Invasion of the Bane was the first episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Gareth Roberts and Russell T. Davies, directed by Colin Teague and featured Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith and introduced Yasmin Paige as Maria Jackson and Tommy Knight as Luke Smith.
It wasn't a pilot of any kind, since the whole of series 1 was commissioned simultaneously. (DWMSE 23) Indeed, the BBC One continuity announcement immediately following transmission proclaimed, "That was a taster for a brand new series that comes to CBBC later this year." Even so, it is frequently called "the pilot" in the fan community, and even occasionally in the Doctor Who Magazine. The production team also occasionally think of it as something "other" than series 1, since it comprised a production block of its own, several months prior to principal photography on the rest of the series. (DWMSE 23)
The episode re-introduced Sarah Jane Smith, then-familiar to BBC Wales audiences after her appearance on Doctor Who a few months earlier in School Reunion. Simultaneously, it wrote out K9 Mark IV, whom audiences would have expected to see with Sarah because of his appearance in the precedent Doctor Who story. Bob Baker, co-creator and owner of the concept of K9, was interested in getting K9 a show of his own, and so didn't want to dilute enthusiasm for the character by allowing his heavy use in The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Free from the somewhat artificial friendship with K9 that had been lumbered on her thanks to 1981's A Girl's Best Friend, Sarah was now able to build a new cast of supporting, and mostly human, characters. Chief amongst these was Maria Jackson, who played a teenaged girl from across the road, who effectively became Sarah's chief "companion". Her divorced parents, Alan and Chrissie Jackson, were also introduced, as was the more mysterious "Luke Smith", a boy who had been "born" at the apparent age of a teenager, and whom Sarah was more-or-less forced to adopt in order to keep his super-human qualities hidden from prying eyes. Also original to this story was Mr Smith, a super-computer installed in Sarah's attic. The main villain, the Bane, were also original to this series, although their shape-shifting qualities allowed for easy comparison to the Zygons.
From a production point of view, this was the second time a spin-off starring Elisabeth Sladen had been produced, the first being A Girl's Best Friend in 1981. It was the first time that two writers were credited on an episode of any DWU television story since Pip and Jane Baker's Time and the Rani. Davies would go on to share another credit with Roberts on Planet of the Dead and with Phil Ford on The Waters of Mars.
The story had a unique runtime, being an hour long. For the rest of the series, each story was comprised of two 25-minute episodes.
Investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith teams up with her new, thirteen-year-old neighbour, Maria Jackson, to face the scheming Mrs Wormwood, the head of a company producing a popular and addictive soft drink called "Bubble Shock!"
Maria Jackson and her father, Alan, are moving into a house opposite Sarah Jane Smith on Bannerman Road. As her father sorts boxes, Maria watches a television commercial for the popular new soft drink called "Bubble Shock!", which contains Bane. Maria's mother Chrissie helps out and pesters her former husband for money before leaving. That night Maria is awakened by a bright light. She follows it to Sarah's house and finds a glowing alien. As it disappears into the night sky, a terrified Maria runs home and locks the front door.
The next morning a local girl, Kelsey Hooper, arrives to welcome the new family. She at first seems somewhat overbearing and pushy, feeling entitled to take advantage of the new family's internet and television and feeling free to complain about their lack of music channels. Nevertheless, she is friendly and invites Maria to spend the afternoon with her, offering to take her into town. When Maria says she has no money, Kelsey tells her about the free Bubble Shock! bus. It takes visitors for a guided tour of the Bubble Shock! factory. As they leave, Mr Jackson follows to say goodbye and they all spot Sarah next door. Kelsey dismisses her as a madwoman and claims she caused the prior neighbours to go insane as well; they'd starting talking of seeing aliens. Ignoring Kelsey, Mr Jackson tries to introduce himself. Sarah meets his overtures with a declaration that she doesn't like to be bothered, but as he makes it clear his feelings are hurt, she attempts a modicum of small talk. This abruptly stops when she overhears the girls' plans and hurries to give chase in her car.
