Perhaps the most popular and enduring of Doctor Who’s companions was Sarah Jane Smith, who first showed up with the Third Doctor in 1973, but who was best known for her adventures with the floppy-hatted, long-scarf-wearing Fourth Doctor through about 1977. Gamely played by Elisabeth Sladen, Smith was sort of the viewer’s proxy in riding along with the Doctor’s various adventures — attractive, sure, but not the almost pure cheesecake of some later companions (cough Leela cough, not that I minded at the time).
She even resurfaced in the recent revival, appearing opposite Tenth Doctor David Tennant a few times as an older, wiser Sarah Jane. So loved was she by the Doctor Who faithful that she got her own show for a few years, even.
Sadly, though, Elisabeth Sladen died today, of cancer. She was 63.