The Sarah Jane Adventures Episodes 33 & 34:
Mona Lisa's Revenge

Plot

Clyde has developed a talent for painting, and a piece of his artwork earns his class a trip to see the Mona Lisa, which is on display at a London gallery. But suddenly, something hidden in the bowels of the gallery brings the painting to life. Mona Lisa turns out to be a sinister woman gifted with unearthly powers, who searches the gallery for her mysterious missing “brother”. Investigating, Sarah Jane is trapped in a painting by Mona Lisa, leaving only Luke, Clyde and Rani to stop the threat and restore Mona Lisa to her frame.

Production

One of two new writers recruited for the third season of The Sarah Jane Adventures was Brian Dooley. Best known as the creator of the sitcom The Smoking Room, for which he won a BAFTA for Best New Writer, Dooley had also written an episode of the supernatural drama Being Human which would air in 2009. In 2007, he had contributed a Doctor Who short story entitled The Glam Strategy to the anthology Short Trips: Snapshots, published by Big Finish Productions and edited by The Sarah Jane Adventures writer Joseph Lidster.

The starting point for Dooley's script was the notion of artwork coming alive. When he began working on the storyline in November 2008, his adventure was intended to be made and broadcast third, and so Dooley was asked to limit Sarah Jane's involvement in order to give Elisabeth Sladen a mid-season break (akin to 2007's Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane? and 2008's The Mark Of The Berserker). Dooley developed a serial which focussed on Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait the Mona Lisa, painted in the early sixteenth century, which had also been key to the plot of the classic 1979 Doctor Who story City Of Death. Early drafts also incorporated characters from other well-known works of art, such as the Lady of Shalott, a tragic Arthurian sorceress created by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in an 1833 poem and most famously depicted on canvas by John William Waterhouse in 1888; the Lady would take up arms as Mona Lisa's henchwoman.

Phil Ford rewrote Brian Dooley's scripts to the extent that it was agreed that they should be credited to Ford only

When the intended season finale, The Wedding Of Sarah Jane Smith, was redeveloped as the year's third story in order to accommodate the availability of Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant, Dooley's adventure was shifted to the fifth spot in the schedule. Meanwhile, lead writer Phil Ford undertook significant rewrites on Dooley's scripts during the early part of 2009, to the extent that it was agreed that the episodes -- which gained the title Mona Lisa's Revenge -- should include an on-screen credit for Ford only.

Mona Lisa's Revenge was the third and final story of the year to be directed by Joss Agnew. Filming actually began during the production of his preceding serial, The Wedding Of Sarah Jane Smith, with the only scene on Bannerman Road (of Luke arriving home) completed during work on Clinton Road in Penarth for the earlier adventure on May 21st. Almost a month later, on June 19th, production resumed at the Barry Memorial Hall and Theatre in Barry for material set in the exhibition area of the International Gallery where Clyde's winning artwork was displayed. On June 22nd and 23rd, sequences outside the International Gallery and in various corridors were filmed at the Welsh National Museum in Cardiff -- the location also used to represent the fictitious institution at the start of the 2009 Doctor Who Easter special Planet Of The Dead. On the first day at the National Museum, Agnew's team was joined by BBC News entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba, an ardent Doctor Who fan whose cameo appearance was the achievement of a long-held ambition.

Work on June 24th began at Upper Boat Studios, on the sets for Sarah Jane's attic and Luke's bedroom. Cast and crew then moved over to Hawthorn High School in Pontypridd to record the art class scenes. On the 25th and 26th, the Temple of Peace at the Welsh Centre of International Affairs in Cardiff offered a space suitable for the main gallery where the Mona Lisa hung. June 29th was spent back at the Welsh National Museum, concentrating on exterior shots as well as those in the lobby and on the main staircase. The basement area of the International Gallery, including the vault containing the Abomination, was actually located at Headlands School in Penarth; filming there spanned June 30th to July 2nd, with the last day also dealing with some effects shots. One more day was then spent back at the National Museum on July 6th for material in the shop, on the stairs, in the corridors, and outside the gallery.

Sources
  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #28, 13th July 2011, “Episodes 3.9/3.10: Mona Lisa's Revenge” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 12th Nov 2009
Time 4.35pm
Duration 28'16"
Viewers (more) 1.1m
· BBC1 / BBCHD 1.1m
Appreciation 84%
Episode 2
Date 13th Nov 2009
Time 4.35pm
Duration 27'48"
Viewers (more) 920k
· BBC1 / BBCHD 920k
Appreciation 86%


Cast
Sarah Jane Smith
Elisabeth Sladen
Luke Smith
Tommy Knight
Mr Smith
Alexander Armstrong
(more)
Clyde Langer
Daniel Anthony
Rani Chandra
Anjli Mohindra
Haresh
Ace Bhatti
Voice of K·9
John Leeson
Mona Lisa
Suranne Jones
Mr Harding
Jeff Rawle
Miss Trupp
Liza Sadovy
As himself
Lizo Mzimba
Highwayman
Paul Kasey


Crew
Written by
Phil Ford
Brian Dooley (uncredited)
Directed by
Joss Agnew
Produced by
Nikki Wilson
(more)

Created by
Russell T Davies
Co-Producer
Phil Ford
K·9 originally created by
Bob Baker &
Dave Martin
1st Assistant Director
Simon Morris
2nd Assistant Director
Sarah Davies
3rd Assistant Director
Will Cummins
Location Manager
Jonathan Allott
Production Co-Ordinator
Ceri Hughes
Continuity
Nicki Coles
Script Editor
Gary Russell
Camera Operator
Martin Stephens
Focus Pullers
Mani Blaxter Paliwala
Rob McGregor
Grip
John Robinson
Boom Operator
Kevin Staples
Gaffer
Dave Fowler
Set Decorator
Joelle Rumbelow
Standby Art Director
Dafydd Shurmer
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Graphics
BBC Wales Graphics
Costume Supervisor
Barbara Harrington
Assistant Editor
Lee Bhogal
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Post Production Co-ordinator
Marie Brown
Colourist
Jon Everett
Sound Editors
Matthew Cox
Howard Eaves
Dubbing Mixer
Mark Ferda
Title Music
Murray Gold
Music
Sam Watts
Dan Watts
Casting Directors
Andy Brierley
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Dyfed Thomas
Sound Recordist
Ray Parker
Costume Designer
Stewart Meachem
Make Up Designer
Emma Bailey
Visual Effects
Craig Higgins
Special Effects
Colin Gorry Effects
Editor
Mike Hopkins
Production Designer
Arwel Wyn Jones
Director of Photography
Mark Waters
Production Manager
Steffan Morris
Executive Producers for BBC Wales
Russell T Davies
Julie Gardner
Piers Wenger

Updated 10th August 2017