A great set of Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) audio CDs originally recorded by 'Big Finish' from 2002 to 2006. These are a spin-off from BBC's Dr Who TV series, where Sarah Jane was originally the companion to the Third and Fourth Doctors from 1973 to 1976 (18 stories during seasons 11 - 14). More recently she starred in her own cBBC TV series The Sarah Jane Adventures [DVD] from 2007 to 2011, and in several TV episodes with the Tenth Doctor, and once with the Eleventh Doctor.
'Comeback' is the first episode from these audio CD sets. It's fully in keeping with Sarah Jane's character in the TV serials (she is an investigative journalist with a particular interest in researching extra-terrestrial aliens, their technology and their threat to Earth). All the characters in this set of audio CDs are adults (e.g. Sarah's sidekick Josh), and they are aimed more at an older teenager/young adults+ audience than the cBBC Sarah Jane Adventures TV series and their audio CDs The Sarah Jane Adventures Collection (CD).
This first audio CD, 'Comeback (Sarah Jane Smith)' was released in July 2002, starring Elisabeth Sladen and Robin Bowerman. The episode is essentially a stage play rather than a straight reading from an novel. The cast: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Robin Bowerman (Harris), Alistair Lock (Mr Venables), Jeremy James (Josh Townsend), Matthew Brenher (Bank Robber), David John (Bank Robber), Nicholas Briggs (Mr Hedges), Sadie Miller (Natalie Redfern), David Jackson (The Squire), Peter Sowerbutts (Rev. Gosforth), Juliet Warner (Ellie Martin), and Patricia Leventon (Maude). ComeBack is the first in series one of five audio CDs produced by Big Finish, and covers the time just before journalist Sarah Jane Smith resurfaces at 13 Bannerman Road, Ealing for the cBBC TV series 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. There is one CD per episode, and each runs for about on hour. The second follow-on series of four audio CDs starts with Buried 'Secrets'.
The audio CD episodes in this Big Finish series are:
1.1. Comeback (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released July 2002. Six months after the last part of her undercover investigative TV series for Planet 3 Broadcasting went out, Sarah Jane Smith is running scared. Living under false names, her true identity compromised, she has few friends and fewer clues as to her pursuers.
1.2. The Tao Connection (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released August 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James as Josh The body of an old man is found floating in the Thames, although the DNA of the corpse corresponds to an 18-year old friend of Josh and Ellie.
1.3. Test of Nerve (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released September 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith receives a mysterious gift with a cryptic message. The London Underground will suffer a horrific terrorist attack during rush hour unless Sarah can find and stop those responsible.
1.4. Ghost Town (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released October 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah and Josh set off for a well-deserved break in a remote Romanian village, hidden deep in the Carpathian Mountains.
2.1. Buried Secrets (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released November 2005. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James as Josh Sarah Jane Smith believes her days as a crusading investigator are behind her, safe from those who tried to destroy her. But others believe she has a destiny and they will stop at nothing to prevent her fulfilling it. This CD storyline has tie-ins with the fourth doctor (Tom Baker)'s prediction at the finale of 'The Masque of Mandragora' (14th TV season of Doctor Who, broadcast in September 1976).
2.2. Snow Blind (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released February 2006. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith travels to Antarctica where her friend Will is part of a research team studying global warming.
2.3. Fatal Consequences (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released March 2006. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith is attacked, stalked and shot at by the acolytes of a doomsday cult.
2.4. Dreamland (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released April 2006. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith is still dealing with the tragic consequences of recent events when she is offered the chance of a lifetime - a place on the world's first tourist flight into space.
Note that the audio CDs are two serials with two separate storylines (CDs 1.1 to 1.5 and CDs 2.1 to 2.4) and although each CD in each set has a conclusion of sorts the story arc continues straight on to the next CD in the set. These CDs can be quite expensive to collect, although we bought a few of them cheaply via Amazon resellers. Check Big Finish's website as well as at the moment they are offering the complete series 1 and 2 (all 9 CDs) for just £25 (under the 'add to basket' there's a 'Bundles' option that directs you to the special offer). I bought each series as a birthday and Christmas present for my 18 year Dr Who/Sarah Jane fan'atic daughter and they were well received.