back to article Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen dies at 63

Elisabeth Sladen has died at the age of 63, the BBC reports. The Liverpool-born actress had been "battling cancer for some time". A BBC spokesman said: "It is with much sadness that we can announce Elisabeth Sladen, the much-loved actress best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and CBBC's The Sarah Jane …


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  1. Willington

    My first crush

    I shed a few tears when I heard this news this morning. I've grown up with Sarah Jane and this is a reminder that we're all getting older. I will miss her. :,(

  2. Ooo-wait-BUT!


    Too soon babe <3

  3. Wemb
    Thumb Down

    Too awful

    I'd been lucky to meet her a couple of times, and she was a lovely, warm and generous person - it's so sad she's died.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very sad news

    I had the pleasure of meeting her a dozen years or so back, and the impish smile she gave me, like a naughty elder cousin, is one I'll never forget.

  5. Annihilator Silver badge

    School Reunion

    Am now re-watching the David Tennant episode where he meets her again in tribute :'-(

  6. Splatcat


    Not only one of my favourite actresses when I was young but became one of my childrens favourites as well, can say that of many people.

    My thought go out to the family and friends.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ... I'm a couple of years too young to remember her first time round, but my 9 year old is a Sarah Jane Adventures follower, as much as he is The Doctor. 2 fan bases, 30 years apart.

  7. UCNVoice

    She will be remembered

    I've read The Register for well over 10 years, and have never sent any feedback nor made any comment before, but I wanted to today after hearing the news.

    Like many I'm sure, I was enraptured by Ms Sladen's portrayal of Sarah Jane Smith as a boy, and I was very pleased to see her involved in the new Doctor Who. It's very sad that she died before what we now expect our time to be, and I extend my sympathies to her family. I'm glad she is imortalised in the fabric Doctor Who which has a unique place in British Culture.

    I hope the BBC dedicates the upcoming Doctor Who episode to her, and though I always have the remote control ready to turn away from the spoiler at the end, I will make an exception this time if needed.


  8. Cthonus

    A tear for Sarah Jane

    There's not many people who can resurrect a character from 30-odd years ago AND make a successful go of it.

    She follows the Brig to a better place...

  9. UCNVoice
    Thumb Up

    Glad to see something confirmed by BBC

    "Doctor Who returns on Saturday and a spokeswoman for the show said that "something suitable is being planned" as a tribute to the late actress."

    Ah good. I expected so, but I'm glad to see it confirmed. A glass++ will be raised in my house.

  10. Code Monkey


    This weekend I'll watch The Hand of Fear, raise a glass and probably shed a few tears. What a terrible shame.

    1. Chika


      Damn straight. I'll probably resurrect my VHS to watch The Ark in Space or something like that.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    A sad loss

    My kids love Sarah Jane Adventures and I will always fondly remember her alongside Tom Baker. Fair winds Liz - may the other dimensions be as interesting as you made this one.

  12. TRT Silver badge

    My first crush too.

    I had the good fortune to meet her at the BBC when I was 7. I hope I never forget that day.

    You are missed.

  13. Graham Marsden

    A lovely cartoon tribute from Dork Tower...

    1. Willington


      just made me cry again.

  14. Andrew Moore


    First the Brigadier and now Sarah Jane. My nine year old daughter was in floods of tears when she heard the news this morning- I must admit to tearing up a little myself.

  15. Ally J

    Matured beautifully

    I preferred her later work - better script writers gave the character better lines and more depth - but she must have made an impression if she was the companion brought back. I never knew the real person, but mates who're Doctor Who fanboys have always said she was a genuinely likeable actress.

    To be honest, I was too young to develop a proper crush on her when she first appeared, but when she came back I thought she was beautiful.

  16. Tom 13

    I wish you a happy Landing on the other side Ms Sladen.

    You will be missed on this one.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    What people may not realise is that she was very nearly bought back right at the end of the 4th Doctor era to smooth the transition between Tom Baker and Peter Davison. However she didn't want to return full time and instead shot the pilot for the spin-off K9 and Company instead. K9 and Company didn't get picked up due to a change of controllers at BBC1

  18. NogginTheNog

    As all the above really

    I was slightly too young to know SJS well from her original Who days, though caught up later on video and DVD, and she was always a favourite. Then her totally appropriate and cleverly done return with the 9th Doctor made her a new legion of fans (my kids are glued to the Sarah Jane Adventures), and added massively to the legend of the show.

    Ironically I got K9 and Company from LoveFilm only yesterday. I think we'll now have to have an Elisabeth Sladen tribute night in our house this weekend.

    RIP, and thanks.

    P.S. Does anyone else grin at the information that she was from Liverpool?? Goes to show what RADA can do - you'd never tell from her voice would you..?!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      K9 & Company

      Be warned. K9 and company is terrible. Truly truly terrible.

      You'll be wanting to poke your eyes out with sticks by the end.

      1. Chika


        Never been too sure which was worse; K9 & Company or that US version of Doctor Who produced at the turn of the century.

        I suspect it's the latter...

    2. Demosthenese

      It is going to surprise you...

      that Tom Baker was born in Liverpool too.

  19. Peter Simpson 1

    Sarah Jane and K-9

    The kids loved her, I admired her for standing up to the Doctor, and we will all miss her terribly...

    A great loss, but we were so lucky to have had the chance to enjoy her work.

