Wednesday, 5 August 2015
The Nightmare Man written by Joe Lidster and directed by Joss Agnew
This story in a nutshell: Luke’s leaving the series but he’s being plagued by nightmares…
Rani is such a realist, she understands that Luke has got to meet knew people and see knew things if she is jealous that he gets to do it a year before she does. Her dream sequences in the BBC news studio are terrifying because it is something so instantly recognisable and yet feels totally off kilter. Rani’s worst nightmare comes in her dream of being a reporter leading her to having to expose Sarah Jane and her world saving antics. Rani insists that Sarah Jane has given her a better life but gets a real slap in the face, being told to grow up and if she wants to be a journalist she has to stop worrying about people’s feelings. Her admission that she is envious of him heading off into the big wide world before her but for him not to think for one second that she isn’t pleased for him makes me love Rani that little bit more.
Clyde suggests that he is trying to help Luke adjust to his friends not being around but you can see that underneath his bluster he is hurting a lot. Love the sexual tension between Clyde and Rani which will only develop as the season continues – you just want to scream at them to acknowledge their feelings for each other! There’s a wonderfully awkward moment between Clyde and Luke at the party where they both want to admit how much they are going to miss each other but have to cover up with posturing. Clyde’s nightmares see him serving burgers in a dead end restaurant being criticised for never being as smart as Luke.
‘You can’t say my name…you can’t tell anyone about me…’
‘Its time…go to sleep…’
‘Remember the sentient concrete disguised as the Chiswick flyover?’
‘Well what do you need Mr Smith? I have stuff here from planets across the universe! You just tell me what you need!’ ‘I need a USB lead, Sarah Jane.’
‘You’re going back into your nightmares forever. Night night children…’
‘Goodbye Mr Smith. You were adequate company…’ ‘You could always contact me if you need me’ ‘I knew you would miss me.’
The Bad Stuff: My one complaint is that Luke couldn’t leave without one more love in with his friends. I don’t want to say cringe inducing but it verges towards it slightly.
The Shallow Bit: I love Sarah Jane in a waistcoat, she looks so stylish! Rani looks gorgeous in her golden hat when she is dancing.
Result: I cannot believe this is aimed at children because considering the time slot and audience The Nightmare Man is exquisitely written with some very raw emotion and scary scenes. This kicked off a near flawless season of the Sarah Jane Adventures that really saw the show coming of age and producing stories that were as good as and (dare I say it) better than the Doctor Who being screened the same year. Our dreams are something we still don’t quite understand so something that can pervert and menace them is pretty terrifying and Joe Lidster and Joss Agnew really tap into that sense of disturbing unreality when you fall asleep. Whilst I cannot praise Julian Bleach enough for conjuring up a delicately menacing creation in the Nightmare Man what really impresses is the strength of the character work between the four regulars. Lidster shows how far we have come and forces the series to move on offering hope for the future. Luke’s departure might just bring a tear to your eye before this story finishes and Sladen, Knight, Mohindra and Anthony have gelled into an awesome ensemble. I have to mention Sam Watts, the musician for the series, who has provided four years worth of memorable and emotive music and truly excels himself here. A confident piece of drama, addictively watchable and a consistently superb show: 10/10