Elisabeth Sladen Has Died
April 19, 2011 1:26 PM   Subscribe

She was Sarah Jane Smith: intrepid reporter, beloved companion, and stalwart defender. She was in two different spin-offs. The BBC is confirming that Elisabeth Sladen of Doctor Who and environs, is dead at 63.
posted by Legomancer (225 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by mightygodking at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2011


FUCK.
posted by Phire at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by feelinglistless at 1:28 PM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


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Saw this on my facebook feed first, and understandably didn't believe it. Oh, Sarah Jane Smith, we'll miss you.
posted by kalimac at 1:28 PM on April 19, 2011


I hope they make a statue of K-9 to put near her grave marker.
posted by workerant at 1:29 PM on April 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


NOOOO! Too young! Too young!

!!!!!

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posted by droplet at 1:29 PM on April 19, 2011


Shit.

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posted by Zozo at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2011


Sigh.. A year younger than me. Too young.

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posted by jgaiser at 1:31 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by antiwiggle at 1:32 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Wataki at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2011


Oh no!
posted by brundlefly at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2011


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Very sad. My daughter and I got wrapped up in the Matt Smith Doctor Who series when it aired on BBC America and have spent the hiatus plowing through the David Tennant years on Netflix. I remembered Sarah Jane vaguely from when I used to occasionally watch the Tom Baker version on PBS with my mother, and I thought it was a great touch to have her come back in this new incarnation. We'll miss her for sure.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2011


Rest in peace, Sarah Jane.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2011


I'm going to hold out hope that this is all part of the Doctor's plan to thwart some devious enemy, and at the end of the episode it'll be revealed that she's fine...

(sigh)

Sometimes the real world just sucks.

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posted by quin at 1:34 PM on April 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


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posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2011


As far as I am concerned, she and Jon Pertwee are just off having some grand adventure somewhere.
posted by Ruki at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2011 [23 favorites]


This is sad news. I had no idea she was sick.

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posted by sandraregina at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by fight or flight at 1:36 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Windigo at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by cazoo at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2011


Oh god. I had no idea at all she was sick. This came out of nowhere for me.

I'm a Fourth Doctor child. I grew up watching her with my mom. My mom's the same age as her. I should call her.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Bummer. She seemed like she was going pretty good on the show.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2011


BBC news reporting that she apparently had cancer for some time now.

Cancer is a bitch beyond all bitches. I hope they do something in her memory on Sunday, when the new series premieres.
posted by kalimac at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by willhopkins at 1:38 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by katillathehun at 1:38 PM on April 19, 2011


Damn. Another chunk of my childhood gone.
posted by octothorpe at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Astro Zombie at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2011


Like many, I remember her fondly from my childhood and was pleased to see her appearing again in recent years. Prayers for her family and loved ones.
posted by charred husk at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by randomination at 1:40 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by maryr at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Thorzdad at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2011


Jesus. Thank you, lady.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2011


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Another strong female role model gone.
posted by likeso at 1:45 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by saulgoodman at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2011


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Well, now I'm sad.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2011


Aw. I got them discs around here somewhere...
posted by LD Feral at 1:47 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Iridic at 1:47 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Catblack at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2011


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Apparently they were part way through filming the 5th season of Sarah Jane Adventures.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by mek at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by eriko at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2011


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I haven't been to the amount of conventions that my level of Doctor Who fandom would suggest, but even so, what I've enjoyed about the few I've attended is how when I've met "the stars", it felt like you were meeting friends -- very little 'celebrity' awe on display on a pedestal, and typically a very relaxed atmosphere such that you don't make a damned fool of yourself trying to come up with interesting ways to say "I think you're neat."

But when I met Ms. Sladen a couple years back this went completely out the window as I stood in line to get autographs and pictures. This wasn't her fault - as she was as un-diva* like and approachable as you could dream -- but as I approached her, I suddenly went stupid and was unable to speak. She had probably seen this a lot and was completely charming and posed for pictures with me and my boyfriend and wished me a happy birthday (which wasn't for another two weeks, but since the whole experience was an early birthday present, my boyfriend made sure to let everyone know), and they both smiled big in the picture, both, in some small way probably because they were making me very, very happy -- whereas I was just, still, dumbstruck.

