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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 498 > The DAUGHTER of SARAH JANE SMITH

The DAUGHTER of SARAH JANE SMITH

Sadie Miller has written a new book about some old friends. She chats to DWM about Moon Blink, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, and her mother – actress Elisabeth Sladen.

Can it really be five years since we learned the terrible news that Elisabeth Sladen had died? Lis was, after all, something special. As plucky companion Sarah Jane Smith she appeared in 85 episodes of Doctor Who on TV between 1973 and 2010, and 53 episodes of her own series, The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-11), six episodes of Sarah Jane’s Alien Files (2010), as well as K9 and Company (1981), Dimensions in Time (1993), the straight-tovideo release Downtime (1995) and various audio productions. Millions of viewers took her character to their hearts – as clearly demonstrated by the public response to Sladen’s death. Some 30,000 people left messages of condolence on the CBBC website.

“Oh, that was absolutely phenomenal,” recalls Elisabeth’s daughter, Sadie Miller, today. “It was just so unexpected. Mum would have been very surprised – and very touched as well. We had no idea that there would be such an outpouring of grief.”

Perhaps part of the impact was due to the fact that the public had no idea that Lis was suffering from cancer. Was she particularly guarded about her private life? “Yes, definitely,” says Sadie. “And it’s important to keep your work and life separate.” She considers for a moment. “But she was also private because it was important for people to enjoy her as Sarah Jane, and that they weren’t bogged down in other stuff. I mean, you read so much about celebrities and stars, and who is doing this, that and the other that is spoils the illusion of the character they play. Mum always wanted to keep the integrity of the show and her character at the forefront. Her decision not to tell people was all part of that. She didn’t want a lot of this stuff played out as part of the narrative that she chose for herself.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: David Tennant and Catherine Tate talk about their new audio adventures as the Doctor and Donna; Steven Moffat on groundbreaking stories; a tribute to Robert Banks Stewart; in an exclusive interview, John Leeson talks about being the voice of K9 ; Sadie Miller remembers her mum, Elisabeth Sladen; The Time Team watch The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone; comic strip – Witch Hunt part 2, written by Jacqueline Rayner and illustrated by Martin Geraghty; Fact of Fiction studies the Fifth Doctor adventure Four to Doomsday; Missing in Action – a look back at The Evil of the Daleks; plus news, reviews, previews, competitions, a prize-winning crossword and the Wotcha column.
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