The BBC issued a press release today on their upcoming series starring Lis Sladen as former Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith:
Multi-award winning writer Russell T Davies has written a brand new series for CBBC called The Sarah Jane Adventures. It stars one of The Doctor’s most famous companions, investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith.
Russell T Davies says: “Children’s TV has a fine history of fantasy thrillers – I loved them as a kid, and they were the very first things I ever wrote. So it’s brilliant to return to such a vivid and imaginative area of television.”
The series begins with a 60-minute special which will be broadcast in early 2007 with the series due later in the year.
Doctor Who has now become a media franchise with three series in the span of the next twelve months–Doctor Who, and the two spin-offs, Torchwood and now The Sarah Jane Adventures. (A possible third spin-off, Rose Tyler: Earth Defense was cancelled.)
In some ways I think that the spin-off mania we’ve seen–three spin-offs contemplated, two in production, and a possible third-party K-9 series, too–is good for keeping Doctor Who in the public eye, but also bad in that it might be too much too soon and could lead to franchise fatigue, especially with one producer–Russell T. Davies–being involved with all three. Fortunately, the three series are targetting at different audience niches–Doctor Who for all ages, with Torchwood skewing older and Sarah Jane skewing younger–so hard-core Whovians may feel the fatigue while the general audience may not.
Sarah Jane was always my favorite Who companion, and I loved her return in “School Reunion.” Let’s hope that The Sarah Jane Adventures arrives on this side of the Atlantic. 🙂