How it could have been: nearly 40 years later, the secret of who was originally cast as Doctor Who’s Sarah Jane Smith has been revealed. It was April Walker, best known for myriad guest roles in Fawlty Towers, The Two Ronnies and Yes, Minister.
Pictured above left is Jon Pertwee in the 1973 story The Time Warrior, which introduced Sarah Jane Smith. Then, above right, is April Walker in a Two Ronnies sketch, The Attractive Barmaid, from the same year.
Doctor Who producer Barry Letts cast Walker when Katy Manning left the role of Jo Grant, the Doctor’s previous companion, and she worked in rehearsals for The Time Warrior. But allegedly the pairing of Pertwee’s Doctor and Walker’s Sarah Jane didn’t work: she was a tall and more obviously strong character, along the lines of Pertwee’s first companion, Liz Shaw (Caroline John).
It’s believed that Pertwee was unhappy with the decision but it would ultimately have been Letts who recast the role. Walker was reportedly paid for both The Time Warrior and the rest of that series.
Three/Sarah Jane post. Nothing out of the ordinary for me. :) (I edited all of them, btw.)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
The Ones that Love Us
Never Really Leave Usthebananaqueen:
A tribute to the Companions of Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh (with an exception of Wilfrid Mott because I had no more space, I do apologize, darlings)
I was going to try to come up with something Christmassy, but then I realized that there’s a whole episode dedicated to Sarah Jane dressed up as a candy cane, so no need. And look, here she’s even opening a present! An evil and radioactive present, but nonetheless!
Docotr Who Christmas
My Sarah Jane.
The role of the Doctor’s companion has always been a tough balancing act. For the producers of the show, they need a human who can be confused by the alien concepts, so that the Doctor can explain what’s going on. They’ll also need to be someone with the nerve to tackle grotesque creatures as if they were no more troubling than a spider in a bathtub, but also scream and look scared so that the special effects don’t look silly.
Ideally there’ll be some chemistry which is like flirting, but not actually flirting. A kind of bickering overfamiliarity where no one ever has to fully admit to their feelings for anyone, but each is utterly loyal to the other. The lonely Doctor is fascinated by his new chum, and his new chum is bowled over by the things her Time Lord pal can show her.
Sarah Jane Smith – played by Elisabeth Sladen – managed all of these things, while looking hot in Andy Pandy dungarees. She is, therefore, the standard against which all other companions are measured…
read the rest at Anglophenia
- Why was Elisabeth Sladen’s name spelt with an “S”? Whenever asked, her mother would explain, “the ‘S’ is for ‘star’”.
- Two inspirations for Sarah Jane’s character were a young cousin of Sladen’s with “an indomitable attitude” and Who producer Barry Letts (for his “honesty and straightforwardness”).
- The second time she met Jon Pertwee (who was still distraught about Katy “Jo Grant” Manning leaving) was in a hotel bar. He accidentally said, “What would you like to drink, Katy?”… then burst into tears!
- Lis and Tom watched “The Android Invasion” episode three in a complete stranger’s living room, after Tom just knocked on the door and asked if they could come in.
- Lis was so appalled by her farewell scene in “The Hand Of Fear” (as originally scripted) that she scrawled obscenities all over the script! She later gave the script to Russell T Davies, as a farewell gift when he left Doctor Who.
- One of her leaving gifts was a key to the TARDIS. Years later, she passed it on to David Tennant when he left the show.
It’s a great list. Click the link for the rest. (thx, Anglophenia!)
The new, 100-page issue of Doctor Who Magazine is out and celebrates the life of Elisabeth Sladen, who died earlier this year. Among those tributes from friends, family and colleagues are my interviews with Doctors Tom Baker, David Tennant, and Matt Smith.
Click through for exclusive audio clips from those interviews.
Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith in K9 and Company