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Series / The Sarah Jane Adventures

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"13 Bannerman Road is where Sarah Jane Smith lives, and it's home to things way beyond your imagination."
Clyde Langer

A Spin-Off of Doctor Who (set, of course, in the Whoniverse), made for CBBC. It starred Elisabeth "Lis" Sladen, reprising her role of Sarah Jane Smith, investigative reporter and former companion of the Doctor (in his Third and Fourth incarnations) in the classic series. The series lasted from 2007 to 2011, when Sladen passed away.

This was the second attempt to produce a Sarah Jane-centric Spin-Off, the first being 1981's K-9 and Company; only a pilot episode of that was produced. After a guest appearance in 1983's Doctor Who anniversary episode "The Five Doctors", and the charity special "Dimensions in Time", Sarah Jane wasn't seen on TV again until her return in the 2006 episode "School Reunion". Following the exceptionally good reception of that story, The Sarah Jane Adventures kicked off with a one-hour-long "pseudo-pilot"note  special which aired on New Year's Day 2007, followed by a full series of ten episodes later that year.

Sarah Jane appeared to be a bit of an eccentric recluse at first, but it turned out she was really an expert on aliens and their technology. She was joined by local kids Maria and Clyde, as well as her adopted (and Artificial Human) son, Luke, as they battle aliens on Earth... well, in Ealing anyway. Later episodes introduce Rani, Clyde and Luke's schoolmate, and Sky, Sarah Jane's adopted alien daughter (a character introduced late in the series as a replacement for Luke).

SJA is sort of the opposite of the other Whoniverse spinoff, Torchwood. Where Torchwood is Darker and Edgier, The Sarah Jane Adventures is (ostensibly) Lighter, Fluffier, and For Kids. Like Torchwood, the series occasionally crosses over with Doctor Who proper. Characters from both spinoffs appeared in the Doctor Who story "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", where Sarah Jane and Jack meet and become friends. The Doctor also occasionally pops up in SJA, in his tenth and eleventh incarnations.

Not to be confused with the earlier Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama series Sarah Jane Smith, which used a similar setup, but is much darker in tone, as par for the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. Also not to be confused with Downtime, a semi-fanmade direct-to-video production about Sarah Jane.

The series was cancelled following Sladen's death, but three out of the six planned two-parters for Series 5 were already completed and aired posthumously in October 2011. Although UK media reported that the BBC was considering continuing the series in some fashion, common sense prevailed and the series was retired. Russell T. Davies and Phil Ford swiftly created a replacement series, Wizards vs. Aliens, which allowed most of the production team (though not the cast) of SJA to keep their jobs. At least one episode of WvA ("The Thirteenth Floor") was adapted from one of the episodes that had been planned for SJA's fifth season but never filmed due to Sladen's death.

Now with its own recap page. Please feel free to contribute.

And the story goes on...

