Who Was The Original
Sarah Jane Smith? - Update
Since writing the original article in Issue 3 about the casting of April Walker as
Sarah in 1973, it appears that it wasn't the only potentially important on-going
role that she missed out on that year.
Shortly before Barry Letts auditioned her for the role, Walker had been cast to
appear in the final episode of the first series of Whatever Happened to the
Likely Lads? as Terry Collier's estranged German wife, Jutta Baumgarten.
The conclusion of the episode End of an Era (tx. 3 April 1973), was to have
seen Terry saying goodbye to his friend Bob and his new wife, Thelma at the
airport as they depart on their honeymoon, just has Jutta arrives. However,
although the scene with April Walker was filmed, producer Jimmy Gilbert
elected to remove her appearance as he recalled in Richard Webber's book,
Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads? (1999):
"That was Dick and Ian's 'teaser', the springboard for another series with Terry
having to cope with his wife back again. But I thought it best to finish the final
episode with just Bob and Thelma's departure, and Terry's wry smile - a very
The editing out of April's character appears to have been a last-minute
decision on Gilbert's part as her name remains in the closing credits of the
episode even though she never actually appears on-screen.
"I was overjoyed to get the part" recalls April Walker. "We filmed Jutta’s arrival
at Newcastle airport in the early hours of the morning so as not to cause too
much disruption. I think I was dressed in a mini skirt, tight sweater, furry
jacket, white boots & blonde hair in plaits round my head, all rather obvious
It was the last episode of the series with the promise of episodes to follow.
Then it was then decided not to marry Terry off as there would be more of a
contrast and variety with only Bob tied down. Then there was Doctor Who and
I began to wonder what I’d done wrong, but these things do happen!"
So in the end, April Walker lost out on not one, but two major roles in 1973.