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Audio Book Review


The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Shadow People


Author: Scott Handcock
Read by: Elisabeth Sladen
BBC Audio
RRP: £5.87 (CD), £6.60 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 4084 2669 2
Available 08 October 2009

A camping trip spells trouble for Sarah Jane Smith and her friends, when both the school bus and Sarah Jane’s car break down in Snowdonia and the gang find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. Exploring by a lake, Rani sees a shadowy figure that looks exactly like her. Then that night, Sarah Jane hears a voice asking for help, and sees a mysterious figure outside her tent. Who is watching them, and why? How can Rani be in two places at once? And what secret does a nearby cave hold...?

Like The White Wolf, this adventure takes the regulars away from the city and into the countryside - on this occasion to Snowdonia. It’s ironic that the tale should be set in Wales, as that is where the television series is recorded, though it usually masquerades as London! Also in common with The White Wolf, The Shadow People bears a resemblance to the Series 3 two-parter The Mad Woman in the Attic - in this case its use of red eyes to signify that all is not well with a usually friendly character. And as in The White Wolf, there’s a cave that contains an otherworldly secret.

Such similarities are unfortunate, especially given the fact that these two audio exclusives were released simultaneously. What’s even more unfortunate is that Scott Handcock’s story is over almost as soon as it has really started to get going.

Still, Elisabeth Sladen is as compelling a narrator as ever, adopting a number of voices in addition to Sarah’s, including those of Luke, Clyde, Rani and the sinister “shadow people” of the title. Adding to the tense atmosphere is some suitably creepy music (though the CD inlay doesn’t specify who the composer is).

Given the price (bizarrely, it’s cheaper to get this on CD than to purchase it as a download), The Shadow People is worth a listen, even though it’s a shadow of the series that inspired it. That’s my Shadow proclamation.


Richard McGinlay

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The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Shadow People (Unabridged)
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