(1st February 1948 - 19th April 2011)
It is with a saddened heart that I write this post. Elisabeth Sladen has sadly passed away on the morning of Tuesday, 19th April 2011. She was best known as Doctor Who's most loved companion, journalist Sarah Jane Smith.
Born in Liverpool in 1948, Elisabeth Sladen started her career as an assistant stage manager at the Liverpool Playhouse. Her first stage role was as a corpse before starring in 'Ferry Across The Mersey' as an extra. She went on to play Desdemona in Othello prior to appearing in Coronation Street as a barmaid. She walked the cobbles for six episodes!
Sladen appeared in various TV shows as Z Cars, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. In 1973, she took over the role of companion to the Doctor from Katy Manning (Jo Grant) in Doctor Who. Starring alongside Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as the Third & Fourth Doctors. She stayed for three and a half series before leaving in 1976. Elisabeth Sladen and Tom Baker wrote the exit of Sarah Jane themselves.
The departure of such a well-loved character as Sarah Jane Smith even made it to the front pages of the tabloids, when it was usually the change of the Doctor himself! After leaving the show, Sladen returned to her roots in Liverpool and to the theatre.
In 1981, she reprised her role of Sarah Jane Smith in K9 & Company:A Girl's Best Friend. The first spin off from Doctor Who. Unfortunately, it was not to go beyond a pilot.
Russell T Davies (former Exec Producer Doctor Who 2005 - 2009), brought Elisabeth Sladen back to the folds of Doctor Who in 2006's School Reunion with David Tennant as the Doctor, and in 2008's two-part finale The Stolen Earth & Journey's End. In 2007, under RTD, CBBC & BBC1 aired the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. A fourth series is due to air later in 2011.
David Tennant on BBC's Breakfast show:
Elisabeth Sladen leaves behind husband Brian Miller and daughter Sadie Miller.