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.