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'Doctor Who' Fans, Producers React to Death of Elisabeth Sladen, aka Sarah Jane

by Maureen Ryan, posted Apr 19th 2011 6:20PM
There's been a lot of talk in the last week or two about women and science-fiction and fantasy.

Let's not rehash that debate here. Let's simply pay tribute to Elisabeth Sladen, who proved in four decades' worth of terrific work on 'Doctor Who,' that women and genre fare go together just fine.

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago in the late '70s, I watched Sladen, the plucky companion on 'Doctor Who,' not just help defeat all manner of aliens but also hold her own with two different incarnations of the Doctor, feisty specimens played by Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. She played the sidekick role with such unquenchable energy and undeniable fizz that Russell T Davies, who revived 'Doctor Who' several years ago, created a new spinoff, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures,' just for her.

"I absolutely loved Lis," Davies said in a statement from BBC America. "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."

Steven Moffat, the current executive producer of 'Doctor Who,' which returns with a new season Saturday, said in the statement, "'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," Moffat continued. "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."

Blogger Adam Whitehead listed the many 'Doctor Who' projects that Sladen had been part of over the last 40 years (she guested during David Tennant's run as the Doctor, and Matt Smith, who plays the role now, appeared on 'The Sarah Jane Adventures').

Den of Geek noted that Sladen, who had cancer for several years, didn't let on about her illness. "Predictably, she kept that away from the public eye, her absolute dignity shining through right to the end," Simon Brew wrote.

Added Brew: "A genuine one-off, her quality on screen was easily matched by her friendliness away from it. And when you step back and think about it, her achievements have been quite sensational. Where else in the world is a woman in her late 50s and then early 60s headlining a major television series?"

Where indeed?

'Doctor Who' fans of all eras reacted across the Web with great dismay at the news of Sladen's passing. Actor/writer Stephen Fry tweeted, "What terribly sad news about Elisabeth Sladen - her Sarah Jane was part of my childhood. Deepest sympathy to her family." "Big sadness," writer Neil Gaiman tweeted.

TV writer/producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach ('Lost,' 'The Middleman') may have had the most fitting words. He wrote, "Today all the stars in the universe shine a little dimmer."

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Christa Marreel

the best of "Dr.who" partners.
all my regards to the family

July 18 2011 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MEQUA'S TRAY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRVSesYTIa0

April 24 2011 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Noor S

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April 22 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Noor S

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April 22 2011 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wcooke203h

Matt Smith's "Doctor" told Sara Jane, "The Curse of The Time Lords is "You Always Outlive Your Friends." "

April 20 2011 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wcooke203h

"Only Nixon could go to China."
"Only Sara Jane Smith would be given K-9."

To paraphrase "LT. Harry Sullivan"

So long "Old Girl" we'll miss you!

April 20 2011 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drumrohlusa

Time has been your friend Sarah,
Your body your enemy.
Safe journey among the galaxies and time rifts.
We will miss you until the next adventure brings us all back again.
See you out in the stars.....

April 20 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrea

You where Love and U will be Missed. U are travaling the galaxy.

April 20 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank Hinson

So long Sarah Jane, you were a bright star in the Dr. Who galaxy. You will always be loved.

April 20 2011 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lthrnck68

Well, that just SUCKS! big time. She was the real reason I started watching Doctor Who back when it was part of the Channel 11 Sunday night package out of Chicago. Always seemed to bne menaced by some alien. Had to start watching just to see what was going to happen to her. Really sad day for fans of science fiction and Doctor Who.

April 20 2011 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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