We were saddened to learn that Elisabeth Sladen had died, aged 63, this evening.
The actress was said to be suffering with cancer for quite a while before her death and since the official announcement, tributes from her friends and colleagues have been pouring in.
The actress is best known for her role of Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who, a part which she played from 1973 to 1976 alongside Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.
In a statement, the BBC said: “It is with much sadness that we can announce Elisabeth Sladen, the much-loved actress best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in ‘Doctor Who’ and CBBC’s ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, passed away this morning. She was 63.”
In addition to her first run in the series in the 70s, Elisabeth made a comeback when the programme’s returned and in 2006 starred with the Tenth Doctor David Tennant, in an episode titled ‘School Reunion’.
She appeared in two-part series four finale ‘The Stolen Earth’/’Journey’s End’ and had a cameo in David’s last adventure ‘The End of Time’.
Elisabeth also played the character in four series of ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ on CBBC and appeared alongside current Doctor Matt Smith in the show’s episode ‘Death of the Doctor’.
She holds the distinct honour of appearing on screen with seven different regenerations of The Doctor – she met five different versions at once when she returned to the part in the 1983 storyline ‘The Five Doctors’ to mark the show’s twentieth anniversary.
Stephen Fry publicly offered his condolences, noting her character had been an integral part of his childhood.
He wrote on twitter: “What terribly sad news about Elisabeth Sladen – her Sarah Jane was part of my childhood. Deepest sympathy to her family.”
Elisabeth is survived by husband Brian Miller and their 26-year-old daughter Sadie Miller.