Sarah Jane Adventures News
April 24th, 2017

A special charity event will be held in Cardiff this summer to mark the 10th anniversary of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

The Attic will take place at the Cardiff University Students’ Union on Saturday 29th July 2017 and will be attended by various guests related to the CBBC series, which ended in 2011 following the passing of Elisabeth Sladen. The event will also include an auction of rare merchandise, props and more, with proceeds donated to Ty Hafan, a hospice which provides support to life-limited children and their families.

Tickets are now on sale, with prices ranging from £30 (adult), £15 (child), £80 (family) to £150 (VIP). You can donate to Ty Hafan directly, and find out more about their work, here.

May 7th, 2015

To coincide with today’s UK election, WhovianNet decided to get into the spirit of the occasion by holding one of our own!

We revealed a shortlist of Doctor Who characters who would all have what it takes to herald our country into a shining new age. The ideal candidates included Rory Williams, Donna Noble, Mike Yates and, of course, the Twelfth Doctor himself.

Your votes have now been counted and verified and, with a landslide majority (27.1%), you’ve elected Sarah Jane Smith as our new Prime Minister!

Are you happy with the result? Let us know below and here’s a round up of who else was in the running. If you haven’t voted in the real election yet, there’s still time! Polling closes at 10pm so it’s not too late to make your voice heard. Just don’t vote Saxon, ok? Seriously.

To date the UK has only had one female Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher, who inspired fanaticism in some and bile in others (and the Doctor passed his own judgment when he encountered her in stage musical The Ultimate Adventure). The field is clear for a woman who everyone, from striking miner to swan-eating peer, can relate to and take to their hearts. Who else could it be? Sarah Jane Smith, of course!

Debatably the best loved of the Doctor’s companions, she has displayed Great British pluck in the face of threat after threat, from Androids to Zygons. Her enquiring mind, sharpened like a stainless steel machete from her years as a crusading journalist, would make her dynamite during the leaders’ debates. And she cares about animals. Just look at the way she put up with K-9 all those decades. Plus he’s a robot dog, so her policies on the tech sector are spectacularly well informed.

She’d make the best choice when it comes to alien invasion. When the government inevitably calls on Earth’s favourite Time Lord, he’ll need someone with whom he shares an effortless rapport and largely unspoken shorthand. Other long term assistants wouldn’t pass muster. Tegan Jovanka, too argumentative. Clara Oswald, temperamental. Leela… well, she’d have slaughtered half the Cabinet by lunchtime. “Miss Smith” is the nation’s definitive human candidate.

January 7th, 2015
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Russell T Davies has revealed that he’s declined an offer from the BBC to return to Doctor Who for its 10th anniversary.

2015 marks a decade since the show’s return to our screens and the former showrunner, who oversaw its critically acclaimed revival, has admitted that he’s concentrating on his own projects and doesn’t have time to commit to a comeback. “I don’t know what they imagined,” he told Radio Times. “A talk or a convention perhaps. I just said no. To be honest, a programme can’t have its fiftieth and then it’s tenth. That’s just confusing. Let it carry on.”

He continued: “I made 60 episodes and did 40 Torchwoods and 40 Sarah Janes and there are an awful lot of ways to destroy the world in there. Steven Moffat invites me every year to come and write one. I love him and I love them and I love watching it, but here I am, moving on. I love Doctor Who but nothing is more important to me than my own stuff.”

It’s currently unknown what the BBC is planning, if anything, to mark the 10th anniversary of ‘NuWho’ but rumours suggest that new minisodes are being produced for the milestone.

April 30th, 2013

The former producer of The Sarah Jane Adventures is to be the new Executive Producer of Doctor Who.

Brian Minchin, who has worked on Torchwood’s Children of Earth and Miracle Day, will be taking over the reigns from Caro Skinner, who announced her departure last month.

Brian will assist Steven Moffat in the general running of the show as work begins on its eighth series, expected to air on BBC One in 2014.

On his new role Brian commented: “I’m thrilled and excited to be joining Steven Moffat on a show that has meant so much to me over the years. I’ve watched in awe as he has taken Doctor Who to imaginative places. I can’t wait to get started on more adventures.”

