How we made The Sarah Jane Adventures: ‘We were like a family, and it was beautiful’

A picture of Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), surrounded by a vortex of purple/gold letters and numbers. She's got brown hair, is wearing a cream coloured coat, and smiling. To her left, in luminous purple, it reads: The Sarah Jane Adventures

“Children don’t need to be told that dragons exist,” says Phil Ford, quoting the writer GK Chesterton. “Children already know that dragons exist. What the fairy tale does is teach them that dragons can be defeated. That was something that was very strong through all of The Sarah Jane Adventures: those monsters are out there, but you can survive them.”

“And I suppose if The Sarah Jane Adventures is any kind of metaphor, that’s what its message is – that there are all kinds of obstacles that we all face through life, but they can be overcome.”

“One of the one of the great things about writing for children is that you can inspire them to go on to do other things,” Ford continues. “Maybe one of those things they want to go and do is actually write themselves. I mean, that’s what happened to me: I became a writer because I was inspired by old style Doctor Who, by episodes with Jon Pertwee and Sarah Jane.”

Another – and likely the last for some time – retrospective feature of Radio Times, about The Sarah Jane Adventures.

This one proved a little complicated to write (I started in late-October, figuring I could get it all done way in advance of Christmas, because it’d be much easier to navigate everyone’s schedules that way; didn’t quite work out that way in the end) but I’m really pleased with how it turned out in the end. Really nice to be able to revisit the show, and to talk to the people who made it, because it’d always been such a big thing for me back in the day.

What was also quite nice, actually, was that Elisabeth Sladen’s daughter got in touch to say she liked the piece. Appreciated that a lot.

You can find more of my writing about Doctor Who here, and follow me on twitter @morelandwriter

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