The first episode of Doctor Who I ever saw all the way through was "School Reunion."
Actually, that's not quite true. I saw at least two other episodes around that same time - "The Age of Steel" and "The Satan Pit" - and my memory is hazy enough that I might
have seen them first. Also, I didn't see "School Reunion" all the way through that first time; I turned it on just after Mickey discovers the cupboard full of frozen rats, by which time they'd finished setting up the premise of the episode, so I should have been pretty lost.
But I wasn't, and I loved it, and it made me want to watch more. I saw "School Reunion" and that same day I went on Wikipedia to get an episode guide, and then I found "Rose" on YouTube, and by the time that was over any illusion I'd had of not being a massive sci-fi geek was long gone, because I was in love.
Except that's too long a story for most people when I'm trying to explain why I love Sarah Jane Smith so much - as if anyone ever needed a reason!
So: The first episode of Doctor Who I ever saw all the way through was "School Reunion."
And I knew who the Doctor was, of course, and I knew who Rose was, and I may or may not have known who Mickey was - again, depending on whether or not I'd seen "The Age of Steel" first - but Sarah Jane was new to me.
So I was a bit surprised when I got to this scene and started crying:
"My Sarah Jane," indeed.
I hadn't realized how much of Doctor Who was about loss and moving on. I loved that. I still do.
And I could never pick a favorite companion, but if you forced me? I might have to say Sarah Jane.
She was a journalist and a feminist and yeah, sometimes she screamed and needed to be saved, but she was also clever and tough and didn't take shit from people. She didn't quite know what to do with herself after the Doctor left her in Aberdeen, but she went on and had a fantastic life anyway.
I've never met a Doctor Who fan who didn't like her, at least a little bit. Do you know what a big deal that is? Doctor Who fans can't agree on anything
From every account I've ever heard, Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane, was an utter sweetheart.
Elisabeth Sladen died today
It's been a long time since I've been this sad about the death of somebody I'd never met. I don't really know what else to say, except that the universe was a much cooler place with her in it.
Goodbye, my Sarah Jane.