The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith was the fifth serial of series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Gareth Roberts, directed by Graeme Harper 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 featured the return of the Trickster, and his associate Krislok, who would be liberated of his servitude to his master and make his last appearance. The episode was also notable for revealing the ultimate fate of Sarah's birth parents, Eddie and Barbara Smith.
When Sarah returns a boy who has slipped through a time fissure to 1951, she realises she has found a way to meet the parents she never knew. Is it a trap? Sarah and Luke fall victim to a revenge plot by the Trickster.
A boy appears through a time fissure. Sarah and Luke find the fissure as Clyde and Rani chase after the boy. They bring him back and Sarah opens the fissure so he can return home. The boy is scared, so Sarah Jane takes him through. Before she can leave, Sarah discovers it is 1951. She pauses, then returns through the fissure. The boy asks if he completed his task and the Trickster appears, saying he did it perfectly. This time Sarah will not be able to resist temptation. Rani, Clyde and Luke try to convince Sarah to let them go through, using her travels with the Doctor as leverage, but she tells them that it is too dangerous and the Doctor knew what he was doing, mostly. She closes the fissure and they head home.
At home, the kids agree that something is wrong with Sarah and set Luke to find out what. In the attic, Sarah asks Mr Smith the status of the fissure. It is inactive. She asks him for the history of Foxgrove. After he tells her, she puts Mr Smith away and looks at a black and white photograph.
Luke enters and convinces Sarah to tell him the truth. She explains about her parents, their death in a car crash and how she was raised by her aunt. Luke asks why she doesn't go back. Sarah tells him it could be a trap. Luke notes that it could just be a coincidence, but Sarah decides not to go.
That night, Sarah gets ready to go through the fissure and attempts to leave, but is caught by Luke. He asks about her clothing, then the two head out. At the fissure they discuss the dangers of crossing your own timeline. Sarah passes through and the fissure closes, but not before Luke jumps through. The fissure is still active and can be opened, so Sarah and Luke head towards the village. They are watched by Oscar, the boy they rescued.
Clyde discovers Sarah's house empty. After failing to get either of them on their mobiles, he heads to Rani's house. With Gita's help, he gets her out of bed. On entering the house they find that it is empty and Mr Smith has no idea where they might be. He has a theory that Sarah may have gone back in time through the time portal. Mr Smith detects the box which the Verron Soothsayer gave Sarah has become active again and is glowing blue. Clyde explains what it is and suggests it will protect them with its boxy goodness.
Sarah and Luke arrive in the village, where they meets her parents at a fete. The new arrivals introduce themselves as Victoria Beckham and her son David. Luke sees Oscar and follows him, but finds only a newspaper. Sarah helps out with serving tea and talks to her mother, learning more about her parents.
On taking the box to the portal, neither Rani nor Clyde can find a way to use it. Then the box changes colour to red.
Sarah leaves the fete as her emotions begin to get the better of her. Luke tells her that her parents' deaths are today. He wants to go home. They argue, but Sarah disables her parents' car engine, stopping them from being killed and changing the future. They leave the village and head for the fissure as the weather begins to turn.
Clyde and Rani watch as the time portal opens and Oscar steps out. When Oscar changes into a Graske they run off. They evade it by hiding behind bins. Time starts to change. Clyde puts his arm round Rani and they experience the transition from their version of the present into a new, post-apocalyptic version.
Sarah and Luke arrive back in 2009. London has been destroyed and the Trickster reveals himself. She asks how he did this. He tells her that she did it when she stopped her parents' deaths, and the Trickster triumphantly proclaims "You gave the world to the Trickster!"
Sarah demands to know how saving her parents could have altered time so drastically. The Trickster explains the village was built on a fault in time. Sarah's tampering with a fixed point in time opened this fault, allowing the Trickster to physically enter this reality and ravage Earth for the last half century. Sarah and Luke go back through the fissure as the Trickster gloats he has already won.
Clyde and Rani explore London, ruined and reduced to rock formations, while Clyde explains that it is an alternative timeline.
On the other side of the time fissure, Sarah and Luke notice the unnatural weather. They run towards the village. The fete has been moved to the village hall because of the weather.
