The series had started on Monday, and we were shown episodes 5 and 6, not due to be screened for a good couple of weeks.
Bearing in mind I have written this a couple of weeks prior to its broadcast, I am going to keep this review of my night out as SPOILER FREE as I can.
I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of the episodes for anyone.
We had a nightmare driving into town, and what was due to be a 30 minute trip turned in to an hour and a half. Luckily we had allowed loads of time, so we arrived with literally minutes to spare. It was due to start at 8pm, but we found the preceding item had over-run, so when we arrived the audience was only just starting to go in. That was close.
The local area was also the location for scenes in Frontier In Space.
Once everyone was settled in, Justin Johnson the host for the evening, introduced himself and to get us all in the right frame of mind, two clips were played.
First was the closing scene of The Green Death, with the departure of Jo Grant (see right); followed by a similar scene from The Hand Of Fear, with the departure of Sarah Jane Smith (see below).
It was amusing to hear a Cardiff reference in the dialogue.
Seeing the clips also highlighted that Sarah returned home to South Croydon in The Hand Of Fear, but she has since moved to Ealing for The Sarah Jane Adventures.
There was also an impromptu quiz, with four questions and prizes to match. For those who knew Sarah Jane’s home address (including postcode); the title of the last episode from this series; or the name of the character played by Russ Abbot they could win a signed postcard of Sarah Jane and Jo Grant, or promo material from Merlin. Still, as the host suggested, think of the word “eBay” . . .
This was a particular shame, as there was one line of dialogue that has been picked up by the national press that I think a lot of the audience simply missed.
It relates to The Doctor’s regeneration cycle, and when asked he did not reply with the usual “twelve”.
I’ll leave you to find out what he said when it is screened, but you can read about it here:
Anyways, the plot was the usual Sarah Jane fare – lots of running around and saving the world. The involvement of The Doctor and Matt Smith was certainly a highlight, as was also Katy Manning as Jo Jones (nee Grant).
Once the episodes were over, the stage was quickly reset ready for the panel discussion, made up of: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Joseph Lidster (Writer, standing in for Producer Brian Minchin who had been taken ill), Gary Russell (Script Editor) and Edward Russell (Brand Manager).
Katy maybe 60, but she was very glamourously dressed, with a very revealing short skirt. She recalled her diverse career, her time in Australia and how she came to be asked to do Sarah Jane Adventures. Apparently it was so top secret she wasn’t told that she was appearing in it - even her agent couldn’t tell her!
I think she had learnt a lot from Jon when it comes to story telling!
She also recalled her call to appear in School Reunion, a part she initially planned to turn down, however, a pleasant meal out with Russell T Davies and Phil Collinson, plus some free flowing wine helped change her mind.
We were seated near the back of the auditorium, but I gather form those much close to the front, Lis Sladen was not impressed with Katy’s antics. Oh dear.
Nonetheless, I throughly enjoyed her stories and she was enormous entertainment and was a highlight of the night.
You can download a PDF file of the programme notes by clicking
the link below
Sarah Jane Programme Notes
The answers to the quiz questions were:
Sarah Jane’s home address - 13 Bannerman Road, Ealing, W5
Title of last episode of series 4 - Goodbye Sarah Jane Smith
Character played by Russ Abbot - Martin Trueman