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Elisabeth Sladen obituary (The Washington Post)

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2011-04-22 Washington Post.jpg



Elisabeth Sladen, a star sidekick of the "Doctor Who" series and a popular children's show actress, died of cancer April 19, it was reported from London. She was 63.

Ms. Sladen, a Liverpool native, joined the BBC in 1973 as Doctor Who's assistant, Sarah Jane Smith, an investigative journalist-turned-intrepid time traveler whose onscreen energy and tongue-in-cheek delivery eventually gave her career an unlikely second act in her own spinoff series, "The Sarah Jane Adventures."

Doctor Who centers on a time-hopping alien known only as the Doctor, but Ms. Sladen turned his sidekick into a star, playing opposite Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker for 3 1/2 seasons.

She would return to the role numerous times over the years, and when the series was resurrected in 2005, she was brought back as well — as the star of her own alien-busting TV show.

Ms. Sladen was praised for playing the role with humor and warmth, but she never warmed to science fiction, telling a TV audience a couple of years ago that she found the genre too complex.

In an admission sure to shock Doctor Who's diehard fans, she said she never bothered to learn the meaning of the Tardis, the Doctor's iconic telephone box-shaped time machine (it stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space.)

"I only learned that after I left," she said, explaining that the drama in science fiction didn't come from the 'aliens or the gadgets. "It's about relationships," she said. "It's about a body of people banding together to overcome adversity."

Caption: Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen of the 1970s-era "Doctor Who." Of the drama in science fiction, Sladen said: "It's about relationships."

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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Elisabeth Sladen obituary (The Washington Post) | url= | work=The Washington Post | pages= | date=2011-04-22 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=25 September 2023 }}</ref>
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