Russell T. Davies was responsible for the relaunch of Doctor Who in 2005. He was also responsible for the two successful spin-offs: The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood.
Fans of the Doctor Who universe probably will not be too surprised at new information being released about the planned evolution of Luke Smith’s character on The Sarah Jane Adventures given the priority placed by Davies on inclusivity. Davies recently revealed his desire to have Luke come out as gay if the show had continued. This is big news for LGBT characters on screen.
The Sarah Jane Adventures aired on Children’s BBC, and this story arc was not just another one of openly gay creator Russell’s numerous efforts to make his shows—well–just a little bit more LGBT-friendly. Russell revealed in an interview, posted on Blogtor Who, who received an advance copy of the upcoming DVD of The Sarah Jane Adventures, that the prospect of a gay character on a Children’s BBC show came from the network itself!
While he had planned to have Luke officially come out after going to university, Davies mentioned on the DVD audio commentary that he had previously attempted to begin the storyline with the following lines that were ultimately cut from the episode The Nightmare Man: “In the very last scene he says goodbye and Sarah Jane says, ‘Have a lovely time at university. You’ll grow up, you’ll find a girlfriend,’ and he says, ‘Oh, could be a boyfriend!’ And she replies, ‘Well, as long as it’s not alien, I don’t care!’ Sadly, due to the untimely death of Elisabeth Sladen from cancer, there will be no future episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures.”
Even more groundbreaking would have been Luke’s potential boyfriend, Sanjay, a character that was never seen on screen but who Luke had mentioned in Skype calls with Clyde. One can reasonably assume that Sanjay would have been played by a character of Southeast Asian descent.
This will probably excite Helen Mirren, who amidst recent debates over the gender and race of the next Doctor stated in an interview with ITV’s Daybreak: “I think a gay, black female Doctor Who would be the best of all.” While this might not be as spectacular as a “gay, black female Doctor,” an interracial teenaged gay relationship on a Children’s BBC show would certainly have sent a positive signal of acceptance to children on both the issues of sexuality and race.
For those readers who have not had the chance to watch The Sarah Jane Adventures, or may have forgotten about Luke’s scenes in three Doctor Who episodes, Luke was created in a laboratory by the Bane alien race to be a superhuman with advanced intelligence and memory. He was born as a young teenager, so he had numerous socially awkward scenes having not had the opportunity to grow up as a child. In hindsight, some of these scenes could be seen to have forecast Luke’s sexual orientation, and they even inspired some fan fiction of that sort.
On a more adorable note, Luke had no belly button since he was not born in uterus! Unfortunately, we can only imagine what possible conversations Luke would have had with his boyfriend Sanjay about this curious anatomical variation.
Luke Smith, played by actor Tommy Knight, was seventeen at the time of the filming of his final appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures and Doctor Who. Now aged 20, he currently stars in Waterlood Road on BBC One, often wearing a British school uniform that looks quite similar to his typical attire in The Sarah Jane Adventures.