How was Liz Sladen's death handled on Sarah Jane Adventures?

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by gastrof, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. gastrof

    gastrof Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know only what I've heard, that series 4 ended with the 'Goodbye' episode, with Sarah turning out to be seriously ill, but that there were three more stories for series 5, which Liz apparently was in.

    How did they handle Sarah's being ill, and did the final episode have any "resolution" aspects to it, or was everything just left hanging?

    Have some pity on a Whovian in the States who hasn't had any real access to The Sarah Jane Adventures since SyFy stopped showing them when it apparently cut ties with the BBC.
     
  2. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sarah's illness in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith" was purely a plot device for that two-parter, and the three stories filmed for series five were ordinary ones, done on the assumption that Sladen would be continuing as normal and filming three more later. The last broadcast of the three completed stories, "The Man Who Never Was," has a closing montage that's valedictory in tone, but it's not something that was planned as a final episode ever, and there's no implication that Sarah Jane is going anywhere.
     
  3. gastrof

    gastrof Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How did they work out the "plot device" illness in the 'Goodbye' episode?

    Plus, I understand another Sarah-type woman was introduced. Was she a bad guy in disguise, or another "crusader" like Sarah?
     
  4. ToddKent

    ToddKent Captain Captain

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    Anyone know when we get the last season DVDs in the U.S.?
     
  5. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    She was a bad guy in disguise. In fact, she was an alien who fed on the souls of others, and the source of Sarah's illness. When she was defeated, Sarah recovered.
    It came out in June. Amazon link.
     
  6. ToddKent

    ToddKent Captain Captain

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    Had no idea. For some reason Netflix doesn't have them.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Any resemblance between "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith" and Sladen's real illness was purely coincidental. At the time they wrote and filmed that story, they had no idea that her health was going to take a rapid turn for the worse. She had been through cancer treatment before, but it was in remission at the time. So "Goodbye" was not in any way written to address her real-life illness. As mentioned, they went on to film another half-season after the "Goodbye" storyline -- and it was in the break following that half-season that her cancer returned with a vengeance.

    So they simply didn't have time to deal with her illness and death, since it happened so fast. They just cancelled production on the second half of Series 5. As far as the Doctor Who universe is concerned, Sarah Jane and her friends are still alive and active and saving the Earth from Bannerman Road. We just don't get to see it anymore.
     
  8. gastrof

    gastrof Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What was the "closing montage that's valedictory in tone" like? What exactly did they do?

    (Oh- Brendan and Chris... THANK YOU for your quick replies!)
     
  9. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You can see it on YouTube here. It's a bunch of short clips from various SJA episodes and Sarah Jane's appearances on new Who, with a voiceover by Sarah Jane drawn from used and unused takes of the ending speech of "The Lost Boy" from series one: "I've seen amazing things out there in space, but strange things can happen wherever you are. I have learned that life on Earth can be an adventure too. In all the universe, I never expected to find a family." Then there's a last shot of the Earth and a title card reading "And the story goes on... forever."
     
  10. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  11. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's a very touching Tribute to Lis Sladen, that was on YouTube shortly after it aired in Britain. I downloaded from YouTube and burned it to DVD, so, I didn't save the bookmark, so, don't know if it's still up, but, I believe it perfectly legitimate being up, so there should be no problem.

    I think it was called "Goodbye My Sarah Jane" or Simply "My Sarah Jane"
     
  12. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    Was any mention made of what the three unfilmed stories were to be? I assumed at least one would have something to do with Sky, to keep her arc going...

    Mark
     
  13. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were written up in a special edition of Doctor Who Magazine, which I have laying around here but haven't read. One was about Sky ("The Battle of Bannerman Road"), one would have seen Mr. Smith become human, and one is being repurposed as an episode of Wizards vs Aliens ("The Thirteenth Floor").
     
  14. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Heres the tribute that Sindatur mentioned.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhMOY_opag4[/yt]
     
  15. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder whether, as with the Brigadier, will they refer in DW to the character having passed, given that the actor did. Or, given that Liz was so much younger than Nicholas, will they allow her character to live a long life, just not one which the viewer happens to see any more?
     
  16. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think if they were going to have the character die in Doctor Who they would have done so by now. And it's a much darker prospect than killing off the Brigadier anyway-- Sarah Jane had two fairly young adopted children who were characters in their own right, and several other young friends. Inviting viewers to imagine their grief would probably be too strong. Russell T Davies has said that as far as he's concerned Sarah Jane is still having adventures on Bannerman Road, and I think that's the right way to go.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I agree for the most part, but the downside is that we don't still get to see Rani and Clyde having adventures. I like those two and I wish we could still get to see them. Like, do something where Sarah Jane has to go off on an extended mission to make peace in some distant galaxy or something, and now that Clyde and Rani are all grown up, she passes the torch to them, leaving them K9 and Mr. Smith so they can continue her work.

    Although that would be a bit hard to do effectively when you can't actually film the scenes of Sarah Jane doing these things, but just have to spring it on us as a fait accompli. Still, I miss the actors. And it would be a much better use of K9 than that lame Australian series.
     
  18. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    I could have imagined a follow up series opening with Clyde talking to camera, saying "Sarah Jane always said there comes a time when you've got to strike out on your own... so that's what I'm doing."
    "Not quite on your own" says Rani's voice as she turns the camera round to show it was her filming him.
    And they're off, alien-hunting on their own, with Rani working as a trainee newspaper reporter and Clyde as a freelance cartoonist who sometimes works for the paper (that comes from the vague plans that had been laid for season six so the actors could keep appearing as they chose around more adult roles elsewhere).
     
  19. VDCNI

    VDCNI Captain Captain

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    Talking of Clyde - nice to see that Daniel Anthony has got a new recurring role in Casualty starting this weekend.
     
  20. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's a good point, I think you're right. Although it's possible (though unlikely) that they could mention it in a few years, when the current generation of viewers are a bit older.