This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Due to Sladen's death midway through production of Series 5, several arcs ended up being abandoned or never resolved. These include the mystery of the Shopkeeper (a character introduced in Series 4 who was to have returned in the second half of Series 5); Rani and Clyde's relationship; and the fate of Sarah Jane's adopted alien daughter, Sky (who according to Doctor Who Magazine was only intended to appear on the series for one season, with her storyline resolved at its end). It was also going to be confirmed (again per DWM) that Luke was gay, following a few subtle dialogue hints in earlier episodes.
  • Actor Allusion: The Children in Need Special "From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love", guest-starring Ronnie Corbett, includes several references to The Two Ronnies. Corbett's character name, Rani, is a pun on Ronnie, highlighted when he claims that he and Sarah's human friend Rani Chandra could be classed as "The Two Ranis". The story Ambassador Rani tells is also a reference to both the visual of Corbett sitting in the chair and his mention of "Fork Handles" (or Four Candles). Finally, at the end of the scene, Sarah Jane utters Ronnie Barker's catchphrase "...and it's goodnight from him".
  • Adam and Eve Plot: On finding that he and Rani are (apparently) the last two humans in the world, Clyde immediately decides they're in one of these. Rani isn't so keen on the idea.
    • This was also suggested as a third option in "The Vault of Secrets". Fortunately, they figured out a fourth one.
  • Adults Are Useless: Mostly averted, due to it being sister series to shows with few-to-none cast as young as 14. Generally speaking, only a handful of teens (including Clyde, Rani, Maria and Luke) are fit to fight aliens.
  • Adventure Rebuff: Sarah Jane's initial attitude towards Maria, then Clyde, then Rani.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: "Shuffle for your life!"
    Eleven: Ventilation shafts, that takes me back. And forward.
  • Alien Invasion: Usually played straight, though occasionally aliens will stop by just because they get lost and need help. The star poet from the first episode, the Verron soothsayer mentioned in both this series and Doctor Who, and to a certain extent, Eve, are all of note.
  • Aliens of London Mr Smith, as a main example.
  • Always Save Luke: Sarah Jane, particularly explicitly in "The Gift" where she essentially declares, "Screw the world. I'm saving my son."
  • Amicably Divorced: Maria's parents. Chrissie drops by to visit them frequently. During a potential apocalypse in "The Lost Boy", Chrissie calls her ex-husband, saying that she wants to be with him and their daughter.
  • And I Must Scream: People trapped in the paintings in "Mona Lisa's Revenge".
    • And Mona Lisa herself. Sarah Jane says she almost feels sorry for her.
  • And The Story Goes On...: ... forever.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Sarah Jane, despite meeting all kinds of aliens, flatly refuses to consider the possibility that the events in "The Eternity Trap" are caused by ghosts, or even by aliens with similar properties. This is most likely a Mythology Gag to her mentor, who always refuses to believe in any kind of magic in his series.
    • In "The Mad Woman in the Attic" Ship claims that it is "rather...improbable" that there is a robot dog hovering in an alternate dimension keeping a black hole from sucking up the Earth. This despite the fact that it is an Artificial Intelligence belonging to an orphaned alien with the ability to alter time and control and read minds and that it runs on black holes.
    • In "Death of the Doctor" Sarah Jane initially didn't buy the existence of the Shansheeth, a vulture-like alien race that claimed to be the undertakers of the universe. This was at least in part due to her refusal to believe the Shansheeth's report that the Doctor was dead. Turns out the race actually does existnote  but the Doctor is very much alive!
  • Artifact of Doom: The pendant in "Mark of the Berserker" is addictive, with mind control powers.
  • Art Initiates Life: The Mona Lisa, which is painted from minerals originating in a space rock.
  • Astrologer: Martin Trueman, the villain of "Secrets of the Stars".
  • Bait-and-Switch: Trapped in the 1950s and up against the Trickster, Sarah Jane mentions that she could really use the Doctor's help. She turns a corner, and there it is: The TARDIS, big and beautiful and blue. Dramatic music starts to play, Sarah Jane runs up and bangs on the doors...and a policeman answers, because it's not the TARDIS after all, it's an actual police box.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Haresh's introductory scene.
  • Battle Couple: Bea and Edgar Nelson-Stanley, from "Eye of the Gorgon," had more than a few adventures as a married couple.
    • Subverted with Sarah Jane and Peter Dalton, as marrying him would've put her under the Trickster's influence and stopped her from her alien fighting.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Well, when you compare Eve to the Bane or Slitheen...
    • But subverted in "Mona Lisa's Revenge".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sarah Jane frequently. She's an ex-companion of The Doctor, do not tick her off.
    • It's actually scary to wonder who the Doctor is more pissed off at; the Shansheeth for stealing his TARDIS, Screwdriver and faking his death, Jo for thinking she's stupid, or himself for allowing her to think she was dumb.
    • Luke gets a few in Series 4; his speech to the Nightmare Man and the look on his face when he returns at the end in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane".
    • Brigadier Alistair Gordon Total Badass Lethbridge-Stewart, as per usual.
  • Big Bad: Each season has a different main threat for its finale, like the Slitheen, the Bane, or Mr Smith. But ultimately, the biggest threat to Sarah Jane is the Trickster, who appeared in the penultimate stories of series 1 and 2, then appeared as the main threat in what was effectively the show's first crossover with Doctor Who. Finally, he was going to appear as the Big Bad in the series 5 finale, where it would have been revealed he was behind the events of that season involving Sky Smith and her introduction into Sarah Jane's life, and said finale would have resulted in Sarah Jane being forced to leave Bannerman Road. Unfortunately because of Elisabeth Sladen's death, this story did not come to be.
