The Nightmare Man (The Sarah Jane Adventures)

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19 – The Nightmare Man
The Sarah Jane Adventures story
The Nightmare Man Poster.jpg
Official Poster from the BBC Website.
Directed by Joss Agnew
Written by Joseph Lidster
Script editor Gary Russell
Produced by Brian Minchin
Phil Ford (co-producer)
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Nikki Wilson[1]
Production code 4.1 and 4.2
Series Series 4
Length 2 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 11 & 12 October 2010
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Gift The Vault of Secrets

The Nightmare Man is a two-part story of The Sarah Jane Adventures which broadcast on CBBC on 11 and 12 October 2010. It is the first story of the fourth series. It marks the departure of Luke Smith from the regular cast.


Part 1[edit]

The story starts with Luke Smith recording a message - he is frightened that somebody is coming. The story then flashes back a year, to show Luke telling Sarah Jane that he is planning to go the University a year early. It is then revealed that they are handcuffed to a bomb set by a Slitheen - however Clyde Langer and Rani Chandra come in with K-9. K-9 deactivates the bomb, and Clyde throws some vinegar at the Slitheen to kill it.

The story then goes back to 4 days before Luke goes to Oxford University, and shows him revealing that he got the right grades to get in. He starts planning his trip to Oxford. However, he starts having nightmares of his friends saying nasty things. First, Sarah Jane and K-9 say how glad they will be to get rid of him, and then Rani and Clyde mock him for showing off by going a year early. Luke realises in the second one that it is not just a nightmare but something more - however, he is unable to say anything about it.

With two days to go, Clyde throws a going away party with some of his school friends. Luke has a third nightmare there - finally seeing the Nightmare Man of the title, who tells Luke that he is unable to tell anyone else about him - and sure enough, when Rani asks him, he is unable to say the name of the person. He then tries to tell his former friend Maria Jackson via Facebook but falls asleep, and has another nightmare. The Nightmare Man shows him a vision of Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani replacing him with someone else, and burning all his photos. He tells Luke that he feeds off nightmares, and that one more will allow him to come into his world. On his last night, Clyde and Rani stay over and he tries to keep them awake - however as he starts to feel tired, he realises that he cannot stop the Nightmare Man, and records the message seen at the beginning. He then falls asleep - and sure enough, the Nightmare Man materialises in the room, where he adjusts to being real. The final shot of the first part is of Luke stuck in a completely black place shouting for help.

Part 2[edit]

The story continues with the Nightmare Man sneaking about in the attic with Luke fast asleep. As Sarah Jane walks into the attic the Nightmare Man disappears. He sneaks into the rooms in which Clyde and Rani are sleeping and changes their dreams into nightmares. Meanwhile, Sarah Jane finds the video camera that Luke recorded his message with and begins watching the recording. In Rani's dream a news reporter for BBC News starts talking to Rani through the T.V and eventually pulls Rani into the T.V. Back in the attic when Sarah Jane sees the Nightmare Man materialising into the attic she rushes to Luke trying to wake him to no success. She then calls for Mr Smith and K-9. Meanwhile, in Luke's dream he sees a red door and runs through it to find himself in a long corridor full of red doors. In Clyde's dream, he is working at a burger shop and an older version of Sarah Jane comes through in a wheelchair claiming that he is a stupid boy and that he was never as good as Luke.

In the attic, Sarah Jane plans to use a piece of sentient concrete in order to talk to Luke in his dreams. Sarah Jane then remembers Clyde and Rani and rushes to find them both asleep as the Nightmare Man dematerialises out of the room. She tries to wake them, but they are in a deep sleep like Luke. Back in Rani's dream she is now in the BBC News Studio with the news reporter staring down at her. Rani then appears in a news reporter outfit. Rani asks what to say on the news report and then finds out she is going to be telling the world about Sarah Jane. In Luke's dream again, Luke keeps telling himself it isn't real over and over again while he can hear the Nightmare Man laughing menacingly. As he walks down the steps in Sarah Jane's house he walks outside and can hear Luke talking to him as Luke's mind is so strong and can talk across the dimensions. This means that the dream world is in a different dimension to the real world. Sarah Jane tells K-9 to use the concrete to communicate with Luke, but cannot because K-9 doesn't have enough power. Sarah Jane then plugs K-9 into Mr Smith so that K-9 is strong enough to talk to Luke in his dreams. K-9 tells Luke that it is just a dream and that he needs to wake up but Luke claims he can't. In Rani's dream the news reporter asks Rani how many times she has nearly died because of Sarah Jane and in Clyde's dream Sarah Jane tells Clyde he was never as good as Luke. Clyde then realises that it's a dream and tries to get out but the door is locked. Back in the real world the Nightmare Man is wandering the streets and reaching into the dreams of all the people in the houses.

