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celebrity news

Doctor Who's Elizabeth Sladen passes away

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In her role as journalist Sarah Jane Smith, Elizabeth Sladen the best-known and most fondly remembered of all the companions appearing throughout Doctor Who. Today she passed away at the age of 63, the cause cancer. The news has shocked the Who community, especially people of my time who remember seeing her in those classic 1970s episodes of the program.

Sladen appeared in her first episode of Doctor Who in 1973 and was a regular for the next four seasons, bridging the transition between Pertwee playing the Time Lord to the newer episodes with Tom Baker. Sladen's Sarah Jane was an important character for women in not just science fiction shows but on television, for her character was smart, curious, frightened at times but always courageous. For many Doctor Who fans the Sarah Jane character became the quintessential companion for the Doctor. For kids watching the show, she became one of their heroes.

Some of her fans watching when they were children grew up to become the creators of the new Doctor Who. Today on the BBC website they paid tribute with the highest compliments to Elizabeth Sladen, both for her portrayal of Sarah Jane Smith and for her much loved personality as a down-to-earth actor.

"I absolutely loved Lis," said new Who series creator Russell T. Davies. "She was funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful. The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have Lis."

Damian Kavanagh is the controller of the channel's programming, and said this: "Lis brought joy, excitement and a sense of wonder to her many fans in her role as Sarah Jane Smith. She was adored by our young audience and I know all of them will miss her as much as I will."

But if one person could sum up what Elizabeth Sladen meant to his generation of viewers, it was the current showrunner of the program, Steven Moffat:

"'Never meet your heroes' wise people say. They weren't thinking of Lis Sladen.

"Sarah Jane Smith was everybody's hero when I was younger, and as brave and funny and brilliant as people only ever are in stories. But many years later, when I met the real Sarah Jane - Lis Sladen herself - she was exactly as any child ever have wanted her to be. Kind and gentle and clever; and a ferociously talented actress, of course, but in that perfectly English unassuming way.

"There are a blessed few who can carry a whole television show on their talent and charisma - but I can't think of one other who's done it quite so politely. I once showed my son Joshua an old episode of Doctor Who, in which Lis appeared. 'But that's Sarah Jane,' he said, confused 'In old Doctor Who. From years ago. How come she always look exactly the same?' It's not a comfort today, of course, but children will still be saying that fifty years from now."

After appearing in a guest role in the third season of the rebooted Doctor Who, Sladen was given a spinoff series of her own. The Sarah Jane Adventures became a breakout hit for the BBC and won this year's RTS Award for Best Children's Drama. The show was midway through its fifth season when Sladen's illness became terminal. It's far too early for the network to comment on what will happen to the production, if any of the fifth season will be aired and, if so, how Sarah Jane's departure will be shown on-screen.

Of course, none of that matters now to Elizabeth Sladen's family and friends. She leaves behind a husband, a daughter and millions of fans spread across three generations. We'll miss her.

-BBC.
mckracken
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Posted: 6 years 26 weeks ago

Rest In Peace Liz i enjoyed watching Sarah Jane Adventures... they'll do you right for sure!