“When I first took over Doctor Who, Brian was there as script editor, and in the most difficult time of a new Doctor and a new era, was completely brilliant,” Steven Moffat added. “We lost him to producing The Sarah Jane Adventures at the end of our first run. Rising talent keeps rising is how I comforted myself back then, but I am beyond happy and now I look forward to getting hopelessly lost in space and time with him.”

The Head of BBC Drama Wales Faith Penhale explained Brian won the role thanks to his “fantastic eye for story” saying: “I have no doubt Doctor Who will enjoy an exciting time with Brian at the helm working alongside Steven. Since joining BBC Wales in 2005, he’s proved he has a sharp awareness of what makes a drama like Doctor Who unmissable.”

We would like to welcome Brian back to Doctor Who and wish him the very best of luck!

April 26th, 2013

As part of our Fourth Doctor celebrations this month we’re delighted to bring you an interview with John Leeson!

While John’s face might be unfamiliar to you his voice would be instantly recognisable as that of K-9, the Doctor’s loved companion. K-9 made his first appearance in The Invisible Enemy in 1977 and instantly became a hit with fans as K-9 become an invaluable member of the TARDIS team.

Over 3 decades since his debut, K-9 is as popular as ever.

Here, John chats exclusively to us about K-9’s lasting appeal, plus his memories of being on set, proving why K-9 has, over the years, become so much more than a metal dog…

Q. Hi John! Firstly, how and when did your involvement with Doctor Who come about?
A. My involvement with Doctor Who came about entirely accidentally. Back in 1977, I met an old friend, a director I had worked with on tour from Nottingham Playhouse – and elsewhere – at my local pub in Ealing. He had been directing ‘Z-Cars’ for the BBC locally, and ubsequently suggested my name to Who producer Graham Williams. The rest, as they say, is history!

Q. As well as Doctor Who, you’ve had various stage roles and appeared in TV shows including ‘Allo ‘Allo!, Dad’s Army and Rainbow. When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career in acting?
A. My history as an actor must have started in childhood – I WAS an actor! Needless to say I needed training, and I spent a couple of years at RADA alongside some very talented fellow Students. Does the name Anthony Hopkins ring a bell? Subsequently my ‘on the ground’ training was through the medium of character parts in repertory theatre in various places throughout the UK, plus a number of appearances in ‘fringe’ London theatre and in the West End.  I cannot overemphasise the importance of experience in theatre work as an essential ground-base for any actor, no matter if all they eventually want to do is TV and film. Voice work sort of happened accidentally.

Q. Your first Doctor Who appearance as K-9 was in 1977. Initially intended as a one-off part, were you pleased to return when it was decided to make K-9 a regular fixture in the TARDIS?
A. The continuance of K-9 following The Invisible Enemy may possibly have been as much a matter of good housekeeping on the part of the BBC as anything else. They had paid a considerable sum to bring the character physically into being, and it was hardly surprising that they wanted to maximise their investment.  Needless to say, perhaps, it was gratifying to know that the K-9 character had ‘clicked’ with its audience, so I was happy to continue to play ‘the voice’ while there were scripts that did justice to his character and his usefulness within each storyline. Keeping K-9 fully engaged has always been a problem for writers, as relegating him to the status of yet another ’sonic screwdriver’ to get the Doctor out of trouble had always been a bit of a cop-out.

Q. Could you explain the initial process of devising K-9’s voice/personality? Did you have much say in his design?
A. K-9 was already in the design stage when I came on board, but the ‘module’ didn’t physically appear until the very first studio day, so I had no prior input. Vocally, the idea was to have a voice that was tinny and hard-edged, rather like what you might hear from a very cheap speaker in an equally cheap transistor radio. Given that K-9 was a computer rather than a dog, I simply pitched my own voice to a higher register and ‘clipped’ the dialogue to take as much warmth out of it as possible. Result? I don’t need any ‘artificial aids’ to reproduce the K-9 sound.

