Thus it was with the greatest shock that I learnt last night of the passing of Elisabeth Sladen, better known to all Doctor Who fans as Sarah Jane Smith, companion to the Jon Pertwee Doctor, the Tom Baker Doctor and more recently having reappeared with the David Tennant Doctor.
Sarah Jane was there when I very first started watching the show, returned for the Five Doctors 25th Anniversary special, and had her own spin off in the Eighties with the (admittedly not great) K9 And Company. After her reappearance during David Tenant’s tenure went so well, Russel T Davies launched her own series for Children’s BBC – the Sarah Jane Adventures.
This was a golden period for Doctor Who, with an entire family of shows, Sarah Jane for the kids, Doctor Who itself for the family and Torchwood for the adults, one that has now been cut tragically short. Four seasons of Sarah Jane, and that’s it.
Russell said he wanted an entire new generation to love Sarah Jane just as we all did as kids (and still do). Four seasons for a Children’s BBC series is not bad, and with last night’s tragic news it is a comfort to know he succeeded.
So I started searching for Sarah Jane appearances in the recent IDW series, and to be honest, I came up short. She appearances in one dream sequence for two pages in last years Annual (cool picture though), and she was impersonated by another individual in The Forgotten. That’s it.
Now, I don’t know if a Sarah Jane Adventures title could stand on its own, although I would dearly hope so. Yet for the most iconic companion of them all, (yes, even more than Rose,) there is no reason why she does not have say, an eight page back up strip in every single Doctor Who mini, or in the main series? Come on IDW, you owe it to her memory, and to her fans, we’re the ones that buy your magazines in the first place.
I never had the pleasure of meeting or knowing Elisabeth Sladen, but every report of her even before her passing was of the most graceful, gentle and welcoming lady. We all know how rumours abound around the convention circuit, such as the infamous ‘Get A Life’ comment at a Star Trek convention all those years ago; and never have I heard one bad word said about Elisabeth Sladen, who carried the torch for Doctor Who even when others had lost faith, through straight-to-video productions, Big Finish Audios and other projects.
Though I never knew her, the tragic news struck deep, I felt my heart break a little. I cannot imagine the loss felt by those who actually knew her. We at Forever Geek would like to offer our condolences to her many friends and family.
IDW? You heard me. Now do her memory proud.