Secrets of the Stars was the third serial of series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Gareth Roberts and directed by Michael Kerrigan. It featured Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Tommy Knight as Luke Smith, Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer, Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra and Alexander Armstrong as Mr Smith.

It explored the origins of the Zodiac calendar and the mystical connections to it. Notably a first, the antagonist used precognitive abilities to discern extraordinarily accurate knowledge of Sarah's past within moments of meeting her, including things he should not know by normal means, such as her travels with the Doctor, something that she would only reveal to her closest friends. There was also a brief flashback to her reunion with the Tenth Doctor, his first appearance within the narratives of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Astrologer Martin Trueman causes a stir with his uncanny insights and predictions. Sarah doesn't believe in astrology, but she does believe that all is not as it seems with Trueman. Around her, people are falling under Trueman's sinister spell, and even Mr Smith doesn't understand what's going on.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Part 1[edit | edit source]

A young woman, Cheryl, is paying a regular visit to her astrologer, Martin Trueman. When she confides that she is spending her mortgage money to see him, Trueman breaks down and confesses that he is a con artist. As he stands by his window, unable to face her, he is hit by a shooting star. Suddenly, he's found a renewed belief in astrology.

Some time later, Rani and her mum have dragged Mr Chandra, Luke and Clyde to Martin Trueman's astrology seminar at East Acton New Theatre. Sarah has come, too, thinking she might do a story on Mr Trueman. Before entering the auditorium, each of them fills out a card with his or her birthday and gives it to Cheryl, who is now working as Mr Trueman's assistant. Luke, who was not really "born", does not have a birthdate, a fact that troubles him.

Mr Trueman begins his show by naming a random date and asking those born on that date to stand. Clyde stands, despite his stated intention not to; he is unnerved, but Sarah reassures him that it's a trick of persuasion. Mr Trueman selects another audience member. To the audience's astonishment, he divines her life story. Sarah can just convince her friends — and herself — that Trueman is just using cold reading techniques. Then Trueman selects her. He reveals an impossible amount of knowledge about seemingly ordinary Sarah's extraordinary travels and more importantly, about the Doctor.

Stunned and intrigued, Sarah stays after the show to talk to Trueman alone. She demands to know the source of his uncanny knowledge. He insists that astrology alone is responsible for his success. When he concludes the interview by warning Sarah against opposing him, she has no choice but to leave, as baffled and as unnerved as when she met him.

On the way home Clyde encounters Trueman, who his commanding power he used on him in the theatre and walked to his house and transfers some of the ancient lights power into Clyde to become his slave. In his trance Clyde suddenly seems to gain a new sense of purpose and direction, and sets off to meet Sarah and Luke back at 13 Bannerman Road... where he threatens to kill them, while Mr Smith stands idly by and insists that "nothing is happening". Clyde's hand glows with lethal energy as his eyes glow crimson red and he points it at Sarah, declaring that if she insists on interfering she must be destroyed.

Part 2[edit | edit source]

People hypnotised to protect Martin Trueman

Sarah tries to talk Clyde out of threatening them and insists that he could never bring himself to harm her but he doesn't listen and Luke puts his hand on Clyde's shoulder as he prepares to destroy her. Clyde then collapses.

Various people in Bannerman road, including Gita, are all walking away as if possessed. Haresh and one of his neighbours are utterly bemused as to what is happening.

Clyde has woken up free from Trueman's control. Rani initially believes that this means the threat is over but Mr Smith shows them news broadcasts from all over the world; revealing that hundreds of people are all leaving their homes and workplaces, including the President of the United States. Rani doesn't believe they have much of a chance at stopping Trueman, considering they don't even now how they managed to free Clyde. Sarah theorises that by pushing Clyde and trying to reach his intrinsic goodness, she managed to override any hypnotic techniques Trueman may have used.

The friends continue their discussion of Trueman. Mr Smith gives them background on astrology: a belief system widespread throughout the galaxy, he says and, in his opinion, mere superstition. It is a physical impossibility for "imaginary patterns in the sky" to affect reality, as the computer puts it. Luke theorises that, if that is the case, maybe the Ancient Lights Trueman speaks of are from another universe... the one that existed before Event One.

Mr Smith interrupts the theorising to patch through a television programme. Mr Trueman has taken over the airwaves and broadcast one of his astrology talks. This lecture/demonstration features a large, twelve-pointed star, each arm marked with a different sun sign. Trueman lights up the points of the star one by one, giving him control over people born under that sign.

