It is with much sadness that we can announce Elisabeth Sladen, the much-loved
actress best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and CBBC’s The
Sarah Jane Adventures, passed away this morning. She was 63.
Lis first appeared as Sarah Jane in Doctor Who in 1973 alongside the Third
Doctor Jon Pertwee and stayed for three and half seasons working alongside Jon
and the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. She returned to the role on numerous occasions
over the years and, in 2007, was given her own spin-off series on CBBC – The
Sarah Jane Adventures – where she would appear alongside new Doctors David
Tennant and Matt Smith.
The Sarah Jane Adventures brought Lis a whole new generation of fans who grew
up to love her alien-busting adventures. The series was hugely popular with fans
young and old and won this year’s RTS Award for best children’s drama.
Controller of CBBC Damian Kavanagh said tonight: “I’m deeply saddened and
shocked by the news of Lis’ untimely death. Lis brought joy, excitement and a
sense of wonder to her many fans in her role as Sarah Jane Smith. She was adored
by our young audience and I know all of them will miss her as much as I
The creator of The Sarah Jane Adventures Russell T Davies said: “I absolutely
loved Lis. She was funny and cheeky and clever and just simply wonderful. The
universe was lucky to have Sarah Jane Smith; the world was lucky to have
Steven Moffat, Doctor Who’s Lead Writer and Executive Producer said: “‘Never
meet your heroes’ wise people say. They weren’t thinking of Lis Sladen.
“Sarah Jane Smith was everybody’s hero when I was younger, and as brave and
funny and brilliant as people only ever are in stories. But many years later,
when I met the real Sarah Jane – Lis Sladen herself – she was exactly as any
child ever have wanted her to be. Kind and gentle and clever; and a ferociously
talented actress, of course, but in that perfectly English unassuming way.
“There are a blessed few who can carry a whole television show on their
talent and charisma – but I can’t think of one other who’s done it quite so
politely. I once showed my son Joshua an old episode of Doctor Who, in which Lis
appeared. “But that’s Sarah Jane,” he said, confused “In old Doctor
Who. From years ago. How come she always look exactly the same?” It’s
not a comfort today, of course, but children will still be saying that fifty
years from now.”
Keith Jones, Director, BBC Cymru Wales, said: “The Sarah Jane Adventures has
been one of the most successful children’s programmes on television in recent
years – and without Elisabeth Sladen it would not have happened. A brilliant
presence on screen and on set, she brought the excitement and energy of the
Doctor Who family of programmes, of which we are very proud at BBC Wales, to a
whole new generation. She will be missed by all at BBC Wales who worked with
Roger Carey, who represented Lis for many years, said. “She was not just a
client, but a dear friend. She was so positive about life and her natural energy
was intoxicating. She couldn’t believe her luck when her career was resurrected
in her own series.”
Lis had been suffering from cancer. She leaves behind a husband, actor Brian
Miller, and her daughter, Sadie.
RIP Elisabeth Sladen.