Doctor Who Logo 'The Man Who
Never Was'

(Part 1)

by Gareth Roberts
The Sarah Jane Adventures - Cast

At the offices of Serf Systems, a cleaner hears strange noises coming from a nearby lift; when she goes to look, something small and nasty grabs her and then drags her inside... At No.13, Bannerman Road, Sarah, Clyde and Rani prepare for the return of Luke, while a nervous Sky worries about meeting her new ‘brother’. Downstairs, the newly-arrived Luke checks out his bedroom, only to find that it now belongs to Sky; heading upstairs, he enjoys a happy reunion with his mum and his two friends – collectively nicknamed “Clani” – before meeting Sky for the first time; the encounter is a little awkward, so the joker Clyde steps in to defuse the situation. After Sarah has made them all tea, Luke explains that he left K-9 back at university, busy backing up the entire Bodleian Library; once Mr Smith has voiced his ‘disappointment’, talk swiftly turns to the ‘SerfBoard’, the new must-have computer that is going to be launched that afternoon. Sarah looks pleased with herself: she is one of only three top journalists invited to attend the launch rehearsal, and she will be able to take two guests: Sky and Luke – much to Clyde and Rani’s disappointment. Later that morning, Sarah, Luke and Sky arrive at Serf Systems, where they are asked to complete non-disclose agreements, and meet Lionel Carson, Sarah’s former editor and one of her oldest and dearest friends; after exchanging pleasantries, Lionel confesses that he has no idea about technology, but wanted to impress his grandchildren. The gang are then joined by public relations manager John Harrison, who shows them to their seats in the main auditorium; as they walk in, Sky tells Luke that she can feel a strange build-up of electricity… Starting the rehearsal, Harrison introduces Joseph Serf – and as everyone watches, the handsome, charismatic man himself bounds onto the stage and begins running through his presentation. At Serf ‘s instruction, each audience member is given a free SerfBoard; however, that isn’t what grabs the attention of Sky and Luke – they are more interested in the fact that Joseph’s face somehow just glitched… The rehearsal over, the gang head out to the foyer; while Lionel is overjoyed at his new device, and rushes off to play with it, Sarah is intrigued by Luke and Rani’s report on Joseph; leaving Luke behind to investigate, she and Sky take the SerfBoard home for analysis. Joining Clyde and Rani in the attic, Sarah instructs Mr Smith to access Serf Systems’ CCTV recordings; as the Xylok computer plays back the rehearsal, Sky locates the point where Serf glitched; studying the freeze-frame, the gang can clearly see that only Serf is affected by the distortion, while the rest of the picture remains undisturbed. Immediately suspecting alien holographic technology at work, Sarah orders Mr Smith to search the company records and learns that Joseph Samuel Serf disappeared several years ago after a near-fatal skiing accident, and has remained a virtual recluse ever since. Deducing that Serf died in the accident and has since been replaced, the gang consider whether the SerfBoard has any hypnotic properties that would encourage everyone to buy one. While Mr Smith begins a deep scan of the device, Sarah phones Serf Systems to arrange an interview with Joseph; speaking to Mr Harrison, she drops enough hints about her suspicions to make the PR manager agree to a meeting straight away. Sarah knows that she is walking into a trap, but she needs to find out what is going on; leaving Rani and Clyde to supervise the SerfBoard, she and Sky return to Serf Systems and rejoin Luke, who has had no success with his snooping. Instructing her children to remain out of harm’s way, Sarah meets up with Harrison, who escorts her to Serf’s office and then refuses to leave; during the interview Sarah tries every trick she knows in an effort to expose Serf– but the businessman refuses to shake her hand due to an “allergy”, and Sarah’s deliberately-dropped pen is swiftly replaced with a new one from Harrison. Back at the attic, Mr Smith informs Clyde and Rani that the SerfBoard is just a standard, low-tech laptop; still suspicious, the duo don protective gear and prepare to activate the device – only to discover that, despite its cool appearance, it is actually rubbish… Back at Serf Systems, Sky tells Luke that she can feel the strange electrical build-up coming from below; together they take a lift to the basement, but Sky thinks the source lies even further under the building. Overriding the controls, Luke sends the lift down to the unlabelled sub-basement; exploring the dark, litter-strewn corridors, Luke and Sky are puzzled to hear Sarah and Serf’s voices coming from behind a heavy metal door; stepping into the room beyond, they find themselves in a strange chamber occupied by a number of short, hooded figures, all wearing welding masks and working frantically at a series of controls labelled with such things as ‘Eyes’, ‘Arms’, ‘Bum’, ‘Expressions’ and ‘Voice’… Upstairs, Sarah notices that Serf has begun to behave oddly during the interview, mixing his words and getting stuck mid-expression. When Sarah deliberately spills her water the effect is astonishing: Serf stands shakily to his feet, and the spot on his arm where the water splashed begins glitching; meanwhile, in the control room, the diminutive workers are thrown into a panic as their supervisor, Plark, frantically shouts out instructions. Speaking urgently into an earpiece, Harrison orders the supervisor to use ‘hypno-power’; Serf becomes overly charming in an attempt to change Sarah’s mind – but the plucky reporter is having none of it, and after dismissing this attempt to control her she shoves her hands through Serf’s body, disrupting it even further. However; as the businessman’s systems go wild, Harrison pulls out an alien-looking gun and levels it menacingly at Sarah. Seeing a monitor screen showing his mum in danger, Luke cries out involuntarily – which immediately alerts the aliens to his and Sky’s presence. As the worker close in in the two unwanted intruders, the supervisor throws back his hood and removes his protective mask – revealing a hideous, one-eyed face beneath…

Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Thomas Knight (Luke Smith), Daniel Anthony (Clyde Langer), Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra), Sinead Michael (Sky Smith), Alexander Armstrong (Mr Smith [Voice]), Mark Aiken (Joseph Serf), James Dreyfus (John Harrison), Edyta Budnik (Adriana), Peter Bowles (Lionel Carson), Dan Starkey (Plark)

Directed by Ashley Way
Produced by Brian Minchin
Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Nikki Wilson
A BBC Wales production

17th October 2011 @ 5.15 pm

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

*Working title: 'The Man Who Wasn't There'