21 – Death of the Doctor
The Sarah Jane Adventures story
Directed byAshley Way
Written byRussell T Davies
Script editorGary Russell
Produced byBrian Minchin
Phil Ford (co-producer)
Executive producer(s)Russell T Davies
Nikki Wilson
Music bySam Watts
Dan Watts
Production code4.5 and 4.6
SeriesSeries 4
Running time2 episodes, 25 minutes each
First broadcast25 October 2010 (2010-10-25)
Last broadcast26 October 2010 (2010-10-26)
← Preceded by
The Vault of Secrets
Followed by →
The Empty Planet
List of The Sarah Jane Adventures serials

Death of the Doctor is a two-part story of The Sarah Jane Adventures which was broadcast on CBBC on 25 and 26 October 2010.[1] It is the third story of the fourth series. A cross-over story with Doctor Who, story features actress Katy Manning reprising her role as Jo Grant for the first time since the 1973 Doctor Who serial The Green Death and a guest appearance by Matt SmithDoctor Who's lead actor from 2010 to 2013—as the Eleventh Doctor. In the episode, Tia Karim, a rogue member of UNIT allies with members of the Shansheeth alien race to lure Sarah Jane and Jo into a trap so they can access the Doctor's time machine the TARDIS and change history and Karim can leave Earth, with the cover story of the Doctor's funeral. Exposition at the end of the episode provides updates on the lives of numerous companions from the "classic era" who had gone unaddressed in the revived era. This story was the last to feature Sarah Jane and the Doctor together on-screen.


Members of the Shansheeth, a race of alien vultures, lure the Eleventh Doctor to the Wasteland of the Crimson Heart, and strand him there. The Shansheeth steal the TARDIS, with the Doctor's sonic screwdriver still inside. With the help of UNIT colonel Tia Karim they fake the Doctor's death to lure his friends to his funeral, held by the Shansheeth in a UNIT base under Snowdon. Karim notifies Sarah Jane, Clyde, and Rani of the Doctor's supposed death and invites them. Jo Grant, who stopped travelling with the Doctor to get married,[N 1] and is now Jo Jones, is also attending.

The Shansheeth's plan is to recreate the TARDIS key from Sarah Jane's and Jo's memories, which would kill them, so that the Shansheeth can use the time machine to stop death across the universe by interfering with timelines. Karim collaborates with them as there is nothing left for her on Earth.

The Doctor travels 10,000 light-years to repeatedly swap places with Clyde, who still has residual artron energy from when he touched the TARDIS.[N 2] On one swap over, the Doctor brings Sarah Jane and Jo with him to the wasteland. With the help of Sarah Jane's sonic lipstick and buchu oil Jo has collected from her travels around the Earth, the Doctor is able to repair the device that he has been using to perform these exchanges, allowing them to return to Earth without displacing Clyde's body.

Karim and the Shansheeth forcibly secure Sarah Jane and Jo in the funeral room, where the Shansheeth have kept the TARDIS. As the Shansheeth start to pull the memories of the TARDIS key from Sarah Jane and Jo, the Doctor shouts through the door for Sarah Jane and Jo to recall all their memories of their time with him, and encourages the children to do the same. The machine is overwhelmed and begins to self-destruct. Sarah Jane and Jo safely shield themselves with the lead-lined coffin that they were fooled into believing was where the Doctor's body was. Karim and the Shansheeth are killed in the explosion. After the Doctor uses the TARDIS to return the group to Sarah Jane's home, Sarah Jane tells Clyde and Rani about the Doctor's other companions, whom she has researched.



In some of Sam Watts' music, vocals were provided by Jodie Kearns, wife of Doctor Who and Torchwood writer James Moran.[3][clarification needed]


Part 1 achieved combined final ratings of 1.40 (0.92/0.48) and Part 2 achieved combined final ratings of 1.43 (0.96/0.47).[4]

The story was repeated on 25 December 2010 as one full story where it achieved an overnight rating of 1.40 million on BBC One.[5]

Home media

Released as part of The Complete Fourth Series, (Season in America) on DVD, Blu-ray is a UK exclusive. This story was released on the Special Edition DVD of Doctor Who story The Green Death, including an audio commentary by Russell T Davies and Katy Manning,[6] and re-released on The Complete Matt Smith Years on Blu-ray on its bonus disc. It was released again as a part of The Collection: Season 10 Blu-ray set on its bonus disc.


Death of the Doctor
AuthorGary Russell
SeriesThe Sarah Jane Adventures #11
Published25 November 2010
BBC Children's Books
Preceded byThe Nightmare Man 

This was the eleventh and final Sarah Jane Adventures serial to be adapted as a novel. Written by Gary Russell, the book has only been published as an E-book on 25 November 2010.[7]


  1. ^ As depicted in the 1973 Doctor Who serial The Green Death.
  2. ^ As depicted in the 2009 serial The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.