On the bus, Maria questions Kelsey about the secret ingredient in Bubble Shock! known only as Bane. Kelsey echoes the claims made by the television adverts that Bane is organic and that makes it good. Maria is not convinced enough to drink any of it. Kelsey informs her she must be part of the official 2% of the population that doesn't like the drink. After the bus reaches the factory, all the guests go through a security scanner and have to turn off their mobile phones. Unknown to them, the scanner collects their DNA. A boy, the Archetype, lies in a medical chamber with a breathing mask over his mouth. A worker informs his supervisor, Mrs Wormwood, that the DNA of the children has been transmitted. Mrs Wormwood is delighted and believes "mother" will be equally pleased.
The guests are led by PR agent Davey, who offers everyone numerous free samples of the drink whilst dully providing a pre-written PR statement on the virtues of the drink. He notices Maria has not taken a sample and insists she does. She says that she doesn't care for it, and is in the 2% of the population who feel likewise. Davey cryptically replies that the factory is working on a way to make sure 100% of the population will consume the drink.
Sarah is sneaking around the factory when she notices a door. Using her sonic lipstick, she opens it, before being captured by guards who take her to Mrs Wormwood's office. Sarah comments that Wormwood was described in the Bible as a star that would fall to Earth and taint the world's water supply. Wormwood recognises Sarah's name from e-mails and phone calls the company received, all of which went unanswered. She agrees to grant Sarah an interview.
Sarah asks how they obtained a license to make food and drink in two weeks. Mrs Wormwood replies that they are only satisfying the Western world's need for food. Sarah presses her on the nature of the mysterious Bane ingredient. Every test she has had run on the drink has failed to reveal anything — almost as if the drink had a form of intelligence and was hiding its contents. Mrs Wormwood insists that she drink some Bubble Shock! Sarah refuses and suggests that Wormwood comes from space. Mrs Wormwood mocks such an idea as crazy talk and has her secretary Lesley escort Sarah out of the factory. Once in the lift, Wormwood orders her secretary to kill Sarah, but she foils the attack and escapes further into the factory.
Kelsey tries to phone her friend Suki and wanders into a restricted area. Her mobile phone disturbs an unknown beast and sets off an emergency alarm, causing the factory to be evacuated. Davey finds her huddled in a corner, screaming for someone to get "that thing" away from her. Davey angrily responds that the creature is not "a thing", Kelsey is; the creature is his mother. Mrs Wormwood dispatches guards to locate and kill Sarah. She demands the alarms be switched off for the Bane Mother's sake. Maria tries to find Kelsey but she sets off the alarm again and prompts a system overload that allows the Archetype to escape. Mrs Wormwood and Davey lead teams in an attempt to find the source of the alarm.
Soon, Maria bumps into the Archetype. She tries to introduce herself, while the Archetype just repeats what she says back to her. They hide in a cubicle in the women's toilets and are soon joined by Sarah, with both parties surprised to see one another. Just outside, Davey reports they have searched everywhere and have found no sign of the intruders. Mrs Wormwood asks him if he has checked inside the women's toilets. Somewhat shocked, he replies that his training on human culture had stated it was strictly forbidden for males to enter. Frustrated at his stupidity, Wormwood storms into the toilets and slams open all the cubicles but finds no one there. Davey points out the window has been opened, and Wormwood realises Sarah and the children have escaped. Outside they flee to Sarah's car. Maria protests that they left Kelsey behind.
Sarah uses her sonic lipstick to get out of the factory grounds. In Mrs Wormwood's office, Kelsey rants about the treatment she has received. Unable to make sense of her tirade, Wormwood decides to change into her natural form in order to scan the girl's mind. She deactivates her image translator, causing Kelsey to scream. Some time later, Kelsey lies unconscious in the office. Davey notes Wormwood held back, to which she replies that children have parents who would cause them trouble by asking questions. She attempts to make sense of Kelsey's thoughts and finds most of them to be no use, focusing on boys and pop culture. She eventually discovers Kelsey knows of Sarah and lives on the same street. She dispatches Davey to take Kelsey home with his true objective being to kill Sarah and retrieve the Archetype.
Upon arriving back at Bannerman Road, Sarah tells Maria to go home and not get involved. Maria replies that it is too late for that and reveals she saw the alien from the previous night, which shocks Sarah. However, Sarah puts her foot down and tells Maria her life is dangerous; she does not want anyone else getting hurt for the decisions she has made. A furious Maria runs home and her father attempts to comfort her. Sarah questions the Archetype on his origins. She finds that despite his appearance he lacks a navel or any common-sense knowledge. Most surprisingly, Sarah's alien watch reveals him to be only hours old. When she asks him who he is he only replies, "I am everyone". A male voice calls out to Sarah. The Archetype asks what it is but Sarah quickly responds that it is nothing and that he is not allowed to go upstairs.
