The Sarah Jane Adventures Episodes 14 & 15:
The Day Of The Clown

Plot

The Chandra family moves into the Jacksons' house on Bannerman Road. Sarah Jane is adamant that their daughter, Rani, not become caught up in her adventures, but Rani is already being haunted by a malevolent clown. Clyde becomes convinced that the clown is connected to a spate of disappearances from their school, and with Rani's help they follow the lead to a circus museum. Confronted by the museum's eerie proprietor, Sarah Jane discovers that the kidnapper is none other than the Pied Piper of old.

Production

The first season of The Sarah Jane Adventures had been a ratings success, earning the digital channel CBBC some of its highest ratings ever, while also garnering a significant audience for its BBC1 timeslot. As such, it was with some confidence that, late in 2007, the production team began to plan for a potential second season which would air in the fall of 2008. However, it quickly became clear that there would be changes both behind and in front of the camera.

By now producer Matthew Bouch had taken on additional responsibilities, including the producership of the BBC3 supernatural drama Being Human. Consequently, it was decided that a new producer for The Sarah Jane Adventures would be appointed, with Bouch retaining the more high-level capacity of series producer. Joining the production team in this role was Nikki Smith, who had been a script editor on Trial & Retribution, The Bill and New Street Law (for which she had also served as assistant producer). Most recently, Smith had script edited the Doctor Who two-parter The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky.

Phil Ford would take the role of lead writer on The Sarah Jane Adventures

In addition to Smith, the production team formally gained an additional member in the form of Phil Ford. Ford had originally been tasked with writing Eye Of The Gorgon for the first season of The Sarah Jane Adventures, but then became more active in the development of other scripts such as Warriors Of Kudlak. He then wound up writing the season finale, The Lost Boy, when it was determined that executive producer Russell T Davies would have insufficient time to do so. Ford would now take the role of lead writer on The Sarah Jane Adventures, writing half the planned six serials for the season and providing input on the other three; he would be credited as co-producer.

Finally, actress Yasmin Paige informed the production team that she would be unable to continue playing Maria Jackson. Paige would turn seventeen in 2008 and would be writing GCSE exams in the spring, when the putative new season would begin production. Respecting the importance of her education, Paige elected to temporarily step back from her acting career. It was decided that Paige would return to The Sarah Jane Adventures for the year's second recording block, in order to provide Maria with a suitable exit from the show; her parents, Alan and Chrissie, would also be written out.

However, this meant that a new young female protagonist was needed to fill the void left by Maria. To this end Davies developed Rani Rakhit, who would enter Sarah Jane's orbit due to her interest in becoming a journalist. To draw a clear distinction between the two teenage girls, whereas Maria had been a child of divorce, Rani's parents would still be happily married. These characters were developed by Ford together with Gareth Roberts, who had written Revenge Of The Slitheen and Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane? for the first season, in addition to co-writing the introductory special Invasion Of The Bane. Rani's mother would be florist Sundra Rakhit, while her father would be Suresh Rakhit, whose new job as headmaster of Park Vale Comprehensive would provide additional opportunities to involve him in the lives of his daughter, Luke and Clyde. The character names evolved over time, with Sundra becoming Gita, Suresh becoming Haresh, and the family name becoming Chandra.

The renewal of The Sarah Jane Adventures was officially announced on February 6th, 2008

The renewal of The Sarah Jane Adventures was officially announced in a press release on February 6th, 2008. Successfully auditioning to play Rani was Anjli Mohindra, who had trained at the Nottingham Television Workshop and appeared in episodes of Doctors and Coronation Street. Mina Anwar was cast as Gita; an alumna of the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, she had been seen in The Thin Blue Line, The Bill and Coronation Street. The role of Haresh went to Ace Bhatti, a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art who had previously been credited as Ahsen Bhatti. Bhatti had been in Dramarama as a teenager, and subsequently appeared in programmes such as Cardiac Arrest, Grease Monkeys and New Street Law; he also had a small role in the film Bend It Like Beckham.

The Chandra family would be introduced in the second story of the 2008 season, one of the scripts allocated to Ford. This became Day Of The Clown, for which he took the opportunity to bring back Professor Rivers (played by Floella Benjamin) and the Pharos Institute, previously seen in The Lost Boy. The basis for Ford's story was the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a town in Germany. In 1284, it appears that the children of the town were lost in some manner, and local lore holds that this was connected with the figure of a piper dressed in many colours whose image appeared in a stained-glass window installed in the Church of Hamelin around 1300. (The church was destroyed in 1660, but independent records support the description of the window.) Subsequent retellings added the idea of the Piper having been hired to rid Hamelin of a plague of rats using supernatural powers, only for the town mayor to renege on his payment, inspiring the Piper's revenge by stealing away the town's children. The legend was famously retold in prose by the Brothers Grimm in 1816, and in verse by both Johann Goethe in 1803 and Robert Browning in 1842.