Q. As for filming, are you always present on set to read K-9’s lines or are they recorded during post production, or a mixture of the two?
A. Nowadays much of the K-9 voice work is recorded in post-production. A necessary evil, perhaps, as tighter budgets tend to dictate. A shame, as the ‘live’ dynamic that applied to most of the early stories in which K-9 was involved was beneficial to the sense of interaction between the characters. Part of the reason, I dare suggest, that the character stayed so long in the ‘classic’ era of Doctor Who.

Q. Were you surprised by how successful K-9 became with audiences and what would you say are the factors that contribute to his ongoing popularity?
A. Surprised? I’ll say so! Particularly as the character was such a  pedantic ‘know-it-all’, and kept breaking down!    Reasons for K-9’s popularity?  I’m never sure, but I guess it must be an amalgam of the British love for dogs (not that he’s a dog), and his loyalty to the Doctor or the companions – added to which, his perky if slightly irritating personality. He’s a bit of ‘grit’ in the Doctor’s ‘oyster’, perhaps!

Q. K-9’s popularity has led him to star in various spin off and tie-in shows over the years. What has it been like to explore the character across these different platforms?
A. The spin-offs and tie-ins have been such a surprise too, another endorsement of his popularity. He still maintains the same characteristics throughout, although in the series ‘K9′ he appears in a much more updated form. Audio spin-offs from BIG Finish and BBC AudioGO have been a great success too. Purely in sound there’s no physical limit to his capabilities, either.  Such a bonus!

Q. What have been your experiences of meeting Doctor Who fans?
A. Were it not for the fans, I wonder if we’d even be celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who this year. I speak to you having just returned from a three-city convention tour of Australia where the fan base is tremendously enthusiastic. K-9 always appealed to the younger elements of the audience, many of them now having grown up with children of their own, so it has been an added privilege to me to see a generational continuance of support both for the series as a whole and for the robotic character I played.

Q. Have you got any funny stories from filming you can share, for example, has K-9 ever found himself in any spots of bother?
A. Here’s a cue, if anything, for a ‘plug’ for my revised autobiography “Tweaking the Tail” which comes out this summer from Fantom Publishing (alongside my collected recipe book “Dog’s Dinners”… corny title, sorry!). There are K-9 stories aplenty, and much else about my uniquely varied life besides. I may even read it myself!

Q. As you mentioned this year marks the 50th anniversary of the series, could you tell us if K-9 will be involved in the celebrations at all?
A. When it comes to K-9’s involvement with anything, whether it be further involvement in storylines, or public appearances, or even the 50th anniversary celebrations, I am always the last to be told! I do know, however, that the BBC are working on how best to celebrate this very significant milestone in the history of the series, and maybe one day they may be so kind as to let me in on their secret! Then we’ll all know.

We would like to say a huge thanks to John for taking time out to answer our questions!

February 12th, 2013
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Chris Chibnall has said that he feels Torchwood lost some of its character when it left its “brilliantly odd” Welsh roots.

The spin off’s fourth series Miracle Day was filmed and set in America as part of the BBC co-production deal with US network Starz. Chris served as the series head writer for its first two years and has told Starburst that Jack and Gwen’s adventures just weren’t the same across the pond… “I think somewhere along the way it lost a little bit of its Torchwood-ness,” he explained.

He continued: “Whether you like or dislike Torchwood, it has an essence of madness and cheekiness and sexiness and fun and darkness. Somehow it lost a bit of that somewhere in the process. It might go back to the fact that one of the great essences of Torchwood was taking the American tropes and doing them in Wales – it became like other shows.”

Above – The original Torchwood team (2006) alongside its latest incarnation (2011).

He admitted that he is doubtful there will be another series following Miracle Day’s mixed response. “It is entirely down to Russell, but I would expect he’ll have other things he’ll want to write,” he said. “There was a lot of pain involved making the first two series but it makes me smile what we achieved. Russell had a family show and an adult show and a kid’s show which were very separate entities woven together so cleverly. I don’t think you’ll again see the Doctor Who universe be as all-encompassing. It was a magic time.”

Torchwood’s future is “in limbo”, but discuss where you would like it to go next here

October 29th, 2012

Russell T Davies was interviewed on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show over the weekend about his new series, Wizards Vs Aliens, which starts on CBBC today (Monday).

