I just heard the news and I'm shocked. It's unbelievable how saddened I am to hear of the passing of someone I've never met. I didn't even know she was sick, and I'm not alone. Even her former co-star, Tom Baker, claims he was taken completely by surprise.
Crazy. Utterly crazy. 63? Really?
Yes, this is a forum for mostly RPG-type stuff, but I couldn't let my little corner of cyberspace go without some sort of tribute to the amazing actress who portrayed Sarah Jane Smith...
I know Doctor Who has the reputation for being a children's show. Or maybe it's derided for being "just genre stuff" or (in the 60s through 80s) cheaply-made. But when it was good, it was great. And I mean great television, period. Above-and-beyond any other consideration.
And there was no better era of Doctor Who than the one which featured Lis Sladen. Sarah Jane was my favorite companion and she traveled with my favorite doctor. She, Tom Baker, producer Phillip Hinchcliff, and script editor Robert Holmes put together the most amazing era of Doctor Who ever, and I still get great enjoyment watching the episodes those four (and others, of course) put together.
I'm not alone, of course. The most recent testament to her popularity among Doctor Who fans is that she above all other classic companions was chosen to return for the new series. She was also picked to star in one aborted spin off and one successful one. She was chosen to return for the 1983 Five Doctor special. It seems every time Doctor Who looked to its past for a popular companion, Lis Sladen was the obvious choice.
And now she's gone. The world no longer has Sarah Jane in it. I still can't believe it.
PS: While reading the copious testaments to Lis Sladen, I learned that Nicholas Courtney, aka the Brigadier, also died a couple months back. It seems it's been a bad year for fans of the classic Doctor Who era, and we're not even half through it yet. R.I.P Nick Courtney.