The Mark of the Berserker was the fourth serial of series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Joseph Lidster, directed by Joss Agnew and featured Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Tommy Knight as Luke Smith, Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer, Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra and Alexander Armstrong as Mr Smith.
It was mainly notable for introducing Clyde Langer's mother and father. Although Clyde's father was central, the story was unique in being the only one to feature the fathers of all three of the series' primary child characters: Langer, Jackson and Chandra. It even ended on a soft cliffhanger of Sarah looking at a picture of her father, who would appear in the next episode.
The story had some other remarkable features.
Sarah 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 Travast 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.
An alien pendant which gives its wearer the power to control others is stolen from Sarah'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.
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'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'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.
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, but she is preoccupied trying to pursue an alien called Travast 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 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 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's adventures with her son, and his father, then throws the pendant into the sea. Sarah 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.
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Luke Smith - Tommy Knight
- Clyde Langer - Daniel Anthony
- Rani Chandra - Anjli Mohindra
- Maria Jackson - Yasmin Paige
- Voice of Mr Smith - Alexander Armstrong
- Paul Langer - Gary Beadle
- Carla Langer - Jocelyn Jee Esien
- Jacob West - Perry Millward
- Haresh Chandra - Ace Bhatti
- Alan Jackson - Joseph Millson
- Mr. Cunningham - Huw Higginson
- Steve Wallace - Elijah Baker
- Car Salesman - Prassana Puwanarajah
- Detention Girl - Jessica Lewis
- Detention Boy - Andrew Philips
Created by Russell T Davies
|Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner|
|Series Producer Matthew Bouch|
|General production staff|
Camera and lighting department
|Make-up and prosthetics
General post-production staff
Special and visual effects
|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.|
- Paul Langer has a photo of his and Melba's child inside his pocket.
- Mrs Taylor is an art teacher at the Park Vale Comprehensive School.
- A man uses a Berserker pendant in 1940 and turns into a Berserker.
- Beryl lives nextdoor to Clyde and Clara.
Real world culture
- A sticker featuring Yakko, Wakko, and Dot from the cartoon series Animaniacs is visible on Rani's refrigerator.
- When Clyde shows Luke his drawings, he has created a character named Rocket Man.
- 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.
- 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 is away.
- Clyde shows a holographic postcard to his father.
- Paul sees a Sontaran gas canister and a portable scanner inside Sarah's attic.
- Alan uses UNIT technology to turn Carla Langer's satnav into an advanced satnav.
Foods and beverages
- 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.
- Part 1 - 531,000 (CBBC channel)
- Part 2 - 628,000 (CBBC channel)
to be added
- 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. (Although it could just be early morning i.e. 5-6am in Washington).
- Clyde Langer had earlier referred to his family situation. (TV: Warriors of Kudlak)
- Paul Langer mentions the Daleks, presumably in reference to their recent invasion of Earth. (TV: The Stolen Earth / Journey's End)
- Sarah Jane says she is visiting Tarminster. (TV: Terror of the Autons).
- Clyde mentions the Sontarans (TV: The Last Sontaran) and the Slitheen. (TV: Revenge of the Slitheen, The Lost Boy)
- Maria and Alan are in Washington DC. (TV: The Last Sontaran)
- A Magpie Electricals logo is visible from a closeup shot of Sarah's computer. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern)
- Clyde previously forgot having ever met his friends. (TV: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?)
- Carla Langer's advanced satnav was used again to track down a school bus. (AUDIO: The Shadow People)
- Luke Smith later had nightmares about his worst experiences, one of these dreams was about Clyde who had forgotten about him. (PROSE: The Nightmare Man)
Home video releases
- This story, along with the rest of Series 2, was released on DVD on 9 November 2009 (UK) and 10 November 2009 (North America).
- The Mark of the Berserker at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Mark of the Berserker at The Locations Guide