Posted in Episode by - November 23, 2022

Aired 03 – 04 October 2011


To open the sadly curtailed fifth and final run of episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures following the tragic death of Elisabeth Sladen, writer Phil Ford revisits the dynamic that initially made the series so successful after Sarah Jane finds an abandoned baby on her doorstep to begin ‘Sky.’

Surprisingly, ‘Sky’ is the first opportunity afforded viewers to witness just how lonely Sarah Jane has been since Luke’s departure, her missed chance to say goodbye before he leaves their chat creating a palpable sense of sadness and longing. Sladen has always masterfully portrayed a wide range of emotions, but her understated and subtle work during these moments is superb and so much more powerful than any lengthy dialogue could ever be. Of course, this creates the perfect opening for the eponymous infant Sky to make her unexpected appearance on Sarah Jane’s doorstep in the middle of the night, and following a range of expectedly shocked reactions from Sarah and those around her, it’s quite clear that this is another child with remarkable abilities. Able to affect her environment based on her emotions, Sky brings with her an incredible amount of danger and uncertainty given how volatile and unpredictable infants’ emotions can be, and it quite happily falls to Clyde to entertain this child through jokes and puppets to prevent the destruction of Bannerman Road, a role that Daniel Anthony steps into with a natural grace and confidence.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that ‘Sky’ shares several elements with Luke’s introductory story ‘Invasion of the Bane’ following the momentous image of a robot shooting down to Earth and walking away from the explosion and wreckage it leaves in its wake. Indeed, the laboratory-created Sky is in many respects a variation on Luke himself as she ages to the predetermined twelve years old which reportedly maximizes her destructive capabilities as her supposed mother leads her Fleshkind’s continuing battle against the Metalkind. Sky is understandably essentially clueless about social norms and interactions, and Sinead Michael gives an impressively charismatic performance as this young girl who is trying to come to terms with her surroundings that she desperately wants to be a part of and the fact that she has been programmed to be a living weapon that she desperately wants nothing to do with now or ever. Even with a tone that skews younger than the preceding fourth series to complement this young addition to the cast, Sky represents a brilliant figure for both young viewers and the more mature Rani and Clyde to coalesce around while again allowing the world to be seen through the eyes of naïve individual going on an intensely emotional journey and reminding those two young adults of just how far they have come in the few years since meeting Sarah Jane.

The subversion of the typical underlying causes for strife with mechanical beings is most welcome, and a race evolved from metal rather than created is a fascinating idea that highlights the creativity as well as the brilliant costuming and effects on display throughout The Sarah Jane Adventures. Christine Stephen-Daly adds herself to the list of impressive female antagonists to feature on the programme, mixing a certain whimsy with pure malice to remarkable effect with Miss Myers while managing to avoid dipping into pure pantomime like so many other actors would. With a nuclear reactor going critical and an alien war being welcomed to Earth, ‘Sky’ is certainly not lacking in threats, and this sense of imminent danger alongside successful nods to continuity via the inclusion of Professor Rivers and the Shopkeeper from ‘Lost in Time’ as well as the very human emotions on display as Sky tries to reconcile what she is with who she wants to be crafts an engaging entry point to this new era of adventures with Bannerman Road’s finest.

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