  • Blank Slate: Luke, initially.
  • Body Snatcher: Androvax in "Prisoner of the Judoon". Clyde even calls him a "body-snatching alien scumbag".
  • Bond One-Liner: After the Brigadier shoots a suspicious officer (who was really a Bane):
    Sarah Jane: I always suspected Major Kilburn was a slimy creep.
  • Brainwashed: Villains brainwashing people comes up with some frequency. Clyde seems to be especially prone to being a victim of it.
  • Brown Note: The Rakweed in "The Gift" is killed by soundwaves of a certain frequency.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Rani: But how does it protect you?
    Clyde: I don't know, with it's... boxy... good-ness?
  • The Bus Came Back: Maria and Alan, as well as the Brigadier and Jo Grant.
  • By-the-Book Cop: The Cowboy Cop Judoon in "Prisoner of the Judoon"...that keeps to the speed limit and pays and displays.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Clyde mentions to Rani in a message he's recording in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith" that he "always...always..." before collapsing from lack of air.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Slitheen-Blathereen in "The Gift".
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Luke informs Sarah Jane that he might be eligible to start university a year early. Sarah Jane suggests it might not be the ideal moment for the conversation, seeing as how they're currently handcuffed to a large alien bomb.
  • Circus of Fear: In "The Day of the Clown".
  • City of Adventure: Ealing comes to be known as the "Ealing Triangle" for all the weird stuff that happens there.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Commander Kaagh in "The Last Sontaran".
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Surprisingly averted. While the parent series has had a comic strip based on it since the 1960s, and even the more adult-oriented Torchwood garnered a comic strip, with the sole exception of a couple of narrated web comics, SJA - a series marketed as a more child-friendly entry in the franchise - never got a chance to have its own comic adaptation.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Death of the Doctor" is just one big Cavalcade of Jo Grant's (and to a lesser extent, Sarah Jane's) previous travels with the Doctor, as well as Clyde and Rani's encounter with him in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith". There's even a token reference to Maria from series 1 and 2. At the end of the episode, Sarah Jane mentions looking up various Doctor Who companions of yore on the Internet, including Harry, Ben and Polly, Ian and Barbara, Ace and Tegan.
  • Continuity Nod: Frequent references to Doctor Who (new and classic) and (more subtly) to Torchwood.
    • In "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?", Sarah Jane mentions the "Patriarchs of the Tin Vagabond". The Church of the Tin Vagabond was mentioned by the Tenth Doctor in "The Satan Pit".
    • In "The Mad Woman in the Attic" we see flashbacks to Sarah Jane's days with the Third and Fourth Doctors. The same episode also heavily implies that Eve's people were killed in the Time War.
    • Sarah Jane lives on Bannerman Road.
    • The Doctor himself gets mentioned a number of times throughout the series, sometimes accompanied with flashbacks, sometimes not. Notably, his removal from time is an eventual goal of the Trickster.
    • Kaagh the Slayer belongs to the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet and recounts his fleet's destruction by the Doctor. Sarah Jane Smith also mentions the ATMOS incident.
    • The art gallery in "Mona Lisa's Revenge" used to house the Cup of Athelstan, stolen in "Planet of the Dead", and its theft is referenced.
    • "The Vault of Secrets" has Sarah Jane and Mr Smith stopping a NASA rover from catching sight of some Pyramids on Mars, and The Alliance of Shades themselves from the animated serial Dreamland appear.
    • The Eleventh Doctor references Amy and Rory's marriage, as well as his previous regeneration in which he is said to have visited every one of his past companions. ("Every single one.")
    • Part of the plot of "Death of the Doctor" revolves around Clyde's absorption of TARDIS energy in the previous series' "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith".
  • Cool Old Guy: The Brigadier, who returns in "Enemy of the Bane".
    • The 900+-year-old Time Lord called the Doctor.
  • Cool Old Lady: What did you expect? Older than she looks, Sarah Jane spends her time being generally awesome.
    • As does Jo Jones (aka Jo Grant) in "Death of the Doctor".
  • Cousin Oliver: The addition of Sky in the fifth season threatened to be this, but ultimately ended up averting the trope because the character ending up not being annoying and she never really got to replace any cast member in the long term because the series ended only six episodes after she joined. (Not her fault, either.)
  • Covered in Gunge: At least once a series (up until series 4), an alien will explode messily when at least one of the regulars is standing too close to them. On one such occasion, Clyde laments that it always happens to him. In series 4, he lampshades that he got through the series without being gunged... and then Ruby White's stomach gunges him.
  • Crossover:
    • Mr. Smith, the older Sarah Jane Smith, the K-9 from this series (one of several) and Luke have appeared in Doctor Who proper.
    • The Tenth Doctor appeared in a substantial role in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith".
    • The recurring villain the Trickster has also gotten mentioned, but did not appear, in the parent series, as well as Torchwood.
      • Although the Trickster's Brigade appeared in both.
    • "Death of the Doctor" saw a substantial guest appearance from the Eleventh Doctor and former Third Doctor companion Jo Grant.
    • Originally, Martha Jones was supposed to appear in the finale of the second series (she was replaced with The Brigadier.) Had this went through, she would have been the first and only character to appear on all three shows other than the American newscaster Trinity Wells and the unnamed French newscaster.
