Tuesday, September 22, 2009

REVIEW - The Sarah Jane Adventures, "The White Wolf"

BBC Audio released Oct 5
Available on
CD [RRP £5.87] & Download [RRP £6.60]

Just before we get treated to a third series of The Sarah Jane Adventures, the chaps (and chapettes) at BBC Audio have seen fit to deliver two EXCLUSIVE audio stories both read by the legend that is ELISABETH SLADEN. Today, Blogtor is taking a look at The White Wolf, a story written by a man who will be very familiar to Doctor Who fans, GARY RUSSELL. Gary, or the Gaz~man as some of us call him, has been involved in the Whoniverse for some time now but has more recently settled firmly in Bannerman Road with Sarah Jane and her gang (though he's also been involved in the last three David Tennant stories for Who - but I'm sure we'll learn more about that in the future).


The White Wolf evokes the very first spin~off adventure, K9 & Company (that's not an insult I should add, I really enjoyed it) and it's "parent" show's The Stones of Blood - it's set in the English countryside, set apart from modernity and toys with the occult. Very Seventies and, like K9's first solo outing, the scares come from the most mundane outlets (here a cave and a village). Right from the off the listener is treated to some eerie sounds that would not have been out of place in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop - stylish, but somehow homegrown. Stylish and homegrown also describe the narrator, Elisabeth Sladen.


Lizzy S, as some of us call her, has a beautiful voice and adds her unique stylings to the voices of characters like Luke and Clyde (her take on the youngster us particularly amusing) whilst also ably voicing others such as the gruff Colin Hendrick and the alien. It's a low~key affair (as many audios are) but a welcome detour from the more hectic televisual grammar we have become accustomed to. Russell returns to themes he visited in his excellent novel Beautiful Chaos, namely that of aging and memory - maybe the Gaz~o~tron has foreboding feelings toward getting older. Of course, in the onscreen story Eye of the Gorgon these notions are also dealt with. And here, again, there is no resolution - we get older, we forget. It's just a fact.


Keen to tie it in with its onscreen brothers and sisters, Russell sprinkles in the odd reference such as the Shadow Proclamation, the Bane, the Judoon, the Sycorax and even Metropolitan magazine gets a mention! At an hour the story comes and goes impressively but it's the aforementioned ideas that the author addresses that you'll be pondering for some time. Either that or you'll be off in the countryside looking for aliens in huge white wolves painted onto hills. A striking addition to the growing mythology of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

BLOGTOR RATING: 8/10

Thanks to BBC Audio