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The Sarah Jane Adventures: Children Of Steel by Martin Day

1/12/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy The Sarah Jane Adventures: Children Of Steel in the USA - or Buy The Sarah Jane Adventures: Children Of Steel in the UK

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pub: Audio Go/BBC. 1 CD 64 minute story. Price: CD: GBP 6.10 (UK), Download: GBP 6.11 (UK). ISBN: 978-140846-995-8). read by Daniel Anthony.

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With the charming tones of Clive to transport us into the world of Sarah Jane Smith how can we not love this steam-punk story, ‘Children Of Steel’? It reunites all the team, including little Sky who joined in the final TV series. As this is the only way to carry on the adventures, this story has an added poignancy for all listeners.

Opening in an auction room, we are educated in the correct way to bid for a much wanted item and I’m tempted to suggest that Martin Day has been researching afternoon telly for his background. He knows way too much about the process! His dialogue cleverly conjures up each of the team members and this helps us feel the story is authentic to their characters.

Needless to say, the auction room is where the team find the mysterious brass head which leads them to an old house and a body that fits the head, ‘a steam-powered autonomous man’. This is something well ahead of its Victorian time, not just a robot but a thinking feeling man, the ‘difference golem’. It seems its inventor was trying to create servants for the country to free it from the servitude of service to the rich. Of course, nothing is simple and as soon as the team decide to give the golem life, the complications begin.

Fulfilling the BBC remit of educating and entertaining, you can’t resist the story which is read by Clive Langer’s alter ego, Daniel Anthony. He beautifully expresses the words hinting at the voices of the other characters very well.

Martin Day story transmits the characters and the whole teen-age attitude towards life. His descriptions are spot on with excellent word pictures that really carry the story along. The precise dialogue gives Daniel Anthony plenty to work with.

This is no dumbed down story for kids; it can be enjoyed by all ages. It would also work well in book form but having Clive present it makes ‘Children Of Steel’ much more immediate for younger listeners. It’s good to know that ‘Cash In The Attic’ and ‘Downtown Abbey’ can have such a profound effect on the writers of Science Fiction adventures.

Sue Davies

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