Book - Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography

elisabeth sladen

One of classic Doctor Who's biggest fans, Kneel Downe, read the autobiography of one of Doctor Who's best companions, Elisabeth Sladen...

I remember well the pain and heartache I felt as Jo Grant said her goodbyes to the Doctor at the end of that maggot infested tale. I swore to myself that no one, ever, could replace my favourite of companions and that whoever came next was going to be in for one hell of a rocky ride! By the second episode of the Time Warrior I was experiencing a thaw: by the time of episode one of Death to the Daleks my tiny heart was lost to this bravest of the brave. Sarah Jane Smith, we loved you. We missed you, oh how we missed you and I’m sure I’m not alone at shedding a tear at ‘that Tardis scene’ in School reunion. Be warned, this is not a Sarah Jane Smith handbook.

This is the story of a talented and driven young actress whose early stage roles obviously delighted and excited her. Her eventual role in our favourite TV programme quite properly forms the backbone of this book and the memories and attention to detail help paint a poignant and often very amusing picture of those halcyon days. There is a distance implied between her and Pertwee and a deep, warm affection for the larger than life Tom Baker.

There are many anecdotes to chew over and a delightful candour about the merits, or lack of , of some of our favourite episodes. By the 80’s Liz had semi retired and the insight into her decision to become more of a housewife and mother remind us that her untimely death robbed us not only of a screen icon but also a family of someone precious and unique. Her eventual return to our screens was seen as a bonus and unexpected joy and we can only hope that by the end she had truly understood just how special and treasured she was to not just one generation of fans but to many. When I was but a young thing I would, once a month, write my bestest, most favourite of companions a fan letter…I never went without a reply. This, I think, says as much about Elisabeth Sladen as anything or anyone ever could. I loved those letters and I loved this book. Maybe they should now share the same drawer…

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