Elisabeth Sladen (1948-2011)

Copyright BBC

I’m pretty sure we’re all aware by now, but Elisabeth Sladen, actor of the famous Doctor Who companion/assistant Sarah Jane Smith, died yesterday of cancer. She was 63.

I was part of the “lost generation” who grew up without new Doctor Who episodes, but even still, I remember watching old Third and Fourth Doctor episodes on what was then called UK Gold. Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney, Tom Baker, and Lis Sladen were all pervasive on the television. Even for people my age, even for kids who only know the current show, most people would agree that she was the companion. So much so that she got her own spin-off show, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

I was stunned when I heard the news last night. So was everyone else; even Tom Baker didn’t know that she was ill. She was much loved by Who fans the world over. If you’ve been keeping up with my Twitter, you’ll notice that I watched “School Reunion” last night in tribute. The emotional impact the episode has already is especially hard-hitting right now, given the real-life context.

She is survived by her husband Brian Miller and her daugher Sadie Miller. As with everyone else, my condolences go out to the Millers.

Goodbye, our Sarah Jane.

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