Soon after, Davey's car pulls up on the street. Kelsey attempts to flirt with him, but he just tells her to get out. Kelsey enters the Jacksons' house and a relieved Maria asks her what happened. Kelsey remembers nothing, instead believing Maria abandoned her for no reason and that she had to get a lift home from Davey. Realising this means he is on their street, an alarmed Maria runs to Sarah's house to warn her. Sarah initially mistakes her intent and shuts the door on her but quickly opens it when Kelsey screams — Davey has revealed his true Bane form and is crawling along the side of the house. Sarah quickly rushes both girls inside, but Davey easily knocks the front door off its hinges and chases them up the stairs.
Sarah tells the children to wait as she dashes into a room she declares off limits and returns with a mysterious spray with which she attacks Davey. The spray works and he is successfully repulsed, regaining his human appearance before running away. As Sarah unhappily notes that she has just used up the last of her spray on Davey, Kelsey slips away into the mysterious room and loudly declares her amazement. Sarah and the others follow, revealing a room filled with mementos of past adventures and also a talking computer, Mr Smith. One of the mementos is a transmitting device given to Sarah by the glowing alien Maria had seen earlier; that alien was a Star Poet who had gotten lost, and Sarah had helped her find her way home. In gratitude, the Star Poet had told Sarah that she could use the device to contact the Star Poet if she ever needed help with poetry. Maria and the Archetype show particular interest in the device, but Sarah discourages them from touching her possessions.
When asked about how she got interested in aliens, Sarah explains that years ago, she met a man unlike any other who took her on adventures in time and space. Then, their time together ended, and she was "back to a normal life of electric bills, burst pipes, bus tickets and rain". She continues that while at first she tried to forget their time together, she eventually met him again years later and had an epiphany: she could continue her work on Earth, finding aliens who come to Earth and helping the friendly ones. She contrasts herself with other groups who approach alien visitors with "guns blazing." Also, K9 is introduced to Maria, the Archetype and Kelsey when Sarah communicates with him via a long-distance visual interface facilitated by Mr Smith, as he is not currently at home with her. Sarah reveals that he is closing off a black hole that is threatening Earth and has been in there for "a year and a half now, plugging the distortion". He does not know how long he will have to remain there. After he signs off, Sarah admits that his absence makes her feel even more isolated than before.
As Sarah has been talking to Maria and the Archetype, her scanner watch which detects alien life forms has been going off unnoticed. After the Archetype points it out, Sarah uses the watch to find the alien life form: it is in Kelsey's Bubble Shock! drink. They realise with horror that the "organic bane" ingredient is literally a living Bane, and the drinkers of the highly popular soda are now Bane hosts. Earth is being primed for a Bane takeover.
Comprehending the need for immediate action, Sarah uses Mr Smith to patch into the Bubble Shock! factory communication systems. In order to do so, Mr Smith determines the Banes' communication frequency and reads its numbers aloud as he displays them. Sarah is able to contact Mrs Wormwood when Mr Smith "dials" the frequency. She offers Wormwood an ultimatum should the Bane not leave Earth: if they do not leave, she will "do something" to stop them. Mrs Wormwood scornfully challenges her to "bring it on" and discontinues the conversation. She then declares that the Bane must begin their takeover immediately and exercises mind control over all the Bubble Shock! drinkers, including Alan and Kelsey. Sarah is able to stop Kelsey, but all the other drinkers begin marching, chanting, "Drink it". They are commanded to "convert" those who have not imbibed; Mrs Wormwood plans to kill those who cannot be converted. Harried by mind-controlled Bubble Shock! drinkers, the group heads to the factory.
After gaining access to the factory grounds, the group finds themselves trapped between the Bubble Shock! mob at the factory gates and a deadlock sealed door to the factory itself. Having cast about for a solution, Sarah drives through the factory wall in the Bubble Shock! bus. The surprise entrance doesn't phase Mrs Wormwood. She appears rather pleased that Sarah has delivered herself to their doorstep, and brought the Archetype along as a bonus. Revealing that the Archetype was created to deal with the "2%", Wormwood declares he is no longer needed as plans have been sped up and disables the Archetype by manipulating her ring.
