The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Goodbye, My Sarah Jane

Dedicated To Elisabeth Sladen 1948 – 2011

Written on 19/04/2011 by Liam Walters

Today is a sad day across the world, for Whovians across the world, both old and young. It is my regret to announce that at the age of 63, Elisabeth Sladen has passed away due to cancer. This is a terrible loss, as Elisabeth Sladen was special to many people for her portrayal of Sarah Jane Smith on the Science Fiction television show Doctor Who.

Sladen first appeared on our screen in Season 11 (1973) of the Classic Series. Her first episode was ‘The Time Warrior’, which also introduced the Sontaran’s, as well as the first mention of The Doctor’s home planet being called ‘Gallifrey’. She starred alongside Jon Pertwee who played the 3rd Doctor, and  stayed on with the series when Tom Baker took over the role becoming the 4th Doctor. Sladen stayed with the show until departing part way through Season 16 (1976), in the episode ‘The Hand of Fear’. The writers of the episode; Dave Martin and Bob Baker, intentionally left Sarah Jane’s departure scene blank, allowing Sladen and Tom Baker (who was still currently playing the 4th Doctor) to write the scene themselves.

Sladen returned to Doctor Who in 1983 for the ‘5 Doctors’ Special, and again in 1993 for the charity special ‘Dimensions in Time’. In the Second Series (2006) on the New revival of Doctor Who (penned under Russell T Davies), Sladen reprised the role of Sarah Jane Smith for the episode ‘School Reunion’, starring alongside David Tennant and Billie Pipper who played The 10th Doctor and companion Rose Tyler respectively. She again returned in the Series 4 finale episode ‘The Stolen Earth’ & ‘Journeys End’, and once more in David Tennant departure episode ‘The End Of Time Part 2’.

After the success of her return in School Reunion, she got her own spin-off show on CBBC called ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, which ran for 4 successful series’, with a 5th series having been commissioned.

Elisabeth Sladen is possibly one of the very best companions, and the one who has stuck in the minds of all who watched her during the classic run, along with everyone who first saw her during the new series. No other companion has made such an impact in the lives of the fans, and I truly believe that no other companions could. I mean, could you imagine in 35 years time having ‘Adventures with the Ponds’ or ‘The Mickey and Martha Show’…

So although I havent watched much of the Classic Series with Sladen in it… I would still like to send my condolences out. My thoughts of with the friends and family of Elisabeth Sladen, and to every one of her fans… May she rest in peace.


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