Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Elisabeth Sladen - Happy Birthday to the 'Best Dr Who Companion' !!


who played Dr Who's 'best companion' Sarah Jane Smith

Elisabeth Sladen celebrates her birthday today and we celebrate the Liverpool-born actress who played one of the great if not greatest of Doctor Who's companions.

Elisabeth with 3rd Doctor Jon Pertwee (BBC TV)
Elisabeth initially appeared on Doctor Who in 1973 with the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee and stayed for three and a half seasons having been joined in the TARDIS by the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker.

Elisabeth made a few return guest appearances as Sarah Jane on Dr Who in the ensuing years, but finally and thankfully returned to our TV screens full-time in her own show - the Sarah Jane Adventures. Not so much a DW spin-off but a one-woman showcase.

The affection in which Elisabeth is held is best summed up by John Connors on LiveFromMars.co.uk, "There always was an appropriately timeless quality about Sarah Jane Smith that makes her easily transferable to modern telly in a way that most classic Doctor Who companions would not be. Lis Sladen's natural acting style is part of that reason and you feel that if TV had been made thirty tears ago the way it is now, Sarah would have enjoyed as satisfying a story as Rose Tyler."

Elisabeth is more down to earth when summing up her Who character, "I sometimes think, 'If I knew what made Sarah Jane so popular, I'd bottle it.' "

She was equally as matter of fact in her overview of the show that made her famous, "Doctor Who is so simple but if you mess around with it you've got nothing."

And she also knew that any partnership - whether it be on telly or in real life - depends upon chemistry, "You can appreciate the companions' talents, their looks or whatever but they have to be paired with the right Doctors."

Although Elisabeth brought a more feministic attitude to her companion's role, she was clearly in tune with what was primarily required of Sarah Jane, "I love to scream. People should scream more. They scream at a lower pitch nowadays. I should write a Thesis on screaming."

Maybe the best WHO tribute to Elisabeth / Sarah Jane (as both have become synonymous with each other) came not from one of her Doctors but from a fellow companion. Louise Jameson, who played Leela, had the following to say on the SJA show, "I have to confess to being a little bit jealous that Lis Sladen is back, but being furious that she ended up with K-9. It's my dog! But I can see why they've done it, as Sarah Jane always comes up number one in all the polls - with Leela a close second!"

Elisabeth & 11th Doctor (SJA - BBC TV)
To celebrate Elisabeth's birthday, here is a small selection of quotations and reviews about her and her most famous role ...

"The Time Warrior {1973} marked the beginning of Season Ten, along with a laundry list of 'firsts' for the series, but the story's most appealing can be summed up in three words: Sarah Jane Smith."
Kristin Munson on DVDVerdict.com (2008)

"Also of note in the Pertwee years is the introduction of the first companion who was essentially smarter than him in Sarah Jane Smith, who was eventually abandoned by the Doctor when he realised she wasn't in complete stunned awe of him but in fact humouring him so he'd shut up and do his job."
Penny Sautereau-Fife on Cracked.com (2009)

"I have a certain sympathy with the argument that these ladies have served successive Doctors as stereotyped Little Women boosting the Great Male Ego, but Sarah, in both Elisabeth Sladen's performance and the scripts she progressively earned, got a sight nearer to subverting the omnipotence than Robin ever did for Batman."
Peter Fiddick in The Guardian (1976)

"Elisabeth Sladen was the object of my first-ever boyhood crush: there is still something very sexy about the way she pronounces 'Doc-tor.' "
James Chapman, Inside the TARDIS (2006)

In The Five Doctors {1983} Elisabeth Sladen effortlessly rose above bland lines to retain her 'best companion' crown."
Tim Munro in Doctor Who Bulletin 80 (1990)

Happy Birthday Elisabeth ...the 'Best Companion!'

Elisabeth Sladen's autobiography is available from Amazon.com on June 1st

If you have any comments or tributes you would like to add to the above in celebrating Elisabeth and her career, please add them in the comments box below.

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1 comment:

  1. You will be missed, Thank you for lending your talent to the show. I loved your charicter.
    Chris Rivas California, USA