'In Memoriam': This Was 'Doctor Who's' Elisabeth Sladen

Doctor Who Elisabeth Sladen
February 1, 2021 - 14:14 / Rachel Johnson

Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen was an important member of the cast. Appearing regularly from 1973 to 1976, and then making a number of appearances in later episodes, Elisabeth was a beloved member of the show. Join us in taking a look back at Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen's career in memoriam.  

Doctor Who's Elisabeth Sladen was born February 1, 1946 in Liverpool, England. Sladen's stage career would start in the late 1960s in smaller performances eventually leading up to bigger roles. Sladen's earliest roles include: 

  • a maid in Twelfth Night
  • a corpse in The Physicists
  • "Desdemona" in Othello
  • and as "Anita Reynolds" in long-standing soap opera, Coronation Street

After moving to London with her husband, actor Brian Miller, Elisabeth would land a guest spot on the series Z-Spot, which would lead to the most well-known role of her career. 

Doctor Who Elisabeth Sladen

Elisabeth Sladen and Tom Baker Doctor Who 1971

Doctor Who would bring Elisabeth Sladen onboard in 1973 after Katy Manning, the actress playing the "Third Doctor's" assistant, left the show. Ron Craddock, the producer of Z-Cars, would give Sladen a glowing referral for the part. 

Sladen would stay on the show for three and a half seasons, playing assistant "Sarah Jane" to both the "Third Doctor" (Jon Pertwee) and the "Fourth Doctor" (Tom Baker). Sladen has also made a number of appearances in later seasons of the series appearing alongside the "Tenth Doctor" played by David Tennant

Elisabeth Sladen's Legacy

Elisabeth Sladen and David Tennant Doctor Who 

Elisabeth Sladen's legacy continues to live on through the show as well as through the Doctor Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures. In April of 2011, the world lost a legend. Only 65 at the time of her passing, Sladen's death came as a shock to all. 

The talented actress was diagnosed with cancer in February of 2011 and would pass away just two months later. Following her death, the first episode of Doctor Who would air dedicated to Elisabeth Sladen's memory followed by a special TV program honoring the late actress.