The Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa's Revenge Part 1 review
Forgive some old style Doctor Who continuity mismatching, and the latest Sarah Jane Adventures is, once more, terrific fun
Those of you with a memory, or the DVD, for that matter, might want to forget the events of the 1979 Doctor Who bona fide classic City Of Death. In that tale, if you recall, The Doctor managed to scrawl "This is a fake" on the original Mona Lisa. You'll also remember that the Mona Lisa was not an alien capable of popping out of her portrait and trapping everyone in her way.
Of course, if you're like me and care not a jot for the 'C' word (that's "continuity") then Mona Lisa's Revenge is a rip-roaring, rollicking riot.
Da Vinci's muse is played with some relish by Suranne Jones who was obviously not told that The Sarah Jane Adventures is a children's show. The Coronation Street actress purrs her way through the episode with the aggresive sexual energy of Russell Brand on heat (and that, in no way, is a bad thing).
Her performance will either enthrall or repulse. Personally, I lurved it. The notion that the Mona Lisa is a voluptuous alien with a Mancuncian accent looking for some action is a long neglected trope in sci-fi that needs re-addressing.
Keeping up the rear in the acting department is Jeff "Drop The Dead Donkey" Rawle. Like the titular artwork, Jeff also has a past in Doctor Who, namely in the not-so-classic (but still bloody good) 1984 story, Frontios.
Here he plays the part of curator superbly and even gets to reference another Who outing, Planet Of The Dead - all the action from Mona Lisa's Revenge takes place in the International Gallery where a certain Lady da Souza stole a certain cup.
And then there's the gang. The guys and gal (Luke, Clyde and the always gorgeous Rani) work beautifully together here, trying to keep Sarah Jane out of the picture, trying to prove their worth. The boy wonder has had a falling out with his 'mother' which does provide a rather unnecessary sub plot to the proceedings (though it is rather touching).
But it's not all light hearted shenanigans. Writer Phil Ford throws in some rather goulish imagery in the form of people trapped in the many paintings throughout the gallery accompanied by the growling sounds of an unseen monster hiding in the bowels of the building, ready to pounce (by the sounds of it).
After the last episode's slight dip, it's welcoming to see The Sarah Jane Adventures bounce back so gleefully and so boldly. And as for that 'C' word, well, maybe all will be revealed in part two...
Read our review of the last episode here.