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Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?

Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? is the fifth story of the British science fiction television series The Sarah Jane Adventures. It forms the seventh and eighth episodes of the show's first series. The first episode was aired on the CBBC channel on 29 October 2007, and the second on 5 November.

05 – Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?
The Sarah Jane Adventures story
Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane (Trickster).png
Directed byGraeme Harper
Written byGareth Roberts
Script editorLindsey Alford
Produced byMatthew Bouch
Executive producer(s)Phil Collinson
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code1.7 and 1.8
SeriesSeries 1
Length2 episodes, 25 minutes each
First broadcast29 October 2007 (2007-10-29)
Last broadcast5 November 2007 (2007-11-05)
← Preceded by
Warriors of Kudlak
Followed by →
The Lost Boy
List of The Sarah Jane Adventures serials


Part 1Edit

Sarah Jane receives a puzzle box from a Veron Soothsayer, with the instruction to give it to the person she most trusts. Sarah Jane gives Maria the puzzle box. A meteor is on collision course with Earth, and Sarah Jane has set up, but not yet activated via Mr Smith, a force field to deflect the meteor. The next morning, Maria wakes to find that Sarah Jane and Luke have gone missing, but no one besides Maria knows who Sarah Jane or Luke are. A woman called Andrea Yates has apparently taken Sarah Jane's place.[1]

Investigating, Maria finds a 1964 newspaper report, stating that a thirteen-year-old Sarah Jane Smith died after falling off a pier, where she was playing with her friend, Andrea Yates. As Maria watches, the names of the deceased and the survivor on the report switch before her eyes and, at one point, hears Sarah Jane's disembodied voice calling out to her. When Maria goes to Andrea to talk to her about the report, Andrea suddenly panics and unceremoniously shows Maria out before she rushes to her attic, where she takes out a second puzzle box. She now remembers a mysterious hooded figure, who appears and offers to make Maria disappear. After Andrea accepts, he dispatches a small alien, a Graske, who captures Maria just after her father, Alan, picks up the first puzzle box, which Maria dropped during her escape from the Graske. When Alan's ex-wife Chrissie comes round, he discovers she cannot remember their daughter. Meanwhile, Maria escapes from the Graske and finds herself on a beach promenade near two girls. They introduce themselves as Andrea Yates and Sarah Jane Smith.

Part 2Edit

After failing to dissuade Andrea and Sarah Jane from going to the pier, Maria is recaptured by the Graske and taken to join the adult Sarah Jane on a white misty plain, limbo. The mysterious figure explains he has removed Sarah Jane from Earth's timeline so the meteor will destroy it and create the chaos on which he feeds; The Doctor will be his next target.

Alan accompanies Chrissie to Andrea's birthday party. Remembering Maria's suspicions, he questions Andrea, who takes him to the attic and sorrowfully reveals the truth. When Andrea fell off the pier and Sarah Jane was unable to save her, a voice offered to switch the girls' places and Andrea, terrified, accepted. The figure appeared and gave Andrea the puzzle box, then removed himself from her memory; Maria's questions made Andrea remember the deal she made with the figure. Alan is now chased into the street by the Graske but he knocks it down, then uses its device to bring back Maria.

They return to the attic, where Sarah Jane appears in the mirror and explains to Andrea that witnessing her death gave her the resolve to fight pointless deaths herself. When the figure reappears (called The Trickster by Alan), Andrea explains she has changed her mind about the deal and throws her puzzle box at the mirror, smashing both. Back in 1964, Andrea falls to her death. Sarah Jane and Luke reappear in the attic and activate Mr Smith. The party guests, including Chrissie and Clyde, have learned from television news about the incoming meteor, and are relieved to see it suddenly diverted from its fall. The episode ends with Alan demanding an explanation of Maria's involvement with aliens and supercomputers.


  • The Graske also featured in the interactive episode of Doctor Who, "Attack of the Graske". Sarah Jane states that there was Graske activity on Earth a couple of years ago, possibly referring to that episode.
  • Sarah mentions previous times she saved the Earth and thwarted alien invasions, including the Bane ("Invasion of the Bane"), the Slitheen (Revenge of the Slitheen) and the Gorgons (Eye of the Gorgon). She also mentions that she helped defeat the Patriarchs of the Tin Vagabond. The Church of the Tin Vagabond was previously mentioned in the 2006 Doctor Who episode, "The Satan Pit".
  • The Trickster threatens the Doctor when in limbo. This is the second time that the Doctor has been explicitly named in the series, the first being in Revenge of the Slitheen. The Trickster makes good on this threat in the Doctor Who episode "Turn Left", when a creature from "[his] brigade" assaults Donna Noble.
  • Sarah Jane's address is identified as 13 Bannerman Road, as it is throughout the later series; it had been 21 Bannerman Road in the preceding two serials,[2] yet the sign on the brick wall next to the Smiths' driveway still says 21.

Outside referencesEdit

  • When questioned about Maria, Andrea mentions "Ave Maria" and Maria Callas.
  • The fictional Triffids are mentioned.
  • When Maria is on the Internet on her laptop, she goes on bebo.

Cast notesEdit


The story received several positive reviews. Mark Wright, writing on The Stage's "TV Today" blog, stated that the series, while usually "wholly satisfying and entertaining", "achieves true greatness" with the first part of Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? He called the episode "scary as hell ... but with that essential lightness of touch that has typified the show from the start".[3] Alisdair Stuart praised the acting of Jane Asher, Joseph Millson and Yasmin Paige; he regarded Paige's prominence as compensating for her relative lack of screen time in Warriors of Kudlak. Stuart summed up Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? as "the darkest, most ambitious and most effective Sarah Jane story to date" and "one of the best New Who stories to date".[4][unreliable source?] Andrea Mullaney in The Scotsman also commended the "young actors", while calling attention to a "gentle theme" in the story of "ageing and what we leave behind".[5]

The second part of the story received the most viewers of any programme ever broadcast on the CBBC Channel.[6]


Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?
AuthorRupert Laight
SeriesThe Sarah Jane Adventures #5
Published2008 (Penguin Books)
Preceded byWarriors of Kudlak 
Followed byThe Lost Boy 

This was the fifth of eleven Sarah Jane Adventures serials to be adapted as a novel. Written by Rupert Laight, the book was first published in Paperback on 6 November 2008.[7]


  1. ^ "BBC Program Information, week 45". BBC Press Office. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
  2. ^ The Smiths' front door bears the number 21 in Eye of the Gorgon, and Sarah Jane's business card shows her address as 21 Bannerman Road in Warriors of the Kudlak.
  3. ^ Mark Wright (5 November 2007). "Square Eyes 5–8 November". TV Today. The Stage. Retrieved 8 November 2007.[dead link]
  4. ^ Alisdair Stuart (6 November 2007). "Review:The Sarah Jane Adventures-Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?". Firefox News. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
  5. ^ Andrea Mullaney (6 November 2007). "I'm not over-eager for the rise of the cybermen". The Scotsman. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
  6. ^ The Doctor Who News Page Archived 12 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Sarah Jane Adventures: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? [Paperback]". Retrieved 17 December 2011.

External linksEdit