Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Farewell, Sarah Jane.

Last week, on April 19th, Elisabeth Sladen passed away after a quiet battle with cancer. The news came as a complete shock to me, delivered by phone while I was at The Ontario Science Centre with friends, for whom it was also quite a blow. Fittingly, we were standing in an exhibit on disasters. That evening we attended a fundraiser for WhoParty 15 and toasted her memory.

I’ve been putting off writing this post. I’m not quite sure what to say – when Nicholas Courtney passed away in February, I had no problem writing about him. But what can I possibly say about Lis Sladen?

As Sarah Jane Smith, she showed me what I could be when I grew up – a strong, intelligent, independent, vital woman. She was, and still is, my favourite Dr Who companion.

When I was small, my brothers and I watched Dr Who on TVO. When she first appeared in The Time Warrior, I had only seen a year or two of Dr Who, with Jo Grant as a companion, so she came as quite a surprise – what do you mean, the companion doesn’t have to scream at every little thing (I hadn’t yet seen the previous companions)? Here was a woman who could stand her ground, who could ask the questions we all wanted to ask without appearing ignorant. I was never disappointed in her, and was overjoyed with her return in 2006, just as bright and curious as ever.

You showed us all how to do it. Farewell, Sarah Jane.


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