    • Had the series continued beyond 2011 after Elisabeth Sladen's passing, the Doctor would have made another appearance, but not the David's Doctor or Matt's: Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor himself, would have returned to see his Sarah Jane' once more.
    • Ace, former companion to the Seventh Doctor, was scheduled to have joined the gang for a one-off.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Clyde's father.
    • More so with Sarah Jane's parents.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "The Lost Boy", "Enemy of the Bane" and "The Nightmare Man" focus on Luke.
    • "The Mark of the Berserker" and "The Curse of Clyde Langer" focus on Clyde.
    • "The Mad Woman in the Attic" focuses on Rani.
    • "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane" focuses on Maria and her family.
  • Deadline News: Trinity Wells in "Secrets of the Stars".
  • Died on Their Birthday: A variant. "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?" takes place in an alternate timeline where Andrea made a deal with the Trickster that lead to Sarah Jane dying in the accident that was originally supposed to have killed Andrea when they were 13. On her birthday, Andrea decides to revoke her deal, and she, essentially, kills herself by restoring the original timeline, erasing her older self from existence.
  • Disappeared Dad: Clyde's dad ran off with Clyde's aunt Melba some time before the events of "Revenge of the Slitheen". He briefly visits him, but returns to his new family at the end of "The Mark of the Berserker".
  • Drop-In Character: Chrissie.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Trickster.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Nightmare Man, in the episode of the same name.
    • Ruby in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith" and Androvax also fit.
    • Martin Trueman.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In "Enemy of the Bane"; the Bane Kindred vs. Mrs. Wormwood and Commander Kaagh.
  • Exact Words: The Nightmare Man taunts Luke over not being able to say his name to anyone due to being in his head. Luke instead perfectly mentions him via video recording.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Slitheen, when not in human suits.
  • Eyeless Face: The Trickster.
  • From Special to Series: The show began with a New Year's special, but had been commissioned for a full series prior to the filming of the special.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Rani in "The Mad Woman in the Attic". Fortunately, that future changes to a more pleasant one.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Until "The Nightmare Man" at the beginning of series 4 — two boys (Luke and Clyde), and two girls (Maria and Sarah Jane, later Rani and Sarah Jane).
    • In fact, it's believed that part of the reason that Kelsey was written out after the pilot and replaced with Clyde was so create a gender-balanced ensemble (and possibly because Kelsey's actress just wasn't working out.)
  • Ghost Butler: In "The Eternity Trap".
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Clyde during "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" mentions "The Pantheon of Discord" (what the Trickster belongs to) as this. The Doctor concurs.
  • The Good Old British Comp: Park Vale High School.
  • Good Parents: Sarah Jane, Alan Jackson, Haresh and Gita Chandra... Basically, all the parents (apart from Clyde's absent dad).
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Rani in "Lost in Time".
  • G-Rated Drug: In "The Gift", the Slitheen-Blathereen are addicted to the Rakweed.
  • Greenwashed Villainy: "Invasion of the Bane" features Bubble Shock!, a fictional soft drink delicious to all but 2% of humans and advertised as organic, which Sarah Jane Smith is investigating when she meets Maria and Luke. The organic ingredient in question turns out to be secretions from the alien Bane mother meant to control humanity.
  • Grey Goo: The nanoforms in "Prisoner of the Judoon".
  • Happily Adopted: Luke. If you were to ask him his opinion, he would say "This is good".
    • Sky too.
  • Hate Plague: In "The Curse of Clyde Langer", after Clyde gets a splinter from a cursed totem pole, every human who hears or reads his name starts to hate him.
  • Haunted House: Ashen Hill Manor in "The Eternity Trap".
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Kaagh in "Enemy of the Bane", prompting Sarah Jane to observe "The universe is an amazing place. It's got so many surprises for us, but one thing I never expected to see was the universe being saved by a Sontaran!"
    • Anyone the Trickster manipulates against Sarah Jane in his effort to allow chaos into the world will end up making one of these. This includes Andrea Yates, Sarah Jane's parents, and Peter Dalton.
  • Heroic Willpower: Subverted, then played straight when Sarah Jane is possessed by Androvax.
  • Honor Before Reason: Kaagh in "The Last Sontaran" and "Enemy of the Bane".
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • Subverted in "Secrets of the Stars"; Sarah Jane thinks this is why Clyde couldn't kill her, but it turns out that it was Luke touching him, since Luke has no birthday and thus no star signs and acts like a circuit breaker to those affected by the Ancient Lights.
    • Later used straight with Clyde's dad in "Mark of The Beserker".
    • Subverted in "Prisoner of The Judoon" part 2 where Luke tries to do this with a possessed Sarah Jane and is tricked into thinking it worked when she starts speaking with her regular voice. It didn't.
  • I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]: In "The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith", when Sarah Jane and Luke head back in time to 1951 and meet her parents on the day they die, they use the names Victoria and David Beckham.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Mr Smith, most notably; but Sarah Jane has a few other alien toys to help her out.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "Or they'll find relations with Santiago will get a little Chile." Even Clyde's ashamed of himself for making the joke.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Clyde to Rani in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith".
