There have been a few cast trimmings in The Sarah Jane Adventures this year, but they take the cull to extremes this week, when Clyde and Rani find themselves not only Sarah Jane’s last remaining kid sidekicks, but the last people on the planet.
So can the kids carry the story? Or will the curse of child-acting take its toll and have us hurling items through the screen?
Sarah Jane Smith, Missing In Action
It’s no understatement to say everyone is missing from this two-parter. Sarah Jane herself has a couple of scenes at the beginning and end, with a few moments from the parents, then it really is only Clyde and Rani, with brief visits from one guest kid and a couple of huge robots.
Yet it works. I hate most child actors as much as the next person, and the kid who guest stars this week as “Gavin” isn’t great to be honest. But Daniel Anthony and Anjli Mohindra have gotten pretty good in their multiple years on this show, and by now they can do the emotions and banter without appearing self-conscious. No small feat for actors of any age.
And obviously there are a smattering of Clyde/Rani awkward teenage attraction moments. Impressively I’m still finding it cute.
Where Has The Money Gone?
When an episode like this appears, the temptation among pick-it-apart internet commentators like myself is to ask whether it’s an attempt to save money. But the new robot aliens must have cost a little, not to mention a few flashes of CG. In short, even if they did save a few quid, at least they served the story they were telling.
It probably helps that the actors were able to rise to the challenge. I must admit, at times I wished Luke was still here as well, but them’s the breaks. I gather from the online grapevine that we can look forward to a replacement fulltime cast member next series. I kinda hope it isn’t that Santiago kid from “Death Of The Doctor”.
Anyway, I thought this was fun, mostly for the cast banter. But don’t take my word for it, check it out on iPlayer for yourself. Next week, it appears we’ll be getting some proper period-replicating time travel. Maybe that’s what they’re saving the budget for.