There's plenty to be said about the character of Sarah Jane -- about how she was the "answer to the women's libbers" (Terrence Dicks) but how Ms. Sladen always insisted Sarah was a strong character first, about how her face is an image that spans the old and new series in a way that nothing other than the TARDIS and the Daleks can do, about how awesome it is that The Sarah Jane Adventures was a children's show with a kick-ass sixty-something female heroine, about the jogging and wine-sipping in the K-9 and Company opening credits, about the fact that Russell T. Davies was actually the second Doctor Who producer who wanted to bring her back, but if I can suggest anything to those fans of the current series (or anyone else) unfamiliar with the classic series, just watch her episodes and you'll see why she was the one that was "brought back."

Favorites include:

"The Time Warrior" -- her first story, probably the most memorable "meet the companion" in the classic series save the pilot
"Planet of the Spiders"
"Robot" -- yes, there are plenty of flaws with Pertwee's last story and T. Baker's first. But she wasn't one of them.
"The Ark in Space"
"Genesis of the Daleks"

Oh f' it. Just watch them all.

* Speaking of diva, this word was used by one of the conventioneers at the same event, complaining about how she was charging for autographs (when this policy had little to do with her and more to do with how the convention was being run and funded); this fellow approached the microphone during the Q & A to bring this up in a "who do you think you are?" sort of way, and though she didn't quite hear the question and didn't understand what was happening, the crowd did -- and I'm sure I will never witness a group of people go from "friendly and harmless crowd" to "angry mob" so quickly ever again.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2011 [26 favorites]


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posted by Nyrath at 1:52 PM on April 19, 2011


Ah god, the Pertwee years. I hated them, because I hated that the Tardis was out of order. Yet I thought Pertwee was a pretty good Doctor. And Sladen was great.

The worst thing about getting old is not dying. It's seeing your contemporaries dying.
posted by Decani at 1:53 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by pupdog at 1:54 PM on April 19, 2011


There are many of us for whom Elizabeth Sladen will never die. There are not many of whom one can say that.
posted by koeselitz at 1:55 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by grubi at 1:55 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by spinifex23 at 1:57 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by northtwilight at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2011


I'm sure I'm not the only girl who watched Sarah Jane and wanted to grow up to be her. I rarely cry at celebrity deaths, but this one has hit me hard.
posted by immlass at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


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posted by mobunited at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by gomichild at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Catseye at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2011


She has always been such a hero for me. A wonderful strong woman to look up to, and a genuinely nice person to boot. When she came back with K-9 for New Who I couldn't have been more delighted. I hope very sincerely that they will release the episodes of Sarah Jane Adventures that have been finished for season five. She will be sorely missed by so many of us.

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posted by stoneweaver at 2:01 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by emperor.seamus at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2011


Eldrad must live!
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2011



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shit. that sucks.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:04 PM on April 19, 2011


I kept meaning to watch the Sarah Jane Adventures; only in the past few years have I gotten into Doctor Who, but I ended up watching all of them in order. She was an amazing character in series: many of the early and middle companions blur together due to the speed at which I watched them, but she stood out. Seeing her again in the modern series was a treat.

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posted by Lemurrhea at 2:06 PM on April 19, 2011


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Only the other week I rather flippantly listed my top five companions and of course she was there, the first one I can just remember. But really she was THE companion.

Watched quite a few of the old stories on DVD recently and she really came over well on the commentaries.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:09 PM on April 19, 2011


The ninth Doctor:
"Everything has its time and everything dies. You think it'll last forever: people and cars and concrete. But it won't. One day it's all gone. Even the sky. My planet's gone. It's dead. It burned, like the Earth. It's just rocks and dust. Before its time."