During their chat, he fondly looked back on his time making The Sarah Jane Adventures saying he “loved every second”. The show ended when its lead actress Elisabeth Sladen lost her battle with cancer on 19th April 2011. Russell said that it came as “a terrible, terrible shock” when he heard she’d passed away because he and everyone else “adored” her.

“We were about to begin filming new stories when Lis told me she was ill,” he explained. “She needed some time off, but she very much kept herself to herself as she didn’t want people to know how ill she was. It was an absolute shock when she passed away and we immediately abandoned the show. Its heart had gone. Without Lis, it all ceased to exist.”

He added that he’ll always be tremendously proud of the legacy created for Lis through the 50 episodes which introduced her character to a new generation. He explained: “She has a huge legacy, and I know how much she adored making it. I loved Sarah Jane as a child and to see her return and be adored was a great solace when the bad news came.”

August 18th, 2012
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

Doctor Who Magazine have published their latest Special this week – it’s time to go back to Bannerman Road!

The edition’s the third volume of The Sarah Jane Adventures ‘companion’ issues. Inside is the definitive guide to the fifth and final series of the acclaimed CBBC spin off – the last ever episodes aired last year in memory of its star Elisabeth Sladen, who passed away on 19th April 2011.

It’s on sale now priced £4.99. Get your copy today!

The show’s Series 5 and Complete Collection DVDs are available to buy on Amazon.

You can read our exclusive interview with Rani Chandra actress Anjli Mohindra here.

See the latest Doctor Who products on sale now via our merchandise section!

July 30th, 2012
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

It’s just another manic Monday, another Remember when, and another regeneration!

This week, the Third Doctor takes the limelight, as we relive his heartbreaking final moments in the 1974 serial, Planet of the Spiders. After defeating the Spider Queen and vanishing in the TARDIS, the Doctor was nowhere to be seen, and his faithful companion Sarah Jane never thought she’d see her best friend again. Disappearing acts have the Doctor’s name all over them though – just ask Amy Pond that!

Of course our beloved Time Lord’s always got a surprise or two up his sleeve (that’s why we love him!), and three weeks later Sarah Jane and the Brigadier heard that beautiful sound of the materialising TARDIS once more. But out of it stumbled a weak Doctor. His time was up yet again and he transformed before their very eyes. “A tear, Sarah Jane?”

Talkin’ ’bout regeneration? There’s plenty more where that came from! Take a trip in the TARDIS to commemorate the final moments of the First and Fourth Doctors – allons-y!

June 25th, 2012
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

The TARDIS without the Doctor and a companion would feel as empty as Christmas without Santa. It’s just plain wrong!

Like Santa the companion’s objective is to deliver something special. For the audience they’re the eyes and ears, bringing us even closer to the Doctor’s weird and wonderful world.

Naturally some companions leave bigger marks on our lives than others. None of them have left a bigger mark than who today’s discussion is dedicated to – Miss Sarah Jane Smith.

The Doctor first encountered Sarah Jane in the 1973 adventure, The Time Warrior. Then in his third incarnation, as portrayed by Jon Pertwee, it was clear from the start that he realised she was going to be much more than the TARDIS residents before her. Played by Elisabeth Sladen, the investigative journalist knew exactly what she wanted from life.

Her fiery personality and ever growing passion to delve deeper into the world around her meant she was always in the mood for a first class adventure. Sound like someone else we all know? You could say that she and the Doctor were a match made in heaven…

Above – The Third Doctor with his best friend, Sarah Jane Smith.

After infiltrating a top secret research facility (as you do…), Sarah Jane snuck aboard the TARDIS. Before she knew it, she found herself in the Middle Ages, where she helped in aiding the Doctor in a battle against the potato-headed Sontarans. The rest is history…

So, for this week’s Remember when…, we are calling to mind the moment Sarah Jane first entered the Doctor’s life. She went on to become such a huge part of Doctor Who – the fact she was given her own spin off in 2007 was testament to her contribution to the series. All tales start somewhere – share your own memories of how this one began.

Elisabeth passed away in 2011, but we’ll always remember the companion who taught us that life on Planet Earth can be an adventure too, you just need to know where to look…

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