  • Interspecies Romance: At the end of "The Mad Woman In The Attic" it is revealed that Eve and Sam, alien and human teenagers we meet in the episodes have a child.
  • It's Personal: In "The Gift", it gets personal for Sarah Jane after Luke gets infected by the Rakweed. This happens every time Luke gets hurt. Also happened to Luke once or twice, most notably in "Mona Lisa's Revenge" when Sarah Jane got trapped in a painting.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Rani notes this about Harry in "The Mad Woman in the Attic".
  • Jerks Use Body Spray: Parodied when a fake brand of body cologne was used to repel aliens because it was just that gross.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Trickster is this, as his stories tend to be a lot of darker and hit home emotionally more than other episodes. He would have taken this up to eleven had The Battle for Bannerman Road been made.
  • Large Ham:
    • Martin Trueman in "Secrets of the Stars".
    • Erasmus Darkening in "The Eternity Trap".
    • Sarah Jane (inhabited by the Androvax) in "Prisoner of the Judoon".
    • The largest ham in has got to be the Nightmare Man. "Youuuur dreams are just beauuuuutiful!"
    • Ruby in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith".
    • The Mona Lisa in "Mona Lisa's Revenge" (though the actress made up for this, big time, in a later Doctor Who appearance).
  • Laser Cutter: The sonic lipstick.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After Sarah Jane offered Gita a cup of tea: "Do you save the world every day, or only on Mondays?"
  • Left the Background Music On: Though first referenced on Doctor Who, it's later established in this series that Mr Smith's fanfare is under his control: when Luke asks him to turn on "quickly and quietly", in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith", he does. Mr. Smith's fanfare is intended as a parody of the Windows startup music. The fact that his fanfare can be heard by the other characters was originally going to be brought up in series one, but the scene was cut, so it ended up on Doctor Who's fourth series instead.
    • In "Sky", he opened up slower than usual and with no fanfare, apparently because he was scared of the title character's power to short out electronics.
  • Left Hanging: Virtually every plot in motion at the time of Elisabeth Sladen's demise was cut down and left to imagination. This includes the "Clani" romance, the idea Luke was going to come out as gay, Sky's true nature as a servant of the Trickster, Mr. Smith assuming human form for a brief spell, and virtually any future developments with these characters, as none have made even the slightest peep in any of the main Doctor Who timeframe or the expanded universe beyond small mentions and fleeting Sarah Jane comic cameos.
  • Lethal Chef: While there's no indication that her cooking's particularly bad, Sarah Jane has been known to set the kitchen on fire while making scrambled eggs.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Sarah Jane's Big Finish series, and on occasion, the main show itself and especially Torchwood...Most of the time, at least. The series has featured a few downright terrifying villains, like the Clown and the Nightmare Man. "The Curse of Clyde Langer" also had a very serious look at homelessness, and the following story had a harsh look at humans as the real villains when a human enslaved a group of aliens.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: In "The Curse of Clyde Langer", when Clyde's name is cursed and he has to give a fake name, he looks at an Enrico's pizza box and gives the name Enrico Box.
  • Literal Genie: Ship and Eve's race in general in "The Mad Woman in the Attic".
  • Look Behind You: Performed on a Sontaran, allegedly one of the finest soldiers in the galaxy. He claims he falls for it because he knows where they are going to run and it saves him from having to force them there. Whatever helps you sleep at night, bud.
  • Mass Hypnosis: On more than one occasion.
  • Meaningful Name: "The Mad Woman in the Attic" features two characters called Adam and Eve who turn out to be connected, of course.
  • The Men in Black: The robotic Alliance of Shades from the animated Doctor Who episode Dreamland return in "The Vault of Secrets".
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Luke Smith.
  • The Mole: Mr. Smith, though he's back to good after Series 1 as a result of a virus-induced Heel–Face Turn.
  • Momma's Boy: Oh, Luke. Somewhat averted, though, in that it's played entirely sympathetically and never portrayed as bad.
  • Monster Clown: In "The Day of the Clown", naturally.
  • Mood Whiplash: Very briefly during "Death of the Doctor". Jo makes a joke about not being able to keep up with the Doctor and getting him into trouble with the other Time Lords.
    Eleven: ... Yeah, I'd probably better go.
  • Most Important Person: Luke and Sarah Jane to each other, explicitly so. All you have to do is look at them to see it. Forget the shipping, and forget the romance; their love story is the show's heart, and remains so even after Luke begins Commuting on a Bus.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Ruby.
  • Mythology Gag: Sarah Jane's newspaper clipping in "Lost in Time" is dated November 23, 2010, 47 years to the day after its parent show premiered.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Jones.
  • Newspaper Dating: Inverted in "Lost in Time"; Sarah Jane shows someone in 1889 that she's been taken from 2010 using a newspaper clipping she was holding.
  • New Parent Nomenclature Problem:
    • Luke is very quick to call Sarah Jane "Mum", but she asks him not to because she's new to the whole parenting thing and isn't quite ready for that level of closeness. They get over it by the end of the second serial and she's "Mum" to Luke for the rest of the series.
    • Luke's Suspiciously Similar Substitute/adopted sister Sky on the other hand, calls Sarah Jane by her first name. The series was canceled due to the untimely death of the lead actress before it could be farther explored as to why.
