road Gang is chasing a report of aliens in a local shop. While looking around, the team meets a parrot and finds both a music box and a bloodstained arrow. They also encounter Mr. Smalley, the shop’s proprietor. He tells Sarah Jane that the news article was a ruse to draw her team into a quest for three pieces of chronosteel, metal forged in the time vortex.

You see, the Shopkeeper is a guardian of time, the chronosteel can reshape Earth’s destiny, and the Bannerman Road Gang has no choice. They have until the Shopkeeper’s hourglass runs out to save the world.

Clyde awakens in a grassy field, Sarah Jane in a box, and Rani in a candlelit chamber with Mistress Ellen, all of them in unknown times. Rani is the Tower of London’s royal chambers and has assumed the role of lady-in-waiting for Queen Jane Grey. Clyde finds himself on a beach in 1941 with a boy named George Woods as they watch Nazi spies land a short distance away. Sarah Jane, released from her box in a spooky mansion, meets a ghost hunter named Emily Morris in 1889.

As each traveler makes way through their respective time periods, the Shopkeeper observes them through a crystal ball.

Rani changes into period-specific clothing and makes a good impression on Queen Jane by speaking to her as a person, not as a royal. Rani presents the queen with the music box from the Shopkeeper’s establishment. Rani also hints again at her budding relationship with Clyde. The mood is broken as Mistress Ellen brings word of Lady Mary and her armies arriving in London to claim the crown. Queen Jane is ready to relinquish her crown as an unlawful claimant.

Clyde and George confirm that the spies are Nazis – the uniforms are a dead giveaway – and scurry off to warn the Home Guard. The phone in the nearby church is dead, and the boys are forced to hide as the Nazis arrive and start setting up a base of operations. They’re discovered and taken prisoner in short order. The Nazis set up a device with a core they call Thor’s Hammer, which Clyde recognizes as the chronosteel object he needs to secure.

Sarah Jane scans the mansion with her wrist scanner. There’s a lot of energy in the house, and while Emily believes that the house is haunted, Sarah Jane remains skeptical. As the clock strikes eight, the haunting begins with howls, rattles, and voices from events gone by. Well, the events seem to be linked to the past at first, but Sarah Jane determines that the voices are actually from the future. Sarah Jane explains that she’s a time traveler as they approach a room where the voices have converged. The room is warm, which Sarah Jane determines is due to an inferno in the future as the children accidentally set a fire with a candle.

As the first half comes to a close, Rani overhears Lady Matilda plotting to kill Queen Jane, Clyde and George escape the church, and Sarah and Emily decide to save the children trapped in the burning room. The Shopkeeper worries that they are taking too long and if they do not get back soon, they will all be trapped in the past forever. As the hourglass runs out, the Shopkeeper and Captain the parrot believe that all is lost. They are buoyed up by the fact that the time portal has not yet closed. Unfortunately, the planet now runs the risk of being torn apart by the time window.

Rani saves Lady Jane from assassination. Lady Matilda claims that the queen’s death would have inspired thousands as a martyr, but now Lady Jane will be condemned to die forgotten and alone. Rani recognizes the dagger as the chronosteel MacGuffin. Matilda is confined, but the castle is surrounded by Mary’s forces. Lady Jane offers Rani the chance to return home, but Rani decides to stay behind in friendship. Queen Mary assumes the crown and Lady Jane is taken into custody. Rani promises that Lady Jane is never forgotten, then picks up the dagger as she bids the lady farewell. As Rani vanishes, Mistress Ellen believes it to be witchcraft but Lady Jane claims that she is an angel.

Clyde and George escape the Nazis. They encounter Miss Wyckham, George’s schoolteacher, who brings news that the village is under siege. She also has a handgun amongst her parcels. As they storm the church, Clyde and George find out that Miss Wyckham is really a Nazi double agent and that an invasion of the British isles is underway. Clyde stages a diversion by pretending that his mobile phone is a bomb, opening the way for George to grab Thor’s Hammer. They sound the church bells to alert the Home Guard. As the Nazis run, George wants to give chase and fight, but Clyde encourages him to stay behind. Clyde grabs the Hammer and returns to the Shopkeeper.

Sarah Jane consoles Emily, who is experiencing a bout of PTSD since her mother also died in a fire. As they leave the room, Emily laments that they will have to wait until 8 pm the next day, but Sarah Jane dials the grandfather clock back and starts the events all over. This time, however, the events are stronger and include a visual component. They discover that the woman they were following decided to lock the children in their room for the night, but continue upstairs to look for the chronosteel. The door to the children’s bedroom changes shape as the time fields begin to merge, revealing the key as the quest item. The children briefly detect the women as Emily’s fear rises, and Sarah Jane convinces Emily to harness that power to grab the key and unlock the door in the future. The children are saved and Sarah Jane takes the key, but Emily grabs it as well. Sarah Jane vanishes but the key does not follow.

