There’s already one Doctor Who spin-off nearly in the can: Torchwood. Another one, part-CGI, part-live action featuring K9 is also being planned. Neither of them, however, is the first Doctor Who spin-off, which was K9 and Company, back in the early 80s.
The BBC’s in-house newsletter Ariel today released information suggesting the identity of the second Doctor Who spinoff series that has bee rumored for the past several months, one that will bring back Elisabeth Sladen, who appeared last season in the episode “School Reunion”. Says the item, “CBBC is developing a spin-off series from Doctor Who based on the adventures of investigative journalist Sarah Jane, played by Elizabeth Sladen, and to be written by Russell T Davies. Sladen, who originally played the Doctor’s assistant in 1973, returned for the last series where she was seen vying with young Rose Tyler for the Doctor’s affections.” Outpost Gallifrey has heard from a variety of sources that the working title on this is Sarah Jane Investigates. There is currently no word as to when this might appear; we’ll keep you posted.
It seems unlikely, I have to say. With RTD already working on two series, a third would definitely over-stretch him – although if he’s only writing the pilot script, that might not be so bad. Then there’s the thorny problem of copyright on K9, which I’m assuming will appear, given this is a kid’s show. Bob Baker and Dave Martin, the creators of K9, still own the copyright – will they give a licence to the BBC to use the character in a series that could detract from their own K9 show? Then there’s the Beeb’s denial that they would do a K9 show by themselves.
On the other hand, anything’s possible in these “post Tate” days. On my trip to the Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff, one thing that struck me was odd was the great big “Who is Sarah Jane?” poster, an accolade not reserved for any other companion. It occurred to me then that maybe the Beeb really did have a plan for some kind of SJ return or spin-off.