It's official - the new Doctor Who spin-off for children, The Sarah Jane Adventures, will makes its TV debut on BBC1 on New Year's Day. The picture above shows four of the main cast members (from left to right): Porchsha Lawrence Mavour (Kelsey), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Yasmin Paige (Maria Jackson) and Thomas Knight as The Archetype/Luke. The episode on January 1st is a 60-minute pilot written by Russell T. Davies and Gareth Roberts, with a further series of 30-minute adventures to follow later in the year.
Tin dog K-9 even makes a cameo in the special, but won't be in the series as he's got his own show in development elsewhere. Put these together with Torchwood and Doctor Who's influence seems to be everywhere these days. How long before the sonic screwdriver gets its own show, one wonders? Robin Hood has been trying to hit some of the same buttons as a drama the whole family can enjoy of a Saturday night, with some success - it's been commissioned for a second series. It seems the BBC is gagging for another Doctor Who, as this extract from the drama commissioning development priorities website shows...
BBC ONE Saturday Early Evening
Audience Context: Saturday night starts here and people are gearing up for the evening ahead. It is a time when people want to watch with others, to tap into the collective feel of Saturday night as a time of relaxation and celebration. This time of day is about wanting purely to be entertained. Doctor Who and Robin Hood have proved and possibly enhanced the demand for multi-layered TV that works across the family.
Audience Need: High adrenalin family entertainment that leaves everyone on a high.
Meeting the Audience Need:
• A positive, energetic piece of entertainment to kick off Saturday night
• It’s unashamedly escapist
• Continuing the momentum we’ve built in revitalising and modernising family drama.
• A show that will build on Doctor Who’s success in revitalising and modernising family drama
• A show that is bold and surprising enough to offer entertainment to all the family
• Humour, irreverence, animation and ‘heightened reality’ settings offer fertile common ground across age groups
• Ideally it will offer the opportunity to extend the show onto a variety of media platforms
Budget: We are looking for ideas of 10-13 eps x 45 minutes. Our budget is approx £450k-£700k per hour