Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode82This week it’s Kat’s turn to pick a companioney story. Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we talk about Sarah Jane Smith in “School Reunion”. Is this representative of Sarah? Does that even matter? And how does this work as in introduction story for one of classic Who’s most beloved companions? What are some other stories (and media) that show off Sarah Jane as a companion and highlight her relationship with the Doctor? We cover all that and more.

What do you think of “School Reunion” as a Sarah Jane Smith story? Do you think she’s been waiting for the Doctor and pining away? Or do you think she’s been out there kicking booty all along? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
K9 and Company
K9 and Company theme song
Sarah Jane Smith audios
Outside In 2: 125 Unique Perspectives on 125 Modern Doctor Who Stories by 125 Writers
“The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith”

Download or listen now (runtime 1:12:58) 

Comments on: "Ep 82 – A Cool Reunion" (11)

  1. Terry said:

    “What do you think of “School Reunion” as a Sarah Jane Smith story? Do you think she’s been waiting for the Doctor and pining away? Or do you think she’s been out there kicking booty all along?”

    Why can’t both be truths? She does go on with her own life while keeping a look out for the Doctor. Not pining away but never forgets.

    Plus most of us feel a bit possessive of the Doctor! Competition between women happens just like men…maybe not exactly the same or as much but it is a valid emotion.

    • Trevor said:

      I agree with Terry’s comments. She definitely kept having her own adventures. But she missed the Doctor terribly. She was his best friend and he was hers. (Sorry, Harry. She liked you too.) Even with zero romance, it is hard to believe that your best friend would leave and never try to contact you again, let alone visit. Especially after all of those fantastic times together, both good and bad. (Unless they were dead, but we know from the SJA that she refused to believe that. And in that same episode, we learn that Jo Grant was just as devastated that the Doctor hadn’t returned, even though she was happily married with kids and grandkids.) “Don’t forget me.” And it felt like he had. K-9 notwithstanding.

      Day to day, she carried on and did important investigation though, I’m sure. And found it rewarding. And stayed in touch with friends and made new ones. (Like in the Big Finish Sarah Jane audios.) And had a good life.

      I am not completely opposed to the thought that Sarah had a secret crush on the Doctor, although I didn’t see in in the original series. If so, I think she realized and came to terms with the fact that he would never look at her (or possibly anyone) in that way. And made peace with that while still traveling with him… the shared adventure was enough. Already an independent person, I can see how exposure to such a fantastic and exciting friend might discourage her from actively seeking out romance, though. Who could compare, as she put it? Who could hope to have such a big impact on her life? That said, she did find (and lose) love in the other SJA episode in which the Doctor made an appearance, but it wasn’t something she was actively looking for, and it was after she had gotten a bit of closure after the Doctor said a proper good-bye (realizing it wasn’t just a “‘Til we meet again, Sarah”).

      In any case, Sarah had a rich and wonderful life, and it was obvious from her appearances onscreen that she realized and appreciated it. “There is strangeness to be found, wherever you turn. Life on Earth can be an adventure too… you just need to know where to look!”

  2. Lindsey said:

    School Reunion was my first Sarah Jane Smith story. I have since seen a few episodes of the Sarah Jane Adventures and of her in Old Who. I quite enjoy her. But I have had to do the same head cannon too that she wasn’t just waiting and pining for the Doctor. She was might have been waiting for him to come back, but she was also on her own adventures investigating things.

  3. School Reunion was my introduction to Sarah Jane Smith. Someone had spoiled the episode for me and announced that someone from the Doctor’s past was coming to visit him. I adored the character pretty quickly. And yes, I have gone back and watched her adventures with Pertwee and Baker. My favorite companions are the two Romanas and Liz Shaw. Sarah Jane Smith is right behind them…for me personally. Even though Sarah Jane is not my favorite-favorite, I adore her immensely because she has a big sister/primary school teacher quality to her, which just makes me want to fall in line and act right. Did she lose some of her edge when she was with Tom Baker’s Doctor? Perhaps. But they were mates. When you’re with your homie, you can relax a little.

  4. Funko Pop is definitely a slippery slope that I’m sliding down. I have 6 female characters (Gamora, Peggy Carter, Ultron Black Widow, Kaylee Frye, Buffy & Bounty Hunter Leia) so far and a Twelfth Doctor keyring. He’s very adorable. I’m avoiding any other male characters so far but if an Eleventh Doctor shows up at my local comic store I won’t be able to help myself.

  5. AntonB said:

    I was checking out the Giant Clam trailer on YouTube when I came as across this delightful clip. Liz Sladen on Blue Peter. You can’t get more ‘Auntie BBC’ than this.

  6. My first exposure to Sarah Jane was in School Reunion and I rather liked her. I then went on to watch all of The Sarah Jane Adventures which I also liked (excepting the Slitheen episodes) and would highly recommend them. I have also gone back and watched several classic stories of hers and have to say that I’ve seen no sort of romantic connection between her and the doctor. My head cannon is that what Sarah Jane really loved and missed was the adventure, and through time, that was transferred on the doctor himself, thus the confession in School Reunion.

  7. My first introduction to Sarah Jane Smith was “Brain of Morbius.” Blinded, obviously terrified, but still attempting self-rescue. Yup.

  8. Henrik said:

    I don’t know. I never took Sarah Jane’s statements in ‘School Reunion’ as her having sat in a cupboard for 30 years, sulking and pining for the Doctor. The way it struck me was that she had simply never been able to bring herself to put down any real roots and settle down. She would’ve kept living the life she had with the Doctor, just without the Doctor, and stuck on Earth. That’s bad enough.

  9. jezbez said:

    The Doctor referring to Sarah-Jane by her full name never felt weird to me as it’s what the Third Doctor often called her, even in his dying breath. We’re now at the point where more Doctors have used her full name as the standard than haven’t 😉

  10. Type 40 said:

    Though she wasn’t my first companion, I grew up watching Sarah-Jane so School Reunion was particularly heart-warming for me. What struck me was her fierce, primal shock on first seeing the Tardis in the basement.
    Next, putting aside for a minute what she has been doing for the intervening 30 years:
    Look at a picture of Pertwee for a minute, watch an episode and remember she was with him for a year. Then look a picture of Baker for five minutes (preferable one with the tooth grin) and watch an whole story, perhaps and of Fear might be best.
    Then look at Tenant. Two older, uncle-like figures are suddenly replaced with (what some may consider to be) a funny, articulate eye candy with a new companion to match. No wonder she is in shock!

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