Poignant/ bittersweet to see the first episode of the final series of the Sarah Jane Adventures, CBBC’s superior Dr Who spin-off recorded before the late Elisabeth Sladen died earlier this year and set in Ealing where the actress herself lived. It was pretty momentous in an era of Miriam O’Reilly , who you’ll remember successfuly sued the BBC for ageism at 53, that they gave a 60something her own show zapping aliens with sonic lipstick. The sadness underlying this final series was allieviated by the fact that the episode itself was really on top form with allsorts including pyrotechnics, an abandoned alien baby, the ever versatile Lib Dem Floella Benjamin and judging from the trailer bit at the end, tomorrow’s episode looks even better.
The Dr Who-Ealing connection is longstanding. In this clip from 1970’s “Spearhead From Space” scenes of dummies smashing out from a shop window of what is now Marks and Spencers in Ealing Broadway can be seen. The startled coppers are in Lancaster Rd, a side-street since demolished to make the Broadway Centre and shots can be seen of a bloke on a bike and people at a 65 bus-stop (gateway to Kingston) by Ealing Green or “leafy and afflent Ealing Green” as the rolling news channels had it after the August looting there.
Shame neither (i) the good Doctor nor (ii) SJA could have helped on that fateful night when Ealing Police were left short-handed as London burned but both are of course fictional characters. In real life Sladen is sadly missed – here in the Radio Times her daughter reminisces about her mum. Meanwhile this very worthy campaign revolving around a walk from London to Cardiff is raising funds for the Meadow House Cancer Hospice in Southall where Sladen was before her sad death and/or there is also this one for Cancer Research more generally.
After another absorbing Downton yesterday (filmed at that world famous Ealing studios) where an ink and cowpat plot to assasinate nobility was foiled that’s two days running Ealing-connected shows have been trending on Twitter.