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Published on April 19th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Elisabeth Sladen RIP 1948-2011

This is a tough one: we’re terribly sad to relay the passing of Elisabeth Sladen, star of The Sarah Jane Adventures and one of Doctor Who’s most enduring stars following her partnership with the Third and Fourth Doctors from 1973-1976.

Usually we try to keep the obituaries as balanced as possible, but I have to admit to a soft spot for Sarah Jane Smith, one that has often prompted me to feel that her partnership with the Fourth Doctor was perhaps the high point of the series’ long history. This was obviously down to a great working relationship between Lis Sladen and Tom Baker, and was one of those casting miracles that Hollywood producers try to buy on a daily basis, and fail.


As I write this I think it is too early for a full obituary. In the meantime James McLean and I have recorded a few words that hopefully relate how important Lis Slden was to Doctor Who and fandom.

Until our obituary is ready, please consider this collection of YouTube clips of some great Sarah Jane moments as a sufficient tribute to Elisabeth Sladen until I can pull myself together and address this news with the subtlety it requires.

Keep up with what others are saying about this sad news via Twitter:


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

12 Responses to Elisabeth Sladen RIP 1948-2011

  1. avatar Carn says:

    I can’t believe this. I saw the news and it just hit me really hard as it was really unexpected and I’ve loved that woman since I was a kid.

    I don’t know what else to say. I can’t think clearly. She was a beautiful woman in every way…

  2. avatar krumstets says:

    This is awfully sad news. What an absolute shock. She made such a massive contribution to Doctor Who.

  3. avatar Rich Higton says:

    I am in a state of shock at the moment… I so didn’t see this coming. Very very sad news. Rest in peace our Sarah Jane.

  4. avatar Rick says:

    This news absolutely floors me. I’m so sad.

  5. avatar Hyncharas says:

    At the time, I thought it was really weird that they were recording seasons 4 & 5 together, but now it makes a lot more sense if she wanted to limit her exposure on TV while being treated.

    I and my family have nothing but heart-felt condolences to the Sladen family for her loss. We watched her on CBBC whenever the show reappeared and enjoyed the stories just as much as any other Whovian property… she will be missed.

  6. avatar Starman says:

    A real bolt out of the blue when I read this, I couldn’t believe it. My heartfelt sympathies to her husband Brian, daughter Sadie and family and friends. Truly sad news. Rest in peace Lis.

  7. avatar johnoed says:

    I’m so shocked and sad to hear this news. I really don’t know what to say. I do plan on watching the Hand of Fear tonight as a tribute to a wonderful actress in one of my favorite episodes.

  8. avatar grufaine says:

    Very distraught over this. =/ Will be mourning and remembering.

  9. I don’t even know what to say. RIP Sarah Jane

  10. avatar Andrew says:

    I’m devastated, I can’t describe how sad I am. I am however blissfully grateful I got to meet Liz at convention in Glasgow, 1996 when I was only 18 years old. She was as sweet and gentle, and loveable as Sarah Jane.

    My condolences to all her family, those who knew her. There is a voice in the Doctor Who world which will never be filled.

    Goodbye Sarah Jane Smith and RIP Elizabeth Sladen.

  11. When I first heard the news – and put this original article together – I suspect I was as disappointed and deflated by this as every other fan.

    However what I have seen since is the true power of Doctor Who, an amazing community of fans on websites, forums, blogs, Twitter and Facebook who are by far and away the most generous and creative fans around.

    It can feel somewhat trivial at times, the business of running a website, none moreso when someone like this dies. And then when you see the reaction you realise that each and every one of us, website or not, is as important as the people making and taking part in Doctor Who, we all have our part to play in ensuring that this series and the wonderful people that have made it so amazing over the years, are remembered.

  12. avatar Celtic Lady says:

    You are sorely missed, Elizabeth, but I pray you are able to see the real universe now, and you don’t even need the TARDIS! God bless you!

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