Friday 30 September 2022

L is for... Lavinia, Aunt

Lavinia Smith was a scientist - author of the paper The Teleological Response of the Virus
In 1951 she lost her brother Eddie in a car accident. He was killed on a country road near his home in the village of Foxgrove, along with his wife Barbara.
They left behind their infant daughter Sarah Jane, and so Lavinia took her in and raised her. She would grow up to become a journalist.
Sarah posed as her aunt in order to infiltrate a scientific research centre in search of a story of missing scientists. The Doctor spotted the ruse straight away due to her age.
When Sarah went travelling with him in the TARDIS, Aunt Lavinia looked after her South Croydon home. She helped clear it when Sarah moved abroad for a time, and offered her a home with her in Moreton Harwood on her return. She was partner in a market garden venture with a Commander Pollock there.
At Christmas 1981, Lavinia embarked on a lecture tour of the United States - leaving Sarah to look after her ward Brendan Richards. She had recently upset the superstitious locals with an article critical of their local pagan traditions and belief in witchcraft. 
The local post-mistress Lily Gregson failed to inform Sarah of her aunt's whereabouts - leading her to suspect she had been abducted. Gregson was, with Pollock, leaders of the Cult of Hecate, who wanted to sacrifice Brendan to aid their crops. Sarah was helped in defeating them by K9 Mark III, which had been transported to Moreton Harwood from Croydon by Lavinia.
Lavinia was able to call Sarah on Christmas Day.

Played by: Mary Wimbush. Appearances: K9 and Company - A Girl's Best Friend (1981).
  • Lavinia Smith is first mentioned in Sarah's debut story, The Time Warrior. The events which led to her being adopted by her aunt were shown in SJA: The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith.
  • The trailer for Sherlock's fourth series featured a glimpse of a book written by one Lavinia Smith, along with other Easter Eggs.
  • Mary Wimbush, who died in 2005, featured in Century Falls - Russell T Davies' pre-Doctor Who series.
  • She was a regular on the BBC radio soap The Archers from 1992 to her death.

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