With everyone back in the right time, the Shopkeeper places the first two objects into perfectly sculpted slots in a suitcase. As the room rumbles, a woman enters the shop and hands Sarah Jane the key. The Shopkeeper adds it to the collection, scoops up the Captain (who apparently was in charge the whole time), and vanishes.

The woman explains that she is Angela Price, Emily’s granddaughter, who told Angela to pass on the key. She and Sarah go for a cup of tea and a chat about her family. Later on, Clyde researches George and discovers the man was recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and Rani reads about Lady Jane and finds she was happy in her final moments, assured of immortality.


On the one hand, each quest and story are well played between the writing and acting, focusing on the core strengths of each character. The pacing is good, though Rani’s quest seems to run out of steam well before Clyde’s and Sarah Jane’s. Clyde’s story also has a rather quick twist with the treacherous schoolteacher.

On the other hand, the framing story is lacking. It’s obvious that the Shopkeeper and the Captain know what items to look for, but they refuse to disclose that information or even explain the details of the overall adventure. They literally abduct the team and throw them into a life and death scenario with scant data.

Even the Doctor eventually explains the situation to keep the companions on track.

I initially wondered if the Shopkeeper and the Captain were Time Lords – or maybe even a Time Lord and companion, ala Frobisher – but the rules of the universe at this point are pretty clear: The Doctor is the last of the Time Lords. So, this pair remains a rogue but powerful duo with vague motivations.

Overall, the whole framing story is frustrating but the individual quests more than make up for it.

In trivial matters, this story links up with two classic Seventh Doctor adventures. First, Clyde’s quest included Norse mythology and Nazis, which echoes The Curse of Fenric. Second, the grandfather clock reset to make the “haunting” start again hearkens back to events at Gabriel Chase in Ghost Light.

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA23: The Empty Planet

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Empty Planet
(2 episodes, s04e04, 2010)

Timestamp SJA23 The Empty Planet

It’s a tale of loneliness and acceptance.

Mr. Smith detects an alien energy trace but it vanishes into Earth’s own energy signals. Sarah Jane asks for a deep scan to locate it while Rani and Clyde look on. Sarah Jane reminds her teammates that it is a school night and they should head to bed. As they leave, Rani reminds Clyde of a pending school assignment. Clyde rebuffs the advice because, hey, they might just be invaded tomorrow.

As Rani reads Great Expectations, her father stops by for a quick chat before turning in. Clyde, on the other hand, is working on his artwork rather than his reading, but his mother compliments his creativity and genius.

They both go to sleep. The world goes quiet. All signals cease.

When they wake the next morning, they seem to be alone in the world. Rani’s parents, Clyde’s mother, Sarah Jane, and even Mr. Smith are gone. Rani snags Sarah Jane’s sonic lipstick as she runs the streets to investigate. She returns home and Clyde stops by. Together, they head into town to look for people, but they don’t find anyone.

They also remark that there are no crashed planes or cars, so whatever took the humans did not want to cause harm or damage. Rani and Clyde continue their discussion over breakfast. They decide to head back to the attic, but discover another living person. They give chase on bicycles and follow him to his apartment. His name is Gavin, and he has been living with his aunt and uncle since his mother died and his father ran off.

Gavin is skeptical of the newcomers, so Rani tells him about aliens to gain his trust. A loud trumpeting and rumbling sound distracts them and Gavin slips away. Clyde and Rani pursue but Gavin has disappeared. Clyde wonders why he doesn’t seem like a normal kid but Rani doesn’t believe him. They return to the restaurant and hash out their relationship. While they talk, the planet’s broadcasts light up with a single signal. It’s a black screen with a red triangle and yellow alien text.

When they investigate, they find giant yellow and red robots who seem intent on blasting them both. Luckily, Gavin saves the day and the trio escape into the nearby shops. The robots prove that they aren’t very robust by completely missing Clyde posing as a mannequin. The trio reunites at the electronics store as they discuss the signal then return to the restaurant.

They try to figure out the common link between them, ranging from time fissures and the TARDIS to their restriction to Earth by the Judoon. That doesn’t quite explain Gavin, but the ruminations are interrupted by the robots. They scatter and the robots pursue.

Both Rani and Clyde end up being cornered and scanned by the robots. They reunite at the restaurant, robots in tow, and begin the time-honored science fiction tradition of trying to communicate. In Short Circuit fashion, they use a newspaper as input, resulting in the translation of the alien signal. It’s a countdown, and the robots reveal that they are in search of a heir who is hiding on Earth. Humanity has been blipped into a sub-universe and will return if they can find the young prince in time.

