Wednesday, April 20, 2011
RIP Elisabeth Sladen 1 February 1948 – 19 April 2011
My heart dropped yesterday when I learned of the passing of actress Elisabeth Sladen, aka "Sarah Jane Smith" of Doctor Who fame. She was 63.
Sarah Jane was an extraordinarily popular character in the Doctor Who universe, and yes, of course, she is my favorite of the Doctor's many companions. To the preteen boy who had such a serious crush on her, she was much more too.
I found her beautiful and sexy, intelligent and adventurous. Perhaps more importantly - for the first time in my life I appreciated an intelligent woman determined to forge her own place in the world. Compare Sarah Jane to the shallow, deferential characters who, university degrees or military rank be damned, would melt into a sniveling mess of Victorian womanhood at the first sight of trouble. She would have none of that, and that wee bit of '70's feminism that snuck into her characterization did me a world of good.
And in those childhood daydreams of a life spent traveling the globe, getting in bar fights in Singapore and stopping the Russians from invading the West, I must admit it didn't hurt to imagine a woman like Sarah Jane at my side . . .
When she rejoined the cast of Doctor Who in mid '00's I was overjoyed - and found her no less attractive as she approached sixty.
RIP Elisabeth. You will be missed.