FOR SARAH JANE, THIS
STORY TAKES PLACE
BETWEEN THE DOCTOR
WHO TV STORIES "THE
HAND OF FEAR" AND
"THE FIVE DOCTORS."
ONE GIRL AND HER DOG
'K-9 TALES' DVD BOX
RELEASED IN JUNE 2008.
SARAH JANE SMITH IS
LOOKING FORWARD TO
WITH HER AUNT IN THE
SLEEPY VILLAGE OF
WHEN SHE ARRIVES,
SHE FINDS THAT HER
AUNT IS MISSING, AND
A SURPRISE GIFT FROM
A VERY OLD FRIEND IS
WAITING TO BE OPENED...
28 DECEMBER 1981
Prior to the release of the K-9 Tales DVD box set in June 2007, I had never seen
the ill-fated K-9 and Company pilot, A Girl’s Best Friend. And to be honest, even with my completist urges, K-9 and Company had never really appealed to me on any level and so I had never bothered to track down the VHS. Nevertheless, particularly in the wake of the flourishing Sarah Jane Adventures, my interest in this curious little one-off adventure was piqued to the extent that I decided to watch it before the Doctor Who serial that it was released alongside, The Invisible Enemy.
Sadly though A Girl’s Best Friend starts off terribly and gets progressively worse over the course of its fifty-minute running time. The title sequence has dated exceptionally poorly, yet somehow I still get the distinct feeling that even back in 1981 many viewers will have been cringing at it; I certainly don’t think that many will have rushed out to buy the theme tune on vinyl!
The main problem with A Girl’s Best Friend is that Terence Dudley’s story is drab in the extreme. It is a bucolic, rustic affair; imagine a poor man’s Stones of Blood sans the science fiction element and you are just about there. One thing that I will say for A Girl’s Best Friend though is that it did surprise me at times – the Aunt Lavinia red herring had me suckered from the start, and Juno and Howard Baker completely shocked me! Even so, I still reckon that this story would have been infinitely better had they gone with the original premise – a baddie K-9 being sent by the Master to kill Sarah Jane…
The DVD, mercifully, is more remarkable than the episode itself. The sleeve is double-sided so that retentives like me can turn it inside out and have it (nearly) match the classic Doctor Who DVDs on the shelf. And, more importantly, the comprehensive special features package is much more compelling than the main feature. At just over eleven minutes The K-9 Files may have been brief, but I got more out of just that one featurette than I did the main feature!
And so in summary, I can’t in good conscience recommend this one to anyone other than the most hardened Sarah Jane completists. All of its other faults aside (and believe me, there are a fair few), A Girl’s Best Friend has dated so very badly that it is painful to watch today. Perhaps I’m biased, but I really don’t think that Doctor Who episodes of the same era as
K-9 and Company look anything like as out-of-date as it does.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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