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The Mark of the Berserker (TV story)

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RealWorld
The Mark of the Berserker
LangerBoys
Main character(s): Sarah Jane, Luke, Clyde, Rani, Mr Smith
Featuring: Maria, Alan, Paul, Carla, Steve, Mr Cunningham
Main enemy: Berserker pendant
Main setting: Ealing, Washington and Lynport Marina, 2009
Key crew
Writer: Joseph Lidster
Director: Joss Agnew
Producer: Nikki Smith
Release details
Story number: 10
Season/series: 2
Premiere broadcast: 3 November - 10 November 2008
Format: 2x30 minute episodes
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SJA television stories
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The Mark of the Berserker was the fourth story in the second series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was mainly notable for introducing Clyde Langer's mother and father. Although Langer's father was central, the story was the only to one to feature all three of the series' fathers: Langer, Jackson and Chandra. It even ended on a soft cliffhanger of Sarah Jane looking at a picture of her father, who would appear in the next episode.

The story had some other remarkable features.

Sarah Jane was absent for much of the proceedings, but depicted in part one as being engaged in comparatively ordinary journalism regarding a hospital scandal. In part two, it was revealed that in fact she was tracking a Travist Polong, the same sort of slug-like creature that would return in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.

Furthermore, part two was one of only two episodes of the series to credit both Yasmin Paige and Anjli Mohindra, and the only episode of the entire series to show a conversation between Maria and Rani. Barring archive footage and photographs, it was the final appearance for both Maria and her dad.

Synopsis Edit

An alien pendant which gives its wearer the power to control others is stolen from Sarah Jane's attic. Luke and Rani enlist the help of Clyde's mum to track down Clyde and his father, who has the alien pendant. The chase leads to a terrifying waterside confrontation when the pendant takes control of Paul and begins transforming him.

Plot Edit

Part 1 Edit

Sarah Jane is going away for the weekend to track down an alien lifeform and leaves Luke to stay with Clyde and his mother for the weekend.

Rani walks by the detention room at school. She witnesses a boy, Jacob West, controlling his teacher and fellow students. He runs into the boy's bathroom, drops a strange pendant on the floor and leaves. Rani picks up the pendant and pockets it. On Bannerman Road, Rani and her father, Haresh, are deciding on tea and choose to have a pizza. Rani discovers that Haresh will follow her verbal instructions. She deduces that the pendant causes people to follow instructions given to them by the pendant's wearer. Although she initially has fun with the pendant, when her father offers to die as a result to an idle comment, Rani realises how dangerous it is.

The next day, somebody knocks on the door of the Langers' home. Clyde answers it and finds that his long-lost father, Paul Langer, has turned up. His arrival upsets Clyde and his mum.

After an emotional discussion among the three of them, Clyde leaves with his father. During the course of the day, Clyde reveals to his father that he is involved in tackling alien threats. Meanwhile, Rani goes to Sarah Jane's attic only to find that Mr Smith has been deactivated while the house is empty. Rani decides to leave the pendant there so no-one will find it. After a talk with her father, she decides to investigate matters herself. She finds Luke, and they go to the school to search for clues.

Clyde convinces his father that he is telling the truth by taking him to Sarah Jane's attic. Paul finds the pendant that Rani left and puts it in his shirt pocket. Outside, they meet Haresh, who asks them about what they were doing in Sarah's house. Paul ends up instructing Haresh to do press-ups and realises it must be due to the pendant. Luke and Rani run up to them. Rani works out what has happened and confronts Paul and Clyde. Paul instructs Clyde to forget who Rani and Luke are. They walk off. Paul finds his hand has a strange blue symbol on it.

Part 2 Edit

Clyde and Paul are walking in town. Paul can't stop looking at the symbol on his hand. Luke and Rani attempt to contact Sarah Jane, but she is preoccupied trying to pursue an alien called Travist Polong. Meanwhile, Luke and Rani send a picture of the pendant to Maria and her father to investigate, as her father can hack into UNIT. They discover the pendant can cause a symbol known as the mark of the Berserker to appear on one's skin.

Haresh refuses to stop the press-ups. Paul gets everything he wants for free — including a new car — and uses this to bond with his son. He instructs Clyde to forget about how he left him and his mum when he was young and to forget about his mum. The pendant takes over Paul's skin, causing blue veins to appear, and he collapses. He declares himself the Berserker and Clyde his soldier. Sarah Jane appears and Clyde recognises her. She tells him that his mum, Rani and Luke are the most important people in his life when he asks who they are. Clyde and his mum talk Paul through his memories, whilst Sarah Jane shows him a reflection of himself in her handbag mirror and he remembers who he really is.

Everyone the Berserker commanded has their commands undone. Clyde tries to get his mum and dad back together, but Paul tells his son that he has made his mum's sister pregnant. Clyde tells his father he doesn't need him, and not to mess up with this baby. His dad then leaves to return the car and clothes. Clyde tells his mother to forget about the pendant, what she knows about Sarah Jane's adventures with her son, and his father, then throws the pendant into the sea. Sarah Jane reveals that her parents died when she was young and she would do anything to see them again. When Clyde is gone, she takes out a picture of her mother and father and rubs her finger over the latter.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound







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.


References Edit

Real world culture Edit

  • A sticker featuring Yakko, Wakko, and Dot from the cartoon series Animaniacs is visible on Rani's refrigerator.
  • When Clyde shows Luke his drawings, there is a picture of a character similar in design to Samus Aran from the Metroid video game series.
  • While under the influence of the Berserker pendant, Haresh impersonates Bianca Jackson from EastEnders.
  • The song "Grace Kelly" by singer MIKA is played in this episode.

Technology Edit

  • Mr Smith has an automated recording that plays in the event someone tries to summon him while he is shut down, such as when Sarah Jane is away.

Vehicles Edit

  • Paul steals a Ferrari from the car dealership through use of the Berserker pendant.

Foods and beverages Edit

Story notes Edit

  • This is the fourth story in a row to feature a form of mind control.
  • This is the first story where Mr. Smith does not physically make an appearance. Sarah Jane shuts him down in her absence, and when he is called upon, the wall panels do not open up to reveal him. Instead, an answering machine function activates and plays an automated message. However, his voice actor, Alexander Armstrong, is still credited for his speaking lines in the role. Additionally, because he is inactive, this is the first story where Mr Smith's iconic boot-up fanfare is not heard playing.
  • When Clyde dons the leather jacket that Paul buys him, his attire looks similar to the Ninth Doctor's wardrobe.
  • This marks the second time that Clyde has forgotten his friends. The first was in TV: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?, due to the Trickster's meddling with the timeline creating an existence where they never met. So far, he has forgotten Maria (in the latter story) and Rani (in the current story) once, and has forgotten Luke over the course of both stories, one of which was a case where Luke ceased to exist.
  • This is the only story to feature both Maria and Rani.

Ratings Edit

  • Part 1 - 531,000 (CBBC channel)
  • Part 2 - 628,000 (CBBC channel)

Filming locations Edit

to be added

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Maria and Alan are woken up by Luke's calling, and Alan tells her to "tell him what time it is here", both implying it's night in Washington... Yet it's visibly daylight in both locations.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

  • This story, along with the rest of Series 2, was released on DVD on 9 November 2009 (UK) and 10 November 2009 (North America).

External links Edit


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