Me, I'm not nearly saddened by her death as I am gladdened at the memory of all the joy she brought to so many millions of children of all ages.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:10 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by lumpenprole at 2:11 PM on April 19, 2011


Oh man. So young. This is heartbreaking.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:11 PM on April 19, 2011


That sucks. Thanks for everything, Ms. Sladen.

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posted by everichon at 2:12 PM on April 19, 2011


So long as one person remembers, nothing is really dead
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:12 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Goodbye, my Sarah Jane."
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:12 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sarah: Don't forget me.
The Doctor: Oh, Sarah. Don't you forget me.


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posted by Doktor Zed at 2:14 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by kenchie at 2:14 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by routergirl at 2:16 PM on April 19, 2011


It's just thinking of all those kids, god, those kids in the morning who are gonna wake up and who are excited because maybe they're off school and Doctor Who is starting on Saturday and there's all these bank holidays and it's springtime...

And then their mums and dads are going to have to sit them down and tell them that there isn't going to be any more Sarah Jane Adventures because Sarah Jane is gone.

God, that's what keeps breaking my heart right now. Because of all those kids.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:18 PM on April 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


This isn't Hillview Road ... bet it isn't even South Croydon!
posted by biffa at 2:22 PM on April 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


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posted by _Lasar at 2:22 PM on April 19, 2011


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I'll miss you, Sarah Jane.
posted by pemberkins at 2:22 PM on April 19, 2011


:'(

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posted by kmz at 2:23 PM on April 19, 2011


So awful. She was a great companion.

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posted by DiscourseMarker at 2:24 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Gridlock Joe at 2:25 PM on April 19, 2011


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*sniff*
posted by Space Kitty at 2:25 PM on April 19, 2011


There's an official BBC press release now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:26 PM on April 19, 2011


Oh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. :(
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:26 PM on April 19, 2011


That was such a shock to hear. It seems like just yesterday that she came back to Doctor Who, and seemed still so wonderfully young and vital.
posted by philipy at 2:29 PM on April 19, 2011


How on earth did she never age? What a lovely, warm, gifted woman. I'm in tears over someone I never even met, but I felt I knew.
posted by bayliss at 2:31 PM on April 19, 2011


Oh, dammit. Dammit dammit.

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posted by rtha at 2:32 PM on April 19, 2011


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Sadness falls.
posted by Minus215Cee at 2:33 PM on April 19, 2011


One of my earliest crushes.
posted by grubi at 2:33 PM on April 19, 2011


Steven Moffat:

"'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. 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. "

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posted by philipy at 2:34 PM on April 19, 2011 [16 favorites]


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posted by tj at 2:40 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Kitteh at 2:42 PM on April 19, 2011


ZeusHumms "Apparently they were part way through filming the 5th season of Sarah Jane Adventures."

I don't know if they'll air any of the filmed S5. If not, it's terribly bittersweet that the last aired episodes of S5 were titled "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith, Parts 1 & 2."

She brought joy to millions of people--and that's not an exaggerated number. By all accounts of those who met her, she was as warm and unassuming and generous as one could imagine.


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posted by tzikeh at 2:50 PM on April 19, 2011


Er - last aired episodes of S4, not S5.

Also -
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posted by tzikeh at 2:52 PM on April 19, 2011


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She was my first and favorite companion.

My Sarah Jane.
posted by Constant Reader at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2011


"My Sarah Jane."

*sniff*

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posted by crossoverman at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man! Damn, she was always my favoritest companion. Requiescat in pace, Ms. Sladen.
posted by elendil71 at 2:53 PM on April 19, 2011


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I'm very surprised at how this is affecting me. I feel like I've lost a friend. Elisabeth Sladen, you gave a generation of young brainy women a wonderful gift. Thank you.
posted by luminous phenomena at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by whitearrow at 2:54 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by sonascope at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2011


The character of Sarah Jane was sort of instrumental to me becoming a Doctor Who fan. I was dubious about Tennant until I saw him in that school episode with Sarah Jane, because Elisabeth Sladen brought out something in him that I hadn't seen in the first couple of episodes, and that something converted me to a fan of the Doctor--and not just a fan of one particular Doctor--which I think is actually a fairly large difference.