    • In the serial "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith", before Luke meets Peter Dalton (Sarah Jane's boyfriend) for the first time, he wonders if he is going to call Peter "dad". We never see what he decides to call Peter.
  • No Antagonist: Happens a few times where it looks like Sarah Jane or her crew are going up against a villain, only to find out there isn't one. One of the most notable is the story "The Mad Woman in the Attic".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Joseph Serf, creator of the Serfboard computer, in "The Man Who Never Was" bears a certain similarity to the late Steve Jobs, and his company to Apple. They have the same initials, but not in the same order. It was commonly said that Jobs had a "reality distortion field" that made audiences love his products; Serf accomplishes this with actual hypnotic powers.
  • No Endor Holocaust: This series is guilty of it. All power going out all over the world, even those with its own power source? The Moon being pulled towards Earth and pushed back? Just about everyone in a trance because of their zodiac signs? No deaths despite all this?
    • When the Moon was being pulled towards Earth, they did mention the fact that these events caused disruption such as freak storms, harsh weathers and complete collapse of the environment through the scattered news reports and footage which Sarah Jane was watching so it wasn't glossed over.
    • The lack of wrecked cars and crashed planes from all humans being teleported away was Lampshaded in "The Empty Planet". In this case, the aliens intentionally beamed away all the moving vehicles so that it wouldn't happen.
  • No Man of Woman Born: The remarkably Macbeth-like climax of "Secrets of the Stars".
  • Noodle Incident: In "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?", Sarah Jane names the unseen Patriarchs of the Tin Vagabond among those whom she stopped from taking over the world.
  • No Social Skills: Luke Smith, at first.
  • Not What I Signed Up For: In "Prisoner of the Judoon", Captain Tybo threatens the security guards at Genetec for obstruction. They quickly flee.
    "No-one said anything about flaming aliens in the contract."
  • Novelization: All of Series 1 and 2 and several stories from later seasons were adapted as young adult novels, the first such books of their kind to be published as part of the Doctor Who franchise since the 1990s. They occasionally feature an Adaptation Expansion, such as in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" novelization, which has a scene not included in the episode where the Brigadier counsels Clyde over Skype about the changes going on in life.
  • Older and Wiser: Sarah Jane, now in, essentially, the role of the Doctor.
  • Omniscient Database: Mr. Smith has access to all sorts of stuff, as he can "hack into anything" and thus is able to scan for any news about alien activity. Sarah Jane hangs a lampshade on this, pointing out he is also configured to look up boy band news. This is a somewhat Justified Trope, given that the computer is a Sufficiently Advanced Alien one, and this is acknowledged by the fact that it has restricted files which humans can't access. Which turns out to be because he's evil.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The crashing meteor and the encounter with the Dark Horde in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith".
  • Opening Narration: Clyde assumes narrator duty starting with series 3.
  • Once Per Series: From series 1-4, the main cast (or at least one member thereof) will get covered in some sort of alien goo. The Trickster also plays this straight from series 1-3.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Though her day job is as a journalist, and apparently one of the country's best, we almost never see Sarah Jane sit down and write a story.
    • Similarly, Alan and Gita are almost never seen at their jobs as computer programmer and flower shop owner respectively.
  • Papa Wolf: Alan Jackson, in spades, once he gets clued in to the situation (and even before).
    • Clyde's father is able to overcome the Brainwashed and Crazy effects of the Berserker pendant through his love of his wife and son.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "Oh, for the love of Clom..."
  • Parental Abandonment: Sarah Jane was an orphan raised by her Aunt Lavinia.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • The continuity nods to classic Who.
    • In "Mona Lisa's Revenge", Mr. Smith is reading out a vanished woman's profile on a dating site:
    Mr Smith: She says she is 'open-minded' and 'willing to try anyth-'
    Sarah Jane: Thank you, that will do.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • It is revealed that Sarah Jane's parents died when she was only three months old, and she was raised by her Aunt Lavinia. Exactly how much of a mother figure Lavinia was is somewhat debatable, as Sarah Jane once described her as "always so busy, never in one place long enough to lick a stamp." It can be argued, of course, that that doesn't necessarily mean that she was uncaring or uninvolved. In fact, the pilot for the failed spin-off series K9 & Company gives us a small glimpse into their relationship, and they do generally seem to care about one another.
    • There's no denying that Maria and her mother love each other dearly, but Chrissie is, to put it bluntly, a massive flake. Sarah Jane winds up picking up the slack and becomes the mother-figure Maria needs.
    • Alan becomes sort of a male Parental Substitute for Luke, though this doesn't last long as he and Maria are Put on a Bus.
    • Sarah Jane becomes a second mother to Clyde (while Clyde's mother is in the picture, his father isn't).
  • Parent Service: All the teen characters' dads are remarkably hot. Rani has her male fans. Chrissie and Gita sometimes wear low-cut tops. Then there's Sarah Jane herself. There have also been more than a few guest stars who also fall into this trope.
    • "Sky" gives us the dominatrix-y Miss Myers.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Luke gets to deal with this in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith". Except in his case, Sarah Jane is his adoptive mother who has never had a husband.