Due to Paige's limited availability, Day Of The Clown would be paired with the following serial, Secrets Of The Stars, as the first production block of the year. The assigned director was Michael Kerrigan, a veteran whose previous credits included the 1989 Doctor Who adventure Battlefield. In the intervening years, Kerrigan's credits had included episodes of The Bill, The Famous Five and Coronation Street.

Amongst the clowns seen on Sarah Jane's laptop was Clara from the 1966 Doctor Who serial The Celestial Toymaker

Production on the second season of The Sarah Jane Adventures began on April 14th, which was also Mohindra's first day of filming. From the 14th to the 16th, the team was based at Upper Boat Studios, with the first two days spent on the set for Sarah Jane's attic. April 16th saw the debut of the new set for the Chandra (formerly Jackson) residence, replacing the house on Clinton Road in Penarth which had been used during the first season. Clinton Road was still being used for Bannerman Road exteriors and for the interior of the rest of Sarah Jane's home, however, and it was the site of work on the 17th and 18th. Amongst the clowns seen on Sarah Jane's laptop was Clara, one of the sinister playthings of the eponymous villain in the 1966 Doctor Who serial The Celestial Toymaker, as played by Carmen Silvera.

It was back to Upper Boat on April 21st, for further scenes in the Chandra home as well as the flashbacks of the young Sarah Jane. The next day began in Tredegar where the Pharos Institute was again represented by the Vittac Building in the Tredegar Business Park, as with The Lost Boy. Cast and crew then returned to Upper Boat for shots of Sarah Jane smashing Spellman's mirrors. The cameras were rolling at another familiar location on April 23rd and 24th, with Cardiff High School once again featuring as Park Vale Comprehensive; the latter day also included the sequence of Luke and Clyde losing Odd Bob in an alleyway off nearby Windermere Avenue. The 25th was spent back at Clinton Road.

The major location for Day Of The Clown was the Paget Rooms in Penarth, posing as Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus. Kerrigan's team was at work there from April 29th to May 2nd. The last day also saw the filming of Luke's call to Sarah Jane on Station Road and Odd Bob distributing his tickets at Penarth Station, a scene originally set at a shopping mall rather than a railway station. The remaining Park Vale sequences were completed at Cardiff High School on May 5th, leaving just a few inserts to be recorded at Albert Crescent in Penarth (on the 13th) and at Upper Boat (on the 16th and 19th).

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #23, 24th December 2009, “Episodes 2.3/2.4: Day Of The Clown” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 6th Oct 2008
Time 5.16pm
Duration 27'55"
Viewers (more) 514k
· CBBC 514k
· BBC1 600k
(13th Oct 2008)
Appreciation 82%
Episode 2
Date 13th Oct 2008
Time 5.17pm
Duration 28'24"
Viewers (more) 443k
· CBBC 443k
· BBC1 760k
(20th Oct 2008)
Appreciation 81%


Cast
Sarah Jane Smith
Elisabeth Sladen
Voice of Maria Jackson
Yasmin Paige
Luke Smith
Tommy Knight
(more)
Voice of Mr Smith
Alexander Armstrong
Clyde Langer
Daniel Anthony
Dave Finn
Jem Brownlee
Tony Warner
Aaron Shosanya
Odd Bob / Elijah Spellman / The Pied Piper
Bradley Walsh
Rani Chandra
Anjli Mohindra
Mr Cunningham
Huw Higginson
Steve Wallace
Elijah Baker
Haresh Chandra
Ace Bhatti
Gita Chandra
Mina Anwar
Clowns
Alan Ruscoe
Sean Palmer
Professor Rivers
Floella Benjamin
Young Sarah Jane
Jessica Mogridge


Crew
Written by
Phil Ford
Directed by
Michael Kerrigan
Produced by
Nikki Smith
(more)

Created by
Russell T Davies
Co-producer
Phil Ford
1st Assistant Director
Steffan Morris
2nd Assistant Director
Anna Evans
3rd Assistant Director
Sarah Davies
Location Manager
Jonathan Allott
Production Co-ordinator
Phillipa Cole
Continuity
Frances Mable
Script Editor
Gary Russell
Focus Puller
Steve Rees
Grip
Clive Baldwin
Boom Operator
Jeff Welch
Gaffer
Steve Slocombe
Stunt Co-ordinator
Abbi Collins
Supervising Art Director
James North
Standby Art Director
Ellen Woods
Standby Props
Nick Murray
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Arabella Rhodes
Assistant Editor
Matt Mullins
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
Colourist
Jon Everett
Sound Editing
Bang Post Production
Dubbing Mixer
Mark Ferda
Title Music
Murray Gold
Music
Sam Watts
Casting Directors
Andy Pryor CDG
Andy Brierley
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Dyfed Thomas
Sound Recordist
Jeff Matthews
Costume Designer
Stewart Meachem
Make Up Designer
Emma Bailey
Visual Effects
Craig Higgins
Special Effects
Any Effects
Prosthetics
Millennium FX
Editor
Mike Hopkins
Production Designer
Arwel Wyn Jones
Director of Photography
Rory Taylor
Associate Producer
Debbi Slater
Series Producer
Matthew Bouch
Executive Producers for BBC Wales
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner

Updated 18th July 2017