The Man Who Never Was (The Sarah Jane Adventures)

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27 – The Man Who Never Was
The Sarah Jane Adventures story
The Man Who Never Was Poster.jpg
Official Poster from the BBC Website.
Directed byJoss Agnew
Written byGareth Roberts
Script editorGary Russell
Produced byBrian Minchin [1][2]
Phil Ford (co-producer)
Executive producer(s)Russell T Davies
Nikki Wilson
Production code5.5 and 5.6[3]
SeriesSeries 5
Length2 episodes, 25 minutes each
First broadcast17 October 2011 (2011-10-17)
Last broadcast18 October 2011 (2011-10-18)
← Preceded by
The Curse of Clyde Langer
Followed by →
List of The Sarah Jane Adventures serials

The Man Who Never Was is a two-part episode and final story of The Sarah Jane Adventures which was broadcast on CBBC on 17 and 18 October 2011.[4] It is the third and final story of the fifth series, and the final appearance of all the main cast, including the final appearance of Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith following the actress' death from cancer earlier that year.


Part 1[edit]

A woman who works as a cleaner watches the commercial for the SerfBoard at Serf Systems. Walking, she suddenly hears an odd noise coming from a lift. There, a mysterious figure snatches her.

Luke returns home from university and he meets Sky for the first time. Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani are also happy to see him. Luke also realises that his old room is now Sky's and as he mentions the fact that it is no longer his room, Sky feels guilty. Luke explains that K9, along with having a dog whistle to call him, could not leave Oxford and as Mr Smith expresses his delight, Rani jokes that they could replace Mr Smith with the new SerfBoard. Sarah Jane reveals that she has been chosen to see a run through of the speech that Joseph Serf (the creator of the SerfBoard) will present. She takes Luke and Sky with her to the run through and she bumps into Lionel Carson, her old editor, who has a dislike of computers. As the run through gets underway and Joseph Serf is giving his speech, Luke and Sky notice Serf's face suddenly glitch. Once Sarah Jane and Lionel have received a SerfBoard, Lionel takes an odd liking to the board, Luke and Sky tell Sarah Jane what they saw.

Sarah Jane and Sky return home while Luke stays to see if anything suspicious happens. They get Mr Smith to display the video of the speech and it is confirmed that Joseph Serf glitched. As they go through his past, they discover that Joseph Serf was involved in a skiing accident and then disappeared into seclusion. This leads Sarah Jane to conclude that the real Joseph Serf died in the skiing accident and the one that was seen in the run through was a hologram. Sarah Jane organises an interview with Joseph Serf by using cryptic wording which suggests she knows that Serf is a hologram. Sarah Jane, Luke, and Sky go to meet Serf. In the attic, Clyde and Rani scan the SerfBoard to uncover anything alien about it, only to discover that it is just a cheap, poor quality laptop computer. Sarah Jane plans her interview with Joseph Serf and his bodyguard Harrison is adamant on staying with them. As Sarah Jane discovers the truth that Joseph Serf is a hologram, Luke and Sky go into a basement and discover that an alien race is controlling the Joseph Serf image. Sarah Jane, with no other options, finally wafts her arms through the hologram. Harrison then targets an alien weapon at her. Meanwhile, the aliens notice Luke and Sky and enclose around the two.

Part 2[edit]

The aliens, called Skullions, warn Luke and Sky to flee. In order to buy time for Sarah Jane's escape, Sky pulls a trigger in the control room, momentarily malfunctioning the Serf hologram. Harrison, who has some sort of connection to the Skullions, pulls out his pen and presses a button, temporarily torturing the Skullions via collars on all of their necks. Sarah Jane, Luke, and Sky are all captured. Harrison reveals that he bought the enslaved Skullions from a Chinese black market after their ship crashed in China. Though the SerfBoard has nothing special about it, the Joseph Serf hologram has a hypnotic setting controlled by the Skullions that can make people want to buy the product, mainly targeted at the audience of the upcoming launch, both live and televised; Harrison will subsequently make a fortune from the SerfBoard's success. He then separates Sarah Jane from the teenagers, placing her in a locked room with the custodian.