And, believe it or not, Gavin is the errant heir. His father was an alien king, and since the king is dead, the robots have come to take their new ruler home. The energy trace was a signal calling him home.

After a bit of quick detective work, Rani and Clyde track Gavin to a nearby nature area. The robots can’t see Gavin because of a bio-dampening ring that shields his alien half. Gavin believes Rani and Clyde, removes the ring, and takes his place as the rightful heir.

The prince orders that the people of Earth are restored as he jets off to his new home. Before he leaves, he names his benefactors Lady Rani and Lord Clyde. As the timer hits zero, everyone returns to the planet as if they were never gone save losing ninety minutes somewhere.

Rani’s parents thought she was missing. Haresh asks where she was and she tells him the truth: She was with Clyde. Sarah Jane walks in, thus reuniting the Bannerman Road Gang. Later that night, the team celebrates Rani and Clyde’s victory as Mr. Smith scrubs the official records to hide the truth. Sarah Jane springs for pizza in honor of their good work.


I liked the core moral here, which is that everyone has worth, value, and a place. We see it with Rani and Clyde as they become more than just “hangers-on” and save the people of Earth, and we see it with Gavin as he realizes that he is important on a scale that he never imagined.

As a scientist and engineer, it took me a few minutes to adapt to the dampening effect. It seemed to be limited to broadcast signals since electricity was still available, but it made me wonder for a while exactly how it worked. I had a similar problem with Revolution, a sci-fi series with the premise that all electricity ceases one day. “Yeah, but,” I said, “what about the electrical signals in the human nervous system?”

After a while, you just let it go as pure handwavium, kind of like the concept that the seemingly peaceful seeker robots would consider obliterating an entire species if they didn’t find their target. I mean, that is a whole new level of hide and seek.

One thing that did throw me for a while was Clyde’s use of “honest injun” to describe his integrity while paying for a soda. The phrase supposedly originated in the 1850s (or earlier) and gained popularity when used by author Mark Twain in the 1890s. By the mid-twentieth century, however, it fell into obsolescence, probably due to its prejudicial overtones. The slur “injun” is a corruption of the term Indian, as in Native American, and the honesty part is said to stem from the idea that white people “spoke with a forked tongue” while the tribesmen were considered to be forthright and sincere in their dealings.

Given the stereotypes and prejudices that still exist to this day about Native Americans (at least in the United States), it shouldn’t surprise me that a television program from 2010 worked one of them in. What did surprise me is how far they’ve reached, considering that The Sarah Jane Adventures is a UK production.

Among the minor things that I found fun, Clyde’s still working on his art and our remaining teenagers are still toying with a relationship. I’m glad that the latter is developing organically instead of being created out of the ether.

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Lost in Time

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #SJA22: Death of the Doctor

Sarah Jane Adventures: Death of the Doctor
(2 episodes, s04e03, 2010)

Timestamp SJA22 Death of the Doctor

The Doctor is dead. Long live the Doctor.

Luke is talking to the Bannerman Road Gang over webcam when UNIT arrive at Sarah Jane’s home. Colonel Tia Karim bears bad news: The Doctor is dead.

The Shansheeth discovered the body of a Time Lord and, upon confirming the DNA, organized a funeral. The Shansheeth delivered a holographic epitaph via Colonel Karim and Sarah Jane doesn’t believe the news, but Rani helps her to cope. Later that night, Sarah Jane muses with Luke that the Doctor cannot be dead. After all, she believes that she’d know somehow as though a piece of her was missing.

The Bannerman Road Gang take a road trip with UNIT to the funeral location at Mount Snowden, a massive UNIT base. While getting into the private car, Clyde experiences a jolt of energy, but he chalks it up to simple static electricity. When they arrive, they find out that the Brigadier is stranded in Peru and Liz Shaw is unable to leave the moon base in time for the service. They also see a group of Groske – a blue and tame version of the Graske – who tell Clyde that he smells like time. Clyde notices the energy on his hand and the Groske simply says that “he’s coming.”

The gang attend the gathering of remembrance where Sarah Jane requests that Karim open the coffin. The colonel replies that the Doctor was injured and a viewing is impossible. Sarah Jane notes that the last time that she saw the Doctor he was preparing for regeneration. He could have a completely different face now.

As the Shansheeth officiating the ceremony asks everyone to recollect their memories, Clyde recognizes the static as artron energy and a newcomer arrives. Enter: Jo Jones, previously known as Jo Grant. Sarah Jane recognizes her from the way that UNIT described her and they hit it off right away. Rani and Clyde meet Jo’s grandson Santiago who talks about the family’s globetrotting activism.