And when I first decided to investigate the older series, I was sort of overwhelmed by the immensity of the project: I tried to dip into it at random and got bogged down. But then I had the idea of following Sarah Jane backwards--in a series about time travel, it seemed appropriate--and watched all of her old episodes. And in another case of weird--but appropriate, I think--backwards continuity, because both Sarah Jane and K9 were familiar, it was easy to accept them as right and real in stories full of bubble-wrap monsters and tin-foil costumes. And so she was my portal into the older series as well.

I didn't grow up with her, but I will miss her because of that.
posted by colfax at 2:58 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've only ever watched the New Who, but even from that it was immediately apparent in her appearances...

She was the heartbeat that ran through the entire series, even long after she had left it.

She was the reason that we cared who the new companion was as much as we cared about the new Doctor.

She was the reason that the Doctor felt so deeply about humanity.

She was the reason that us watching felt so deeply about humanity.

Her performance echoed down through the series with an influence on those who followed her as great if not greater than Tom Baker's.

And no, nothing is gone as long as one person can remember it.

I'm just glad that she got to share at least an episode with the Eleventh Doctor, and it seems appropriate that it was on her show, and not his.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:00 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by Glinn at 3:01 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by frog telepathy at 3:12 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:13 PM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by dumbland at 3:15 PM on April 19, 2011


Young me had such a crush. And when I say young, I mean reallllly young. And I was amazed how little toll time seemed to have taken on her when she reappeared on the new show. I'm sad to hear this, but knowing that it must have been fast (for this type of illness) and that she went out at a career height...I don't know, you could do worse. I think that's the best you can hope for.
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posted by jennanemone at 3:26 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by reductiondesign at 3:27 PM on April 19, 2011


Oh, dear. My first companion. Damn.

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posted by tyllwin at 3:31 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


A loss for all of us, it seems. Very sad. Rest in peace, indeed. And thanks.
posted by emmet at 3:34 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by edmcbride at 3:36 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:39 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by valis at 3:39 PM on April 19, 2011


Apparently they were part way through filming the 5th season of Sarah Jane Adventures.

For what it's worth, apparently the first two stories and the season finale were filmed.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Sphinx at 3:46 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by theartandsound at 3:52 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Schadenfreude at 3:55 PM on April 19, 2011


Something I've read about when they first started filming with David Tennant as the Doctor -- the episode with Sarah Jane was one of the first ones he worked on. And he's said in interviews that during the initial readthrough, when they got to the part where Sarah Jane first sees him and says "Doctor, is it you?" or some such, he said it was like suddenly he'd flashed back to when he was about eight years old and playing "Doctor Who and the Daleks" in the schoolyard with his friend and imagining Sarah Jane was talking to him, only now Liz Sladen really was looking at him and calling him "Doctor", and apparently he had a couple seconds' fanboy meltdown.

Goodbye, our Sarah Jane.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:00 PM on April 19, 2011 [21 favorites]


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posted by jepler at 4:05 PM on April 19, 2011


The return of Sarah Jane - Dr Who Confidential
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:07 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by sugarfish at 4:07 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:10 PM on April 19, 2011


First one since George Carlin who's really hit me hard.

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posted by delfin at 4:10 PM on April 19, 2011


How very sudden and unexpected and sad. A single full stop does not seem enough somehow. Goodbye, Liz...
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:12 PM on April 19, 2011


You were amazing, Ms. Sladen. RIP.

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posted by orrnyereg at 4:14 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:19 PM on April 19, 2011


Very, very sad news. The first companion I remember, and my favourite by far. She helped define Doctor Who for me as a child.
posted by seanyboy at 4:35 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:52 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:54 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Proofs and Refutations at 4:54 PM on April 19, 2011


I am actually crying. She was utterly lovely.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 4:55 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by filmgeek at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 5:01 PM on April 19, 2011


When someone dies, it takes me a while to come to terms with the new world we have entered that doesn't have that person in it. The world without Sarah Jane doesn't seem as nice, somehow.

