Mona Lisa's Revenge was the fifth serial of series 3 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Phil Ford and directed by Joss Agnew. It featured Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Tommy Knight as Luke Smith, Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer, Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra, Alexander Armstrong as Mr Smith and John Leeson as K9.

As the title suggests, it revealed that Leonardo da Vinci's most famous painting, The Mona Lisa, was a hostile entity. Furthermore, Clyde Langer's exemplary art skills, which Luke Smith had noticed in The Mark of the Berserker, became a central point of this story, as did Clyde's experiences with alien life having influences on what he drew, and the subject of art in general.

Synopsis Edit

Strange forces bring the Mona Lisa, on exhibit at an art gallery in London, to life. Luke, Clyde and Rani are at the gallery on a school trip as the Mona Lisa rampages with a Sontaran blaster, taken from another painting. Sarah comes to the rescue but ends up trapped in a painting. It's all down to Clyde, Rani and Luke to save the day as the Mona Lisa searches for her brother, the Abomination, hidden in another place in the art gallery.

Plot Edit

Part 1 Edit

In art class, Luke and Clyde discuss his drawing abilities when Mr Chandra enters to tell Clyde that his painting has won first prize in a competition to see the Mona Lisa at the International Gallery. Although pleased, Clyde does not recall submitting his work to a competition. Luke had secretly entered it himself.

At the gallery, Lionel Harding and Phyllis Trupp examine newly arrived painting from Paris. Despite her clearly having feelings for him, Lionel ignores Trupp's attempts at a kiss and the two leave moments before the Mona Lisa's hand reaches out.

Luke rushes home to tell Sarah about the competition. She interrupts him over the state of his bedroom. Luke snaps and accuses her of wanting him to be perfect, the way the Bane had created him. The next day, after arriving at the gallery, Luke confides his troubles to Clyde and Rani before being led away by Phyllis. After they notice a Chinese Puzzle Box, Lionel arrives to show Clyde his winning painting. Meanwhile, Phyllis reveals her feelings whilst looking at the Mona Lisa, who reaches out to grab her.

Clyde's painting, showing three women holding Sontaran blaster guns, is shown to the class, who applaud his work. Despite feeling slightly embarrassed, Clyde says that he takes comfort in drawing and asks Luke not to tell Sarah that he drew K9. Lionel takes the class to see the Mona Lisa, but is shocked to find Phyllis in the portrait and calls security. Mr Chandra ushers the class out of the gallery, but Luke, Clyde and Rani sneak away to investigate.

Meanwhile, Mr Smith informs Sarah of the incident at the gallery to distract her from worrying about Luke. She decides to investigate despite a lack of alien activity. After revisiting Clyde's painting, Rani notices one of the Sontaran guns is missing. Moments after Lionel arrives, the Mona Lisa appears and holds the missing gun on them. She opens fire on the group before cooperating with Lionel.

Sarah arrives at the gallery, having spoken with Haresh. She notices two different alien energies in the gallery. Meanwhile, Luke is adamant in his resolve not to seek Sarah's help and the three discover the police and gallery staff trapped inside various paintings. Mona Lisa remembers Lionel from his previous visits to the Louvre. She tells him to help find her "brother", a painting done at the same time and place. It is in the gallery.

Sarah Jane trapped in painting

Sarah Jane, trapped in a painting

As they try to escape, Luke notices Sarah's car outside. Meanwhile, Sarah enters the chamber where Phyllis is held, where she is discovered when Lionel and the Mona Lisa arrive. The Mona Lisa tells Sarah not to interfere, referencing Luke's earlier conversations, and imprisons her in a painting. Luke, Clyde and Rani arrive too late to save her after they hear her screaming.

Part 2 Edit

Luke, Rani and Clyde beg the Mona Lisa to release Sarah from the painting. When she refuses, Luke pushes her over and escapes with Sarah's painting. Rather than chase after them, the Mona Lisa brings the Dark Rider from his painting to eliminate them. The three youngsters avoid his shots, while Lionel and the Mona Lisa proceed through the gallery to locate her "brother", The Abomination, whose groans and grunts echo through the building. Mona Lisa pauses on her quest when she catches sight of a window. She asks to step outside. Lionel opens the window for her, but she panics when her outstretched arm returns to its painted self. The two enter an unfinished room in the gallery, where Clyde walks in on them. He tries to hide, but is captured by the Dark Rider after overhearing their plans to release The Abomination.

