Main characters Rani Chandra, Luke Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, and Clyde Langer.
The Sarah Jane Adventures is a British science fiction spin-off from the long-running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) is an investigative journalist who had many adventures across time and space with the Doctor when she was younger. In this series she acts as a savior of the world from her home on Bannerman Road against alien invaders who continually plot against the earth. Over its five seasons Sarah Jane battles against the Bane, Slitheen, Gorgon, Kulak, Beserkers, Sontaran and other intergalactic species. Sarah Jane is ably assisted by her trusted teenaged companions and neighbors Clyde Langer (Daniel Anthony), Maria Jackson (Yasmin Paige), and in the second year Rani Chandra (Anjli Mohindra) who replaces Maria, along with her adopted son Luke (Tommy Knight) who was created by the Bane in human form. Luke turns out to be a boy wonder and genius who often helps save the day in their adventures. In the third season, Luke finally starts to get hip and begins wearing black high top chucks, as does his best friend Clyde, who wears optical white high tops. In the second half of the first season Maria wears monochrome black print high tops. Another recurring character in the series is the intergalactic computer Mr. Smith (voiced by Alexander Armstrong) who resides in Sarah Jane’s attic and appears when the brickwork of her fireplace opens up. And K-9 (voiced by John Leeson), the dog-like robot seen in Doctor Who episodes, also makes a dozen appearances in this series.
Luke with the K-9 robot.
Season 3 contains some of the best episodes. “The Mad Woman in the Attic” takes us to the year 2059, where a boy named Adam (Gregg Sulkin) discovers an elderly woman stranded in the attic of Sarah Jane’s old house. The woman turns out to be Rani, who tells us about an incident fifty years earlier when she went to investigate strange happenings at a funfair in the seaside town of Danemouth. There she meets a red-faced girl named Eve (Eleanor Tomlinson), sent to Earth under the care of an elderly man named Harry (Brian Miller) to escape war on her home planet. It turns out that Eve is responsible for a number of people disappearing — lonely people she has taken so that they might have fun elsewhere. Meanwhile Sarah Jane, Luke and Clyde arrive at the funfair. Eve and Harry are ready to take Rani along with others in their spaceship, but she declines their offer. Unfortunately Rani says out loud that she wishes her friends would leave her alone. Her comment is taken literally by the spaceship, and she is whisked away with the other travelers. Back in 2059 Adam reveals to Rani that he is the son of Eve and one of Rani’s other friends, Sam. Luckily Adam is able to grant a wish to Rani, and her wish is to be returned back in time to her friends.
Sarah Jane and Dr. Who inside his magical telephone booth.
In “The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith”, Sarah Jane becomes engaged to a man called Peter Dalton (Nigel Havers). She doesn’t know how to explain her lifestyle to Peter, but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore after he gives her an engagement ring that glows at times on her finger and her whole personality changes. She orders Mr. Smith to completely shut down after he detects something irregular going on and she becomes angry with the boys when they discuss their suspicions of Peter who doesn’t seem to have any other family or normal possessions in his flat. Sarah Jane insists that everything is okay, that her wedding to Peter will go on and Rani, Luke, and Clyde are expected to participate in her happiness. On the day of her wedding things start out normally but when it is time to ask if there is any reason that they should not be wed, Doctor Who (David Tennant) makes a dramatic entrance—of course dressed in his three piece suit and red high top chucks—and tells Sarah Jane not to marry Peter. It turns out that the whole romance and engagement was a set up by The Trickster (Paul Marc Davis) to give Sarah Jane a new life so that she would forget her old one as a guardian of the Earth and make it vulnerable to the likes of him. There are some clever maneuvers back and forth to resolve things.
Luke, Rani, and Clyde seated inside Sarah Jane's house.
In “Mona Lisa’s Revenge”, Clyde, who has artistic abilities, has won a painting prize competition at a local museum, and the prize is he gets to see the Mona Lisa at its first exhibition in a British gallery. Unfortunately at the exhibition, an alien force brings Mona Lisa life, and she steps out her picture frame, replacing herself in the picture with someone else. She then creates havoc in the museum, bringing some paintings to life and putting people and objects into other frames. Extracting a Sontaran blaster gun from Clyde’s painting, she forces the gallery director, Lionel Harding (Jeff Rawle), to help her find her “brother”, who turns out to be a beast in a vault. Sarah Jane arrives to stop her but ends up placed in a frame also. Mr. Harding does not want Mona Lisa to unleash the beast so he destroys the key to the vault. Clyde, however, draws another key in order to release the beast, and then he draws K-9, who comes to life and blasts the beast. With the beast destroyed, Sarah Jane and the others who have been imprisoned inside paintings are released and the original subjects of the paintings, including the Mona Lisa, are returned to their canvases.
The Season 5 main players seated in the living room.
In Season 4 Luke is off to Oxford University, but only after dealing with the Nightmare Man (Julian Bleach), who pursues Luke in his dreams. Most of the other episodes are just with Clyde and Rani who help Sarah Jane deal with a vault of secrets, the death of Doctor Who, the sudden disappearance of everyone else on their planet, and changes in history when they are sent back in time supposedly to save the world. In the final episode, Sarah Jane and the others, including Luke, battle Ruby (Julie Graham), a Qetesh alien in disguise, who imprisons Sarah Jane, after weakening her, maroons Clyde in outer space, and takes over Mr. Smith. Fortunately Luke has previously learned from Mr. Smith what makes a Qetesh most vulnerable to defeat. Season 5 was cut short by the untimely death of Elisabeth Sladen. The main new character was Sky (Sinead Michael), originally a bomb disguised as a human child, but eventually defused and adopted by Sarah Jane. During this season Clyde wore black high top chucks as did Luke. Episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures are available on Region 2 DVDs and on YouTube.
Closeup shot of Luke lacing up his black high top chucks.
Do you know of other television shows or series where a main character wears Converse All Star Chuck Taylors? Can you describe a favorite episode or two from the series, or do you have additional information about the shows described here already? Do you have videotapes, DVDs or shot captures of episodes from any of the series that haven't been given an in depth article on this site? If you do, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add the information to the television pages.