Sarah Jane Smith’s prophetic whistle

Like a lot of people, since watching School Reunion last year, I have also re-watched the closing minutes of The Hand of Fear from 1976, in which Elisabeth Sladen’s Sarah Jane Smith bids farewell to Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. I hadn’t seen anyone else pick up on the similarities and differences between the two, filmed almost thirty years apart, so thought I would note a few of them them here:

  1. The Walk: Look at Sarah’s expression and her gait as she walks away from the Tardis both times. Somehow, heartbreakingly, Elisabeth Sladen managed to do it almost identically on both occasions.
  2. Dogs: In The Hand of Fear, Sarah encounters and talks to a dog in the street where the Tardis lands (a Golden Retriever or Labrador). In School Reunion, the Tardis dematerialises to reveal another dog, which Sarah also has a conversation with – though a rather different one!
  3. The final moments: The Hand of Fear ends on a freeze frame of Sarah sneaking a wistful look back over her shoulder, whistling a jaunty tune. In School Reunion, she heads off cheerfully to new adventures, accompanied by K-9.
    And what tune is she whistling at the end of The Hand of Fear? In fact, it is an old music hall number called “Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me A Bow-Wow“. Which is a bit mysterious in the context of the 1976 adventure. But now it seems a bit more appropriate, because she got her bow-wow in the end (indeed, strictly speaking, twice).

Actually, Elisabeth Sladen claims she can’t whistle, the tune was performed by The Hand of Fear’s director, Lennie Mayne.

This entry was posted in Uncategorised. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sarah Jane Smith’s prophetic whistle

  1. bellinghman says:

    Hmm, interesting, especially as Reynolds is only part way into a 10 year 10 book contract with Gollancz at £100K a book.

Comments are closed.