Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Curse of Clyde Langer part 1 (Series 5 Ep 3)

After cutting his hand on a totem pole in the local museum, Clyde finds himself turned into a figure of hatred and scorn…

After the relatively fluffy light adventure that introduced Sky to the team, The Sarah Jane Adventures returns to what it does very well – deal with social issues that affect its target audience in an accessible way. Often these sort of emotional stories have been penned by Joseph Lidster, but this time it’s in the capable hands of Phil Ford, who charts Clyde’s ostracisation very well.

A lot rests on Daniel Anthony to sell this story – all of the others have to show a nastier side, which they’re more than capable of doing – and the scene where even Luke turns on him over the phone amply demonstrates how much this young actor has developed over the past four years. His hurt and utter desolation are almost palpable, and although in story-telling terms it might be better for the episode to end 30 seconds or so before it does, the strength of Anthony’s performance means that that last section is needed, or a younger audience might be too devastated.

Verdict: Although the explanation and eventual way the problem will be solved are made blindingly obvious, this is one of the series’ best prepared episodes – not for its effects or its alien wackiness, but for its portrayal of a betrayed and broken young man.  8/10

Paul Simpson

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