Elisabeth Sladen died Tuesday of cancer, at the too-young age of 63.
Sarah Jane is my favorite companion for many, many reasons, and she and Sladen together represent much of why I love Doctor Who so much.
Sladen was always so full of life and energy; in all her recent appearances, you'd never know she was in her 60s, let alone sick. Her appearance in School Reunion was so luminous she was made the star of her own action sci-fi show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, at the age of 60, which went on for four seasons and was in the midst of filming a fifth when she died. Some of that is the popularity of the character, but much of it is Sladen herself, a tremendous actress, a great presence, a great beauty, and by all accounts a wonderful woman.
Sarah is a human companion the Doctor treats as an equal... and she earns that label. She's smart, clever, useful, and above all, like the Doctor, is having loads of fun going to different times and places, getting in trouble, and fighting evil. Sladen had an incredible ability to seem scared and brave at the same time, which made Sarah vulnerable but heroic.
At the end of last year's Sarah Jane Adventures, one of her last lines was, "I could go on forever." At first, that's painful, but it's also true. This is a wondrous time we live in, and through our own magic box of Television, her adventures with the mad man with a magic box will go on forever.
Goodbye, my Sarah Jane.