The Last Sontaran

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07 – The Last Sontaran
The Sarah Jane Adventures story
Cast
Starring
Others
Production
Writer Phil Ford
Director Joss Agnew
Script editor Gary Russell
Producer Nikki Smith
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Production code 2.1 and 2.2
Series Series 2
Length 2 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 29 September 2008
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Lost Boy The Day of the Clown

The Last Sontaran is the first story of Series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures and is a continuation of events from Doctor Who two-part story "The Sontaran Strategem" and "The Poison Sky". The two-part story, The Last Sontaran, was broadcast on 29 September 2008; "Part One" as part of the CBBC slot on BBC One at 4.35 p.m.; "Part Two" on the CBBC Channel at 5.15 p.m.. This serial marks the departure of Maria Jackson.

Plot[edit]

Part One[edit]

Alan Jackson (Joseph Millson) is offered a job in Washington, D.C. in the United States of America, but seeks daughter Maria's (Yasmin Paige) and ex-wife Chrissie's (Juliet Cowan) approval before he relocates himself and Maria there.

After strange lights are sighted around the Tycho Radio Tower, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), Luke Smith (Tommy Knight), Clyde Langer (Daniel Anthony) and Maria investigate. As shown in the picture, they discover Sontaran Commander Kaagh (Anthony O'Donnell), the only survivor of the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet which was otherwise seen to be destroyed in Doctor Who episode "The Poison Sky".[1] Kaagh plans to avenge his fleet by bringing Earth's satellites down on nuclear power plants across the world thereby wiping out all of humanity with the resultant explosions.[2]

Part Two[edit]

Failing to overpower Kaagh as he implements his plan, Sarah Jane, Luke, Clyde and Maria are saved by the arrival of Alan and Chrissie, the latter discovering the truth about Sarah Jane's alien investigations. Chrissie knocks Kaagh unconscious by jamming the high-heel of her shoe into the probic vent on the back of his neck, but an electrical charge also knocks her out and Alan and Maria think they can pass the day's events off to her as a dream. Luke is able to deactivate the computer Kaagh has rigged to ground the satellites and with his ship's weapons deactivated, Kaagh is sent back to his home planet, Sontar.

Six weeks later, Alan and Maria leave for America. Chrissie reveals to Sarah Jane that she remembers everything about the Sontaran incident.[3]

Continuity[edit]

  • Reference is made to the Bane seen in "Invasion of the Bane";[4] the Slitheen seen in Revenge of the Slitheen[5] and The Lost Boy;[6] the Gorgon and Alan's being turned to stone seen in Eye of the Gorgon;[7] the Trickster and the alternate reality seen in Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?;[8] and the Xylok, the Moon coming towards Earth and the rebooting of Mr Smith (Alexander Armstrong) as seen in The Lost Boy.[6] Kaagh refers to the Doctor's victory over the Sontarans in Doctor Who two-part story "The Sontaran Strategem"/"The Poison Sky"[1][9] and footage of the Sontaran mothership exploding is re-used from "The Poison Sky", marking the first time footage from Doctor Who has been used in The Sarah Jane Adventures, aside from the still images shown in "Invasion of the Bane" and The Lost Boy.[1] Kaagh is shown to bleed green blood as other Sontarans have been shown to in Doctor Who.[10][11] Sarah Jane refers to her past encounters with Sontarans, alongside the Third Doctor in Earth's relative past in Doctor Who serial The Time Warrior[12] and alongside the Fourth Doctor and Harry Sullivan in Earth's relative future in Doctor Who serial The Sontaran Experiment.[10] Clyde observes that Sontarans resemble baked potatoes,[2] an observation also made by Sarah Jane and Bea Nelson-Stanley in Eye of the Gorgon,[7] and by Private Ross Jenkins in The Sontaran Stratagem.
  • Clyde and Luke re-enact the Battle of Waterloo in simulation. The Doctor referred to his defeat of the Sontarans in The Sontaran Experiment as "their Waterloo".
  • Sarah Jane likens the empty observatory to the deserted ship Mary Celeste, the abandonment of which was depicted in The Chase as being the result of Daleks arriving aboard.
  • Sarah Jane plans to call in military organisation UNIT to defeat Kaagh, but ultimately does not. UNIT battled the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet in "The Sontaran Strategem"[9] and "The Poison Sky".[1] Sarah Jane refers to the Sontarans' ongoing war with the Rutans.[2]
  • Stating "Some people never learn", Chrissie breaks into Sarah Jane's house through the same window she did in Eye of the Gorgon.[7]
  • As Maria enters the attic to take one last look around and to say goodbye to Mr Smith, she looks to her left and sees numerous alien objects Sarah Jane has collected, including; a bottle of Bubble Shock! seen in "Invasion of the Bane";[4] Mr Smith's Portable Scanner; a Sontaran gas canister and Kaagh's gun taken from Kaagh in this story;[3] the MITRE headset seen in The Lost Boy;[6] a puzzle box seen in Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?;[8] and entanglement shells seen in Warriors of Kudlak.[3][13][14]