Luke and Rani try to figure out why the Mona Lisa is alive. Clyde is forced to accompany Mona Lisa and Lionel as they try to find the hidden painting in the basement. Luke and Rani realise the paint used to create both paintings came from a sentient rock that fell to Earth. Meanwhile, the Mona Lisa, Lionel, Clyde and the Dark Rider discover the caged Abomination painting in a locked cabinet. However, the puzzle lock is missing. Luke realises the Chinese Puzzle Box is needed to release The Abomination. He is confronted by the Mona Lisa and Lionel. The Mona Lisa tells them she has Clyde in her possession. Upon receiving the box from Luke, Lionel smashes the box. Before she can shoot Lionel, Luke tells her of another way to release The Abomination.

Mona Lisa takes Luke and Rani to Clyde, whom Luke tells to draw a new Chinese Puzzle Box. Despite his and Rani's concerns, Clyde draws a new one. The Mona Lisa animates the box and uses it to open the cabinet holding The Abomination. As the door opens and the energy is released, Luke opens the sketchpad to the drawing of K9, allowing it to animate. The drawn K9 zaps The Abomination, which prevents it from escaping, sending the Mona Lisa and the Dark Rider back into their paintings forever. Clyde is left puzzled when he looks round for K9 and discovers he has vanished. Everyone who was imprisoned in the paintings is now released, and Luke and Sarah are reunited, as well as Lionel and Phyllis. Despite his apologies and eagerness to start a relationship, Phyllis angrily leaves Lionel in the chamber while Sarah and the group reflect on the day's events. Sarah almost feels sorry that Mona Lisa is a consciousness trapped in a painting, though being trapped in a painting has soured her opinion of the woman. She praises Luke for being her clever, resourceful, and dependable son, who notes he is also messy and promises to clean his room when they get home. In the meantime, Sarah thinks she needs to have a chat with Clyde about featuring Sontaran blasters in his artwork. He looks at her discouragingly until she puts her arm around him, letting him know she's just teasing, and the group smiles.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

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.

Dan Watts credited for music in Part 1 only.  K9's creator credit only in Part 2.

References Edit

Individuals Edit

Real world Edit

Other Edit

Story notes Edit

  • Though John Leeson is credited as the voice of K9, the real K9 does not make an appearance in this episode. Instead, a sketch Clyde made of him is briefly brought to life and returned to drawing form near the end of part two.
  • Similar to the above, Mr Smith does not appear in part two at all, but Alexander Armstrong was still credited, likely because the "previously" segment features scenes where Mr Smith was heard speaking.
  • The Mona Lisa painting also featured prominently in the 1979 Doctor Who story City of Death. There are two possible deliberate references to the earlier story in this one. Firstly, in the opening scene of part one, there are paintings labelled Face of Time on the classroom walls. In part one of City of Death, an artist drew Romana II's face as a clock. A Chinese puzzle box also appears in both stories.
  • Writer Brian Dooley was originally tasked with writing the script for this story. He came up with the basic premise of artwork coming to life. However, his script was revised to the point that only Phil Ford was credited onscreen.[1]

Early drafts also incorporated characters from other well-known works of art, such as the Lady of Shalott, a tragic Arthurian sorceress created by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in an 1833 poem and most famously depicted on canvas by John William Waterhouse in 1888; the Lady would take up arms as Mona Lisa's henchwoman.[2]

Ratings Edit

  • Part 1: 1.12 million
  • Part 2: 0.92 million

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

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.
  • In the vault, after everything has been reversed, Rani says, "And that's the last of her". As she says, "I hope", a boom microphone can be seen at the top of the shot. This appears to have been corrected on the DVD release, with the microphone having apparently been digitally erased.
  • The Mona Lisa stole the blaster from Clyde's painting, but if you look at his painting in part one, as she tells Lionel that he can touch her, the blaster is clearly seen to be still there.

Continuity Edit

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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