Elisabeth Sladen

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Name: Elisabeth Sladen
Also Known As: Lis Sladen
Occupation: Actor
Medium: Television
Works: Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures
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Elisabeth "Lis" Sladen was an English actress best known for her portrayal of fan-favourite Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith. She joined the show in 1973 for Jon Pertwee's last season as the Third Doctor following the departure of Katy Manning as Jo Grant and remained with the show for the first two years of Fourth Doctor Tom Baker's six seasons.

Born in Liverpool, England, she got her start at the Liverpool Playhouse, portraying a corpse, and was subsequently scolded for giggling onstage as one of her fellow actors, Brian Miller, who played a doctor, whispered "Respiration nil, Aston Villa two" in her ear. Incidentally, she married that same Brian Miller four years later and had a daughter with him, Sadie. [1]

Lis immediately captured fans' hearts as the fiery investigative reporter; when she left the show in 1976 her departure made headline news, a first for any companion. To this day, when asked who is the ultimate, archetypal companion, Sarah Jane's name is the first out of most fans' mouths, and Katy Manning called her "the quintessential Doctor Who girl." [2]

Although she stayed out of the limelight for many years, she did take part in several Big Finish audio series, portraying Sarah Jane.

She returned to the show decades later during David Tennant's first season in the episode "School Reunion" and was such a success she gained her own spinoff show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, which ran for four twelve-episode seasons with the last six episodes still to air.

She appears, usually as a side character, in some Doctor Who RPF, although she has been featured as a main character in some works, usually produced from challenges.

Lis Sladen died on 19 April 2011, breaking the hearts of millions worldwide. She remains, to this day, one of the most beloved actresses in British television history, leaving a legacy of one of the most enduring characters television has ever known.

References

  1. from an interview with Richard Landen, 1989
  2. from the CBBC tribute "My Sarah Jane: A Tribute to Elisabeth Sladen", aired April 2011