The Sarah Jane Adventures Episodes 18 & 19:
The Mark Of The Berserker

Plot

A classmate of Luke, Clyde and Rani's discovers an alien pendant which allows the wearer to control the minds of others. But the power comes at a terrible cost, and Rani is able to retrieve the artefact and bring it to Sarah Jane's for safekeeping. Sarah Jane, however, is out of town... while Clyde's long-absent father, Paul, is back in town, trying to reconnect with his son. When Clyde accidentally gives his dad the opportunity to steal the pendant, Paul quickly finds the lure of its power irresistible.

Production

A graduate of the Cumbria College of Art and Design, Joseph Lidster had begun his professional writing career with Big Finish Productions, the company which owned the license to produce original audio dramas featuring the cast and characters from twentieth-century Doctor Who. His first play was a Seventh Doctor adventure called The Rapture, released in 2002, and he thereafter became a prolific contributor to Big Finish's various audio ranges; he also wrote short stories for their Doctor Who prose line. In 2005, Lidster began developing material for the BBC's online Doctor Who content, and also abridged several Doctor Who novels as talking books. This led to Lidster being commissioned to write A Day In The Death for the second season of Torchwood.

Late in the development of the second season of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Lidster was approached about contributing a script which would focus on Clyde Langer. Executive producer Russell T Davies wanted to introduce Clyde's estranged father, and suggested Lidster write a “road trip”-style adventure. Lidster was instructed to keep Sarah Jane's involvement to a minimum, as his story would afford Elisabeth Sladen some downtime in the middle of the production schedule, much like Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane? the year before. Since Lidster's scripts would be filmed as part of the season's second production block, they would be made alongside the season premiere, The Last Sontaran, which wrote Maria Jackson and her father, Alan, out of the series. As such, Lidster was also asked to include a small role for Maria and Alan as a surprise for viewers.

Joseph Lidster drew on the tradition of the Berserker, a Norse warrior whose power was enhanced by mindless rage

Lidster developed an idea around the tradition of the Berserker, a type of Norse warrior whose power was enhanced by entering a state of mindless rage. The serial ultimately bore the title The Mark Of The Berserker. Seen for the first time as Clyde's mother, Carla, was Jocelyn Jee Esien, who had written and performed in her own comedy sketch show, Little Miss Jocelyn, while also starring in the hidden camera comedy 3 Non-Blondes. Esien's dramatic appearances included episodes of The Bill and Holby City.

The first day of recording for The Mark Of The Berserker, under director Joss Agnew, was May 21st, 2008. Work at Upper Boat Studios involved the sets for the Chandra residence and Sarah Jane's attic. The next day, Bannerman Road sequences were filmed at Clinton Road in Penarth. May 26th and 27th concentrated on scenes at Park Vale Comprehensive, doubled as usual by Cardiff High School. Part of the 27th was also spent on scenes of Carla in her car, taped along the A48 motorway and in Roath at the intersection of Lakeside Drive and Torrens Drive. On May 28th, a house on Henllys Road in Cardiff posed as Carla and Clyde's home.

The first two days of the following week, June 2nd and 3rd, concentrated on Clyde and Paul's “road trip”, with filming on the 2nd at Dunleavy Drive in Penarth and on the A4232, and on the 3rd in Cardiff on Queen Street and then at the Amante 9 Super Car Club (from which Paul acquired the Porsche). June 4th and 5th then concentrated on the climactic scenes at the Lynport Marina, actually the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club in Cardiff. The 6th was largely spent in Cardiff at Victoria Park, although the closing attic sequence was also taped that day.

It was back to Clinton Road on June 8th, and additional material was filmed there on the 9th although Agnew's main focus was further recording on Henllys Road. Inserts were captured at Upper Boat on June 10th and 13th, as were more scenes in the attic on the 13th and 27th. Unfortunately, Maria actress Yasmin Paige had fallen ill during her limited availability, resulting in some juggling of Agnew's plans and the arrangement of additional recording after Block Two had ostensibly wrapped. The main make-up day was July 18th, which began with Sarah Jane's mission to find Travast Polong, taped at Llandough Hospital in Cardiff. Maria and Alan's surprise appearance was then filmed, with a house on Bettws-y-Coed Road in Cardiff posing as the Jacksons' apartment in Washington, DC. This left only some pick-up shots to be completed at Upper Boat, on July 23rd and August 1st.

The Mark Of The Berserker was the final appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures for both Joseph Millson as Alan Jackson and Yasmin Paige as Maria Jackson. Millson later had recurring roles in Holby City, 24: Live Another Day, Banished and The Last Kingdom, while also playing Macbeth at the Globe Theatre. After reducing her workload for a time in order to concentrate on her education, Paige earned significant roles in the shows Pramface and Glue and the movie Submarine; on radio, she lent her voice to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #23, 24th December 2009, “Episodes 2.7/2.8: The Mark Of The Berserker” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 3rd Nov 2008
Time 5.15pm
Duration 28'02"
Viewers (more) 531k
· CBBC 531k
· BBC1 870k
(10th Nov 2008)
Appreciation 75%
Episode 2
Date 10th Nov 2008
Time 5.16pm
Duration 27'51"
Viewers (more) 628k
· CBBC 628k
· BBC1 870k
(17th Nov 2008)
Appreciation 84%


Cast
Sarah Jane Smith
Elisabeth Sladen
Luke Smith
Tommy Knight
Mr Smith
Alexander Armstrong
(more)
Clyde Langer
Daniel Anthony
Rani Chandra
Anjli Mohindra
Haresh Chandra
Ace Bhatti
Carla Langer
Jocelyn Jee Esien
Paul Langer
Gary Beadle
Jacob
Perry Millward
Mr Cunningham
Huw Higginson
Steve Wallace
Elijah Baker
Detention Girl
Jessica Lewis
Detention Boy
Andrew Phillips
Maria Jackson
Yasmin Paige
Alan Jackson
Joseph Millson
Car Salesman
Prasanna Puwanarajah


Crew
Written by
Joseph Lidster
Directed by
Joss Agnew
Produced by
Nikki Smith
(more)

Created by
Russell T Davies
Co-producer
Phil Ford
1st Assistant Director
Simon Morris
2nd Assistant Director
Anna Evans
3rd Assistant Director
Sarah Davies
Location Manager
Jonathan Allott
Production Co-ordinator
Clare Rutteman
Continuity
Llinos Wyn Jones
Script Editor
Gary Russell
Focus Puller
Steve Rees
Grip
Clive Baldwin
Boom Operator
Jeff Welch
Gaffer
Mark Hutchings
Stunt Co-ordinator
Abbi Collins
Supervising Art Director
James North
Standby Art Director
Alexandra Merchant
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Arabella Rhodes
Assistant Editor
Lee Bhogal
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
Julian Howarth
Costume Designer
Stewart Meachem
Make Up Designer
Emma Bailey
Visual Effects
Craig Higgins
Special Effects
Any Effects
Prosthetics
Millennium FX
Editor
Will Oswald
Production Designer
Arwel Wyn Jones
Director of Photography
Rory Taylor
Production Manager
Phillipa Cole
Associate Producer
Debbi Slater
Series Producer
Matthew Bouch
Executive Producers for BBC Wales
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner

Updated 25th July 2017