I would say there are two essentially things that I’ve loved for as long as I can remember; Star Wars and Doctor Who. My brother introduced me to Doctor Who, and while he liked it, I loved it. Countless Saturday afternoons were spent laying on the living room floor with the television tuned to WITF-TV (the PBS channel in central Pennsylvania). The Doctor and his companions were like friends to me; but none more so than Sarah Jane Smith.
Sarah Jane spent time with two Doctors, and in that time she became the definitive companion. In an era where female companions primary role was to scream, look confused and ask the Doctor to explain things, Sarah Jane was much more. She was a journalist, and while she still needed the Doctor to explain some things to her, she was independent and able to act independently (often resulting in improved plot lines). She set the mold for companions to come. Amy Pond wouldn’t be Amy Pond without Sarah Jane Smith.
When news broke that Elisabeth Sladen would be reprising her role as Sarah Jane Smith in “School Reunion”, I was thrilled – she was the perfect companion to revisit. Fortunately, the character still worked and in addition to visiting Doctor Who again, she got her own series (again). ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ is a solid show on its own accord and is thoroughly entertaining despite it being a “children’s program”.
At work today, twitter broke the news to me that Elisabeth Sladen had passed away. I found myself surprised by how sad I was (and still am). May you rest in peace Ms. Sladen and thank you for those Saturday afternoons.