Wednesday, May 2, 2007


You never forget your first.

And for me, that old adage certainly applies when it comes to the Companions of the Doctor during the lengthy history of 'Doctor Who'.

Although I had seen the Peter Cushing movies many years earlier, my first exposure to the Doctor of Toobworld began in the late 1970s, when the series was finally brought over to America. (I was living in New York by then, and 'Doctor Who' was on WOR Channel 9 locally. The series is forever linked in my mind with those "welding, welding, welding" blipverts.)

So far as I knew back then, Tom Baker was the only Doctor there ever was. When it finally came time for him to leave the series, I was shocked to find out about this whole regeneration scheme which helped to get around the recastaway mess.

My first 'Doctor Who' adventure was "The Brain Of Morbius", and the Doctor's Companion in that tale was Miss Sarah Jane Smith.

Sarah Jane, intrepid young reporter for Metropolitan Magazine, was perfect for the times. She represented the "mtmification" of the single working woman, best represented over here in America by Mary Richards of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' and a few years earlier, Ann Marie of 'That Girl'.

Sarah Jane traveled through time and space with the Doctor in his Third and Fourth Incarnations before getting dumped back on Earth so that the Time Lord could return to his home planet of Gallifrey. Since then she's been reunited with the most important man in her life three times; those stories can be seen in the special charity crossover with 'EastEnders', "Dimensions In Time", in the anniversary special "The Five Doctors", and in last year's "School Reunion" episode with the Tenth Doctor.

Not that she needed the Doctor to carry on with the more exciting aspects of her life. Her exploits were also recounted in 'K9 And Company', 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', and 'Downtime'. ('Downtime' is in that nebulous zone of what constitutes television nowadays, as it went directly to video.)

'The Sarah Jane Adventures' premiered on New Year's Day this year, and heralded her upcoming series. That means there'll be three series based on 'Doctor Who' before the end of the year.

[There's another link for Sarah Jane that's a bit of a stretch. When she and the Doctor visited that small Italian town in "The Masque Of Mandragora" would be visited by John Drake, 'Secret Agent', hundreds of years later in the 'Danger Man' episode "The View From The Villa".]

So here's to Sarah Jane Smith, the perky little screamer who won over my heart and countless others as well when they were introduced to her as the Doctor's Companion. With that tally of credits, she has been chosen to be the May Honoree for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame in the second entry for this minor theme of the year.

Toby OB

"Doesn't it seem a little passe to you
That a woman should expect a man's help
Every time there's trouble
David Addison
So who needs the TARDIS? Bring on Sarah Jane's new show, already!


Anonymous said...

Having not seen the Danger Man episode in question, I have to ask...could that also be the Village on The Prisoner? I know that Portmeiron, the Welsh seaside town used for the latter series, was also the filming site for Masque of Mandragora (which I happen to think is a very underrated Doctor Who serial.


Toby said...

The location's use in both 'Danger Man' and 'Doctor Who' was definitely supposed to be in Italy. The Village, although it looked similar (okay, exactly the same), had to be located somewhere on that sceptr'd isle of Great Britain.

That's because in the finale of 'The Prisoner', Number Six, Number Two, Number 48, and the Butler drove away from the Village and back into London using the Degree Absolute truck.

Whether it was its own location, or perhaps the masters of the Village usurped the use of Portmeirion during the incarceration of Number Six in order to break him, I don't know.

But as I believe Number Six was John Drake (and no protests from McGoohan and others otherwise in order to save themselves paying out for the rights will convince me he wasn't), he must have recognized the Village as being awfully similar to that place he visited in "The View From The Villa".


Toby said...

And now, having written all that, I think I misread the question.

Yes, looking at it from outside the Toobworld perspective(something I don't do automatically anymore - uhoh), it was indeed Portmeirion that was used for the filming locations in all three cases.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I was wondering specifically if this helped provide a connection to The Prisoner. I didn't know if the episode of McGoohan's earlier show might have pinned down the location of a clearly similar village. Of course, perhaps the similarities are related in other ways, as you suggest.