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Lost in Time was the fifth serial of series 4 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Rupert Laight and directed by Joss Agnew. It introduced the Shopkeeper, an enigmatic guardian of history, as well as his pet parrot Captain.


A harmless investigation turns into an epic quest across time and space. Sarah and the gang are separated by the enigmatic Shopkeeper to find themselves in three different time-zones throughout history – doing battle against ghost hunters, Nazis, Tudors and a mysterious parrot called Captain!


Part one[]

Sarah Jane, Rani and Clyde look at a newspaper article about someone who claims to have seen an alien. They go into the man's shop to search for any traces of aliens. Rani finds a music box and Clyde finds a bloodstained arrow. The Shopkeeper comes out of a side room. He knows Sarah Jane's name, as well as a "great many things". He admits he used the newspaper article to gain her attention. He explains that three pieces of chronosteel, a metal forged in the time vortex, are lodged in Earth's history and have the power to reshape its destiny. He opens a time window, tells them to find the disguised pieces to get home and pushes it towards them. He talks to his parrot, Captain, mentioning the gang only have until an hourglass runs out to save the world.

Clyde, Sarah Jane and Rani each wakes alone, with no idea where they are — or when. Rani meets a maid, who tells her she is in the Tower of London's royal chambers and that Queen Jane wants to meet her. The maid, whose name is Mistress Ellen, thinks Rani is a visitor from the Far East, come to be the queen's new lady-in-waiting. Clyde meets a boy called George Woods, who is watching Germans land on a beach and says it is 1941. Sarah Jane is trapped in a box, which is opened by a girl who thinks she is a ghost. The girl touches her to find that she is real, then explains it is 1889 and no one lives in the house they're in; she was investigating stories of ghosts. The girl's name is Emily Morris.

Clyde and George confirm the men are Nazis and go to warn the Home Guard. Meanwhile, Rani is introduced to Lady Jane Grey. Rani makes a good first impression on the young queen, who likes a girl who speaks to her as a friend rather than royalty. The Shopkeeper watches them in his crystal ball. Sarah Jane asks Emily why she is obsessed with ghosts. Emily explains that she lost her mother nine weeks ago and doesn't want to believe that she's gone. The clock strikes eight, which is when the haunting is supposed to begin.

Lady Jane receives a warning that Lady Mary and her army have come to claim the throne. This makes Jane an "unlawful claimant" and a traitor; the punishment is death. Clyde and George reach St Michael's Church, but the telephone is dead and the Nazis have also come to the church and capture them. The Nazis have a piece of metal that Clyde realises is the chronosteel. Sarah Jane discovers that the "ghost" is actually the voice of someone from the future. She shows Emily that she is also from the future. They hear children giggling behind a door. They enter the room, which is hot because in the future, it is on fire.

Rani overhears Lady Matilda plotting to kill Jane, Clyde and George escape the church and Sarah Jane and Emily decide to save the children trapped in the burning room. The Shopkeeper, watching them, says they are taking too long and if they do not get back soon, they will all be trapped in the past forever.

Part two[]

Rani saves Lady Jane from Lady Matilda, who tried to kill her so she will die a martyr rather than a common traitor. The knife Matilda was going to use is a piece of chronosteel. Sarah Jane and Emily talk about the children, which distresses Emily; this is how her mother died. They turn the clock hands to eight and can now see the young woman who was talking before, and it emerges she is an extremely neglectful babysitter, as she locks the children she's meant to be looking after in their room while she leaves to meet someone. Clyde and George run into the local schoolteacher, Miss Wyckham, who tells them the village is surrounded by Germans, so they go back to St Michael's. Lady Jane gives Rani permission to return home, but Rani wants to stay and comfort her. The hourglass runs out, but the Shopkeeper cannot close the time window; if it is left open, the whole planet will be sucked in and destroyed.

Sarah Jane keeps looking for the chronosteel and Rani reassures Lady Jane that she will be remembered for hundreds of years. Clyde, George and Miss Wyckham return to the church, where it is revealed that the teacher is actually a Nazi spy. The Nazis explain that their transmitter blocks British radar, allowing them to invade without being detected. Clyde pulls out his mobile phone and pretends it is a bomb; George grabs the chronosteel and they ring the church bell to alert the Home Guard.

Sarah Jane finds the chronosteel, a key that is locking the children's room. She cannot touch it; she has been sent to the wrong time. They go into the room and find that the boy, Ben, has lit a candle and started the fire despite his sister Katy's warnings. Emily's fear about her mother connects to theirs, allowing her to cross over into their time. She gets the key, saving the children and retrieving the chronosteel.

Rani takes the chronosteel and vanishes in front of Lady Jane and Mistress Ellen. Ellen thinks it is witchcraft, but Lady Jane thinks Rani is an angel and knows that she will not be forgotten. George, inspired by Clyde's speech about defeating the Germans, says he is going to join up as well. Clyde returns to his own time. Sarah Jane tries to get back, but Emily wants her to stay and accidentally takes the chronosteel, so Sarah Jane goes home empty-handed. However, back in the shop, a woman comes and gives Sarah Jane the key, which saves Earth from destruction.

Clyde learns of George's knighting.

The Shopkeeper teleports away, after implying that the parrot, Captain, was the one who sent them on the mission. The woman explains that she is Angela Price, Emily's granddaughter, who told Angela to pass on the key. She and Sarah Jane go for a cup of tea and a chat. Clyde researches George and discovers he was recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, whilst Rani reads about Lady Jane and finds she was happy in her final moments.



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.





  • On hearing that the "alien" sighted was twelve feet tall, with huge claws and red eyes, Clyde jokingly asks if the gang are going up against the Gruffalo.



Story notes[]

  • The services of Alexander Armstrong as Mr Smith were not required for this story, though Mr Smith still appears in a cameo role in the epilogue.
  • The newspaper gives the date as 23 November 2010, the 47th anniversary of the date that the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast.
  • Koenig refers to Clyde as a "negro", one of the more adult orientated words in the more child friendly series of The Sarah Jane Adventures.


to be added

Filming locations[]

  • Jacob's Antique Centre
  • Hensol Castle
  • West Canal Wharf
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Merthyr Mawr Warren

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

to be added


Home video releases[]

DVD releases[]

  • This story was included in the 4th Series DVD release (Region 2 release: 31st October 2011).
  • It was also released in the Complete Collection Series 1-5 boxset release (Region 2 release: 6th February 2012).

Blu-ray releases[]

To be added.

External links[]