The Mad Woman in the Attic
The Mad Woman in the Attic is a two-part story of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 22 and 23 October 2009. It is the second serial of the third series, and marks the return of K9.
|14 – The Mad Woman in the Attic|
|The Sarah Jane Adventures story|
|Directed by||Alice Troughton|
|Written by||Joseph Lidster|
|Script editor||Gary Russell|
|Produced by||Nikki Wilson|
Phil Ford (co-producer)
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies|
|Production code||3.3 and 3.4|
|Running time||2 episodes, 25 minutes each|
|First broadcast||22 October 2009|
|Last broadcast||23 October 2009|
The story opens with a "mad woman" in the attic of 13 Bannerman Road, in the year 2059 in Ealing. Sarah Jane and Luke, who previously lived in the house, are long gone, and Mr Smith ceased to function several years earlier. A teenage boy, Adam, investigates the attic, and learns that the "mad woman" is Rani, who had fought aliens with Sarah Jane, Luke and Clyde.
Rani has a flashback of 2009 in her adolescence, aged 15, in Sarah Jane's attic, at which time she overreacted when the group were not paying her much attention. Sarah Jane told her that a flash of lightning that struck the BT Tower was unimportant. Rani then received an email from an old friend, Sam, from her home town by the beach, whom she had told about her encounters with aliens.
The email explained that people had been disappearing; Rani meets up with Sam, who sends her to investigate rumours of a demon in an abandoned fairground. Rani then meets Harry, the caretaker, whom she accompanies after lying to him about having a twisted ankle. Harry becomes frightened and tells Rani to leave, but she then sees people with red glowing eyes seemingly enjoying the funfair rides.
Sarah Jane, Luke and Clyde investigate Sam, who has lived at St Anthony's Children's Home since his parents died in a car accident in 2001. Leaving Luke with Sam, Sarah Jane and Clyde go to the funfair where they discover the red-eyed people on the rides. Rani is shut in a room with Eve, a girl with red skin and rope-like hair, who "just wants to play" and reveals that she is kidnapping lonely people to make them have fun. Rani is then convinced that she does not need to depend on Sarah Jane and that she should leave her forever. She then glimpses her future, as the mad woman in the attic.
Rani sees her future as a mad woman living in the attic of Sarah Jane's and wants to change it. She leads Eve out of the "haunted mine" ride. Eve takes control of the rides again, but Harry tells her to stop, as it will kill her, according to Ship. Eve then possesses Rani, like the other people in the fairground.
Harry, Clyde and Sarah Jane then take Eve back to the beach, and K9 gives Ship the black hole energy it needs to leave, also allowing K9 to return home permanently. Rani is let free. Sam and Harry are invited to leave Earth with Eve.
As Sarah Jane and her friends are about to leave, Ship grants Rani's wish that Sarah Jane, Luke and Clyde would leave her alone, not understanding that it was not intended literally, and they disappear.
Adam reveals that he is the child of Sam and Eve, and he gives the older Rani the opportunity to change her past. Rani's timeline is altered so that Ship does not fulfil her wish. She is then shown in her alternative future, enjoying the company of her children and grandchildren. In this future, it is implied through dialogue that she has just returned from a trip to Washington where she and Luke were catching up with Maria.
- When Ship looks into Sarah Jane's past, clips of her childhood from first and second season episodes, The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith, The Day of the Clown and Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?; these are followed by scenes of her time with the Doctor from the Third Doctor serials The Time Warrior (her introduction) and Planet of the Spiders, and when she returned to Earth in the Fourth Doctor serial The Hand of Fear (these clips also include footage of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor and Tom Baker as the Fourth); she is also shown with K-9 Mark III from The Five Doctors and with the Daleks in "The Stolen Earth". Scenes of the near future show the TARDIS' arrival in the Smiths' attic in the following serial, The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and a very brief glimpse of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor running through its doors. This episode marks the first use of clips from the "classic era" of Doctor Who in The Sarah Jane Adventures, though still images of Sarah Jane and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart from the series have been seen previously. It is the second time classic series clips have been used in revived "Whoniverse" programmes (silent footage having been shown in "The Next Doctor") and the first time they have been used with sound.
- Footage of the TARDIS from The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith marks the first appearance of the TARDIS in any Doctor Who spin-off, aside from a drawing previously seen in the Smiths' attic; (the TARDIS' sound effect was used at the end of the Torchwood episode, "End of Days").
- Scenes from Luke's past are from "Invasion of the Bane" (his activation) and The Last Sontaran (Maria's departure).
- In the future, Rani Chandra is living in Sarah Jane's former home at 13 Bannerman Road. In the present day, she lives in Maria Jackson's former home at 36 Bannerman Road.
- The Last Great Time War is referenced by Eve, although no names are mentioned, the allusions to "timelines" are clear.
- Pixley, Andrew; Spilsbury, Tom (13 July 2011). "Credits". Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: The Sarah Jane Companion, Volume Two (Special Edition #28): 114.