blog, doctor who

Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

Elisabeth Sladen died yesterday, at 63, apparently after a long battle with cancer. It seems at best a bit daft to weep over someone you’ve only ever known via a fictional character, and my thoughts are with her husband, daughter and friends – but I clearly wasn’t the only old Whovian last night watching  Genesis of the Daleks with something in their eye.

Sarah, Luke and Maria

Sarah Jane Smith was on telly the day I was born, wearing a woolly hat, orange wellies and a yellow pac-a-mac and getting tied up with string by Mr Potato Head.  My Doctor was that blond chap with the celery, so the first time I saw her in action was in The Five Doctors, where she zoomed gleefully about in Bessie with Jon Pertwee and made you not mind at all that Mr ‘teeth and curls’ had declined the invite. Lately, I’ve adored her on The Sarah Jane Adventures, where an older single woman and her adopted son define ‘family’ and get to save the world by being clever and brave and relying on each other. It’s the show that comes closest to the Doctor Who I watched as a kid, all cliffhangers and Lord Reith – and despite being set in Ealing, since it’s filmed in my old home town I know that attic is actually just round the corner from my old school, and with a little helpful time-travel, I could’ve been Rani or Maria.

Here’s her crowning moment in the original series, I think: reminds you what a wonderful performer she was.

I’ll give your love to Harry, and the Brigadier… *sniffs*

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7 thoughts on “Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith”

  1. We often talk about which Doctor was “our” Doctor — less often, which was “our” Companion. Sarah Jane Smith was mine, the first Companion I ever met, and the one I loved best throughout my childhood and young adult years. There are others since that era, whose chemistry with their own Doctor(s) has been outstanding, but Sarah Jane is still the one for whom I hold a special place in my heart. And in our communal heart, even if not in our daily world, Lis Sladen will live on forever.

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