Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Elisabeth Sladen: 1948-2011


It is with great sadness and unbearable sorrow that this post even exists.

Elisabeth Sladen, the world's favourite Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith, has died at the age of 63. Her first appearance came in 1973's The Time Warrior alongside Jon Pertwee and carried on until 1976's The Hand of Fear with Tom Baker. Sladen would return to the role in the first Who spin~off K9 & Company (1981) and again in the 1983 special The Five Doctors.

Sarah Jane's popularity, a testament to Sladen's wonderful performances, continued into the new series with her return in 2006's School Reunion alongside David Tennant. This would lead to her own show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which has so far spawned four complete series (a fifth being already partly filmed) whilst also starring in both the Doctor Who Series 4 finale and The End of Time Part 2.

On a personal note, Sarah Jane utterly captivated me as a companion. Her time in the TARDIS included so many memorable moments that she was such a huge part of. No memories of Doctor Who would be complete without her. Visitors to this site will know that I am also a huge fan of The Sarah Jane Adventures where Lis would regularly display just how brilliant she was every week. And just how engaging she is to a whole new generation of fans.

I never met her but attended the BFI screening of Death of the Doctor last year where she sat amongst the panel regaling us with stories, some cheeky, and overwhelming positivity. Her vibrancy and vitality clear for everyone to see and enjoy. One of the show's great ambassadors. She will be achingly missed.

Read more tributes HERE and news of a special tribute from the BBC HERE.

"Don't forget me."
Elisabeth Sladen: 1948-2011

42 comments:

mike said...

She will be missed, she was loved by so many

Mike Jackson said...

Heart-breaking news. We have lost someone who was so wonderful far too young. R.I.P Elizabeth

Jonathan said...

Such sad and unexpected news. RIP Elisabeth.

John Manning said...

Terrible news. Elisabeth Sladen was such an integral part of the whole Who universe and as a person never came across as anything other than wonderful. Her TV character was all things to all people, depending on age: big sister, kindly aunt, maternal re-assurance, and (dare I say it) a childhood pin-up at the same time! Utterly irreplaceable. Dearly missed already.

Rach said...

So sad... R.I.P Elisabeth. I'm 12 and came to know her through 'School Reunion' and later, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'. When my dad told me she had died a few minutes ago... I really couldn't believe it, I hoped it was some late April Fool's prank... I may not have known her for as long as some people, but Elisabeth was an icon for me, and Sarah Jane was one of my favourite characters. I'll never forget her though, and I shall live to honour her, as she died far too young.

Shane said...

My first time seeing Ms. Sladen in action was also "School Reunion". I see why SJS was so endearing to fans - especially after seeing her in the 4th Doctor's first episode, "Robot". She was awesome. Far too young indeed. RIP, Ms. Sladen.

David said...

Put simply, I'm devastated. Sarah-Jane was one of the first companions of the classic-era I went back and watched and fell in love with instantly. Lis went on in her final years to take that role to even greater places! I don't know what else to say apart from, Elisabeth Sladen will be extremely missed and will forever be known to many as the 'ultimate' companion.

RIP.

Brian Richardson aka Mr Pointy said...

A sad loss...Lis will be much missed by old fans like me and new ones like my grandsons

Zoe said...

RIP Elisabeth Sladen. I am utterly heart-broken. Sarah Jane will always be one of my favorite companions ever. She is deeply missed.

Nyssa23 said...

Almost named my little daughter Sarah "Sarah Jane" in Ms. Smith's honor. Now I wish I had.

My Sarah and her younger brother love SJA, and now there won't be any more. RIP Elisabeth, you inspired two generations of our family.

Andy said...

Such shocking news and terribly upsetting. Elisabeth was a true credit to the Doctor Who family and always gave 100% to the show. She will be sadly missed by me and my six year old niece. R.I.P Elisabeth

Lara said...

I'm utterly speachless... So, so sad! After Nicholas Courtney earlier this year we have lost another wonderful and beloved person from the Whoniverse. R.I.P. Lis, you will be missed. But I'm sure she and the Brig are looking down on us from somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I'm weeping

SAK1976 said...

Such a sad loss to the Whoniverse. It's lovely to read that she inspired so much love. You don't realise how much you'll miss someone until they're gone :( Feels weird that we won't see her popping up in DW again. I hope her family gain strength from all the messages appearing on the forumd

Anonymous said...

Goodbye Sarah Jane.

Mark Russell said...

Favourite-ist and the Best! Love you always.

David Johnson said...

A very lovely part of my childhood has passed away along with Elisabeth Sladen. I came to Doctor Who at the height of Tom Baker and her glory, and loved her ever since. Living in America, I don't suppose we get the news updates as often as I'd prefer, so maybe she discussed her health problems across the pond. Here we had no idea she was even sick, so the news came as a complete shock. I mourn her in a way I'm not usually given to for someone I never met. She was a wonderfully graceful actress, made you feel she wasn't acting, which is a Hell of a trick, but one she managed time and again. I/We will miss her terribly, and our hearts go out to her family and friends. Rest in Peace, Sarah Jane. You've earned it.

markaaronc said...

if my heart could be any more broken than it is now, my tears would fill an ocean.

liz has been a part of my Doctor Who life since is was very young. I remember 'time warrior' fell in love with her bright smile immediately and have done since.

sincere interviews, her chemistry with Tom Baker, her skill as an actress and her very obvious kindness shine through.

today is a very very sad day for her loss and a day to reflect on the joy she will continue to give al of us through her amazing work..

my tears genuinely flow as i type..

