Doctor Who Logo 'The Eternity Trap'
(Part 1)

by Phil Ford
The Sarah Jane Adventures - Cast

When Professor Rivers of the Pharos Institute invites Sarah to join her in a scientific study of Ashen Hill Manor, one of the most haunted houses in the country, Sarah readily accepts her offer. Leaving the rational-minded Luke behind with Rani’s parents, Sarah, Clyde and Rani arrive at the spooky stately home, where the professor regales them with a tale of the manor’s sinister past: the house has always had a reputation for evil, and in 1665 it drew the attention of a magician named Erasmus Darkening. This sinister sorcerer struck a deal with the owner, Lord Marchant: in exchange for allowing him use of a secret workshop below the manor, Erasmus would make gold from base metal; however, Darkening was unable to fulfil his end of the bargain, and after two fruitless years he inexplicably disappeared – taking Lord Merchant’s two children, Elizabeth and Joseph, with him. As Sarah, Clyde and Rani follow the professor into the house, the main doors slam shut and sinister laughter rings out… Showing her guests into the room where she has set up a makeshift monitoring station, Professor Rivers introduces them to her assistant, a nervous lad named Toby Silverman. Learning that the house has lain untouched since the current owners disappeared twenty years ago, Sarah, Clyde and Rani set off for a look round – unaware that they are being watched by a young child, its form shifting in and out of existence… After hearing the sound of a bell tolling Sarah and her friends are puzzled – not only does the house not have a bell tower, but the noise wasn’t heard by the professor or her assistant. Exploring the manor’s beautiful grounds, Rani and Clyde discover a pavilion by a disused fountain; meanwhile, Sarah finds a library with books chronicling the house’s history – and as she looks through a volume, the books behind her move of their own accord… Clyde and Rani are spooked when the fountain suddenly springs into life and the sound of music and laughing children rings out; following a trail of wet footprints into the pavilion the two friends see the fleeting image of a strange man reflected in an old mirror – Erasmus Darkening! That night, Professor Rivers, Sarah, Rani, Clyde and Toby sit round a campfire to tell ghost stories and discuss the theory of stone tape recordings – how psychic energy can imprint itself on rock, leaving a recording of events that can be interpreted as ghostly activity. Eager to begin their experiments, the professor and Toby start up their monitoring equipment; Toby glimpses Erasmus’ face on one of the screens, and then the monitor in the nursery suddenly packs up. Elsewhere, Sarah, Clyde and Luke watch in amazement as one of the history books opens by itself, its pages turning until they reach an entry on Erasmus Darkening. As Professor Rivers enters the nursery to check the malfunctioning camera, a musical mobile on a nearby cot starts up of its own accord; as Toby’s scanning equipment goes off the scale with electromagnetic activity readings, Erasmus Darkening appears behind Professor Rivers and spirits her away… Hearing the professor’s scream, Sarah and her friends rush to the nursery – on the way, Clyde glimpses two children in the hallway, who then vanish into thin air. Joining Toby in the children’s room, Sarah, Clyde and Rani find no trace of the professor – but they hear her voice over a walkie-talkie, terrified at having no idea where she is. At that moment all the toys in the room spring into life, accompanied by the sound of children singing ‘Ring a Ring o’Roses’ – and then the words “get out” appear on a blackboard. Hurrying everyone from the room, Sarah vows to rescue the professor by finding the source of the energy causing the ghostly activity. After reluctantly agreeing to split up in their search, Sarah enters a nearby room and comes face to face with Lord Marchwood’s missing children, who warn Sarah of Erasmus Darkening and then fade away. Hearing a growling noise outside, Sarah steps into the garden through a set of French windows and sees a creature with red glowing eyes appear from the shadows; however, before the monster can attack it is seen off by a ghostly swordsman, who disappears just as suddenly as he appeared… Meanwhile, Clyde and Rani discover some documents on the history of the manor and Erasmus Darkening. Realising they have found the missing owner’s research material, the two friends then find a list of all the secret passages in the house, which they use to locate a panel hidden behind a bookcase. Heading down into the tunnel’s dark depths, Clyde and Rani soon find themselves in a dusty laboratory, Erasmus Darkening’s old workshop. Opening a cupboard they are surprised to find a glowing instrument panel, like electronics but built hundreds of years ago. Just then a figure steps out of the shadows behind Clyde and Rani – and Erasmus Darkening reaches out for them…

Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra), Daniel Anthony (Clyde Langer), Floella Benjamin (Professor Celeste Rivers), Donald Sumpter (Erasmus Darkening), Callum Blue (Lord Marchwood), Adam Gillen (Toby Silverman), Amelia Clarkson (Elizabeth Marchwood), Rhys Gear (Joseph Marchwood)

Directed by Alice Troughton
Produced by Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Piers Wenger
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC HD):
5th November 2009 @ 4.35 pm

*Featuring Sarah Jane Smith, Clyde and Rani

*There was a fault with the HD transmission of this episode, in which the end credits were cut off, before an 'apology' card appeared