Once again, Sarah’s life is saved by Josh, though this time, in addition to killing the Keeper, he’s also killed Will Sullivan. Sarah puts as much distance between herself and Josh as she can, but he still tries to stay in touch with her, even showing up at Will’s funeral. Just when Sarah’s had about enough, Sir Donald Wakefield shows up too, inviting her to join him on the first passenger flight into space – a flight that will coincide with Earth passing through the tail of a comet that last approached the planet 500 years ago, a comet whose return now was predicted in the writings of Count Giuliano. Sir Donald also reveals that Josh is his son – and an operative of the pacifist chapter that follows Giuliano’s writings as prophecy. Sarah and Nat take Sir Donald up on the offer and are flown to the launch site – a place the rest of the world knows as Area 51. But while Sarah is undergoing training for her first visit to space since her travels with the Doctor, there’s a change of crew: Sir Donald’s cancer returns with a vengeance, and on his deathbed, he asks Josh to replace him on the flight. But once the passenger spaceship launches, something goes wrong. The pilot exposes himself as one of the Keeper’s last operatives, carrying out his mission to deliver Sarah to death’s door. Josh and the pilot exchange gunfire, damaging the controls in the process and leaving Sarah as the only survivor as the ship pushes into a higher orbit than it was designed for – and straight into the path of the comet.
Cast: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Jeremy James (Josh), Sadie Miller (Nat), Shaun Ley (Newsreader), Jon Winberg (Kimmel), Toby Longworth (Mission Control), Patricia Leventon (Maude), Stephen Greif (Sir Donald Wakefield)
Notes: Again, this story ties into events in the televised Doctor Who story The Masque Of Mandragora. Recorded prior to the filming of the new series episode School Reunion, the second “season” of Sarah Jane Smith audio stories was also the last, since Elisabeth Sladen signed on to reprise the character on television in her own children’s TV spinoff series. Though Big Finish PR guru John Ainsworth has stated that School Reunion falls between the two seasons of Sarah audio stories, Sarah here tells Nat about the Doctor in the past tense, as though she hasn’t seen him again – making it easier to place School Reunion (and, of course, Sarah’s spinoff series) after both sets of audio stories. Of course, precisely how it fits anywhere would be much easier to determine if the character’s return to TV hadn’t interrupted the audio series in mid-cliffhanger…
LogBook entry by Earl Green