Anonymous said...

As a kid, when Jo Grant/ Katy Manning, left Dr Who I swore I would hate her replacement but Liz Sladen was such a joy on screen that I immediately clung to that lovely, strong willed, gutsy character who had such chemistry on screen. Every time you saw her in another part in another show she gave it an extra shine no matter how small the part. Watching the Sarah Jane adventures with my kids has been a unique joy. Will be terribly missed. A fantastic heroine for so many, for so long

Anonymous said...

Utterly devastating news. So sad and so sudden. I didn't even realize she'd been ill. Her work in Doctor Who, along with Tom Baker's, gave me my earliest impressions of the show and made me an instant fan. They are responsible for my lifelong fascination with the show, and her loss is immeasurable. Words fail me. A part of my past has died today.

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking news. She and Tom were brilliant, and she only got better as time went by. Truly a class act in every possible way. We'll sorely miss you, Lis. Rest in peace.

tallorder said...

So, so saddened to hear this news - and so soon after Nick. You can really go off some years, can't you.
From The Time Warrior to the SJA, Liz's performance as Sarah warmed the hearts of so many. RIP. "A tear, Sarah Jane?" - you'd better bloody believe it!

Paul Mount said...

Terrible, tragic news. They don't make 'em like Lis any more; she clearly bore her illness with courage, fortitude, dignity and privacy - unlike other less-deserving celebrities. My Sarah Jane...

Whelks said...

So, so sad to hear the news. Feels like the loss of a dear friend.

Sarah Jane will live on - surely the best tribute to Elizabeth Sladen's talent.

@Chris_DFS said...

You never forget your first companion. Farewell Liz.

Kelsey Nicole said...

RIP Elisabeh. Thank you for giving us Sarah and for all wonderful times with The Doctor. You will never be forgotten.

Martin Curnow said...

What was is she said when she lef the TARDIS (in 1976?!) "Don't forget me" - we never will Sarah Jane.

RIP Elisabeth Sladen. Sincere condolences to your family.

Nathan said...

Thoughts are with Lis's family, all who worked with her and loved her. I can't recall shedding a tear very often over the death of someone I never met, but I was balling my eyes out over Lis. Just devastating. RIP.

*Lucy said...

What can I say? I can't stop crying. Elisabeth, rest in peace. Sarah Jane will be always with us <3

Allison Adler said...

I'm so shocked and saddened by this, I am at a loss for words. What a lovely person and talented actress. I was at the same Death of the Doctor BFI panel and will never forget how vibrant she was. It seems such a short time ago!

Tarquin said...

So many fitting and classic who memories now have a somber hue to them. I will never be able to watch School Reunion in the same way again... Goodbye, our sarah jane RIPx

Avedon said...

This news actually brought tears to my eyes. Who would have guessed that the vibrant woman we saw in The Sarah Jane Adventures was struggling with cancer? Oh, but she was wonderful...

Jody said...

"Achingly missed" is absolutely true. Heartbreaking. :( All our prayers go out to her family & friends.

Time_Hound said...

Elisabeth Sladen - my favourite companion. Bubbly, perky, curious, personable, and loved all; was loved by all.
Her presence, and performances will be missed by one and all. A beautiful person has gone from this world, asleep until the time of awakening. Until then Elisabeth, rest well, your audience will be waiting.

R.I.P.

Jenn in GR said...

I travelled along with her when I was a child and revelled in her return with #10. Ms. Sladen was such a charming actress and made Sarah Jane a universal favorite. She will be missed terribly.

devijim said...

Good bye brilliant and wonderful Miss Sarah Jane Smith!

RIP Elisabeth Sladen.

:'(

Jo said...

Arguably, no single actor or actress has had a greater impact on the Doctor Who franchise. I hope they do something special to commemorate her role in the show. Draft in Matt for a final episode of SJA where the characters deal with their grief and celebrate her life.

geronimopizza said...

I still can't believe that... She was too young

Graeme said...

I still want to wake up again this morning and find it's not true.

Jim Vieceli said...

I am here, hours later wondering why I, a 40 year old man am still crying for a woman whom I only met once, and other than stories others told and interviews, I barely knew anything about. I realized this morning, that there is a 7-10 year little boy boy somewhere deep inside who has lost his real first love. Lis Sladen was such a wonderful actress, how could any of us help not to have fallen in love with Sarah Jane Smith? God speed Lis.I hope to see you again, some day.

Trevor said...

On another forum I post at, someone said that for people of a certain age, the death of Elisabeth Sladen is like an axe to the roots, and I know exactly what they mean, couldn't have possibly put it better myself. I never met her and she lives half a world away but I was crying like a baby when I heard the news, it was like I'd lost my best friend.

Achingly indeed.

Anonymous said...

I was 12 in 1973, so I grew up with Sarah Jane. I was so happy to see her return to Who (god bless RTD). I met her at a signing a few years ago, and I was far more excited than the child I had with me. She was a lovely lady, gracious and friendly and excited about being back in the shoe. A class act.