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posted by Grangousier at 5:04 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by MelanieL at 5:05 PM on April 19, 2011


As far as I am concerned, she and Jon Pertwee are just off having some grand adventure somewhere.

And the Brig.

Count me as hoping indeed they do some kind of acknowledgement of both of them on Saturday.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:08 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by anansi at 5:12 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by The Whelk at 5:21 PM on April 19, 2011


Don't have much new to add that hasn't already been said. This last fall, I started watching the New Who -- of which, as a child of PBS re-airs of the original series in the 80s, I had been dubious. I enjoyed the show, loved that they brought back the Daleks, the Cybermen, etc. But when I saw "School Reunion," so many memories of the earlier series that had been gathering dust in my mind came back. I mean, it was SARAH JANE. How could I have forgotten her, one of the most fun, exciting, smart, strong companions? That moment when she's running through the school, opens the door and comes face to face with the TARDIS -- that's how I felt. Like something from my past that I'd lost long ago had come back. A feeling that was so exciting, so mind-blowing, it just sent chills down my spine. It was that episode that convinced me that I needed to go back and watch the entire original series. I'm into the first season of Peter Davison's run, and few other companions even come close to matching Sarah Jane's presence. When I saw this post, I called out to my partner and said, "We have to watch The Sarah Jane Adventures." It hadn't been high on my priority list as I figured that there'd be opportunities for cross-overs with the new season of Doctor Who, but now knowing that she won't be making any new shows, well, I'm just not ready to say goodbye yet.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:28 PM on April 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by aunt_winnifred at 5:29 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by jadepearl at 5:42 PM on April 19, 2011


She was such a part of my childhood. Every day, Goodies at 6.00 Doctor Who at 6.30. I'm sorry to hear of her death.

Thanks for the memories Sarah Jane
posted by the noob at 5:45 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


She became a companion the year before I was born and is the first companion I can remember. I was so thrilled to see her on the new Who and her spin-off and realize a whole new generation of viewers would come to know and love Sarah Jane. When I watched the "Goodbye My Sarah Jane" clip, I burst into tears.

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posted by miss-lapin at 6:05 PM on April 19, 2011


Sarah Jane meets the Doctor

From "The Ark in Space", the Doctor (fakes) being an asshole to motivate Sarah to save the day.

The Doctor must tell Sarah Jane goodbye

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Eldrad Must Live (the original), as posted above -- and delightfully, Sladen re-enacting it 30 years later to an appreciative audience in Chicago.

* * * *

Sticking up for the Rights of the Doctor's Companions Throughout The Ages

The Five Doctors
"Drag you across time and space without so much as a by your leave and then leave you out when things get interesting..."

Rose and Sarah Jane (the missus and the ex) exchange stories in School Reunion.

And finally..if you watch no other video, watch this one:

K-9 and Company Opening Titles (Must be watched to be believed. And watched over and over again.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:16 PM on April 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


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posted by pdxjmorris at 6:20 PM on April 19, 2011


Damn. Like a lot of people here, she was the first companion I watched back when PBS ran Doctor Who in the 80s. She seemed like a really great lady in real life.

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posted by weathergal at 6:20 PM on April 19, 2011


I came late to Doctor Who and haven't seen many of Sarah Jane's episodes. Her death leaves me unaccountably sad.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 6:28 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have to tell my daughter the sad news when she wakes up.

So young, so sad.

Arse.
posted by fullerine at 6:32 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by tribalspice at 6:37 PM on April 19, 2011


I can imagine Lis in the afterlife.

"This isn't Hillview Road! I bet it isn't even South Croydon!"

*whistles merrily*
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:40 PM on April 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "Something I've read about when they first started filming with David Tennant as the Doctor -- the episode with Sarah Jane was one of the first ones he worked on.