  • Photographic Memory: Luke Smith.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Sarah Jane's a reporter, but since she's dedicated to keeping her adventures secret, she "can't" report on any of the adventures we see on screen. We've also never seen her actually sit down and write a story (although several episodes do begin with her stumbling upon intrigue during legitimate journalism work - which was how Sarah Jane came to meet the Doctor in the first place. Nine times out of ten, the reporter thing is used as an excuse to have adventures, even in-universe. She's constantly escaping Maria's dad (and later, Rani's mum) by using an "I have to go file a story" excuse, when she's really heading off to fight an alien.
    • Lampshaded in the final episode, when Sarah Jane is invited to a special gathering of only top journalists, and she notes, "What do you think pays for all of this? Taking in washing?"
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Sky, who goes from baby to pre-adolescent in about ten seconds flat.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-Universe example as well as Ascended Meme. Luke refers to Clyde and Rani as "Clani."
  • The Power of Love: Oh yes, particularly the love between Luke and Sarah Jane.
  • Public Domain Character: The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
  • Pungeon Master: Clyde, always cracking out the jokes.
  • Quietly Performing Sister Show: Being perceived and promoted as a kids' show puts a dampener on the way some critics and fans view the show, however well it's produced. But it gets the viewers. The negative attitude was inverted somewhat after the death of Sladen brought increased attention to the final episodes, though even before this the two guest appearances by the Doctor led to increased profile for the series, with "Death of the Doctor" even being rebroadcast on the main BBC One network.
  • Reality Warper: The Trickster, to a very limited sort; he can change or undo deaths, but only with the dying person's consent.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Yasmin Paige, the actress who played Maria, had to leave the show to take her exams. She subsequently decided not to return resulting in not only her character being written out, but Maria's mum and dad as well. This had the carry-on effect of sparking the introduction of a new character, Rani, and her family, leading to a budding romance between Rani and Clyde that is acknowledged on-screen in later episodes.
    • Averted with the death of Elisabeth Sladen. Her final illness did not set in until months after she filmed what would be her final episode, and the decision was made not to continue the series afterwards, therefore other than the end of the final episode being reworked into a tribute to Sladen, narratively there is no reference to her death.
  • Red Pill, Blue Pill: Sarah Jane offers the choice to Rani Chandra after she saved her from a murderous clown in "The Day of the Clown".
  • Red Skinned Space Babe: Eve in "The Mad Woman in the Attic".
  • Robot Buddy: K-9.
  • Running Gag: Sarah Jane burning food.
    • Chrissie can never be bothered to get Sarah Jane's name right, and Gita (unintentionally) drives Sarah Jane crazy by calling her 'Sarah'.
    • Clyde getting "splunged" by alien slime.
  • Schmuck Bait: "The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith". She knows it's a trap, but the temptation is irresistible.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Luke has a moment of this upon seeing Rani in a dress.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The race of supercomputers that Mr. Smith belongs to.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The Tenth Doctor implies that he dropped Sarah-Jane on Earth because she didn't need him anymore. Given how many alien threats she's managed to defeat on her own, he's probably right.
  • Season Finale: Four of them.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: K-9. Lampshaded on one occasion.
    K-9 *In reference to Mr Smith* : Contact with that computer interferes with this unit's synaptic circuits.
    Clyde: You mean he gets on your nerves.
    K-9(More assertively that normal): Affirmative.
  • Shopping Montage: Clyde and his Disappeared Dad Paul in "The Mark of the Berserker". Though stealing via brainwashing montage would be more accurate.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
  • Snap Back: An unusually serious example when K-9 is turned back into a drawing at the end of "Mona Lisa's Revenge".
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith". While it is partly funny the first time it's uttered, the second time is utter heartbreak.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Nazis find a piece of chronostene buried beneath the Rheinland in "Lost in Time".
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: The Doctor has crossed-over twice, but it's never explained why he leaves saving the world in all the other episodes up to a bunch of kids and an old woman (maybe because he knows they're capable).
    • Torchwood is also absent, as is any references to the earth-shattering events it takes part in (i.e. Torchwood: Children of Earth - although Luke, Rani, Clyde and Maria are pubescent and thus weren't affected). This is implied to be invoked-given how little she likes UNIT and their guns, it only stands to reason that she'd be even less willing to work with Torchwood.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Clyde Langer for Kelsey Hooper. Clyde appears to be a male, less annoying, and much less whiny version of Kelsey. He finds aliens exciting and interesting, whereas she was in a state of determined denial. She was dropped from the show; according to rumor this was to even up the gender ratio of the characters (three females and one male became two of each), however other reasons have been reported. (In the 2011 story Now Or Thereabouts published in the collection A Romance In Twelve Parts, Kelsey ended up joining Faction Paradox; she subsequently got her own spin-off novel, Weapons Grade Snake Oil, in 2017.)
    • Also, the computer Mr. Smith is a substitute for K9, resulting in an amusing mutual dislike between the two when K9 returns for good in "The Mad Woman in the Attic".
    • Series 2, among other things, subs out Maria for Rani, though Rani rapidly establishes herself as being quite a different character.