Cornered and about to be eaten by the Bane Mother, Maria uses her mobile phone to try to hold off the Bane. While the Bane Mother is momentarily affected, she is not incapacitated. Mrs Wormwood dismisses the attempt and informs Maria that her mobile is too small; she has only made the Bane Mother angry. The Bane Mother descends, but the Archetype reveals that he has a much more powerful communications device with him: the one given to Sarah by the Star Poet. When Mrs Wormwood taunts that it is useless without the frequency number, the Archetype declares that he can use the memory capacity of 10,000 humans that the Bane gave him in order to recall the frequency numbers that Mr Smith had said aloud earlier. He quickly programs the transmitter device with the Bane frequency to destroy the monstrous Bane Mother; as the device transmits, the Bane all recoil with pain. Mrs Wormwood screams that the Bane mother is dying; subsequently, their control over the populace ends and the Bubble Shock! factory is destroyed. The Bane either die or flee. At least Mrs Wormwood appears to escape, swearing revenge.
Back at the Jackson home, Maria reunites with her father and Sarah tries to introduce herself properly, deciding on the spur of the moment to introduce the Archetype as her adopted son. When asked his name, the Archetype replies that he has none. Sarah hurriedly explains that he's joking, but is spared trying to think of a name on the spot when Maria's obnoxious mother barges in. She hustles them out the door amidst tacky statements about neighbours inviting themselves over, promoting the Archetype to identify her out loud as "rude." Maria's father is mortified, but Maria seems accustomed to such displays and steps back as her parents squabble over money.
That evening, the gang try to think up a name for the Archetype and decide on Luke (after Sarah considers Harry and Alistair after Harry Sullivan and Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart). Mr Smith is able to create adoption papers for Luke, so there will be no issues with paperwork. That night, the trio sit together in Sarah's garden, looking up at the stars. Sarah proclaims that there are many adventures to be had on Earth, hinting at things to come.
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Mrs Wormwood - Samantha Bond
- Maria Jackson - Yasmin Paige
- Luke Smith - Tommy Knight
- Voice of Mr Smith - Alexander Armstrong
- Voice of K9 - John Leeson
- Kelsey Hooper - Porsha Lawrence-Mavour
- Davey- Jamie Davis
- Alan Jackson - Joseph Millson
- Chrissie Jackson - Juliet Cowan
- Secretary - Rungano Nyoni
- Technician - Philip North
- Bubbleshock Girl - Sydney White
- Newsreader - Olivia Hill
- Konnie Huq - Herself
- Gethin Jones - Himself
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Phil Collinson, Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
Gerry Dawson's role as Store person credited as "Store man". Tim Hodges' role as Assistant editor credited as "Editor's assistant".
- In Sarah's attic are photos of the Brigadier, Harry Sullivan, K9 Mark III and her 25-year younger self. She also has a license plate from Ontario.
- When considering names for Luke, Sarah considers Harry and Alistair.
- Kelsey Hooper mentions the Pope and musician James Blunt.
- Kelsey has friends named Darren, Suki and Sakkib.
- Alan mentions actress Angelina Jolie.
- Chrissie mentions her boyfriend Ivan.
- Kath Pontin is a friend of Kelsey's mother.
- K9 is sealing off a black hole created in Switzerland.
- Ivan has booked a villa just outside Skiathos.
- Mrs Wormwood mentions the soap opera Hollyoaks, after mistaking it for 'The Holy Oak'.
- Sarah Jane has a book by H. G. Wells in her attic.
- A printout that Sarah has upstairs shows part of the cover of the Whitley Strieber book Communion.
Races and species
- Sarah Jane mentions that there are secret organisations dedicated to finding aliens, but they tend to go in with "guns blazing" - a reference to Torchwood and UNIT.
- The Bane used a device called an "image translator".
- The Star Poet gives Sarah an Arcateenian communicator.
- Sarah has a mysterious circuit, a mirror drone and a dynacron star drive inside her attic.
- This is the only Sarah Jane Adventure episode that does not feature Clyde Langer.
- This was the only sixty-minute episode to be produced of The Sarah Jane Adventures; regular series episodes were twenty-five minutes in length, although on some occasions two-parters have been put together as an hour-long omnibus edition for repeat airings.
- This is also the only Sarah Jane Adventures episode which is not a two-parter.
