The Day of the Clown was the second serial of series 2 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was written by Phil Ford and directed by Michael Kerrigan. It featured Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Tommy Knight as Luke Smith, Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer and Alexander Armstrong as Mr Smith and it introduced Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra.
This story introduced Rani, Gita and Haresh Chandra as the new occupants of the Jacksons' home on Bannerman Road. It established that Sarah had been afraid of clowns since childhood and thereby centred the story on the nature of fear itself.
The story also contained some important character beats that were carried on throughout the series.
Hanging over Rani's introduction was the fact that Luke keenly missed Maria, and that Rani knew that she was a kind of "replacement" for Jackson. Additionally, the hostility between Haresh Chandra and Clyde Langer began here, as did the notion that Rani was a budding journalist who needed professional mentoring by Sarah. All of these themes continued for the rest of the series, and were even prominent as late as the final story.
Behind the scenes, this story was notable for being one of only two episodes to credit both Paige and Mohindra, because Maria's voice is heard in part one. This was also a rare example of an episode that credits Paige but not Joseph Millson; Maria's father, almost ubiquitous in Maria episodes, didn't appear here.
Also noteworthy was the guest appearance of Bradley Walsh as the episode's villain Elijah Spellman, almost ten years before his casting as Graham O'Brien, a companion of the Thirteenth Doctor. Incidentally, Walsh's first episode as Graham, The Woman Who Fell to Earth, was broadcast exactly a decade and day later.
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