Russell T Davies has taken advantage of social distancing by returning to the world of ‘Doctor Who’, the series that he helped to relaunch in 2005, in order to honor the anniversary of the passing of Elisabeth Sladen who died on April 18, 2011, from cancer. Sladen originally portrayed perhaps the most popular ‘Doctor Who’ companion of all, Sarah Jane Smith, from 1973 until 1976, opposite Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor, and Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. She was so popular that she returned as part of the reboot series in 2005, to co-star with David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor), before being spun off to her own series, a children’s program called ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, also created by Davies and aired on CBBC. That series came to an abrupt end when Sladen passed away, but in her honor, Davies penned a fifteen-minute farewell episode, written with the approval of Sladen’s family.
He then sent the script to various co-stars from ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ and ‘Doctor Who’, who acted out their parts separately before they were edited together. The episode is tied together by narrator Jacob Dudman, who has previously voiced the Doctor himself in various audio dramas.
Among the actors featured are Katy Manning as Doctor companion Jo Jones, Sophie Aldred as Dorothy McShane (better known as Ace), and Mina Anwar, who played Rani’s mother, Gita Chandra. One by one, the characters memorialize Sarah Jane, before taking their leave, with only Sarah Jane’s three main companions remaining– Daniel Anthony as Clyde Langer, Anjli Mohindra as Rani Chandra, and Tommy Knight, as Sarah Jane’s adopted son, Luke Smith.
You can watch the memorial below:
In addition to ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, Sladen starred in companion series ‘Sarah Jane’s Alien Files’. Prior to that, in 1981, Sladen filmed the pilot ‘K-9 and Company’ which was not picked up to series. She also appeared in 1983’s ‘The Five Doctors’, and 1993’s ‘Dimensions In Time’, and recorded numerous audio adventures, including some solo adventures that did not include a Doctor.
Were you a fan of Sarah Jane Smith? How do you feel about this tribute?