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Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? was the fourth serial of series 1 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Gareth Roberts and directed by Graeme Harper. It saw the introduction of the Trickster, a recurring villain of the program, whose minions would also appear in Doctor Who and Torchwood. Additionally, Alan Jackson got exposed to alien activity yet again, to the point it was beyond Sarah Jane's power to cover up the evidence.


One day, Sarah Jane Smith exists. The next, only Maria Jackson knows of her. Andrea Yates takes her place, but Maria knows that Andrea has done something to remove Sarah Jane from the space/time continuum. It is up to Maria to uncover the identity of the "Trickster" if the human race is to survive. But with Sarah Jane and Luke wiped from existence and Clyde having lost all knowledge of his former adventures, Maria must save the world single-handedly. But she finds it may be time to tell her father about her secret life with Sarah if the whole world is to survive.


Part 1[]

Sarah Jane Smith and Alan Jackson pick up Clyde, Luke and Maria. They stop off in the Ealing Palace Park where Clyde practises his skateboarding. Alan, disappointed at what he sees, tries to teach Clyde, showing off his own skills. Maria takes photos of everyone. While being photographed, Sarah Jane becomes very cold and mutters that someone just walked over her grave. As they leave, a black-cloaked, hooded figure peers from behind a bush. Back in Sarah Jane's attic, Sarah Jane tells Maria, Luke and Clyde about a meteorite on course with Earth. She reassures them Mr Smith will deflect it the next day. After sending Clyde home and Luke to make tea, Sarah Jane gives Maria an alien puzzlebox. It was a gift from a Verron Soothsayer, who told her to give it to the person she trusts the most and just to "remember". Sarah Jane says she chose Maria and sent Luke away so he wouldn't be offended. Maria tries to open it that night, but falls asleep holding it.

A mysterious, cloaked figure approaches Sarah Jane's house. He holds out a hand. The lights in the house go out, her car disappears and the puzzle block glows blue in Maria's hand. The next day, she tells her dad she is going to Sarah Jane's. Alan has not heard of the woman. Maria takes this as a joke. He mentions Andrea and thinks Maria is joking when she asks who Andrea is. Across the street is a strange woman in Sarah Jane's house who seems to know Maria, but neither Sarah Jane or Luke are there. Her dad calls the woman Andrea. Maria rushes into the house but the furniture and decorations are entirely different. Checking the attic, she finds it is filled with old junk and Mr. Smith is gone. Maria checks her laptop for the photos that she took the day before. Sarah Jane and Luke are not in them, but Andrea is. Sarah Jane, Luke and Mr. Smith have vanished. She alone remembers them.

Maria searches her mobile phone contacts, but Sarah Jane, Luke, and Clyde's numbers have all vanished. She remembers the impending meteor, but no one will listen. Remembering Clyde's number from memory, she calls him, only to find that he is an acquaintance rather than one of her best friends. When Maria asks about Sarah Jane and Luke, Clyde doesn't know what she's talking about and brushes her off. Maria decides to search for information on Sarah Jane in the library. She and her father find a newspaper article from 1964; a thirteen-year-old Sarah Jane Smith drowned after falling from a pier, where she was larking around with her friend, Andrea Yates. Alan reasons that Andrea told her about the accident.

As Maria watches, the names of the deceased and the survivor on the report switch for a second, though a bemused Alan claims he saw nothing. Realising that she can't get her father to remember anything about Sarah Jane, Maria tells him she was lying to stop his worries. She goes to talk to Andrea. Andrea can't seem to recall her best friend's name until Maria mentions the incident in 1964, at which point Andrea panics and throws Maria out. Maria leaves after yelling that she will do whatever she can to bring Sarah Jane back.

Andrea rushes to the attic and finds a second puzzle box. The cloaked figure reappears and reminds Andrea of their agreement. She can't bear the memory and begs him to help her. He offers to make Maria disappear. After Andrea accepts, Andrea distracts Alan by asking him for help putting up decorations for her party. The Trickster dispatches a Graske, who chases Maria from her house into a dead end under a tunnel and teleports her away just after Alan picks up the first puzzle box, which Maria had dropped during the chase. When Chrissie comes round, she cannot remember Maria, although Alan can. Meanwhile, Maria escapes from the Graske and finds herself on a beach promenade. She approaches two girls in school uniform to ask them for help. One of them laughs at Maria's clothes but the other is more friendly and tells her friend off for being so rude. This girl introduces herself, much to Maria's surprise, as Sarah Jane Smith.

Part 2[]

Sarah Jane and the Trickster talk in Limbo.

Maria realises that the other girl is Andrea Yates, who is surprised that Maria knows her. Maria grabs a newspaper and sees the date: July 13th 1964, the day of the accident. After failing to dissuade Andrea and Sarah Jane from going to the pier, Maria is recaptured by the Graske and is taken to join the adult Sarah Jane on a white, misty plain called Limbo. The mysterious figure summons Sarah Jane and explains that he has removed Sarah Jane from Earth's timeline so the meteorite will destroy it and create the chaos on which he feeds. Luke also no longer exists, as in the altered timeline the Bane never came to Earth and thus he was never created. He removes his hood to reveal a featureless face and a mouth with sharp, pointed teeth. He tells her how her life was so important to the Earth, but he found just the right time to "snuff it out". As he leaves, he also mentions that he will proceed to remove the Doctor from time as well, to ensure nothing can interfere with his plan.

