Celebrity deaths rarely actually get to me. The ones I can remember off the top of my head are Jim Henson and Johnny Carson. And now Elisabeth Sladen. In each of these cases the news hit almost as if it was someone I knew.
In each case it was because the person (or their characters) had been a significant presence in my childhood or youth. In the case of Liz Sladen / Sarah Jane, I remember discovering her and the 4th Doctor for the first time when I saw one of the episodes when I was away at a summer computer camp (I think?). If I was a teenager it must have been just barely. I remember being amazed at the new thing I had discovered and needing to watch and absorb as much as I possibly could of it. It was so different than anything else. Sarah Jane was my first Doctor Who Companion. I remember imitating the way she in particular said the word “Doctor?” as a question. And I’m pretty sure she is the first fictional character on television I ever had a crush on.
I was thrilled a few years back when she made a guest appearance on the new Doctor Who (the first of several). Then when her spinoff series Sarah Jane Adventures actually not only didn’t suck, but was actually good and fun to watch. I am so sorry there could not have been more of them made before she died.
Goodbye Sarah Jane… Goodbye Liz Sladen.