- This was the only episode of the Doctor Who franchise for which Russell T Davies shared co-writing credit until the 2009 Specials.
- This episode is set at least eighteen months after School Reunion, based on Sarah saying that K9 has "been in there for a year and a half".
- Porsha Lawrence-Mavour's character Kelsey Hooper makes her one and only appearance in this story. Her spot in Sarah's "gang" was later occupied by Clyde Langer. No reason for this switch was ever officially given by the production team. However, it can be said that it was because of her character's constant disbelief in aliens, despite numerous amounts of proof.
- This episode first aired on the same day as End of Days, the last episode of Torchwood series 1.
Unproduced script ideas
DWMSE 23 gave readers an insight into some of the abandoned script ideas for Invasion of the Bane and The Sarah Jane Adventures in general. Some ideas were:
- Sarah Jane and Maria would be living in Croydon.
- Alan Jackson would be called Kevin.
- Chrissie Jackson would be a lot nicer than she turned out to be.
- Sarah's scanner watch would actually be a disc, like the one Jabe used in The End of the World.
- Wormwood and Davey's real names would be Zalia and Elspatch.
- The Bubble Shock! factory would be called Essia and the tours would be run under the impression it's keeping kids busy in the holidays.
- Zalia and Elspatch would wonder if Sarah is a Time Agent or works for the Judoon, as she has three years of her life missing.
- Sarah would fight off Lesley with Rutan nerve gas, which would make her nose go green.
- The Archetype would be called the Seedling and be named Luke upon arrival at Sarah Jane's house.
- Instead of Davey attacking Sarah in the attic, a creature called the Gloor would. The Gloor would be disguised in a parcel, brought in by Kevin. This idea would later be used in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith with Travast Polong, though that alien wasn't hostile.
- Chrissie, not Alan, would be taken over by Bubble Shock!
- Sarah would recount fighting dinosaurs (TV: Invasion of the Dinosaurs) and mummies on Mars, (TV: Pyramids of Mars) and seeing the human race billions of years in the future, frozen in an ark. (TV: The Ark in Space)
- 2.9 million viewers
- Aberdare Skate Park, Aberdare, Cardiff
- Cogan Leisure Centre, Penarth
- Penarth Pier, Penarth
- Clinton Road, Penarth
- Plassey Street, Penarth
- Glebe Street, Penarth
- Windsor Road, Penarth
- Black Horse Ltd (Cardiff), Cardiff
- Elinia House, Ely Fields, Cardiff
- Trident Park (Old NEG Factory), (formerly Nippon Electric Glass UK), Cardiff Bay
- College Green, London
- The tax disc on Sarah Jane's car clearly states it expires in July 2007. However, due to the one year time jump this story is set in 2008.
- In Sarah's attic, there is a picture of herself twenty-five years younger with K9 Mark III, and a portrait of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart circa the early 1970s. (TV: A Girl's Best Friend, Doctor Who[which?])
- Sarah mentions travelling with the Doctor (TV: The Time Warrior through The Hand of Fear) and then meeting the Tenth Doctor again years later (TV: School Reunion).
- It is suggested here that Sarah's renewed interest in helping, or combating, alien life was sparked by her recent adventure with the Doctor. The episode also re-establishes, in dialogue, Sarah's choice of lifestyle after leaving the Doctor years earlier. (TV: School Reunion)
- Wormwood notes the presence of residual artron energy around Sarah that indicates she travelled through the Time Vortex, although a long time ago. Those who travel with the Doctor in the TARDIS are physically altered by the experience, picking up background radiation. (TV: Dalek, Doomsday) Sarah has travelled through time and space via the TARDIS. (TV: The Five Doctors, The Hand of Fear)
- Sarah has a sonic lipstick which appears to function in much the same way as the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. At one point Sarah invokes the Doctor's name when using the device, suggesting he had something to do with creating it, a fact confirmed not on screen but on the show's website.
- Sarah mentions that the lipstick doesn't work against deadlock-sealed doors - also a weakness of the sonic screwdriver. (TV: School Reunion, et. al.)
- Sarah encounters an Arcateenian. (TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts)
Home video releases
- Invasion of the Bane was released by itself on a vanilla DVD. It also featured in the series one box set, which was released in North America on 7 October 2008 and on 10 November 2008 for the UK.
- Invasion of the Bane at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Invasion of the Bane at The Locations Guide