Well, I guess everyone's heard by now - and it's been confirmed by official sources - that Elisabeth Sladen has passed away.
The first time I saw Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith was in "School Reunion" during Series 2 of "Doctor Who." Like I said about the Fifth Doctor appearing in "Time Crash," I knew this was a special moment in spite of the fact that I hadn't seen any of the Classic series at that point. I saw how special Sarah Jane was to the Doctor - indeed, how special she was to all Doctor Who fans (as I am writing this, "Elisabeth Sladen" and "Sarah Jane" are both trending worldwide on Twitter). When Sarah Jane appeared in "The Stolen Earth," I was so thrilled because I'd enjoyed her in "School Reunion" and I wanted to find stories that featured her from Classic Who - and that turned into watching some of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" as well. I also listened to some BBC radio documentaries about the start of new Doctor Who where she had provided narration. She just always seemed like a very personable and kind lady - happy to be part of this beloved franchise and very receptive to the fans. I also loved that she would take on the role again in a spin-off show meant for kids all these years later. Sarah Jane's such a wonderful role model and that's due in no small part to Elisabeth Sladen's talent.
I haven't been watching "Doctor Who" or involved in the fandom as long as most people, but Elisabeth Sladen made a great impression on me and I'm going to miss her terribly. I can only imagine how people who grew up watching her are feeling right now - if it's anything like what I'm feeling right now. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.
Goodbye - my Sarah Jane.