The Sarah Jane Adventures, and the importance of good children’s television

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At times there’s an inclination to see The Sarah Jane Adventures as trivial or unimportant – when considered alongside Doctor Who or Torchwood, the perception of The Sarah Jane Adventures is that it’s the third show. The one that matters least, by virtue of the fact that it could be summed up as “Doctor Who for children”.

But that’s very much a case of approaching it from the wrong angle; the value of The Sarah Jane Adventures comes not from its association with Doctor Who, but rather the fact that it was genuinely fantastic television for children.

It’s not hard to see why good children’s television is, broadly speaking, a good thing – if we’re shaped by the culture we engage with, then the quality of the earliest media we’re exposed to is important. It matters that children watch something of substance, rather than vacuous schlock – from that perspective, there’s a weight of importance attached to children’s television beyond much of the rest of media in general.

Two weeks ago now (to the day, actually) I wrote this article for the tenth anniversary of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It’s a programme I’m quite attached to, not only for nostalgia reasons, but because it was actually very good indeed.

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