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.