Invasion of the Bane
"Invasion of the Bane" is the first episode of the British science fiction television series The Sarah Jane Adventures, originally broadcast on 1 January 2007 as a holiday special. Since a full series of the show was commissioned before the script for the episode was written it is not a pilot, despite serving the introductory functions of one.
|01 – "Invasion of the Bane"|
|The Sarah Jane Adventures episode|
|Directed by||Colin Teague|
|Written by||Russell T Davies|
|Script editor||Simon Winstone|
|Produced by||Susie Liggat|
|Executive producer(s)||Phil Collinson|
Russell T Davies
|Series||New Year's Day special|
|First broadcast||1 January 2007|
The episode focuses upon a thirteen-year-old girl, Maria Jackson, discovering the existence of aliens. After discovering that the Bane, creators of a soft drink called Bubble Shock!, harbour a destructive secret, she teams up with investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith to prevent their plans.
A thirteen-year-old girl, Maria Jackson (Yasmin Paige), and her recently divorced father Alan (Joseph Millson) move into a house opposite journalist and former time-traveller Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen). The night after they have moved in, Maria is woken by an ethereal light emanating from Sarah Jane's house, which she discovers, to her horrified fascination, to be Sarah Jane conversing with a star poet, or Arcateenian.
The next morning, a neighbour Kelsey Hooper (Porsha Lawrence Mavour) visits and welcomes Maria before inviting her into town, using the free "Bubble Shock!" bus to travel there and tour the factory. Once they arrive at the factory, they are led to a security scanner, which surreptitiously collects their DNA to transfer to an "Archetype" (Tommy Knight) under the supervision of the factory's owner, Mrs Wormwood (Samantha Bond).
Sarah Jane, having overheard the girls making plans, follows them to the factory and interviews Mrs Wormwood, and how she was able to get approval for the drink so fast, and why the Bane, an ingredient unique to the drink, was "resisting" analysis, to which she is told that all that Bubble Shock! is doing is satisfying the needs of the Western world. On Sarah Jane's way out, she is almost killed by Wormwood's secretary.
Kelsey wanders from the tour and attempts to phone Maria, but disturbs an unknown beast, the Bane Mother, to the annoyance of the staff, to which Wormwood orders the alarms switched off and Sarah Jane killed. Maria attempts to phone Kelsey, but sets off the alarms again, causing the Archetype to escape, transferring the focus upon him. Maria, while escaping, encounters him, who just mimics her, and they escape into a women's bathroom. Sarah Jane then enters, and although they are surprised to see each other, they manage to escape the factory, albeit without Kelsey. When they arrive back on Bannerman Road, Sarah warns Maria not to get involved as her life is too dangerous.
Meanwhile, Kelsey is accosted by the factory guards, which causes her to rant about the treatment she has received. Wormwood subdues her by revealing her true form, and having discovered Kelsey and Sarah Jane live on the same street, uses her PR representative Davey (Jamie Davis) to escort her home. Once there, Maria realises upon sight of Kelsey that Davey had discovered Sarah and tries to run into Sarah Jane's house. Eventually realising their intent, Sarah Jane brings them inside, with Davey, now as a Bane, giving chase. Sarah Jane is able to repel Davey and then, upon discovery of the attic by Kelsey, tells the teenagers about aliens: years ago, she met the Doctor, a man like no other, who took her through time and space. The adventures suddenly ended, but when they met by chance (in "School Reunion") not long ago, they realised they were still fond of each other. Sarah Jane has a brief reunion with K9, who is in her safe, sealing off a black hole.
Once Sarah Jane has analysed that the Bane ingredient was sentient, she activates her computer, Mr Smith – after some shouting by Kelsey – and contacts Wormwood and politely requests that she leaves Earth. Wormwood refuses, and in retaliation takes control of the majority of the human race. Sarah Jane races to the factory, but cannot enter until she drives the bus into a wall. Wormwood reveals the Bane Mother, and explains the Archetype is a conglomerate of human DNA designed to be investigated so that Bubble Shock could be improved. The Archetype uses an alien communicator Sarah Jane had been given, realising that the signal would be strong enough to kill the Bane Mother, and Sarah Jane, Maria, and the Archetype escape as the factory explodes.
The following evening, Sarah Jane agrees to adopt the Archetype and agrees with Maria to call him "Luke", since that was what she wanted to name her child if she ever had one. The episode closes with a monologue by Sarah Jane that while space may be strange, adventures may be had on Earth, if one knows where to look.
|Episode||Title||Run time||Original air date||UK viewers|
(millions) 
|1||"Invasion of the Bane"||60:22||1 January 2007||2.9|
Sladen and Doctor WhoEdit
Elisabeth Sladen previously played Sarah Jane between 1973 and 1976. In 1981, she was offered the role again to ease the transition between the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, which she declined, but agreed to star in the pilot (and only episode) for the spin-off series K-9 and Company, which brought her together with K-9, another popular character. After her appearance in The Five Doctors in 1983, she temporarily stopped acting in order to raise her family, but lent her voice to several Big Finish audio productions . She returned to Doctor Who in the aptly titled Tenth Doctor episode, "School Reunion". Sladen and Tommy Knight have also appeared as Sarah Jane and Luke Smith in the series 4 finale, "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", and in the second and final part of David Tennant's swan song as the Tenth Doctor, The End of Time.
Concept and writingEdit
In 2005, Russell T Davies had envisioned using a previous companion to explore the role and eventual fate of the Doctor's companions. Sladen was convinced to appear in the second series episode "School Reunion". Meanwhile, CBBC proposed a spin-off to Davies about a teenage Doctor, which he denied in favour of a spin-off revolving around Sarah Jane. While surprised, Sladen agreed to sign on the project. However, the rights for K-9 to appear in the series were not secured. To explain the non-appearance of K-9, the production team gave him a cameo fixing a black hole inadvertently created in Switzerland.
The episode was written by Davies and Gareth Roberts. Roberts drew from several outside sources several parts of the plot, for example the allusion to the star of Wormwood from the Book of Revelation. Roberts also used the name of a beverage called "Bubbleshake" in his novel The Highest Science for inspiration for Bubble Shock!.
Broadcast and receptionEdit
The first scene of "Invasion of the Bane" to be shown was on 8 December 2006, during a BBC Breakfast interview with Sladen, and was released a day later on the interactive advent calendar on the Doctor Who microsite. The clip, lasting one minute in length, was of Sarah Jane's interview with Mrs Wormwood.
The episode's airing on BBC One gathered 2.9 million viewers, 15% of the audience share, of which 20% were under 16. While the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which aired against "Invasion of the Bane" on ITV1, had a higher overall reach, "Invasion of the Bane" had a slightly higher number of viewers head-to-head. The episode's audience Appreciation Index was 77, the average score for an episode of a drama programme.
- Cook, Benjamin (31 January 2007). "Doing It for the Kids". Doctor Who Magazine (378): 37.
- Foster, Chuck (9 December 2006). "Elisabeth Sladen on BBC Breakfast". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
- Cooper, Jarrod (9 December 2006). "Sarah Jane Adventures Clip". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- "Sarah Jane Final Ratings". Outpost Gallifrey. 26 January 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- "Sarah Jane Overnight Ratings". Outpost Gallifrey. 2 January 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- Sarah Jane Adventures: Invasion of the Bane [Paperback]. ASIN 140590397X.