Chrissie becomes angry at Alan for making up that they had children, and Alan begins to realise that what Maria said was true. He accompanies Chrissie to Andrea's birthday party. Recalling Maria's suspicions, he questions Andrea, who takes him to the attic and sorrowfully reveals the truth. When Andrea was on a school trip in July 1964, she and Sarah Jane left the school group to explore on their own. After getting into the locked pier, they larked around for a bit before looking over the railings. However, the gate Andrea leant against was unlocked and she tumbled down, grabbing hold of an overhanging girder. Sarah Jane tried to save her, but could not reach her or call for help. A hoarse voice offered to switch the girls' places. Andrea, terrified, accepted. The two girls immediately swapped places and Sarah Jane fell, with Andrea safe. The figure appeared and gave Andrea the puzzle box, then removed himself from her memory, promising to always be with her.

Because of the figure, Andrea had forgotten about her friend's entire existence, but Maria's questions made her remember both Sarah Jane and the deal she made with the figure. The figure then reappears in the mirror, though Alan cannot see him, and offers to remove Alan. Andrea apologises both for removing Maria and for what she is about to do. She grabs Alan's puzzle box as the Graske appears. Alan is chased into the street by the Graske, but he knocks it down on his skateboard and uses its snare device to bring back Maria.

Maria returns to reality, leaving Sarah Jane on her own in limbo. At Andrea's party, Clyde switches on the television. Everyone at Andrea's party learns that a huge meteorite is heading for Earth and the Air Force are planning a missile strike to destroy the meteorite. Alan tries to fire the snare again to return Sarah Jane, but she does not appear; Maria deduces that since she returned to her home, Sarah Jane must be in her attic. The missile strike fails and the guests flee the party to watch the approaching meteor.

In the attic, Sarah Jane appears in the mirror and explains that she cannot return while Andrea is still there. Andrea grows angry when Maria says she was "meant to die", arguing that she has the right to live and she will be forgotten. Sarah Jane agrees that neither of them should have died... it was a pointless death, something that Sarah Jane never forgot. Witnessing Andrea's death gave her the resolve to fight pointless deaths herself. When the figure reappears (called "the Trickster" by Alan), Andrea realises the error of her ways and, in an act of selflessness and courage, withdraws the agreement with the Trickster, throwing the puzzle box at the mirror which smashes both.

Back in 1964, Andrea whispers, "Remember me," to Sarah Jane just before she falls to her death, while Sarah Jane and Luke reappear with Alan and Maria in the attic. Sarah Jane activates Mr Smith to stop the meteor, now only metres from impact. The party guests have fled, but Clyde and Chrissie remain as targets for the incoming meteorite. Mr Smith activates the magnetic buffer and the meteorite diverts at the last minute. Clyde joins the others in the attic, where Alan demands an explanation of his daughter's involvement with aliens, monsters and supercomputers. The four look at each other and have no answer.


Uncredited cast[]


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.





Cultural references to the real world[]

  • "You Really Got Me" is playing on a radio when Maria is transported back in time.
  • By 13 July 1964, the Beatles have sold out the first leg of their United Kingdom tour.
  • Maria Callas is an opera singer.
  • At Andrea’s birthday party, the Sandie Shaw song “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” plays in the living room. Clyde attempts to change it to modern music, calling the song “ancient”.
  • Armageddon is mentioned by Clyde.


  • The Trickster describes Sarah Jane Smith as "ephemeral."

Astronomical objects[]

  • K67 is a meteorite.

Story notes[]

  • Both episodes aired on the CBBC channel, and were broadcast a week later on BBC 1.
  • The newspaper which Maria picks up on 13 July 1964 states that the Beatles have sold out the first leg of their UK tour. In real life, Jane Asher, who plays Andrea Yates, was the girlfriend of Paul McCartney from 1963 to 1968. Although they were engaged in 1967, they never married.
  • The title is a pun on the title of the 1962 film "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane".


  • Part 1 - 0.41 million viewers (DWMSE 23)
  • Part 2 - 0.63 million viewers (DWMSE 23)

Part One's BBC One repeat gained 1.2 million with an AI score of 85, whilst Part Two's BBC One repeat gained 1.1 million with an AI score of 85.

Filming locations[]

  • Clinton Road, Penarth (Bannerman Road)
  • Esplanade, Penarth
  • Penarth Pier, Penarth
  • Science Library, Cardiff University
  • Victoria Road, Penarth
  • Dinas Powys Skatepark, Cardiff Road, Dinas Powys
  • Park Place, Cardiff
  • Archer Place (Path under Bridge), Penarth
  • Upper Boat, Tonteg Road, Treforest Industrial Estate, Pontypridd

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.
  • Sarah Jane lives on 13 Bannerman Road, but a sign at the gates clearly says "21".
  • When Andrea grabs the puzzle box and throws it to the floor, the puzzle box appears to break.
  • Alan knows the Trickster's name in Part 2 and says it, despite not previously hearing it. According to Gareth Roberts, this error came about as a result of a scene being cut in which Krislok told him.[2]


Home video releases[]

  • This story was included in the Series 1 DVD box set, which was released in North America on 7 October 2008 and in the UK on 10 November 2008.
  • It was also released in the Complete Collection Series 1-5 boxset release (Region 2 release: 6th February 2012).

External links[]