By Neil Wilkes, Editor
The Sarah Jane Adventures - CBBC's Doctor Who spinoff for kids - is back for a second series. We say "for kids", but a large number of fully-grown Whovians may well disagree. The new run of 12 episodes promises to deliver a Smörgåsbord of delights for all ages, from a Sontaran in episode one to the much-anticipated return of The Brig in the series finale. We paid a visit to the set of the show to find out more from the lovely Elisabeth Sladen.
How would you say this series of Sarah Jane Adventures is different from the first?
"It comes in the dialogue. It's just more explanatory and it doesn't cut off quite so quickly. There are more grown-up stories and it's much harder hitting, I think. We stay with the problem this time, therefore we have to have dialogue that will not patronise."
Have you learnt more about Sarah Jane this series?
"I learn more about her every day. Russell [T Davies] said 'There are so many places she can go. We're only just starting to find out about her'. When the series started, I did think 'where is this going?' Quite honestly, when the pilot went out, I thought I was going to get so much stick from journalists. I love the programme, and always thought it was very good, but that's not always other people's perceptions. It's lovely how people have been so embracing of it."
How did you react when you were offered Sarah Jane Adventures?
"I went for a meal with Russell and Julie [Gardner, BBC Wales head of drama] and I actually thought I was going to be offered to go into Torchwood! Then I thought it was going to be K-9 and Sarah Jane, after what happened in 'School Reunion'. I loved K-9 to bits, but I wondered if that could work. They would have had to do something with the dog - they really would - because all you could do is crouch down and talk to it. That's very limiting, so I am blessed that I have the kids instead!"
How did you feel about The Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) coming back?
"I've seen Nick on and off over the years, but he was so pleased to be asked back. It's a lovely thing to do because he's spoken about doing it and it's really nice for the fans."
Did he expect to be asked back?
"I don't think he did. I think he thought his time had gone, because now there's a different UNIT in place."
Is it a reunion for the two characters on-screen?
"They kind of muzz over that a little, but it has been a long time, so that leaves it open to how long it's been. Sarah Jane doesn't really want to introduce the kids to UNIT, because they use guns. Sarah Jane doesn't think a gun is a good thing, not even as a last resort, so it must be pretty special to have to go to The Brig."
It's often rumoured, but do you think the Doctor could ever appear in Sarah Jane Adventures?
"Well, who would have thought Sarah Jane could have been working with Torchwood? I never thought that could happen! That's what was so amazing about the Doctor Who [finale]. The prospect of crossover between the programmes is quite incredible, so 'yes' in answer to your question, I don't see why you couldn't have the Doctor on this show."
Would you go back to Doctor Who again?
"I actually think that was the last time. But then again, I thought 'School Reunion' was the last time! I thought 'what a lovely send-off, thankyou so much', but now I think that actually might be the last time. I would be really happy if it ended there."
How do you feel about Russell leaving?
"I don't know if he's leaving us, though. I truly, truly don't know that. Steven [Moffat] is taking over Who, which will be really interesting. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens there."
Will there be a third series of Sarah Jane?
"It's in the offing. It depends on this [series] and there are a lot of ifs. I think they're planning it, and it would be lovely to see where we go next!"
The Sarah Jane Adventures begins Monday at 4.35pm on BBC One.