Clyde and Rani wonder how they will get home from this alternate time line, then notice a Graske. They follow him.
Sarah tries to figure out how to stop the Trickster before he manifests. She tells Luke there was only one person who would immediately know how. She finds a police box and mistakes it for the Doctor's TARDIS before discovering a policeman inside.
Having followed the Graske, Clyde and Rani discover the last surviving humans being worked as slaves. Rani finds her mum and shouts to her. The Graske hears her, but stays away, which Clyde puts down to him being scared. Despite Clyde's warning, Rani runs after her mother.
Sarah and Luke try to find the Trickster and discover the fete has been moved to the town hall.
Rani wonders how her mother still exists. Clyde tells her that time tries to compensate for changes in the timeline. When they talk to Gita, she explains they are being made to mine every resource from the Earth. Clyde asks her how the world became like this. Gita tells them of the legend of Sarah Jane Smith and how she handed the world to the Trickster when he tricked her. The Graske sets the slaves back to work. Clyde figures out that he and Rani must warn Sarah, but wonders why the Graske works for the Trickster.
Sarah asks her parents if they have noticed anything strange or any new person in the village recently. While Eddie believes it to be none of their business, Barbara helps.
Rani and Clyde talk to the Graske, who tells them the Trickster uses the slaves to mine minerals to create a ship so he can extend his reach to the rest of the universe. Clyde and Rani implore the Graske to help them restore the original timeline but he refuses. They note that he is simply the Trickster's slave. He tries to grab the puzzle box but Clyde makes him tell them the truth first. Years ago, the Graske nearly died in space, but was saved by the Trickster in return for eternal servitude. Clyde promises the Graske that if he helps them, they will give him the puzzle box to free him from the Trickster. The Graske agrees, and reopens the fissure so Rani can tell Sarah the new information. Rani passes through the fissure and goes to warn Sarah.
Sarah finds an unusual reading inside an old, open-roofed building. Rani, meanwhile, enters the village hall and asks where Sarah is. She is told they were looking around the village and heads after them, soon followed by Eddie. Rani finds them and warns them that the Trickster is entering through the Abbot's Gateway.
Sarah threatens to send the Trickster back with her sonic lipstick, but he tells her it is no use. Luke reminds her of the only way to save the world, to re-activate her parents' car engine. The Trickster tries to convince her not to, but she runs off anyway.
Barbara and Eddie come to realise who Sarah is and what she was trying to prevent. Sarah repairs her parents' car when they approach her. After asking if their daughter had a good life and telling her how proud they are of her, they enter the car and drive off.
The weather changes and the Trickster begins to fade. He cannot see how the timeline could have been restored. Sarah proudly states that the Trickster's plan never considered that her parents would willingly sacrifice themselves to save the world. The Trickster vanishes, howling in pain.
Back in the modern day, the timeline is restored around the Graske and Clyde, who gives the Graske the box. The Graske teleports away, beaming over its newly returned freedom. The fissure reopens as Sarah, Luke and Rani return. Sarah Jane recloses the fissure and destroys the device which opened it.
At home, Rani is joyed to find her parents alive and well and Clyde heads home. Sarah reminisces over her parents, showing Luke her only picture of them. Although she could not save them, she finally knows why they left and is incredibly proud of them. As Sarah and Luke share a hug, writing can be seen on the back of her parents' photo, one last remnant of the notes they used to share: "Mr Smith, I need you".
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Luke Smith - Tommy Knight
- Clyde Langer - Daniel Anthony
- Rani Chandra - Anjli Mohindra
- Voice of Mr Smith - Alexander Armstrong
- Gita Chandra - Mina Anwar
- Barbara Smith - Rosanna Lavelle
- Eddie Smith - Christopher Pizzey
- The Trickster - Paul Marc Davis
- Graske - Jimmy Vee
- Mrs King - Georgie Glenn
- Oscar - Robert Madge
- Haresh Chandra - Ace Bhatti
- PC Ferguson - Andrew Bullivant
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.|
For Part 1, Steve Rees was Focus puller, while no credit was given for Camera operator. For Part 2, Steve Rees was Camera operator, while Tom Hartley was Focus puller.
- By this point, Rani knows about the Doctor and the TARDIS.
- Eddie Smith is Lavinia Smith's brother.
