The Sarah Jane Adventures: Invasion of the Bane

First Broadcast January 1st, 2007 @ 4.50pm (2.92m viewers)

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the oft forgotten other spinoff show, The Sarah Jane Adventures. Torchwood often garners more attention from it’s intended and far more vocal adult audience. However, The Sarah Jane Adventures was a triumph for children’s television. For those of us of a certain age, it felt like a return to dramas such as ‘The Demon Headmaster’ which has since gone down as a classic. Plus of course, it had the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.

The investigative journalist is trying to lift the lid on new fizzy drinks product, ‘Bubble Shock’. Despite sounding like something a team on ‘The Apprentice’ might come up with the reality is even more sinister and than business simpletons trying to avoid a firing. Considering the intended audience it is refreshingly smart. It approaches the seemingly addictive nature of sugary drinks and how powerful marketing can be. But of course what kids really want to see is impressive aliens and in the Bane, we certainly get that.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Considering the viewer demographic which the show was being aimed at the scene of the Bane attack in Sarah’s house is well delivered. The monster is colourful, has a unique appearance and has an element of “eww” about it. As CGI creations go, the Bane works pretty well. So whilst older children might pick up on the themes that make them reconsider their regular drink of choice, younger viewers would be equally gripped by the action and drama.

The Sarah Jane Adventures – The Bane (c) BBC

Although referred to as ‘the pilot’ this introductory episode serves as an attempt to iron out kinks before the already commissioned first series began properly. For instance, the irritating Kelsey was dropped and replaced by the much more likeable Clyde for Series 1. ‘Invasion of the Bane’ also provides Sarah with a surrogate son to look after. Whilst she was never likely to be the type to settle down and start a family, the natural warmth which Sladen emanates made her the perfect adult that kids wanted to be friends with. More importantly, they would feel safe around her and protected against the horrors of the universe.

‘Invasion of the Bane’ proved a far more successful spinoff for Elisabeth Sladen than ‘K9 and Company’ did. Although both had their merits, ‘The Sarah Jane Adventure’ identified it’s intended audience and appealed to them perfectly. However, it also proved that there was a place on children’s television for intelligent science fiction drama and that BBC Wales could deliver yet another successful show in addition to Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Cast

Elisabeth Sladen – Sarah Jane Smith
Yasmin Paige – Maria Jackson
Tommy Knight – Luke Smith
Alexander Armstrong – Mr Smith
Porsha Lawrence Mavour – Kelsey Hooper
John Leeson – K-9 Mark IV
Jamie Davis – Davey
Joseph Millson – Alan Jackson
Juliet Cowan – Chrissie Jackson
Konnie Huq and Gethin Jones – Themselves
Samantha Bond – Mrs Wormwood

Crew:

Directed – Colin Teague
Written – Russell T Davies & Gareth Roberts
Produced – Susie Liggat

Also First Aired On This Day…

  • The Daleks’ Master Plan: Volcano
  • Day of the Daleks: Episode One
  • The Face of Evil: Part One
  • Torchwood: Captain Jack Harkness/End of Days
  • The End of Time: Part Two

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