    • Luke has a nightmare about Sarah Jane substituting him when he goes to university in "The Nightmare Man".
    • Invoked by Ruby White, who is actually an alien planning to take over Sarah Jane's life.
    • After Luke leaves the regular cast, series 5 introduces Sky, someone who looks like a teenager but is Younger Than They Look, has No Social Skills, and is Happily Adopted by Sarah Jane.
  • Take Over the World: As acknowledged in "Whatever Happened To Sarah Janet?" this is the motive of a great many of Sarah Jane's enemies, with her listing the Bane, the Slitheennote , the Gorgons and the Patriarchs of the Tin Vagabond.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Double Subverted with the Nightmare Man. Luke gives a speech which he simply laughs off, asking if he really believes that talking would defeat a creature like him. I wasn't talking to you. cue Oh, Crap!.
  • Team Mom: Sarah Jane leads her group with a rather maternal brand of spunkiness. Apart from that, she's Luke's and Sky's adoptive mother.
  • Teens Are Short: Averted. Sarah Jane is not significantly taller than most of her companions and is noticeably shorter than Rani.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Invoked by our favourite Deadpan Snarker Clyde after it turned out that his bringing K-9 to school to cheat on a test would save the day.
  • They Would Cut You Up:
    • Sarah Jane believes that UNIT and other organisations would take in Luke for tests if they knew what he was.
    • In "Death of the Doctor", Clyde, realising he's got Artron energy flowing through him in the middle of a UNIT base, fears the same might happen.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Sarah Jane lives at 13 Bannerman Road, but is not really that unlucky. Her life is just weird.
  • Token Trio: Maria, Clyde and Luke, later Luke, Clyde and Rani.
    • Sarah Jane becomes the Token White when Luke leaves and it actually helps Rani and Clyde's development.
  • Undying Loyalty: It doesn't matter what you do to try to turn Luke against Sarah Jane - Mrs. Wormwood! - his loyalty will always be with his mother, and hers with him (and, second, with The Doctor). The gang's loyalty to each other also counts.
  • UST: Clyde and Rani, since first meeting, but more noticeable in series 4, and especially in the final story of the series.
  • [Verb] This!: Clyde to a group of atom-disassembling nanoforms.
    "Atomise THIS."
  • Vile Vulture: The Shansheeth are aliens that resemble vultures and they make their first appearance in Death of the Doctor. Their ultimate plan was to steal the tardis in order to avert death on a historical scale. Since they couldn't get the key from the 11th Doctor, they lied about his death so they can form a copy of the key by using a memory weave on his companions.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Clyde's dad in "The Mark of the Berserker". Chrissie's visits to Alan and Maria's house are a bit too frequent to count as this trope.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: K-9 and Mr. Smith.
  • Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization: At Sarah Jane's wedding, Clyde wears sneakers with his suit (ironically, just like the Doctor), and for much the same reason.
  • The Watson: Sarah Jane's companions.
  • Wedding Deadline: The "I do" variant, but on a cosmic scale, in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith".
  • Weirdness Magnet: Since Sarah Jane is no longer the passenger of a TARDIS to take her to see aliens, they seem to have agreed to come straight to her home instead.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Shansheeth faked the Doctor's death so they could lure him to them and steal his TARDIS in order to prevent all death in the universe. A truly noble, if misguided, goal indeed... at least until they started trying to kill people.
  • We Will Meet Again: Inverted in "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith" in which Sarah Jane suggests she may never see the Doctor again. (As it happens, she does.)
  • Where Are They Now: A variation, where Sarah Jane reveals that she had followed the whereabouts of some of the Doctor's former companions online:
    Sarah Jane: There's a woman called Tegan in Australia, fighting for Aboriginal rights. There's Ben and Polly, in India, running an orphanage there. There was Harry... oh, I loved Harry. He was a doctor, he did such good work with vaccines. He saved thousands of lives. There was a Dorothy something. She runs that company, A Charitable Earth. She's raised billions. And this couple in Cambridge. Both professors. Ian and Barbara Chesterton. Rumour has it, they've never aged. Not since the sixties. I wonder... echoes of the Doctor, all over the world. With friends like us, he’s never going to die, is he?
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Sarah Jane often remarks on the wonders she saw when traveling with the Doctor and also about how strangeness and adventures can happen on Earth too.
  • The X of Y: Appears in 14 out of 27 stories.
  • You Meddling Kids: The reaction from would-be conquerors of Earth.
  • Younger and Hipper: Ruby White in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane" is a younger, hipper, and (initially) ruder version of Sarah Jane. It's a deliberate similarity; Ruby is an alien and part of her Evil Plan includes taking over for Sarah Jane.
  • You No Take Candle: Captain Tybo.


...Or does it? On April 19th 2020, nine years after Sladen's death, a special minisode, "Farewell Sarah Jane", premiered, written by Russel T. Davies, and intended as the final word on the character.

  • 'Farewell Sarah Jane' has Rani theorise that Sarah Jane isn't dead and instead had one last adventure with the Doctor believing that they're travelling through the stars and exploring the universe forever. The story goes on forever as Sarah still has many more adventures beyond "The Man Who Never Was" and even after she's long gone, her legacy still lives on. Rani eventually ends up inheriting Sarah's house and living there even during 2059 as shown in "The Mad Woman in The Attic".


Video Example(s):


"The nuts"

Sarah Jane picks up some youth slang with cringeworthy results.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpeakingLikeTotallyTeen

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