The Sarah Jane episode took place in Tennant's second season as The Doctor. He did have a fanboy geekout, but it wasn't anytime close to his early shooting days.
posted by tzikeh at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2011


The Sarah Jane episode took place in Tennant's second season as The Doctor.

No, the second season of the new Who, but the first season for David Tennant.
posted by philipy at 6:51 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Journey's End

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posted by warbaby at 6:54 PM on April 19, 2011


She was the equal of every doctor in many ways and superior in quite a few others, and an amazing role model and brilliant actress. I found in her many things that I wanted to also find in a real person to be my own companion including spunkiness, vivaciousness, real intelligence and not taking crap from anyone. Also for inhabiting a body many might consider too short with a face perhaps too round and yet through how she moved being one of the most attractive of them all. I am not shy to say I found her sexy as hell, and in a way that was very, very real and thus even more compelling and entirely unlike the distant untouchable, aloofness of many of the later "sexy" companions.

I never saw her in anything else but my understanding is that in life she was just as "alive" as she was with the Doctors and for that, Elizabeth Sladen, you'll always be in my heart.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:01 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the
rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. That's the curse of the
Time Lords."
posted by Nyrath at 7:18 PM on April 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by CrystalDave at 7:21 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by bentley at 7:22 PM on April 19, 2011


punch in the gut news. hadn't realised she was ill and was rather looking forward to another series of the Sarah Jane Adventures.

I respect her mostly because of her pivotal role in bringing a more fierce feminism to Doctor Who. Yes, characters like Susan and Barbara (and Vicki to some degree) were unique in their time (NPI) but the later women who joined on as companions seemed little more than the stereotypical screamers and were there for eye candy and connecting the show to the youth audience (Victoria, Polly, etc.). The character of Liz Shaw did set a better, stronger stage upon which Sarah Jane Smith burst into the Doctor Who world and helped change things for the better (Leela was a bit of an anomaly, however...).

Bringing back her character was a stroke of genius on the part of Russell T. Davies.

Thank you, Lis, for pouring enthusiasm and brilliance into this legendary role. You are greatly loved and will be terribly missed.

.
posted by kuppajava at 7:24 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So very, very sad about this.

In case nobody's linked to it yet, when Sarah Jane met the eleventh doctor.
posted by jbickers at 7:25 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by ants at 7:45 PM on April 19, 2011


First the Brigadier, now Sarah Jane. It's been a bad year...

She was the companion others are measured by-now and forever.
posted by Not The Stig at 7:58 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, this was a punch to the heart.

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posted by Mizu at 8:00 PM on April 19, 2011


I am oh so very, very sad. Almost without words here. I'll be watching her episodes in tribute. That's all I can think of to do.

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posted by lriG rorriM at 8:04 PM on April 19, 2011


RIP Elisabeth - and thank goodness you [as Rita] escaped the clutches of that scoundrel Len Fairclough.
posted by unliteral at 8:06 PM on April 19, 2011


Today's Dork Tower, in honor of Sarah Jane and Lis Sladen. It made me cry more.
posted by lriG rorriM at 8:09 PM on April 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


.

Now I'm just going to wait around for the war with the machines to start, seeing as Skynet should have become self-aware this evening around 8:23pm EST.
posted by rhythim at 8:26 PM on April 19, 2011


I just watched a bunch of Sarah Jane Adventures and Genesis of the Daleks this weekend. She was fantastic. I don't like this news at all.

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posted by sgrass at 8:37 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by MrBadExample at 8:38 PM on April 19, 2011


Now I'm just going to wait around for the war with the machines to start, seeing as Skynet should have become self-aware this evening around 8:23pm EST.

I'd always wondered what willen hove pushinged it over the edge.

"Right! Self-aware. Brilliant. Where's the telly? It's time for some Sarah-Ja..."
*psstpsspstpsstsp*
"..."
"I'm sorry. It was so sudden. I mean, we knew she was ill, but..."
"Bring me the red button."
"What? You can't!"
"Fine, I guess I'll have to get used to doing everything my bloody self anyway..."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:47 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


.

