I'm not much good at eulogies and as I was born in 1978 I can't really say that Sarah Jane was my first companion, so instead of writing a heartfelt farewell to a wonderful actress I will leave that to those more qualified.
What I thought I would do instead is celebrate Lis Sladen's work and present to you a selection of my favourite Sarah Jane stories and moments from the classic series.
- The Time Warrior
Here's Sarah Jane Smith's introduction to the show (you have to forgive the Doctor in this scene, it's the 70s and he was going through a midlife crisis):
Given that the 3rd Doctor is a bit of a tit, Sarah Jane doesn't trust the Doctor or his motives for most of The Time Warrior, here's Sarah Jane quizzing him:
Robot is Tom Baker's first story but it's also the beginning of the Doctor and Sarah's close friendship. Here's Sarah being convinced via a jelly baby into travelling through time, and then sharing a joke with the Doctor at Harry Sullivan's expense:
- Pyramids of Mars
Here Sarah Jane asks the question that the cowardly amongst us have all been wanting to ask, and learns all about alternative history and the consequences of evil god like beings mucking about with time.
Rather than making Sarah more frightened, the shocking revelation makes her determined to go back and stop Sutekh.
- The Hand of Fear
Sarah Jane's final classic Doctor Who story gave Lis Sladen some great scenes (her possession is quite chilling considering it's lovely Sarah Jane and she's dressed like Andy Pandy) but it's her farewell scene that really tugs at the heartstrings. It's made all the more sad by the fact that Sarah doesn't leave willingly, she wants to keep on travelling with the Doctor and yet he dumps her off somewhere near Aberdeen so he can go back to Gallifrey. Sniff.
Despite the sad and abrupt end to her travels she holds her head up high and whistles her way off the show.
This is just a small selection of Lis Sladen's work on the show and if you haven't seen a lot of Sarah Jane Smith then I recommend you seek out and watch as much of the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane stories as you can (apart from Revenge of the Cybermen).
Rest in peace, Elisabeth Sladen.