Doctor Who Season Premiere To Acknowledge Passing of Series Alum Elisabeth Sladen

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BBC America’s Doctor Who this weekend  will remember beloved franchise alumna Elisabeth Sladen, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 63, following a long fight with cancer.

A spokesperson for BBC America tells TVLine that Sladen’s passing will be acknowledged during Doctor Who ‘s Season 6 premiere, airing this Saturday at 9/8c.

Sladen portrayed Sarah Jane Smith — perhaps the most iconic of the many Doctors’ companions — from 1973-76, opposite Jon Pertwee and then Tom Baker. After reprising her role for the series’ 20th anniversary special and a 2006 Doctor Who episode fronted by David Tennant, the Liverpool-born actress went on to headline The Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin-off that ran for four seasons on the children’s channel CBBC. There, in an October 2010 two-parter, she got to working alongside Matt Smith aka the Eleventh and current Doctor.

Production on Season 5 of The Sarah Jane Adventures began earlier this year but was suspended due to Sladen’s illness.

CBBC controller Damian Kavanagh says in a statement that he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the news of Slader’s passing, adding, “Lis brought joy, excitement and a sense of wonder to her many fans…. She was adored by our young audience and I know all of them will miss her as much as I will.”

Russell T Davies, who rebooted Doctor Who in 2005 and created The Sarah Jane Adventures, remembers Sladen as “funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful. The universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith, the world was lucky to have Lis.” (Davies can be heard further remembering Sladen at this BBC News site.)

Many more fond remembrances from cast mates, writers and producers can be found here.

Comments (17)

  • My thoughts are with her family right now.
    I didn’t know who she was until the 2000s reboot of the series, but I found her to be very enjoyable. She will surely be missed.

    Comment by Allison P – April 20, 2011 12:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Tom Baker, Lis was companion to Baker, pays tribute and remembers Lis.

    So young, so sad :(

    Comment by Bernice – April 20, 2011 12:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wow, thank you for sharing that. What a great tribute.

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – April 20, 2011 12:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You are very welcome :)

        Comment by Bernice – April 21, 2011 11:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great to see that she’s still remembered in that side of the pond.

    She was a great actress, a magnificent companion and an extraordinary Human Being.

    Comment by Eli – April 20, 2011 12:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, David Tennant and others all shared their thoughts & paid tribute to Lis.

    Comment by Ceecile – April 20, 2011 12:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thank you for acknowledging Doctor Who and Elisabeth Sladen’s passing on this site. Such sudden and sad news. Thoughts are with her family.

    Comment by Dreama – April 20, 2011 12:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She was my first companion, and she will be missed dearly.

    Comment by Kelvington – April 20, 2011 12:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is very surprising and a major bummer! I hadn’t even known she was sick. She appeared so youthful and full of life on the Sarah Jane Chronicles. She had aged very well and I thought she would be with us for many years to come. I am a longtime Doctor Who fan and have enjoyed Sladen in classic Doctor Who from the ’70s, as well as her more recent appearances on the show and in her spinoff, and I find it hard to believe that she’s gone. R.I.P. Elisabeth Sladen.

    Comment by Roxie – April 20, 2011 12:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was so shocked to hear the news, I just cried. I’d grown up with Dr who and Lis was such a big part of that along with Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney. Lis was so vibrant and young for her age and it was such a joy to see her again on The Sarah Jane Adventures. I shall miss her greatly, as will all Dr who fans.
      My heart goes out to all her family, especially her daughter Sadie. RIP Lis. x

      Comment by Angie – April 20, 2011 03:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When I heard the news of Lis Sladen’s passing yesterday, I was stunned. As Sarah Jane Smith, she was the template for all of the plucky intrepid companions that followed. I’m so glad that BBCA will acknowledge her passing. I like to think that she, The Brig, and the Third Doctor, are out there traveling together in the TARDIS.

    Comment by Znachki – April 20, 2011 01:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She was my first companion as a kid watching this strange show on PBS. My love of sci-fi began there during her travels with the Doctor.

    Thanks for the news. Will be watching this Saturday and thinking of the lovely Sarah Jane.

    Comment by Anna – April 20, 2011 05:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Goodbye Sarah Jane smith we’ll all miss you

    Comment by Mr.Anderson – April 20, 2011 08:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hope she knew, before she left us, how truly loved she was. Doctor Who became a cult hit in America for two reasons- Tom Baker and Lis Sladen.

    Comment by David – April 20, 2011 08:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Kudos to Steven Moffat for doing this even though the cut of the premiere episode of the new season of Doctor Who was ready months ago. A very classy thing to do from a very classy show.

    Comment by Dave – April 21, 2011 12:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m glad to know that BBCA will be doing this. Lis Sladen created an iconic role on the small screen that covered parts of five decades (70s to the 10s) and was as memorable in the beginning as she was during the “Death of the Doctor” episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

    And yes, she was my first of the companions as I saw her and the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, on WETA when I lived in DC for a few years, and at that time many local PBS stations ran DW on about a year’s delay from the BBC broadcasts. Sarah Jane Smith (and Lis) were the strongest connection of Classic and New Who; Lis will be missed.

    Comment by theschnauzers – April 21, 2011 06:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really hope everyone will see this comment. I am 12 years old and I love the Sarah Jane adventures. I just found out that Elisabeth died and I am so upset. She is my favorite actress. She was just so brilliant and she touched so many peoples hearts. I just hope that she knows how much she means to us.

    Comment by Daniel – May 25, 2013 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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