Outside references[edit]

Clyde and Luke refer to the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of Hoth, the latter seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980).[2][15] Sarah Jane likens the empty observatory to deserted ship the Mary Celeste.[2] Clyde likens Kaagh to Conan the Barbarian,[2] calls him "Bilbo" and accuses him of having a "little man complex".[3] When Sarah Jane asks Mr Smith if he has acquired a sense of humor since his reboot, he replies, "I will run a diagnostics check immediately" whilst playing the sound effect associated with the Book from the television adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.[citation needed][2] Chrissie refers to Sarah Jane as "Mary Jane" and "Calamity Jane".[3] When Alan tries to convince Chrissie that Maria is playing an alternate reality game, Chrissie compares it to the time they spent "looking for a golden rabbit" when they were dating, referring to Kit Williams' Masquerade.[3]

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine, writer Phil Ford claims "we haven't seen a Sontaran like this before" and states the character "was just fantastic to write for". Ford thinks Kaagh is "the best Sontaran that we've ever seen in the Doctor Who world" and describes Anthony O'Donnell's performance as "fantastic...[making] an amazing Sontaran".[16] The Jacksons were written out as regulars in The Sarah Jane Adventures because Yasmin Paige left the series in order to focus on her GCSEs.[17]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Broadcast[edit]

"Part One" was first broadcast on BBC One at 4.35 p.m. on Monday 29 September 2008[18][19] and was repeated on the CBBC Channel at 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 4 October 2008.[18] "Part Two" was first broadcast on the CBBC Channel at 5.15 p.m. on Monday 29 September 2008 and was repeated on BBC One at 4.35 p.m. on Monday 6 October 2008.[19][20] Both episodes were made available for 21 days after first broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.[21]

Overnight ratings for "Part One" of The Last Sontaran indicate that 0.7 million people (0.3 million above the average 0.4 million viewers for that time slot) watched the episode on BBC One on Monday 29 September 2008, earning it a 6.3 per cent share of the television audience. The Appreciation Index for the episode was 84 - the joint highest figure on BBC One on Monday 29 September 2008.[22]

Critical reception[edit]

Ben Rawson-Jones, Cult Editor for Digital Spy, praises The Last Sontaran for its "emotional content", but notes that "Part Two" "disappoints in the action stakes" following "Part One".[23] He argues that the title The Last Sontaran nullifies any potential suspense prior to the revelation of the Sontaran as the force behind the mysterious lights, but praises O'Donnell's performance as Kaagh as being largely responsible for making the Sontaran plot a success.[24] He views Sarah Jane's reaction to Maria's news that she is leaving as "a fascinating departure from her usual maternal role to the children" and suggests this is a result of Sarah Jane having been abandoned by the Fourth Doctor at the end of Doctor Who serial The Hand of Fear.[24][25] He claims Part Two has "[p]lenty of tension-free chase sequences function[ing] as meaningless padding and lessen[ing] the threat posed by Commander Kaagh", attributing the lack of tension to "inadequate direction."[23] He brands Clyde and Luke as "dependable as ever"[24] and the Jacksons as "endearing", the latter compensating "for [Part Two's] action failings" with Maria and Alan's departure being "well handled" and "touching" and Chrissie being "a revelation...[as] her seemingly vacuous nature has been replaced by an air of mystery."[23] Although Rawson-Jones notes "the subplot featuring the Sontaran-controlled Professor stalking his own daughter Lucy is rather disturbing for a CBBC show that airs at 4.35pm",[24] he describes the adventure as "[f]ittingly...death-free and surprisingly heartwarming."[23] However, he laments "that this wonderful show is not being shown in a timeslot when the whole family could sit down to enjoy it together."[24]

Writing for totalscifionline.com, Patrick Holm describes "Part One" as "Overall, a good start"[26] but that "Some odd gaps in logic and excess runarounds make...["Part Two"] not as effective as it could have been."[27] Holm expresses surprise at the lack of references to the "literally world-shaking events" of Doctor Who episode "Journey's End" which precedes this story chronologically and which saw a Dalek invasion of Earth and Sarah Jane, Luke and Mr Smith helping to defeat them and return Earth to its rightful place in space.[28] However, he states Ford's script for "Part One" is "enjoyable" and praises its mixing of "old and new Who mythologies" with its many "other references back to the parent series [Doctor Who]". He also praises Ford for "giving the Sontarans a few new tricks" and notes that the effects in "Part One" indicate that the budget for The Sarah Jane Adventures has been increased. Whilst praising Knight and Langer for being "much more fluid in their movements", Holm does not share Rawson-Jones's appreciation for the emotional scenes in "Part One" regarding Maria's departure and claims they lack "the resonance you might expect."[26] Holm does state, however, that "[t]he scenes regarding Maria’s departure are handled better...[in "Part Two"], even if some of the closing scene platitudes are a little vomit-inducing." He cites as examples of weaknesses in "Part Two"; the ease with which Kaagh is fooled by the children; and the incredible luck Clyde has when Sarah Jane and Luke happen to be on the other side of a locked door in order to let him in thus saving him from Kaagh. He is also critical of the reuse of the threat of "something being brought crashing down to Earth...an overused plot last season" and observes that an "end of season rematch with Kaarg is unsubtly telegraphed". However, he does states that "[t]here are some good moments [in "Part Two"], particularly as Chrissie Jackson gets more character development in one 30-second scene than she had in most of [Series One]".[27]