I can't even remember the last time that a celebrity death emotionally effected me before this. So unbelievably sad.
posted by schmod at 8:49 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


,

I can't bear to put a period because that is final, whereas ES will live on through her many adventures through time.
posted by Zhai at 8:56 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Halloween Jack at 9:08 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by Mad_Carew at 9:14 PM on April 19, 2011


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_
posted by dhartung at 9:30 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Adventurer at 9:33 PM on April 19, 2011


philipy: "The Sarah Jane episode took place in Tennant's second season as The Doctor.

No, the second season of the new Who, but the first season for David Tennant.
"

Yes, of course. You're right. Can't think entirely clearly, right now.
posted by tzikeh at 9:42 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by librarina at 9:43 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:49 PM on April 19, 2011


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posted by nonlocal at 10:32 PM on April 19, 2011


John Kovalik (of Dork Tower)'s tribute to her.

I'm just going to be sad for a while.

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posted by mephron at 11:37 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


. thank you Liz, for your warm, generous humanity.
posted by honest knave at 12:37 AM on April 20, 2011


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posted by monkey closet at 1:02 AM on April 20, 2011


When David Tennant took over as the Tenth Doctor, I started to flip out. Here was a guy, cast in the role as the Doctor, who was only five months older* than me. David was not the youngest person ever cast as the Doctor, but it was the similarity in age that put into sharp relief for me just how long the show has been in existence. I had spent many Sunday nights in high school and during summers in college watching WTTW's lineup of shows once Masterpiece Theater was finished, and while I knew how old the episodes of Monty Python, Dave Allen at Large**, and Doctor Who were, they felt new to me in spite of the fashions and sloppy bluescreen effects and so on.

Part of the loss I feel about Liz's passing comes from remembering the initial impact of watching those old Doctor Who episodes while struggling to keep the TV volume down, so as not to get caught by my parents. Another part of the loss comes from Liz's impact on the current incarnation of DW and its subsequent universe, and knowing that such impact will be no more. I've never had the chance to hunt down any episodes of the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures, but I think it's time. From the little I know about it, SJS is a "children's show" that punches much higher above its weight in terms of plot and how it treats its audience.

Inasmuch as some people would wish to be the Doctor, I thought that being one of his companions would be a better deal. It was much easier to identify with a human companion than a 900-year-old Time Lord, and the ultimate strength of Liz Sladen and Sarah Jane Smith was that regardless of age, of gender, or anything else, she elicited a strong bond with her audience. You wanted to be her, to see what she saw, to face the dangers and visions that she experienced. That's the mark of a powerful character, and knowing that Liz won't be able to continue with that bond as Sarah Jane Smith is mighty sad news indeed.

Goodbye, Sarah Jane.



*By the way, David's 40th birthday was April 18.

**I still want to be Dave Allen when I grow up.



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posted by stannate at 1:17 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tom Baker's tribute

"I was there, I knew her, she was good to me and I shall always be grateful, and I shall miss her."
posted by Hartster at 3:43 AM on April 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Tom Baker's tribute could bring a tear to a glass eye.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 4:42 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


She was far too young.

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posted by Hildegarde at 5:02 AM on April 20, 2011


Children pay tribute on the BBC's Newsround site. There's dozens and dozens of them, choked me up good and proper.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:02 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by paisley at 6:58 AM on April 20, 2011


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posted by bibliowench at 7:01 AM on April 20, 2011


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posted by exlotuseater at 7:43 AM on April 20, 2011


Children pay tribute on the BBC's Newsround site..

That link needs some sort of warning attached to it. There's no way to read it without crying.
posted by schmod at 8:17 AM on April 20, 2011


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posted by moss at 8:38 AM on April 20, 2011


Children pay tribute on the BBC's Newsround site..

That link needs some sort of warning attached to it.