  20. h4rm0ny

    Unexpected and sad loss.

    She was great, both back then and in the modern era. I had no idea she was ill. She looked remarkably good in her recent works. Best wishes to her family. She gave us all something, even those of us who'd never met her.

    Raised in her honour.

  21. Winkypop Silver badge

    A very sad loss

    She was my fave "assistant"

  22. Eponymous Cowherd

    A great loss

    and way too soon.

  23. PrivateCitizen

    Sniff, Sniff

    Like, it seems, many here she was one of my first crushes.

    This news has pretty much brought me to tears today.


  24. BorkedAgain

    What Willington said...

    She was my first crush too. Terribly sad news, and too early.

    Thanks Elizabeth, and goodbye.

  25. John O'Grady

    Aw crap...

    Sarah Jane Smith was my first companion to my first Doctor (Tom Baker) when I caught an episode of Dr Who by complete chance when I was somewhere around 12 years old. I became a fan instantly. She was the first companion to not scream and hide behind the Doctor every time things got a little scary. As I watched for the first time (Ark in Space), I saw the Doctor ridicule Sarah Jane while she was stuck in an air duct. When she clawed her way out of the duct spitting fire, I simultaneously had my first crush and first favorite science fiction series.

    Over here in America, we Who fans are grieving the loss as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...And in Canada.

    2. asdf


      In the USA for the most part for anyone over the age of about 30 Tom Baker is Dr. Who (vast majority of episodes when we were kids were his). Sarah Jane was also prominent and well known/liked. RIP.

  26. FreeTard

    Damn it

    My son got me into watching the Sarah Jane adventures on CBBC, and I must say I loved it.

    The kid is 11 and I'm 40... yet the wife caught me watching the show many times without the kids!

    RIP SJS, you were class.

  27. Ty Cobb

    Yank that misses her too

    Fell in love with her as a teen too when I saw her with Tom Baker on the US PBS reruns in the late 70s early 80s. Sarah, you will be missed.

  28. Combat Wombat

    Has to be quoted

    "The universe has to move forward. Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it's a world or a relationship, everything has its time. And everything ends." --Sarah Jane, School Reunion Ep

    Now if you will excuse me... someone is cutting onions..

  29. Anonymous Coward

    It must be raindrops


  30. Nordrick Framelhammer

    I was very sad to hear that she had lost her battle with cancer.

    She was one of my first crushes once I became aware of the delights of the opposite sex..

    She will be sadly missed by a lot of us Dr Who fans.

    R.I.P. Elisabeth.

  31. Gerrit Tijhof

    Go gently into that good night...

    The Netherlands weep warm tears. She had more heart than a Timelord.

  32. Grant Mitchell

    Only the god die young.

    A sad day. She will be missed.

  33. Alfred 2

    Goodbye Sarah Jane

    You brought happiness to a lot of people.

  34. Tony 34


    I am sure I am not alone in feeling that a friend I grew up with is gone.

    Thanks for all the adventures during the '70s, and the magnificent return.

    The universe will always be a better place for having had you you visit for a time.


  35. Wile E. Veteran

    Good bye, Lis

    Fair winds and following seas as you journey on into the unknown universe(s) beyond ours.

  36. David Paul Morgan

    With moist eyes...

    it's been a pleasure to read all these lovely tributes.

    I too remember SJS/ES from the Pertwee/Baker era of Dr Who.

    I always picture her in Planet of the Spiders, with a giant queen spider on her back and the little conversation she had with tommy, just after his mind was cleared byh the blue crystal.

    Also, the Sarah Jane adventures has been a little triumph! Good old-fashioned BBC childrens adventure.

    RIP Elisabeth

  37. EyeCU

    Bye Bye Sarah Jane

    The world is a poorer place without you

    Great companion for the Doctor and I have been loving the Sarah Jane adventures which I had to force my kids to watch, but they are big fans now. I hope they keep it going as the young actors have become very popular characters in their own right. I don't think it would be right to still call the Sarah Jane adventures but maybe a spin off called The Sarah Jane Legacy or something. Or bring back another companion to carry on the work, maybe Ace. I'm sure Sophie Aldred would be up for it.

  38. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Sad news indeed

    I too had quite a crush on Sarah Jane as a kid.

    A glass, for it will be raised quietly this evening.

  39. nichomach

    +1 on the crush

    She was the first assistant that I really remember watching, and I was absolutely entranced. My daughter loves the Sarah Jane Adventures, and she's going to be awfully upset.

  40. Martyn 1

    Taken too soon :-(

    I too was very sad to read this news.

    I loved the Episode where Sarah Jane came back, it brought a tear to my eye as did this news.

    Sadly missed.

  41. bazinsane


    I remember her mostly from the Tom Baker days. She made even the lamest FX seem real with her brilliant expressions. Never saw the Sarah Jane adventures, but thanks to Mr Davies for respecting her character as much as it deserved.

  42. Pahhh

    Old but cool and sexy

    It was only the other week when walked in to a re-run of the SJ adventures my son and wife were watching that I commented how good she looked for her age. But it wasnt just her looks and energy, it that was her general demeanour.

    Not only did she look good and but she had "feel good" factor. Her character had positive traits which seemed geniune in a way that you know much of that came from the actor within.

    I dont know whether she will be trully remembered for her thespian abilities, but I do think she will be remembered for someone we all geniuningly liked... and that I think goes a long way.

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