- A. J. Forza has a bike shop in Foxgrove.
- Sarah was born in Foxgrove in May 1951.
- Foxgrove was demolished in 1964 to make way for the A7665.
- Given her ethnicity, Mrs King assumes that Rani is from the Punjab in India.
- The Abbot's Gateway is located in the ruins of a Cistercian abbey in Foxgrove.
- Sarah sees an actual 1950s police box and briefly mistakes it for the TARDIS.
- The registration number of Eddie and Barbara Smith's car is KPH 366.
- A Verron puzzle box can detect irregularities in time, and its panels flash blue when there is a disturbance; it also starts beeping. When brought directly to the site of the disturbance, the blue lights turn red, flash at a faster speed and the puzzlebox beeps more intensely.
- A Time Converter closes time fissures.
- Luke reads the Hertfordshire Times.
Cultural references to the real world
- In 1951, Sarah tells her parents that her name is Victoria Beckham and Luke follows her lead by giving his name as David Beckham.
- The ruined Big Ben in the alternate timeline is reminiscent of the famous final scene from the film Planet of the Apes.
- Clyde refers to Luke as his "young Padawan". "Padawan" is a title given to Jedi in the Star Wars universe reserved for students training under their masters.
- After Luke doesn't answer his phone, Clyde says his "Clydey-sense is tingling," which is a nod to the Marvel superhero Spider-Man, who has an ability called a "Spidey-sense" that tingles whenever he senses the presence of danger.
- Clyde uses several various phrases that have worked in movies to try (and humorously fail) to manipulate the Verron puzzle box:
- "Hocus pocus," words recited by magicians before performing a trick;
- "Open sesame," the phrase used to open a treasure-filled cave in the tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves; and
- "Jumanji," the titular name of a children's book, its feature film, and Jumanji, a magical board game that is won by reaching the end of the board and speaking its name aloud.
- The photo Sarah has of her parents contains a note from Barbara to Eddie; "Mr Smith, I need you". This is the exact, word-for-word phrase Sarah uses to summon Mr Smith, giving it a secondary, symbolic meaning pertaining to her parents' romance.
- On the BBC iPlayer page, Alan, Maria, Paul and Carla are all listed in the credits, even though they did not appear in the televised episode.
- The story and its ending bears many similarities to the Doctor Who episode Father's Day. Both feature a companion preventing the automobile collision death of one or both of their parents during the companion's infancy, but the event is a fixed moment in time that cannot be altered without dangerous consequences; the course of history is derailed and put on a path that allows a destructive force that would ultimately destroy mankind access to the world, thereby causing horrific damage to the Earth (such as the case of the Reapers and the Trickster); Sarah's parents, like Rose Tyler's father, sacrifice themselves to restore the timeline and protect their daughter.
- The story also bears may similarities with the Doctor Who serial The Curse of Fenric. Luke, like Ace, met his young grandparents and his infant mother. Both of their grandfathers died, and their grandmothers sped off in a car to protect the infants.
- "The Doctor's Theme" musical cue is played when Sarah notices the police box. This is a fake-out to lure viewers into thinking the Doctor will actually appear when it is, in fact, a normal police box.
- Part 1 - 483,000 (CBBC channel)
- Part 2 - To Be Added
to be added
- Sarah tells Luke that her aunt Lavinia Smith was "never in one place long enough to lick a stamp." This is a reversal of what Lavinia said of Sarah. (TV: A Girl's Best Friend)
- The Verron puzzle box and the Graske appeared the last time that Sarah faced the Trickster. (TV:Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?)
- Sarah mentions freeing miners on Peladon, (TV: The Monster of Peladon) saving people from Bubble Shock! (TV: Invasion of the Bane) and defeating the Trickster before. (TV: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?)
- Sarah and Luke standing on the remains of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben was not the first time she had trod on a hilly, desolate landscape that had once been Westminster. She, Harry Sullivan, and the Fourth Doctor fought Sontaran Field Major Styre there in the far future. (TV: The Sontaran Experiment)
Home video releases
- This story, along with the rest of Series 2, was released on DVD on the 9th November 2009 (UK) and 10th November 2009 (North America).
- The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith at The Locations Guide