In what seems to be an autumn of farewells today CBBC ran Luke Smith's last regular (?) episode of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" - part two of "The Nightmare Man" by Joseph Lidster.
He took K9 Mk 4 to Oxford University with him, leaving the eponymous Sarah-Jane as the last human character standing from the SJA pilot of New Year's Day 2007.
Actor Tommy Knight himself has gone from 13 to 17 in the role of the Bane-created boy genius. Unlike most boy geniuses in sci-fi he's managed to do it without making 'Lukey' annoying and smug, and from series one struck up TV's second best* bromance into the bargain in his relationship with Clyde. This was subtly acknowledged in Luke's last story this week.
As when Luke missed one of last year's 2-parters to sit exams, this is what's led Tommy to depart now. I am aware Luke and K9 do make another appearance in this season's finale, but the nature of that is being kept pretty secret and may be no more than a cameo. Filming for the first part of the 2011 season was filmed back to back with this one, but I've not heard of a permanent return for the two geniuses. Given Tommy's avowed ambition to leave acting to be a pediatrician I'm not holding out too much hope, though, ironically he's always been the youngest cast member. The young actress who played Maria Jackson never really returned after sitting her exams. But who knows, he might one day join "Eastenders" or similar - in the past he's been in everything from "The Bill" to "The Full Monty".
Good luck in whatever! Luke will be missed.
Note - I'll be posting a review of "The Nightmare Man" seperately, not something I normally do but making an exception for such a wonderful couple of episodes.
* "Merlin" fans need no clues as to no1