RIP Elisabeth Sladen

I don’t normally make much of a fuss about actors dying, even prominent ones from shows I enjoy. However, this one came as a shock, and not just to me.

Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who portrayed Sarah Jane Smith on the hit series Doctor Who, has died at age 63. Sarah Jane is, perhaps, the most recognizable companion from the original run of Doctor Who, having appeared alongside the Third and Fourth Doctors and reprising her role in The Five Doctors. She also reprised her role in the 2005 revival alongside the Tenth Doctor and gained a successful spinoff show which was filming a fifth season when she died.

I think, perhaps, Tom Baker’s remarks put it best: ”

I don’t normally make much of a fuss about actors dying, even prominent ones from shows I enjoy. However, this one came as a shock, and not just to me.Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who portrayed Sarah Jane Smith on the hit series Doctor Who, has died at age 63. Sarah Jane is probably the most popular companion from the original run of Doctor Who.

Sladen appeared opposite Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, and David Tenant (the Third, Fourth, and Tenth Doctors respectively) on Doctor Who itself. She also had a mildly successful pilot for a show called “K-9 and Company” which was not picked up. Then, in 2008, she took on the starring role in The Sarah Jane Adventures, the fifth season of which was filming when she passed on.

It remains to be seen what happens with The Sarah Jane Adventures. Actor existence failure is hard enough to deal with for a non-title character but what do you do when the title character dies? This is the Doctor Who universe so this need not be immediately fatal; it’s theoretically possible to explain an actor change for a character in multiple ways. But it is not clear whether this should happen at all, however.

I think, perhaps, Tom Baker’s remarks put it best: “Sarah Jane dead? ┬áNo, impossible! ┬áImpossible.”

Elisabeth Sladen, Sarah Jane Smith, we will miss you.

 

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