February 9, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

K-9 And Company

Sarah Jane Smith and K9 almost had a show together.

OK, honestly, I had no plans to check out K9 and Company, no matter how much of a completionist I am.  But then I discovered that Australian TV actually did its own short-lived K9 spin-off for kids.  I really wanna stretch this break out as long as possible before I move on to the Thirteenth Doctor and then have to figure out what to do when I run out of those, so yeah, I will check out the so-so sounding K9 spin-off since it’s on Tubi.

As for this one, well, it’s actually a bit different.

So, the story goes that the Doctor Who showrunner at the time was looking to make the main series a bit more serious, but K9 was still a popular character.  Likewise, he wanted to bring back Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, but she wasn’t interested in just being a sidekick again.  As such, giving her and K9 a spin-off together, something for younger viewers, would allow them to keep K9 and have a good reason to keep him off the main show.  Sladen was up for that, and actor John Leeson was of course going to continue to voice K9.

I mean, sure, Sarah Jane had never met K9, but the show actually explained that away.  Sarah Jane was off in the countryside, looking for her missing aunt, and the Doctor sent K9 along to help her out with various tasks.  Once K9 mentioned the Doctor, Sarah Jane more or less understood where the robotic dog came from and all was kosher.

You know, as much as the K9 robot was fun to have around–I mean, I’ve always liked the character–it is worth noting that the K9 robot always was somewhat limited.  It was apparently prone to breaking down, and it really could only do a handful of things, most notably scooting around and letting some stuff in the head pop out.  The laser beam that came out of his nose didn’t work quite as well given the time period and the budget, but I think kids just liked seeing K9 hang around and help.

Apparently, this pilot was aired once, and it even got good ratings.  Why wasn’t there more?  From what I have found out, it was due entirely to the BBC getting a change in leadership.  The outgoing controller who approved the series was replaced by someone who didn’t care for it.  As such, well, this is the only episode.

As for the plot, sometime around Christmas, Sarah Jane Smith goes looking for her missing aunt, gets help from Aunt Lavinia’s teenage ward, and then K9 shows up to help with the investigation that involves, somehow, a cult and human sacrifice.  Between her journalistic skills, K9’s computerized brain, and the dog’s nose blaster, they save the day.  Oh, and Sarah Jane’s aunt was fine.  She was on a trip and hadn’t really left behind sufficient information about where she was.  K9 teaches himself a Christmas carol and role credits.

Nice adventure.  Might have been nice to get some more.  But that was never to be.

Oh well.

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