Jo is upset to learn that the Doctor returned for Sarah Jane. He never stopped in for her. But they share the belief that they’d feel it if the Doctor died (even on Metebilis III), so they start brainstorming his faked death. They also bond over their shared experiences on Peladon with the great beast Aggedor.

Meanwhile, Clyde pursues the mystery of the artron energy and we learn that the Shansheeth are trying to harvest the mourner’s memories of the Doctor using a memory weave that will kill the former companions. Clyde, Rani, and Santiago overhear the Shansheeth plot. They run back to Sarah Jane and Jo just in time for the Doctor to make contact through (and then exchange places with) Clyde.

Clyde’s on a red planet somewhere, but the Doctor is here. The companions catch up with the Doctor’s new face and the Time Lord confronts the Shansheeth. The Shanseeth reply with an energy beam and the sincerest wish that he rest in peace.

In the energy beam, the Doctor and Clyde swap places a couple of times. Once released, the Doctor runs with the assembled allies to safety behind a locked door. The Doctor grabs hands with Jo and Sarah Jane, spiriting “Smith and Jones” away to the red planet, the Crimson Heart. Clyde is left behind with Rani and Santiago in the locked room. They are soon rescued by the Groske and taken to his hiding spot in the ventilation system.

The Shansheeth, meanwhile, reveal that they have the TARDIS and are building a method to break in.

Sarah Jane and the Doctor work on the gadget that he used to swap places with Clyde while Jo muses about why the Doctor left her behind. After all, he did promise that he’d see her again. The Doctor reveals that, just before his regeneration, he visited every one of his former companions and is very proud of what Jo has done with her life.

Colonel Karim discovers where Rani, Clyde, and Santiago are hiding and locks them inside while turning up the heat. Luckily, the Doctor and his companions have fixed the device so they can return to Earth without leaving Clyde on the Crimson Heart. The Doctor saves the teenagers but Sarah Jane and Jo are captured by Karim and the Shansheeth.

The Shansheeth plan to use the memory weave to conjure a physical TARDIS key from the memories of the companions. They want to use the TARDIS to stop death on a universal scale and put an end to pain and suffering. Karim, on the other hand, merely wants to leave the planet and travel the stars.

The Doctor stops the memory weave’s operation by calling to the companions through the locked door and asking them to remember every adventure that he shared with them. Clyde and Rani also tell Sarah Jane to remember all of their adventures on Bannerman Road and Santiago prompts Jo’s memories of their Earthbound travels.

The memory weave overloads and begins a self-destruct sequence. Jo and Sarah Jane are trapped, but the Doctor reminds them of the lead-lined coffin. It provides just enough protection to shield the companions from the blast. The Shansheeth and Karim are destroyed and the Groske is amused by the smell of roast chicken.

Everyone hitches a ride home with the Doctor in the TARDIS. The companions say their farewells – Jo has no idea about the Time War, but why would she? – and the Doctor hies off to his next adventure. Rani and Clyde help Santiago figure out how to reunite with his parents, then Jo and Santiago say goodbye as they move on to Norway.

Sarah Jane tells her friends about the echoes of the Doctor around the globe: Tegan is fighting for aboriginal rights in Australia; Ian and Barbara Chesterton are Cambridge professors who are rumored not to have aged since the 1960s; Harry Sullivan is a doctor working on vaccines; Ben and Polly run an orphanage in India; and Dorothy McShane has raised millions through her company “A Charitable Earth”.

All of that from a simple Google search for “TARDIS”.

Long live the Doctor.


What a powerhouse story! Russell T Davies provided a story reflective of his years on Doctor Who, right down to the pacing and well-crafted prose. It’s also saturated with Doctor Who lore, including scenes from 36 adventures which I am not going to list here. Believe me, it’s tempting…

The attention to detail about regeneration – Jo knows about it since she met the First and Second Doctors – and the Last Great Time War is amazing. It’s also fun to watch the Doctor toying with Clyde about regeneration. The idea of 507 possible regenerations was a jest by this incarnation, but we know for a fact that regeneration can indeed result in changing into a form other than a white male.

I was amused by the Doctor musing about ventilation shafts, particularly in light of The Ark in Space, The Hand of Fear, and Planet of the Daleks. I also laughed about Amy and Rory’s marital adventures on the honeymoon planet. Ah, sentient planets.

Last but not least, the memory weave has a distinctive sound in science fiction history. It is unmistakably the activation sound for the proton packs in the Ghostbusters franchise. That takes me back.

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Empty Planet

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The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.