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The Sarah Jane Adventures 1.2/1: Eye of the Gorgon, part one

October 3rd, 2007 (12:57 am)

Not much to say about this episode except that it's an improvement on the fun but sometimes excessively boisterous first story; the seemingly compulsory obsession with toilet habits in children's broadcasting (defended in a radio programme by a commissioning editor about five years ago) is got rid of early on, and then we are safely into the realm, as Nigel Kneale would have put it, of 'teatime terror for tots'. A few weeks ago BBC 2 showed the Hammer film The Gorgon as part of its British film season; this is referenced early on and the trailer for part two shows why, as Sarah Jane's Gorgon needs a host just as Hammer's did. Much of the action takes place in an old people's home, where the speaking residents are played by Phyllida Law and Doreen Mantle; Phyllida Law's Bea Nelson Stanley shows an early talent for recognising aliens, and one of Doctor Who's returning monsters from next season receives not just a namecheck but a discussion on how silly they are. There's a lot of play on the kids' sense of invulnerability and their distance from old age, while Sarah feels her mortality more acutely.

Maria's mother makes a further appearance, but she seems still to follow the path to ever more grotesque caricaturedom. It's impossible to imagine Maria's father ever finding anything attractive in her. Nonetheless, her rejection by Maria in this episode suggests that the series may place her on the path to some kind of redemption. We hear a little more of Mr Smith in this episode too; and the Gorgon's nuns, while not particularly subtle, are suitably sinister.


Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)

I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying this. It's a great hit with the little ones (particularly with the 6 year old), so it seems to be pleasing its intended demographic in this house, at any rate.

Posted by: gervase_fen (gervase_fen)
Posted at: October 4th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)

Lots to enjoy in Phil Ford's episode, particularly the "How do you solve a problem like Maria" gag and the reference to the Hammer movie. As somebody more on the ball than me observed, the pause between the names when Mrs Worboys says "Christopher Lee.... Barbara Shelley" is just long enough for aficionados to wonder if she'll namecheck Patrick Troughton!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 4th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)

I missed that last gag... good, though, that Doctor Who and its spin-offs can reference popular culture in the Who timeframe, as it's been observed that the various latterday Star Treks were prohibited from referencing very much in the 'real' twentieth century after the mid-1960s.