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The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith was the fifth serial of series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Gareth Roberts and directed by Graeme Harper. It featured the return of the Trickster and his associate Krislok, who would be liberated of his servitude to the Trickster and make his last appearance. The episode was also notable for revealing the ultimate fate of Sarah's birth parents, Eddie and Barbara Smith.


When Sarah Jane returns a boy who has slipped through a time fissure to 1951, she realises she has found a way to meet the parents she never knew. Is it a trap? Sarah Jane and Luke fall victim to a revenge plot by the Trickster.


Part 1[]

A boy appears through a time fissure. Sarah Jane and Luke find the fissure as Clyde and Rani chase after the boy. They bring him back and Sarah Jane opens the fissure so he can return home. The boy is scared, so Sarah Jane takes him through. Before she can leave, Sarah Jane discovers it is 1951. She pauses, then returns through the fissure. The boy asks if he completed his task and the Trickster appears, saying he did it perfectly. This time Sarah Jane will not be able to resist temptation. Rani, Clyde and Luke try to convince Sarah Jane to let them go through, using her travels with the Doctor as leverage, but she tells them that it is too dangerous and the Doctor knew what he was "mostly" doing. She closes the fissure and they head home.

At home, the kids agree that something is wrong with Sarah Jane and set Luke to find out what. In the attic, Sarah Jane asks Mr Smith the status of the fissure. It is inactive. She asks him for the history of Foxgrove. After he tells her, she puts Mr Smith away and looks at a black and white photograph.

Luke enters and convinces Sarah Jane to tell him the truth. She explains about her parents, their death in a car crash and how she was raised by her aunt. Luke asks why she doesn't go back. Sarah Jane tells him it could be a trap. Luke notes that it could just be a coincidence, but Sarah Jane decides not to go.

That night, Sarah Jane gets ready to go through the fissure and attempts to leave, but is caught by Luke. He asks about her clothing, which she defends as the style of the 1950s, then the two head out. At the fissure they discuss the dangers of crossing your own timeline. Sarah Jane passes through and the fissure closes, but not before Luke jumps through. The fissure is still active and can be opened, so Sarah Jane and Luke head towards the village. They are watched by Oscar, the boy they rescued.

Clyde discovers Sarah Jane's house empty. After failing to get either of them on their mobiles, he heads to Rani's house. With Gita's help, he gets her out of bed. On entering the house they find that it is empty and Mr Smith has no idea where they might be. He has a theory that Sarah Jane may have gone back in time through the time portal. Mr Smith detects the box which the Verron Soothsayer gave Sarah Jane has become active again and is glowing blue. Clyde explains what it is and suggests it will protect them with its boxy goodness.

Sarah Jane and Luke arrive in the village, where they meets her parents at a fete. Luke sees Oscar and follows him, but finds only a newspaper. Sarah Jane helps out with serving tea and talks to her mother, learning more about her parents.

On taking the box to the portal, neither Rani nor Clyde can find a way to use it. Then the box changes colour to red.

Sarah Jane leaves the fete as her emotions begin to get the better of her. Luke tells her that her parents' deaths are today. He wants to go home. They argue, but Sarah Jane disables her parents' car engine, stopping them from being killed and changing the future. They leave the village and head for the fissure as the weather begins to turn.

Clyde and Rani watch as the time portal opens and Oscar steps out. When Oscar changes into a Graske they run off. They evade it by hiding behind bins. Time starts to change. Clyde puts his arm round Rani and they experience the transition from their version of the present into a new, post-apocalyptic version.

Sarah Jane and Luke arrive back in 2009. London has been destroyed and the Trickster reveals himself. She asks how he did this. He tells her that she did it when she stopped her parents' deaths, and the Trickster triumphantly proclaims, "You gave the world to the Trickster!"

Part 2[]

Sarah Jane demands to know how saving her parents could have altered time so drastically. The Trickster explains the village was built on a fault in time. Sarah Jane's tampering with a fixed point in time opened this fault, allowing the Trickster to physically enter this reality and ravage Earth for the last half century. Sarah Jane and Luke go back through the fissure as the Trickster gloats he has already won.

Clyde and Rani explore London, ruined and reduced to rock formations, while Clyde explains that it is an alternative timeline.

On the other side of the time fissure, Sarah Jane and Luke notice the unnatural weather. They run towards the village. The fete has been moved to the village hall because of the weather.

Clyde and Rani wonder how they will get home from this alternate time line, then notice a Graske. They follow him.

Sarah Jane tries to figure out how to stop the Trickster before he manifests. She tells Luke there was only one person who would immediately know how. She finds a police box and mistakes it for the Doctor's TARDIS before discovering a policeman inside.

Having followed the Graske, Clyde and Rani discover the last surviving humans being worked as slaves. Rani finds her mum and shouts to her. The Graske hears her, but stays away, which Clyde puts down to him being scared. Despite Clyde's warning, Rani runs after her mother.

Sarah Jane and Luke try to find the Trickster and discover the fete has been moved to the town hall.

Rani wonders how her mother still exists. Clyde tells her that time tries to compensate for changes in the timeline. When they talk to Gita, she explains they are being made to mine every resource from the Earth. Clyde asks her how the world became like this. Gita tells them of the legend of Sarah Jane Smith and how she handed the world to the Trickster when he tricked her. The Graske sets the slaves back to work. Clyde figures out that he and Rani must warn Sarah Jane, but wonders why the Graske works for the Trickster.