He begins his those he considers brothers and sisters born under the sign of Gemini, a group that includes Rani's mum. The investigators return to the theatre to stop the broadcast, but the possessed Children of Gemini threaten to stop them. Clyde bluffs his way through by making up horoscopes.

The Ancient Lights create a portal to the theatre. Trueman reveals that Luke's theory on the Ancient Lights is true: in the previous universe, he claims, they controlled all lifeforms. The Ancient Lights survived the Big Bang and needed Martin Trueman to rule the world because he was the "Chosen One". Sarah tries to talk him out of it, but he will not listen.

Rani and Luke try to shut down the broadcast by flicking the mains switch off, but the Ancient Lights protect it with a force field. As they struggle to find a way through, Trueman's wheel reaches the sign of Aries, and Rani, an Aries, comes under Trueman's control.

Of the twelve signs on Trueman's wheel, only Taurus now remains. Sarah is a Taurus, and when her theory of how she managed to free Clyde proves ineffective on Trueman, she cannot think of what she and Luke can do with only seconds remaining before she, too, falls under Trueman's control.

Luke has an idea: since he was not born, he theorises, he doesn't have a star sign. Meaning he won't be under Trueman's control under any circumstances. This theory is reinforced when he realises that Clyde was actually freed due to Luke touching him. Therefore, he is the only person able to destroy Trueman's wheel. Doing so severs the connection with the Ancient Lights and prevents their entry into the universe. Sarah pleads with Trueman to leave the theatre and escape with them, but Trueman refuses; he cannot bear to return to his former life and chooses to become "one with the stars" disintegrating into space much to Clyde's grief.

As the friends celebrate back at Sarah's house, the clueless Earth authorities begin what the investigators know will be a fruitless search for Trueman. Luke and Sarah decide that, since Luke was able to use his lack of a birthday to save the universe, they will take today's date as his own equivalent of a birthday.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Crew[edit | edit source]

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.

References[edit | edit source]

Individuals[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Objects[edit | edit source]

  • Sarah thought Trueman might be using a bio-damper.

TV[edit | edit source]

Expressions[edit | edit source]

Story notes[edit | edit source]

  • The story was originally going to use the Mandragora Helix as a sequel to The Masque of Mandragora. However, it was decided that "Mandragora had to change too much and was too easily defeated in order to fit this plot", so a new foe was created instead. (DWMSE 23)
  • This was the first episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures in which the Doctor appeared in some fashion, though it was in flashbacks from School Reunion and Journey's End. The TARDIS could also be seen in the background of one of the flashback scenes.
  • This is the third story in a row to involve a significant "mind control" theme.
  • Trueman telling Cheryl that she's "going on a long journey — a very long journey" in the pre-title sequence is an in-joke reference to Dimensions in Time, in which the Rani utters an almost identical line.
  • Translation of the French language news items is as follows:
French English
Newsreader: La situation est très confuse. Personne ne sait ce qu'il se passe, ni qui pourrait être cet étrange Anglais. The situation is very confusing. No one knows what is going on, or who the strange Englishman could be.
News crawl: ...ont été hypnotisé suivant une émission télévisée imprévue. Ceux qui ont été touchés par l'émission commencent maintenant à agir... ...have been hypnotised during an unplanned television show. Those who have been affected by the programme are now beginning to...
  • As Trueman announces signs of the Zodiac coming into claim of the Ancient Lights, two are activated offscreen. These would be Virgo (♍) and Aquarius (♒).
  • Barack Obama, who is the US President at the time this story was set (TV: The End of Time) became possessed when Trueman took control of everyone whose star sign is Cancer. In real life, Barack Obama's star sign is Leo.

Ratings[edit | edit source]

  • Part 1 - 518,000 (CBBC channel)
  • Part 2 - 505,000 (CBBC channel)

Filming locations[edit | edit source]

  • New Theatre, Cardiff
  • Albert Crescent, Penarth

Production errors[edit | edit source]

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.
  • When Luke begins explaining to Clyde about bio-dampeners, Clyde's arm is around Luke's shoulders but when the camera switches angles, his arm is now down by his side.
  • Near the end of Trueman's ritual, Taurus (♉) can be seen lit up on Trueman's zodiac wheel before he calls the sign, unlike what happens with other signs. Taurus itself was never activated on the wheel, and the power was cut before Trueman could announce it coming under the power of the Ancient Lights.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

Home video releases[edit | edit source]

  • This story, along with the rest of series 2, was released on DVD on 9th November 2009 (UK) and 10th November 2009 (North America).
  • It was also released in the Complete Collection Series 1-5 boxset release (Region 2 release: 6th February 2012).

External links[edit | edit source]

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