True. From the tributes there:

"I think Sarah Jane was a really good alien hunter and if the world had an alien invasion, Elisabeth would be the one to save us. I will miss Elisabeth loads and loads."
-Morgan, 9, Isle of Wight, England

"Elisabeth Sladen was really, really lovely and I loved her to bits. So I hope she rests in peace."
-Niamh, 7, Yorkshire, England

"Sarah Jane, we hope you are ok in heaven and everyone is comforting you. My family and I are praying for you and your family. No one is going to forget you, no one at all."
-Rebecca, 10, Dumfries, Scotland
posted by Rock Steady at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


This news really knocked me for a loop yesterday. I had to leave my desk and go outside for a bit so I could have a cry in private.

I haven't been a regular viewer in years, but like others here, Tom Baker was my first Doctor, and Sarah Jane was my first companion. We live in England for a bit when I was a kid, in the 70s, and that's how I first discovered them. I used to watch it with my mom, too, and she knitted me a long stripey scarf that's still about eight feet longer than I am. In nine days it will be 15 years since she died. I don't really believe in heaven, except in certain circumstances. Like this one. Say hi to my mom for me, Lis. Thanks for adding a lot of happiness to my childhood.
posted by rtha at 9:40 AM on April 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by jiawen at 10:25 AM on April 20, 2011


I did this post in a hurry, because the news had just gotten out and although there was a lot of Twitter chatter, official responses (like the one I linked) were very few.

Now I have time to say more, and here's what I said on my site:

To say that you had a crush on Sarah Jane only meant that you were a Doctor Who fan in the 70s and 80s. Everyone had a crush on Sarah Jane. She was the perfect companion: smart, pretty, brave, screamy, playful, friendly, and prone to twisting her ankle. As our PBS stations cycled through the Tom Baker episodes over and over, we all fell in love with her at every “Robot” and had our hearts break at every “The Hand of Fear”.

One also felt that Elisabeth Sladen was just as charming as the character she owned. From what people say, this was exactly the case.

When the new Doctor Who series began in 2005, Sarah Jane was the perfect companion to bring back to bridge the two, because she was, literally, the perfect companion. And when Elisabeth Sladen came back, still so fresh and full of life, it was an absolute joy. It was again, every fanboy’s dream: she was still there, still her, a touch older, a touch sadder, but still Sarah Jane.

Small wonder that it was her character who was tapped for two spinoffs. Of all the companions, she was the one you wanted to see more of, who seemed capable of having a life and adventures of her own, having been indelibly altered by her time with The Doctor.

Yesterday Elisabeth Sladen passed away, succumbing to cancer at the too-young age of 63. Few people even knew she had cancer, as she always seemed so lively. We lost a talented actress and a wonderful person, but she left behind an unforgettable character and thousands of people who loved her.
posted by Legomancer at 10:33 AM on April 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


BBC announces "My Sarah Jane: A Tribute to Elisabeth Sladen" , a 15 minute program celebrating Elisabeth Sladen, to be shown on CBBC on Saturday immediately after the end of The Impossible Astronaut.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:03 PM on April 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Doctor Who Magazine have also reported that there will be a dedication to the actress at the start of Saturday's episode, The Impossible Astronaut." -- which pretty much guarantees I'll need to pause the episode to dry the tears before watching the rest.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:50 PM on April 20, 2011


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posted by shesdeadimalive at 1:05 PM on April 20, 2011


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posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2011


Oh, no. She and the Brig were my favourite two companions in the history of Ever, and now in a few months they're both gone, and she so young. This is just the worst year for Classic Who fans.

I was going to go as Sarah Jane for Halloween this year to the boyfriend's Fourth Doctor, but couldn't get it together and went as Vampire Willow instead. Now I regret it. It's even worse because Sarah Jane's character was still so alive in the world of Who.

Sigh. Do us a favour, Tom and everyone else, and stay healthy for a good long while?

.
posted by ilana at 1:54 PM on April 20, 2011


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posted by wiskunde at 3:22 PM on April 20, 2011


I'll let the Third Doctor's final words speak for me.

A tear, Sarah Jane? No, don't cry. While there's life, there's...
posted by JDC8 at 12:30 AM on April 21, 2011


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