29 April 2006
Anthony Head (Mr Finch), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Rod Arthur (Mr Parsons), Eugene Washington (Mr Wagner), Heather Cameron (Nina), Joe Pickley (Kenny), Benjamin Smith (Luke), Clem Tibber (Milo), Lucinda Dryzek (Melissa), Caroline Berry (Dinner Lady), John Leeson (Voice of K-9).
|Written by||Toby Whitehouse|
|Directed by||James Hawes|
|Produced by||Julie Garner and Phil Colinson|
Headmaster Finch walks through Deffry Vale School, on his way to his office. When he arrives he finds a young girl sitting outside. She explains she is ill and has been sent home by the Matron, but because she lives at the local orphanage she is unable to do so. He comforts his pupil and ushers her inside, telling her it is nearly lunchtime. He closes the door, and through the frosted glass his shadow is seen shifting and changing. The girl screams, but nobody is around to hear. Elsewhere in the school, children are rushing to lessons at the sound of the bell. Some of them pile into a science lab, and are followed soon after by their teacher.
He walks to his desk, sets down his bag and greets his students. It is the Doctor.
- Sarah Jane Smith was the Doctor’s companion from The Time Warrior through The Hand of Fear, and witnessed his regeneration from his third body (Jon Pertwee) to his fourth (Tom Baker) — which was the first such transition to actually use the word “regeneration”. She’s also nominally met his first, second and fifth selves (The Five Doctors), but this story makes no reference to that, and some of the dialogue suggests that Sarah may not remember those events.
- The Doctor left Sarah behind in Croydon, or rather Aberdeen, in The Hand of Fear when a message from the Time Lords called him home to Gallifrey and Sarah had to be left behind. Strangely enough although this incident is referred to in the episode the name Gallifrey is not mentioned, and hasn’t been at all on screen in either series one or two so far.
- This story appears to a clear and possibly deliberate break with the continuity of the BBC novel range. Sarah Jane Smith has two encounters with the Doctor as part of that range, in Bullet Time (7th) and Interference (8th). There is absolutely no suggestion in this story that those events occurred. Indeed, Sarah’s behaviour strongly suggests that, with the possible exception of The Five Doctors, she has not seen the Doctor in any way, shape or form since being dumped in Aberdeen.
- Since both of the BBC Books stories take place in the mid-1990s, it can’t even be fudged that maybe the adventures lie in Sarah’s future. However, both of these might be explained; in Interference the action was mainly motivated by Faction Paradox, and since the Doctor erased them from history in The Ancestor Cell, this timeline may simply no longer exist. A similar reasoning could cover Bullet Time, since that adventure apparently culminated in Sarah’s death, a fact that was explained by the presence of the Council of Eight in Sometime Never…, who tried to kill some of the Doctor’s past companions.
- Sarah and K9 were never actually companions of the Doctor’s at the same time. K9 Mark I was the Doctor’s companion from The Invisible Enemy through The Invasion of Time. K9 Mark II was the Doctor’s companion from The Ribos Operation through Warrior’s Gate. K9 Mark III was never seen as an actual companion, but was left for Sarah Jane as a kind of apology for her having been dumped, first seen in the short-lived spin-off series K9 and Company. He was seen briefly in Sarah Jane’s company in The Five Doctors, and thus K9 and Company is treated as canonical.
- Sarah refers to the events in The Christmas Invasion when explaining how much she thinks about the Doctor.
- When confronting each other, Sarah and Rose mention mummies (Pyramids of Mars), ghosts (The Unquiet Dead), lots of robots (Robot, The Android Invasion), Slitheen in Downing Street (Aliens in London / World War Three), Daleks (Death to the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks), the Emperor Dalek (The Parting of the Ways), anti-matter monsters (Planet of Evil), gas-masked zombies (The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances), dinosaurs (Invasion of the Dinosaurs), a werewolf (School Reunion), and the Loch Ness Monster (Terror of the Zygons, and the one that makes Rose stop.)
- At the open, the Doctor is seen posing as a science teacher, in a classroom very like the one in which his early companion, Ian Chesterton, taught the Doctor’s granddaugter, Susan. Like Milo, but obviously for different reasons, she also had a rather puzzlingly advanced knowledge of science.
- The Doctor has used the pseudonym “John Smith” on and off ever since his second incarnation. He used it consistently throughout his years with UNIT, starting with Spearhead from Space where he needed something like an ordinary name, if only for documentation purposes.
- The Doctor does not mention to Rose the limitation of 12 regenerations, established in The Deadly Assassin and central to the plot of “Mawdryn Undead” and the 1996 film. It’s possible that the new series plans to ignore or work around the limitation.
- In accordance with an apparent trend with the series, this episode features a reference to the Torchwood Institution. In this episode Torchwood is the name of the data access block on Mickey’s computer.
- Sarah Jane Smith is almost, but not quite, unique amongst the Doctor’s long-term companions in that most leave the TARDIS voluntarily, and in some cases may not care so much if they ever see the Doctor again. Only his granddaughter Susan was left behind quite so unceremoniously as Sarah, and despite his promise in The Dalek Invasion of Earth to come back some day, he’s never visited Susan again, either, at least, not in a televised adventure.
- The use of the children resembles the Daleks’ use of a child in Remembrance of the Daleks, although there the Daleks simply wanted strategy advice from a child’s imagination, rather than information on how to tap into godlike power.
- The Doctor was introduced to as “John Smith” the very first time they met in The Time Warrior. Sarah Jane
- During this episode, The Deffry Vale School Website biography of “Mr. Smith” states that he previously taught in Shoreditch. Which means the Doctor probably claimed to have been a teacher at Coal Hill School, where his granddaughter Susan used to attend.