Back in Rani's dream the news report is happening and she is struggling because Sarah Jane is her friend. Luke deduces that he, Clyde, and Rani are in the same reality so he tries calling them. They both hear him. Luke describes where he is and tells them to imagine a red door and to walk through it. The doors appear but the news reporter and Sarah Jane try to tempt them into staying but don't succeed. Rani is first to come through (and hear him), Clyde takes a little longer. At this point they are all having the same dream. The Nightmare Man's powers stop and when Rani and Clyde shut their doors the Nightmare Man's head starts to ache so he appears in the attic and shouts, "bad dog!" and zaps K-9 with energy from his hand, blasting him out of the way so K-9 disappears from the dream reality. He then zaps Mr Smith and the computer's power turns off. The Nightmare Man gets excited when he is alone with Sarah Jane and talks about all the nightmares Sarah Jane has ever had including the ones when she thought the Doctor was dead. Sarah Jane tries to trick the Nightmare Man into putting her to sleep so she can be with the others but fails. The Nightmare Man's head starts to hurt again so he materialises into the dream reality. He opens Clyde and Rani's dream doors and is planning to separate them all by sending Clyde and Rani back into their nightmares for all eternity. The news reporter from Rani's dream and old Sarah Jane from Clyde's dream can again be heard. Luke gives an inspiring speech about himself, Clyde, and Rani, saying they're a team and that no one can stop them. The Nightmare Man questions Luke and asks how they can stop a creature like him. Luke, Clyde and Rani all join hands and the Nightmare Man's head hurts again. The Nightmare Man then gets put into Clyde's nightmare and is trapped there having to listen to Sarah Jane talking about Luke for all eternity.

Sarah Jane is trying to repair K-9 after the Nightmare Man zapped him. Luke, Clyde and Rani all wake up and Luke goes to check on Clyde and Rani. Sarah Jane says, "I will miss you," and K-9 claims Luke will be back for Christmas, but Sarah Jane says she wasn't talking about Luke but was talking about K-9. The next morning, Rani and Luke are walking up to Luke's new car while Sarah Jane finishes polishing K-9. K-9 says his final goodbyes to Mr Smith and Mr Smith says he will miss K-9 after all. Luke says his final goodbyes to Sarah Jane, Clyde, and Rani, and drives off to Oxford University as they wave him goodbye.

Cast notes[edit]

Julian Bleach has previously appeared in the Torchwood episode "From Out of the Rain" as the Ghostmaker and Davros in the Doctor Who episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" making him one of very few actors to appear in all three shows.


The BBC had originally approached Russell T. Davies and asked him to make a character gay in the show. Davies planned for this character to be Luke, and intended to begin foreshadowing it from The Nightmare Man. However, Davies chose to cut one line which hinted more explicitly at this more development. The line which is cut is from the scene in which Luke saying goodbye to Sarah Jane as he departs for university.[2][3][4]

Sarah Jane: Have a lovely time at university. You’ll grow up, you’ll find a girlfriend.
Luke: (off-handedly) Oh, could be a boyfriend!
Sarah Jane: Well, as long as it’s not a Slitheen, I don’t care!

— Cut lines from "The Nightmare Man," as remembered by writer Russell T Davies.[2]


The Nightmare Man
Author Joseph Lidster
Series The Sarah Jane Adventures #10
Published 25 November 2010
BBC Children's Books
Pages 128
Preceded by The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith
Followed by Death of the Doctor

This was the tenth of eleven Sarah Jane Adventures serials to be adapted as a novel. Written by Joseph Lidster, the book has only been published as an E-book on 25 November 2010.[5]


  1. ^ Pixley, Andrew; Spilsbury, Tom (13 July 2011). "Credits". Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition: The Sarah Jane Companion, Volume Two (Special Edition #28): 114. 
  2. ^ a b Davies, Russell T (Doctor Who executive producer, 2005-10); Manning, Katy (actress) (August 2013). Audio commentary for The Green Death: Special Edition (DVD). BBC. 
  3. ^ "Russell T. Davies dishes on 'The Doctor Who' Spin-Off: 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'". Hypable. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "PURE GOLDER What Was So "Normal" About Sarah Jane Smith's Son?". SFX and Future Publishing Limited. 4 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sarah Jane Adventures: The Nightmare Man: The Nightmare Man [Kindle Edition]". Retrieved 17 December 2011. 

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