Tributes paid to Elisabeth Sladen

Elisabeth SladenTributes have been flooding in for Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen who died yesterday following a battle with cancer.

The actress played Sarah Jane Smith between 1973 and 1976 starring alongside Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. The character became a firm favourite with fans and remained so across the decades long after Sladen originally left the series. Such was her popularity she was often asked to return and did so in 1981 for the special K-9 and Company and again in 1983 for the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors.

In more recent years the actress has won over a legion of new fans as a whole generation of fans enjoyed Sarah Jane Smith once more. The character returned in 2006 for the episode School Reunion and returned on several more occasions within Doctor Who. Such was Sladen’s popularity with fans that she was given her own spin-off show The Sarah Jane Adventures of which four seasons had aired up until last year.

The Doctor Who community is in shock following her death yesterday from cancer and fans and co-stars have been quick to pay tribute to the actress.

“I absolutely loved Lis. She was 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.” – Russell T Davies, creator of The Sarah Jane Adventures

“Sarah Jane Smith was everybody’s hero when I was younger, and as brave and funny and brilliant as people only ever are in stories. But many years later, when I met the real Sarah-Jane – Lis Sladen herself – she was exactly as any child ever have wanted her to be. Kind and gentle and clever; and a ferociously talented actress, of course, but in that perfectly English unassuming way.” – Steven Moffat, producer and writer of Doctor Who

”Sarah Jane dead? No, impossible! Impossible. Only last week I agreed to do six new audio adventures with her for Big Finish Productions. She can’t be dead. But she is: she died yesterday morning. Cancer. I had no idea she was ill; she was so private, never wanted any fuss, and now, gone. A terrible blow to her friends and a shattering blow for all those fans of the programme whose lives were touched every Saturday evening by her lovely heroic character, Sarah-Jane Smith. … Those sweet memories of happy days with Lis Sladen, the lovely, witty, kind and so talented Lis Sladen. I am consoled by the memories. I was there, I knew her, she was good to me and I shall always be grateful, and I shall miss her.” – Tom Baker on his official website

The news of Sladen’s death has made headlines on the national news bulletins on BBC News as well as coverage on Daybreak, Lorriane, Sky News and international broadcasters as well. The newspapers in the UK have also covered the news with many commenting on the actress enduring popularity with fans of all ages.