|'Secrets of the Stars'
by Gareth Roberts
One night, while giving a horoscope reading to one of his gullible clients, astrologer Martin Trueman suffers a crisis of conscience and he finally admits that he is a fraud. But as Trueman continues his confession to the astonished Cheryl, a beam of energy suddenly shoots down from the night sky, bursting through the window and straight into Trueman, surrounding him in glowing light for split second; turning to face his concerned client, Trueman now seems full of strange energy – and at his touch Cheryl screams in pain and terror… Some time later, Luke, Clyde and Rani arrive at the ‘New Theatre’ in East Acton, where a free astrology show is causing a sensation: ‘Secrets of the Stars’ – hosted by Martin Trueman. Rani’s parents are also there for the show, as well as Sarah, whose interest has been piqued by the reports of Trueman’s uncanny insights and predictions. As the party head for their seats, Sarah and Rani witness an intriguing scene: Trueman’s assistant, Cheryl, is confronted by her husband Ed, who demands that she leave her new boss and return home; when Cheryl refuses, her distraught husband claims that she is no longer the woman he married… Sarah and the others take their seats and the show begins. Trueman enters in a blaze of cheesy showbiz lighting and proceeds to impress his audience by compelling three people – including Clyde – to perform to everyone’s amusement, and then by giving out intimate details of other people’s lives, including those of an astonished Rani. However, Sarah is unimpressed, her sceptical view of astrology dismissing Trueman’s tricks as acts of autosuggestion and crowd stooges – until Trueman targets her, and he refers to her travels far and wide with the Doctor. Sarah is thrown, particularly when Trueman tells her that she is about to face a battle that she is destined to lose… After the show, Sarah, Luke and Clyde set off for Number 13, Bannerman Road to seek Mr Smith’s help in finding an explanation for Trueman’s supernatural abilities. Meanwhile, the astrologer in question returns to his dressing room and tells Cheryl that he will soon be speaking to the entire world; Trueman’s prediction immediately comes true when Lisa Trotter, the presenter of the television programme ‘Paranormal Planet’, turns up and asks him to stand in for her regular astrologer, who has mysteriously fallen down some stairs at her bungalow… When Mr Smith’s scans of the vicinity around East Acton show no signs of alien irregularities, Sarah suspects that the astrologer is using a biodamper to hide his extraterrestrial form, and so she decides to pay him a visit. The following morning, Luke tells Sarah that he is upset at not having a star sign like everyone else; Sarah reassures her son that even though he was activated rather than being born, he is still special. While Sarah and an inquisitive Rani drive off to visit Trueman, Luke consults Mr Smith’s records and learns that astrology features in the cultures of nearly every inhabited planet in the universe. Sarah and Rani’s meeting with Trueman and Cheryl fails to go according to plan; when Sarah vows to stop whatever it is that Trueman is doing, the astrologer unleashes “the power of the lights”, throwing out a beam of energy from his hand that burns Rani’s jacket; as the astrologer directs more bolts towards his unwanted visitors, Sarah and Rani are forced to flee for their lives. Knowing that Sarah will continue to interfere with his plans, Trueman uses his powers of compulsion to capture Clyde; taking his prisoner back to his house, the astrologer channels his power through his hand and into Clyde’s shoulder, bending the boy to his will… Sarah asks Mr Smith to analyse the burn in Rani’s jacket, and is puzzled when the computer states that “nothing” caused the damage. Recalling Trueman’s talk of lights, Rani wonders if the energy comes from somewhere where conventional physics do not apply; Luke follows this train of though, supposing that the power comes from another universe – over thirteen billion years ago, from the universe before ours… Just then, Mr Smith informs Sarah, Luke and Rani that Trueman is appearing on live television, as the normally low-rated show ‘Paranormal Planet’ begins transmitting on every channel across the world. In the studio, Trueman and Cheryl use their powers to incapacitate Lisa and the camera crew, allowing the astrologer to address his audience of millions; Trueman then speaks specifically to Sarah, threatening to hurt people if she continues to interfere. Before Sarah, Luke and Rani can react, Clyde appears in the attic, his body bursting with power – even though Mr Smith can detect nothing. As the house shakes and harsh winds pummel the trio, Clyde declares that Sarah must be destroyed…
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Thomas Knight (Luke), Daniel Anthony (Clyde Langer), Anjli Mohindra (Rani Chandra), Ace Bhatti (Haresh Chandra), Mina Anwar (Gita Chandra), Alexander Armstrong (Mr Smith [Voice]), Russ Abbot (Martin Trueman), Carryl Thomas (Cheryl Farley), Ed Hughes (Stuart Farley), Nicky Ladanowski (Lisa Trotter)
Directed by Michael Kerrigan
Produced by Matthew Bouch
Executive Producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner
A BBC Wales production
20th October 2008 @ 5.15pm
27th October 2008 @ 4.35pm on BBC 1
*Featuring Sarah Jane Smith, Luke, Clyde, Rani and Mr Smith
*This story features flashbacks the 'Doctor Who' story 'School Reunion'