I’m not a Doctor Who fan. Maybe I was too young for old Who and not in the right place for Nu Who. Maybe I missed the Nu Who boat and the huge fan movement turned me away. Maybe the Science Fiction stars just didn’t smile on me and Who. More likely, it’s just one of those things; as a show, I’m just not that into it.
I’m nont a Doctor Who fan; I’ve never seen an episode with Sarah Jane in it and I’ve never watched an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, nevertheless, hearing of the death of Elisabeth Sladen today was still a blow for me. Because Sarah Jane was just one of those characters – and SJA one of those shows – that made me happy just to exist. Sarah Jane, I was reliably informed by my peeps, was a no-nonsense, smart, capable female character who didn’t take any crap and provided a great role model for many young women (including my very favourite nearly-eight year old over in Yorkshire). Sladen was the headliner in the Very First Panto I ever took Bing to see a few years back, and I’m glad she did – I didn’t know her at all, but I would have liked her.
Really, this is just an excuse to link these posts:
Firstly, Jennie: Thank You, Elisabeth Sladen
Here was a TV show in which the protagonist was a middle-aged single woman, saving the world over and over with the assistance of a bunch of misfit and multi-ethnic kids. And she was good. And Holly adored her – enough to demand having her hair cut the same way. This was Lis Sladen doing for my daughter’s generation what she’d done for kids thirty years before: showing them that actually, girls CAN save the world, and save their loved ones, and treasure their lives, and they don’t just have to sit in a corner and scream and wait for a man to save them.
And then Neo, in what may be the best or worst timed installments in his Ladies First series: Sarah Jane Smith
A world class actress, I’m always amazed at how she carries the role with feminine grace. And while she’s been in the business for many years, Sladen is one of those gems who doesn’t get older but simply gets better. More than that, with all of the decades that have passed, despite the roles the character has become: reporter, member of UNIT, adventurer, adoptive mother (to boy genius and my future husband Luke Smith), Sladen still effectively showcases Sarah Jane Smith as this wide-eyed ingenue and I believe that’s what makes her very relatable to children.
(Past tense due to this post being a few days old)
I hope someone does for my niece’s childhood what she did for so many others.
This post can also be found at Thagomizer.net. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.