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Today marks one year since the sad passing of Sarah Jane Smith actress Elisabeth Sladen, one of the most popular companions in Who history. To commemorate the first anniversary of her death, Hypable picks its top five favourite Elisabeth Sladen moments.

Sarah Jane Smith certainly has impressive companion credentials. She’s one of the longest serving sidekicks in the show’s history, as well as being the first to get their own spin-off series. In polls, the character is regularly voted the most popular by fans of the show (she has recently been rivalled by Rose Tyler, but generally manages to hold her own) and she has appeared alongside more incarnations of the Doctor than anyone else. But by far the most interesting and captivating part of the character is the actress behind her.

Elisabeth Sladen played the character with such enthusiasm and dedication that her clearly infectious love for Doctor Who made her an irresistible screen presence. Her return in the second series of the shows revival gave Sladen the chance to make more creative decisions about the character’s personality, cementing her positions as a feminist and one of the strongest female companions the Doctor has ever had.

April 19. 2011 was a sad day for any Whovian, with a true legend of the fandom passing away midway through production of the fifth series of Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. Since her death, tributes have poured in from various cast and crew of the long-runing sci-fi series, and Sladen will always be fondly remembered amongst fans. Let’s take a look at Hypable’s top five Elisabeth Sladen moments.

1. The Third Doctor regenerates
Sarah Jane watches as The Doctor collapses, seemingly to his death. The understated performance that Sladen gives in this scene makes it really memorable – the despair is evident in her eyes, and she really gives the impression of trauma without having to resort to hysterics. It is one of the most memorable moments of Classic Who, and still holds up as one of the finest moments of the series.

2. Sarah Jane leaves the TARDIS
When Sarah Jane said goodbye to the Fourth Doctor, she did it in a quietly defiant and determined manner. As she says her farewell, you can tell that she is simmering on the point of high emotion – but she keeps it together and has a steely edge in her voice when simply says “Don’t forget me.” Adele, eat your heart out. Then, of course, the scene finishes with the realisation that The Doctor has dropped her off in the completely wrong place.

3. Rose and Sarah Jane joke about The Doctor
After a dramatic confrontation and major jealousy from both Sarah Jane Smith and Rose Tyler, the two reconcile and reminisce about the mad man with a blue box. It’s a brief, fleeting moment but poignant all the same. It reminds the audience of the Doctor’s similarities despite multiple incarnations, and how every companion is equally as bemused as they are enthralled by the 900 year old alien.

4. Sarah Jane says goodbye in ‘School Reunion’
After an emotionally-charged reunion with the Doctor, featuring confrontations, competing companions and creepy bat-like creatures, Sarah Jane gets a proper chance to say goodbye to the Tenth Doctor. It’s a touching scene, with both Tennant and Sladen taking advantage of their excellent chemistry and really giving the viewer a sense of the history between the two characters.

5. Sarah Jane realises the Daleks have stolen Earth
“The Stolen Earth” sees Sarah Jane make a big character development, as she is faced with the realisation that the Daleks have returned and stolen the Earth. Luke, who she adopted in the pilot of ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ is completely in her care, and one of her sole responsibilities. You can see her heart break as she sees the horrors that he will have to witness, and may even fall victim to.

So, there you have it. Hypable’s five favourite memories of a beloved actress’ beloved character. We are sure all of readers will join us in remembering the late Elisabeth Sladen, and we will never forget one of the few things that remained comforting and constant in a programme that changes so much. Rest in peace, Elisabeth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iDomi Domi Ed

    :( I am new to the Doctor Who series. I am on season 4 at the moment so I have not been able to see every moment you’ve listed.

    BUT I still find my heart heavy with sadness because she was so wonderful.
    I know it may not mean anything to those of you who have been fans for years and mourned her death last year.

    But I wanted to express my respect for her never the less.

  • RussellTurner

    Oh, i sure do miss her.. RIP Elisabeth and Sarah Jane :’( 

  • grapes9h5

    Great moments, great character, terrific actress, wonderful person. I will forever miss her.

  • Guest

    RIP Elisabeth. We will always miss you

  • http://twitter.com/20619T Craig Thomson

    The scene that really stands out for me lasts about 3 seconds, when 10 is saying his goodbyes, he just looks at her, and she knows exactly what is about to happen. I find that one the most emotional of all the goodbyes

  • guestola

    I love the spirit of this article, and I still miss what Elizabeth Sladen brought to the show, but only 2 classic moments?  No mention of her Scene with Tom Baker in Genesis of the Daleks, discussing whether the Doctor had the right to eradicate the Daleks right at their creation point….No interaction with the Brig or Harry Sullivan?    Her introduction with the initial mistrust of the (3rd) Doctor in The Time Warrior?  I love the lists this site puts together in regards to Doctor Who, and I am not trying hate on the New series, I love it, and am very more familiar with new Who, but having only 2 classic moments on a top 5 list of Sarah Jane moments is crazy. 

    • https://twitter.com/#!/HarriFSargeant Harri Sargeant

      Hi, thanks for getting in touch! There are only two classic moments for a few reasons, mainly because I felt that the character was more developed and Sladen had more input come her appearance in NuWho. This was a celebration of Sladen as much as it was Sarah Jane, so I wanted to try and pay attention to the parts where she as an actress really shined through – and I felt she was able to give the character more depth and a stronger presence from 2006 onwards. You are right though, there are SO many great Classic moments that could/should have been included. From a personal standpoint I could have made a whole list of her interaction with the Brig. I am intending to do a few opinion pieces and lists on the Classic series, so I can promise you that those characters and moments will get their due. Thanks again!

      • guestola

        Thanks for the reply, there are alot great moment in the New series I loved as well… The Conversation between Sarah Jane and the Doctor when SJS is unaware she is speaking to the Doctor, but Tennant’s doctor is mad with delight… and the moment later in the episode (school reunion) where she spots the tardis for the first time in years…. And also in Stolen Earth her conversation with Davros has a few lines stating that they have meet before… referencing to the “Genesis of the Daleks” episode.

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