Sarah Jane asks her parents if they have noticed anything strange or any new person in the village recently. While Eddie believes it to be none of their business, Barbara helps.

Rani and Clyde talk to the Graske, who tells them the Trickster uses the slaves to mine minerals to create a ship so he can extend his reach to the rest of the universe. Clyde and Rani implore the Graske to help them restore the original timeline but he refuses. They note that he is simply the Trickster's slave. He tries to grab the puzzle box but Clyde makes him tell them the truth first. Years ago, the Graske nearly died in space, but was saved by the Trickster in return for eternal servitude. Clyde promises the Graske that if he helps them, they will give him the puzzle box to free him from the Trickster. The Graske agrees, and reopens the fissure so Rani can tell Sarah Jane the new information. Rani passes through the fissure and goes to warn Sarah Jane.

Sarah Jane finds an unusual reading inside an old, open-roofed building. Rani, meanwhile, enters the village hall and asks where Sarah Jane is. After some confusion caused by the presence of the baby Sarah Jane, Rani is told they were looking around the village and heads after them, soon followed by Eddie. Rani finds them and warns them that the Trickster is entering through the Abbot's Gateway.

The Trickster appears and Eddie arrives to take Barbara away. In the village hall, Eddie and Barbara figure out that something is wrong with them when fruit rots and flowers wither at their touch.

Sarah Jane threatens to send the Trickster back with her sonic lipstick, but he tells her it is no use. Luke reminds her of the only way to save the world, to re-activate her parents' car engine. The Trickster tries to convince her not to, but she runs off anyway.

Barbara and Eddie come to realise who Sarah Jane is and what she was trying to prevent. Sarah Jane repairs her parents' car when they approach her. After asking if their daughter had a good life and telling her how proud they are of her, they enter the car and drive off.

The weather changes and the Trickster begins to fade. He cannot see how the timeline could have been restored. Sarah Jane proudly states that the Trickster's plan never considered that her parents would willingly sacrifice themselves to save the world. The Trickster vanishes, howling in pain.

Back in the modern day, the timeline is restored around the Graske and Clyde, who gives the Graske the box. The Graske teleports away, beaming over its newly returned freedom. The fissure reopens as Sarah Jane, Luke and Rani return. Sarah Jane recloses the fissure and destroys the device which opened it, closing it permanently.

At home, Rani is joyed to find her parents alive and well and Clyde heads home. Sarah Jane reminisces over her parents, showing Luke her only picture of them. Although she could not save them, she finally knows why they left and is incredibly proud of them. As Sarah Jane and Luke share a hug, writing can be seen on the back of her parents' photo, one last remnant of the notes they used to share: "Mr Smith, I need you".



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.

For Part 1, Steve Rees was Focus puller, while no credit was given for Camera operator.  For Part 2, Steve Rees was Camera operator, while Tom Hartley was Focus puller.




  • Foxgrove was demolished in 1964 to make way for the A7665.
  • Given her ethnicity, Mrs. King assumes that Rani is from the Punjab in India.



Cultural references to the real world[]

Story notes[]

  • In the original treatment, Sarah Jane identified a time fissure at the disused RAF Twyford, and used it to travel back to 1951, during the airbase's heyday -- the place and time of her parents' death in a mysterious accident. Masquerading as Commander June Barlow to fool Group Captain Burfield, Sarah Jane became suspicious of research being conducted by Dr Kendrick. Clyde came through the time fissure to assist her, but the first episode ended with the reveal that this was really the Trickster in disguise, as her friends were actually being kept away from the fissure in the present day by the Graske. Sarah Jane discovered that Dr Kendrick was working with a lethal type of bacteria, but did not realise that the scientist and her parents were already infected. In the original version of history, they sacrificed their lives by crashing a plane loaded with all samples of the bacteria. Due to Sarah Jane's interference, however, this no longer transpired and the infection began to spread uncontrollably. Fortunately, in the present day, her friends were approached by an old woman named Jinty who had helped care for the infant Sarah Jane as a twelve-year-old on the base. Armed with Jinty's information, Luke was able to travel through the time fissure and help his mother put history back on track.[1]
  • On the BBC iPlayer page, Alan, Maria, Paul and Carla are all listed in the credits, even though they did not appear in the televised episode.
  • "The Doctor's Theme" musical cue is played when Sarah notices the police box.


  • Part 1 - 0.48 million viewers (DWMSE 23)
  • Part 2 - 0.59 million viewers (DWMSE 23)

Part One's BBC One repeat gained 0.72 million with an AI score of 82, whilst Part Two's BBC One repeat gained 0.8 million with an AI score of 85.

Filming locations[]

Llantwit Major - Foxgrove

The Dovecote, Llantwit Major - the 1951 site of the time fissure in Foxgrove

Old Beaupure Castle, Cowbridge - the Abbot's Gateway/Sarah Jane mistakes a police box for the TARDIS.

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.
  • As the camera slowly zooms in on the Trickster at the end of the cold open, the small holes in the mask to allow the actor to see become visible. There is also some creasing over the right eye on the mask, either the result of poor storage or a deliberate attempt to obfuscate some of the holes.


Home video releases[]

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


External links[]