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Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered

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2008-11-28 Chicago Sun-Times.jpg

  • Publication: Chicago Sun-Times
  • Date: 2008-11-28
  • Author: John Grochowski
  • Page: Weekend, p. 24
  • Language: English
  • Notes: A transcript of the full interview is here

Elisabeth Sladen had a good long ride through time and space as a reporter and Doctor's assistant Sarah Jane Smith in the mid-19705 in the BBC's long-running science fiction favorite Doctor Who."

Now, as the Chicago Tardis celebration of all things "Doctor Who" comes to the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, she's traveling anew with three guest appearances opposite the current Doctor, David Tennant, in the revived "Doctor Who" (10 p.m. Saturday, 1 a.m. Monday, WTTW-Channel 11; 8 p.m. Saturday, BBC America). And one of the longest-running and best-loved of the Time Lord Doctor's many traveling companions has a BBC spinoff of her own, "The Sarah Jane Adventures" Except for one television special in 1996, "Doctor Who" had been out of production since 1989 until the revival in 2005.

"It was never dead to the public," says Sladen, who will be joined on the fan convention bill by Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor in the original series, along with writers from the series, authors of "Doctor Who" novels and actors and writers from the Big Finish audio plays that helped keep the series alive in its TV dormancy. "People would buy it on video or DVD and see something that had been on before they were born. "So I would still get letters from youngsters who'd never seen the character or 'Doctor Who' as a television program, and quite a lot of the questions would be 'Where would she be now?' And (writer Toby Whithouse's story 'School Reunion') tied up so perfectly with where I thought she would be that it wasn't exactly a stretch. It was a gift."

In the 2006 story "School Reunion," Sladen as Sarah Jane explored what it meant to travel with the Doctor with then-current companion Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper, along with her unresolved feelings about being left behind by the fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) in the 1976 story "The Hand of Fear." "School Reunion" led to Sladen's return in the 2008 season-closing episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End."

In "The Sarah Jane Adventures," with second-season stories currently airing on BBC One, Sladen effectively takes on the role of the Doctor guiding her young teen assistants in a series aimed at a younger audience.

Time Lords can have many incarnations, regenerating when a body wears out or is irreversibly damaged. That has enabled Sladen to appear opposite the dapper third Doctor Jon Pertwee for a season, the charismatic, scarf-wearing 1om Baker for a season and a half. Tennant for three episodes, and with a whole crew of the same Time Lord in the 1983 special "The Five Doctors."

At the convention, she'll be onstage for interviews and discussion and have autograph and photograph sessions.

"You get exactly what they like and exactly what they don't like," she says of convention audiences. "Sometimes they'll pose questions and you'll think, 'Oh, I really didn't think of that' And how lovely for people to tell you all these things you never thought of.

"It's not an audience you have to fight foe I don't know any other audience like it How lucky am I?"

Guests include: Elisabeth Sladen, Colin Baker, Gary Russell, Paul Cornell, Jason Haigh-Ellery, Robert Shearman, Nicholas Briggs, India Fisher, Lisa Bowerman

• 10 a.m. today through Sunday

• Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, 70 Yorktown Center, Lombard

• Tickets, $95 weekend pass; $45 single-day

Caption: Elisabeth Sladen will make an appearance at this weekend's Chicago Tardis in Lombard.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: Grochowski, John (2008-11-28). Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered. Chicago Sun-Times p. Weekend, p. 24.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Grochowski, John. "Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered." Chicago Sun-Times [add city] 2008-11-28, Weekend, p. 24. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Grochowski, John. "Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered." Chicago Sun-Times, edition, sec., 2008-11-28
  • Turabian: Grochowski, John. "Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered." Chicago Sun-Times, 2008-11-28, section, Weekend, p. 24 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered | url= | work=Chicago Sun-Times | pages=Weekend, p. 24 | date=2008-11-28 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Elisabeth Sladen just what the 'Doctor' ordered | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=15 April 2024}}</ref>