Farewell, Elisabeth Sladen

British actress Elisabeth Sladen has died at the age of 63, after battling cancer. Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith on the cult classic BBC television series Doctor Who. Over time, her character grew to become one of the most beloved of all the Timelord’s companions.

Sladen was on a short list of people who became deeply involved with the new Doctor Who program in addition to the old one, so much so that Sladen eventually starred in a multi-season, award-winning spin-off series of her own, a program geared towards teen audiences called the Sarah Jane Adventures, which introduced a new generation of viewers to Sarah Jane and her darling robotic sidekick, K-9.

An adorable and windblown Ms. Sladen bounds through the opening credits of the 1981 pilot for a proposed BBC series, K-9 and Company. “Sometimes good television doesn’t depend on money. It depends on imagination and good people directing, casting and doing the job with talented people. Then you’re forgiven a great deal, I think, if sometimes something doesn’t look quite on the money.” ~Elisabeth Sladen

Earlier this evening, in England, Sladen’s friend and fellow Doctor Who revivalist, Russell T. Davies, paid tribute to the woman and her character in conversation with the BBC:

“We found ourselves with a new friend… as we shot that episode I remember thinking ‘I’m not letting her go’.”


6 Responses to “Farewell, Elisabeth Sladen”

  1. Elisabeth Sladen, RIP « ICHIBAN WEAPON READY: The Simon Drax Blog Says:

    […] Update: Coilhouse,¬†Farewell Elisabeth Sladen […]

  2. Dave C Says:

    Thanks for mentioning this. It’s easy for us Brits to forget that Dr Who now has a significant number of fans on your side of the pond. It’s a really sad and untimely loss and a real shock as nobody outside her close friends and family had any inkling that she was ill. I saw her at a convention a couple of years ago, and although I was too awe-struck to speak to her myself, I was impressed by her enthusiasm for the series and genuine friendliness towards the fans.

    Companions may come and go, but there will only ever be one to span the classic and modern eras like Sarah Jane. R.I.P.

  3. Leigh Says:

    Her spin-off Show was called ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. Also, it was an award winning highpoint in British children’s television.

  4. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    Hi, Leigh. Cheers! Fixed. Added the award-winning aspect as well. :-)

  5. Peter S. Says:

    Less than a week ago I was talking to a friend about Saturday nights as a kid, when my local PBS station would run an entire Dr. Who serial, nearly always from the Tom Baker era. I *still* have a crush on SJS.

    Thanks especially for the Russell T. Davies link.

  6. Leigh Says:

    I still feel sad about this. The new series Doctor Who episode that Liz Sladen returned in was the one that (I) got my pre-school niece hooked on the show, which in turn let me talk to her about courage and understanding and good and bad and sometimes being caught in-between.

    Later, when I wrote up the entire history of the Doctor Who logo for university I discovered that it was through the efforts of people like Liz Sladen, their patience and generosity and appreciation towards their fans that kept Doctor Who alive in the years it was off air, that kept the fans producing and buying books and magazines and hosting conventions. Without that love it’s very hard to imagine Doctor Who could have been brought back with such triumph and fidelity, that their would have been enough Russell T Davies to make that come true.

    I think, perhaps, Liz Sladen was more than an icon of alternative culture; she was a polite, reserved, decent champion of it.