Doctor Who Logo 'The Mad Woman
in the Attic'

(Part 1)

by Joseph Lidster
The Sarah Jane Adventures - Cast

Ealing, London, 2059: on a dark, rainy night, an inquisitive boy named Adam sneaks into a neighbouring house to see if he can meet the ‘Mad Old Lady of Bannerman Road’; up in the attic Adam finds the infamous woman: a sad, lonely old spinster named Rani Chandra. Far from being frightened, Adam is interested in Rani’s story, and so she tells him of how she and her friends Luke, Clyde and Sarah Jane used to save the world from monsters and aliens; when Adam wonders how, with such good friends, she ended up so alone, Rani explains that it was because she once made a mistake – and she then recounts the events of that fateful day…

Fifty years ago, when she was a teenager, Rani wanted to be a journalist, and would always look for things to investigate. One morning, after learning of strange lights around London’s BT Tower, Rani went to Sarah’s house to tell her friends of a possible alien sighting, only to have them tease her because their computer, Mr Smith, had already dismissed the incident as merely lightning. When Clyde, Luke and Sarah then mentioned talking to their friend Maria, Rani felt left out, and she returned home miserable. However, she was then surprised to receive an email from her old childhood friend, Samuel Lloyd, with whom she lost contact after her family moved to London. Her interest piqued by Sam’s talk of something to investigate, Rani immediately set off on the train to the seaside town of Davenmouth to see him. To Rani’s disappointment Sam was surly and aloof, but he did tell of the recent disappearance of four homeless people, and a sighting of a “red demon” inside ‘The Haunted Mine’ attraction in a nearby abandoned pleasure park. After Sam abruptly left, Rani decided to investigate anyway, and made her way through the disused rides, keeping an audio log of her progress on a handy Dictaphone – the same recording that the elderly Rani now plays back to Sam. Old Rani continues her story: inside the park she met the caretaker, Harry Sowersby, who explained that the credit crunch caused the fairground to fall out of favour with visitors. When Rani asked about ‘The Haunted Mine’ attraction Harry panicked and told her to leave, but then Rani heard a voice declaring that “Playtime is beginning”. To Rani’s astonishment the four missing homeless people emerged trance-like from ‘The Haunted Mine’, their eyes glowing red; as Rani looked on they each boarded a ride, which suddenly sprang into life… Meanwhile, back at Bannerman Road, Sarah became worried by Rani’s absence, and felt guilty at being so dismissive of her friend earlier. Clyde searched Rani’s bedroom for clues and discovered the email from Sam, disappointing Sarah that Rani told her friend all about their secret adventures. Searching for information on Sam, Mr Smith tracked the boy to St. Anthony’s children’s home in Davenmouth. Fearing that Rani may have been in trouble, Sarah and the gang sped off to the seaside town to talk to Sam; when they arrived they were surprised to learn that the boy had been expecting them, and were puzzled by his announcement that Rani was now with “Her”… Back at the park, Rani ignored Harry’s protests and went into ‘The Haunted Mine’, where she encountered a mysterious, red-skinned alien girl inside the ride’s control room. After referring to the girl as Eve, Harry was powerless to stop her locking Rani inside the control room, so that she could become the alien’s new friend… Leaving Luke with Sam, Sarah and Clyde made their way to the pleasure park, where they discovered the zombiefied homeless people riding on the attractions. Back in the control room, Rani was unnerved by the revelation that Eve could read her mind, and now knew all about her and how she felt. Eve explained that her parents sent her to Earth after their people were caught up in the Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords, who sought out their race for their natural ability to read the time lines; however, Eve is no longer sad after meeting Harry, as he kept her happy by giving her lonely people to be friends with. Elsewhere, Sarah and Clyde are confronted by Harry, who denied all knowledge of their lost friend – until Clyde tricked him into himself giving himself away. Ignoring Rani’s pleas to release her ‘friends’, Eve went on to confuse the girl about her feelings, causing her to wish that Sarah, Luke and Clyde would leave her alone. Eve then used her powers to contact to Harry and Sam: Sam saw a red woman’s face appear in his bedroom mirror, as did Harry in the mirror in his office, before he subdued Sarah and Clyde with a touch. Meanwhile, back inside ‘The Haunted Mine’, Eve showed Rani her future in a mirror, terrifying the girl with the sight of herself as a lonely, bitter old lady…

Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Thomas Knight (Luke), Daniel Anthony (Clyde Langer), Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra), Alexander Armstrong (Mr Smith [Voice]), Souad Faress (Old Rani), Gregg Sulkin (Adam), Brian Miller (Harry Sowersby), Toby Parkes (Samuel ‘Sam’ Lloyd), Eleanor Tomlinson (Eve), Kate Fleetwood (Ship)

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):
22nd October 2009 @ 4.35 pm

*Featuring Sarah Jane Smith, Luke, Clyde, Rani and Mr Smith