In another room, Luke and Sky converse, especially about Sky thinking Luke misses his old room. Plark, a Skullion, comes in, giving them water. Luke offers some water for the alien, but he refuses for it will burn, and explains the Skullions can only drink citric juices. Though K9 will not be able to hear the sounds, Luke uses his dog whistle to contact Mr Smith in Morse code, telling Clyde and Rani to grab Harrison's pen.

The custodian, Adriana, tells Sarah Jane what she saw and how the Skullion who grabbed her earlier was punished by the guards before she was thrown into the room. Agreeing to the plan, Adriana screams, pretending to be abused by Sarah Jane. A security guard then enters and trips upon a wire. Sarah Jane and Adriana escape, locking the guard behind them. They arrive where Luke and Sky are imprisoned and free them.

Before the broadcast of the SerfBoard, Harrison warns the Skullions of their punishments should they make a mistake during the launch: the punishment of death. To emphasise Harrison's "message", he sprays water on the Skullions.

Clyde and Rani, after receiving Luke's message through Mr Smith, take the identities of Trevor and Janet Sharp, a married couple stranded at an airport due to a computer malfunction engineered by Mr Smith. At the launch, Clyde manages to switch pens with Harrison without him noticing Clyde did so.

Sarah Jane calls Mr Smith, telling him to contact a rescue vehicle from Skultos. The Skullions run up towards the roof. Unfortunately, Harrison forcibly takes his pen back from Rani. Stalling, Luke and Sky try to control the hologram but fail to operate it correctly. Harrison then presses the button on his pen and initiates the level 10 maximum punishment causing the Skullions immense pain. Luke and Sky use the Serf hologram's hypnotic power to compel the audience to grab the pen and smash it. After Lionel smashes the pen underfoot, Serf tells the audience the SerfBoard is rubbish, sending them home with the job to tell others about the ridiculous SerfBoard. The Serf hologram then tells Clyde and Rani to go to the roof, which Harrison overhears. On the roof, the rescue spaceship arrives. As the Skullions head for the beam, Harrison runs after them in anger and grabs on to Plark, resulting in the ship beaming both him and Skullions up. Adriana, who now has no job, is given by Sarah Jane a business card pertaining to UNIT and a recommendation that UNIT could use someone like her.

Back home, Luke finally accepts that it is Sky's room and she walks in on him hanging up a picture drawn by Clyde, titled, "Sky's Room". As a final montage of her past adventures in the series play, Sarah Jane voices over:

I've seen amazing things out there in space, but strange things can happen wherever you are. I have learned that life on Earth can be an adventure too. In all the universe, I never expected to find a family.

The episode closes over an image of Earth with the on-screen text, "And the story goes on... forever."


  • Sarah Jane's final speech at the conclusion of this story is an amalgamation of used and unused takes of Elisabeth Sladen's closing voiceover from the Series 1 finale The Lost Boy.
  • A sequence of past clips from the series was played. Among them included a footage of Sarah Jane hugging The Doctor in "Journey's End" and a clip from The End of Time, both from the Doctor Who series.
  • The Skullions were previously mentioned by Jack Harkness in the Torchwood episode "The Gathering". The Torchwood team supposedly tracked down a Chinese black market that sold alien artifacts, including Skullion metal. The Skullions made a cameo appearance in the Doctor Who episode "The Magician's Apprentice".


  1. ^ a b c d e f List of cast "The Man Who Never Was Part 1". Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g List of cast 2 "The Man Who Never Was Part 2". Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Gareth Roberts on Twitter".
  4. ^ "The Sarah Jane Adventures – The Man Who Never Was" (Press release). BBC Press Office. Retrieved 6 October 2011.

External links[edit]