Two days ago, on April 19th, Doctor Who fans everywhere were hit with the sad news of the passing of Elisabeth Sladen.
Sladen portrayed the Doctor's companion, Sarah Jane Smith, in many episodes and indeed went on to having her own successful CBBC show, 'Sarah Jane Adventures'. Very few knew that she was unwell, including myself, so the news certainly came as quite a shock. There have been many celebrity deaths over the last few years, and while it's always a sad thing to hear, I've never been affected by any as much as I have been this one.
Even as I write this, my eyes are welling up. At various intervals throughout the day, Sladen will pop into my thoughts and I'll have to fight back the tears. Series 2 of Doctor Who means the world to me, and Sladen played very much a central part in it all. She was a gorgeous woman, with amazing talent and a warm existence.
I sit and think about the small collection of autographs I have from Sladen herself. Something of a rarity now. It doesn't feel right, not at all. I feel so blessed to have had her acknowledge my presence, if even for a second as she scribbled my name down and popped the signed photograph into the little self-addressed envelope. Whenever I look at them, a tear will be brought to my eye as I think of what a sad loss has just occurred.
Everybody who knew Sladen said that she had a kind hear; nobody has a negative word to utter about her. My thoughts are with her family, friends and fans as they try to get through this difficult time. The new series of Doctor Who begins this Saturday, and I am sure many fans will be like myself, struggling to focus on the show, only thinking of Sladen. It's a tragic loss, unexpected and unjust. I'm sure Elisabeth has her very own TARDIS in the skies, so her adventures with Sarah Jane can continue. A wonderful woman. Never, ever forgotten.