Holm likens Sarah Jane's gang to Mystery, Inc. from Scooby-Doo and sees Kaagh as "a character somewhere between the sadistic Styre from The Sontaran Experiment and General Staal in "The Sonataran Stratagem"."[9][10][26] Both Rawson-Jones and Holm view Kaagh's cloaking abilities as a "homage" to "'80s action classic" Predator (1987).[24][26][29]

Novelisation[edit]

The Last Sontaran
Author Phil Ford
Series The Sarah Jane Adventures
Publisher Penguin Books
Publication date
6 November 2008
Pages 128
ISBN 1405905093
Preceded by The Lost Boy
Followed by The Day of the Clown

This was the seventh of eleven Sarah Jane Adventures serials to be adapted as a novel. Written by Phil Ford, the book was first published in Paperback on 6 November 2008.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Writer Helen Raynor, Director Douglas Mackinnon, Producer Susie Liggat (2008-05-03). "The Poison Sky". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Part One". The Last Sontaran. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2008-09-29. BBC. BBC One.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Part Two". The Last Sontaran. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2008-09-29. BBC. CBBC Channel.
  4. ^ a b Writers Gareth Roberts, Russell T Davies, Director Colin Teague, Producer Susie Liggat (2007-01-01). "Invasion of the Bane". The Sarah Jane Adventures. BBC. BBC One.
  5. ^ Revenge of the Slitheen. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2007-09-24. BBC. BBC One, CBBC Channel.
  6. ^ a b c The Lost Boy. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2007-11-12–2007-11-19. BBC. CBBC Channel.
  7. ^ a b c Eye of the Gorgon. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2007-10-01–2007-10-08. BBC. CBBC Channel.
  8. ^ a b Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2007-10-29–2007-11-05. BBC. CBBC Channel.
  9. ^ a b c Writer Helen Raynor, Director Douglas Mackinnon, Producer Susie Liggat (2008-04-26). "The Sontaran Stratagem". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
  10. ^ a b c The Sontaran Experiment. Doctor Who. 1975-02-22–1975-03-01. BBC. BBC1.
  11. ^ The Two Doctors. Doctor Who. 1985-02-16–1985-03-02. BBC. BBC1.
  12. ^ The Time Warrior. Doctor Who. 1973-12-15–1974-01-05. BBC. BBC1.
  13. ^ Warriors of Kudlak. The Sarah Jane Adventures. 2007-10-15–2007-10-22. BBC. CBBC Channel.
  14. ^ "Alien Objects". BBC. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  15. ^ Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. 1980-05-21.
  16. ^ Rawson-Jones, Ben (2008-09-30). "'Sarah Jane' writer hails "best" Sontaran". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  17. ^ Berriman, Ian (2008-08-29). "New Rani interviewed!". SFX. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  18. ^ a b "The Last Sontaran - Part 1". BBC. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  19. ^ a b "The Sarah Jane Adventures series two: Broadcast details". BBC. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  20. ^ "The Last Sontaran - Part 2". BBC. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  21. ^ "The Sarah Jane Adventures". BBC. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  22. ^ "The Last Sontaran Part One - Overnight Ratings". The Doctor Who News Page. 2008-09-30. Archived from the original on 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  23. ^ a b c d Rawson-Jones, Ben (2008-09-29). "'Sarah Jane': The Lost Sontaran - Part Two". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f Rawson-Jones, Ben (2008-09-29). "'Sarah Jane': The Lost Sontaran - Part One". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  25. ^ "Part Four". The Hand of Fear. Doctor Who. 1976-10-23. BBC. BBC1.
  26. ^ a b c d Holm, Patrick (2008-09-30). "The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Last Sontaran Part 1 (series 2, episode 1)". totalscifionline.com. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  27. ^ a b Holm, Patrick (2008-09-30). "The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Last Sontaran Part 2 (series 2, episode 2)". totalscifionline.com. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  28. ^ Writer Russell T Davies, Director Graeme Harper, Producer Phil Collinson (2008-07-05). "Journey's End". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
  29. ^ Predator. 1987-06-12.
  30. ^ "The Last Sontaran ("Sarah Jane Adventures 7") [Paperback]". Retrieved 17 December 2011. 

External links[edit]