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on 25 November 2011
"Clyde sat glumly with his head in his hands"

This the first of two new audio stories to be released without the authoritative yet comforting cosseting tones of Elisabeth Sladen, and, to be honest, I was expecting an inferior, less heart-warming product from AUDIOGO (the new home of BBC AUDIO). However, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES - CHILDREN OF STEEL regales in the heritage that Sladen lovingly nurtured and endorsed, and continues without compromise that fans of the television drama series will please to know.

The decision to continue with Sarah Jane Smith's tales of alien incursion adventures is most welcome and, personally, I hope that AUDIOGO pursue further titles in the coming years.

Martin Day's Earth-bound adventure is confidently presented by one of the series' "stars", the underrated, Daniel Anthony (playing Clyde Langer - a character who would transfer to the main DOCTOR WHO series, as a member of the TARDIS crew, with such ease). Bar an annoying `squeaky chair' (a aspect of the recording that could have been resolved with a quick application of WD40), he effortlessly performs with a deft reverence to the story's characters; everything from the K9-like and all knowing (albeit slightly annoying), Sky to `landed gentry' to steam pumped-driven Victorian mechanical man known as a `Difference Golem' to a tempered Sarah Jane Smith. In fact, he's a revelation.

Refreshingly, the script, for a children's story, is diligently littered with mature phrases ("...a patina of dust...") and context (19th. Century social unrest) that will force younger listeners to question, query and ask adults, whether parents or teachers, for explanation. Probably, this is the first THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES audio that, like Rowling's novels, does not undermine the intelligence of the audience.

Supporting the reading, Simon Power's attention to detail in providing an exemplary range of appropriate and inspiring sound effects, voice-treatment and incidental music is perfect. Whether the sound of Sarah Jane's Nissan Figaro scurrying through the British countryside, or the rust-eaten dank interior of an abandoned Victorian factory, or the unworldly mechanical voice of the `Difference Golem', Power's understanding on how much to deliver is only equal to his restraint in not overshadowing the reader's own voice. It's an aural talent that AUDIOGO would be best to retain in the future.

So, the plotline is formulaic, following the structure of the television drama series, and, quite frankly, why would we want it to change.

Sarah Jane and her `team' attend an antiquities auction, successfully securing a winning for a brass head within which they believe has alien technology has lain dormant for decades. Whilst she decides that it may be dangerous Rani considers that it be `sentient' and is determined to find the `body' for which it has become detached.

However, lurking in the background, a mysterious be suited woman has more than a passing interest in the artefact and is determined to follow the `team' to retrieve it at any cost.

Upon investigating, the search leads them to a derelict building, Holcote House, where the awful truth stands before them. It's called Adam.

Who is Adam, and what does the mysterious woman want with him?

However, I will not spoil the story and revelations.

Needless to say, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES - CHILDREN OF STEEL is an intriguing and absorbing story that unfurls like the best Agatha Christie novel, aided by the confident reading of Daniel Anthony, that will no disappoint the listener.
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on 19 January 2013
As a family we all listened to this on a long car journey. The children enjoyed it more than us adults, but then it is a children's story. My daughter said she would listen to it again.
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on 20 March 2013
A fairly good story but did not particularly like the reading by Daniel Anthony. I first became acquainted with the Sarah Jane Adventures after hearing "The Thirteenth Stone" and "The Glittering Storm" broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Liked them both and was delighted to find more of them at Amazon.
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on 27 December 2015
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