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article imageSarah Jane Adventures: series 5 of Doctor Who spin-off will air

By Mathew Wace Peck     May 9, 2011 in Entertainment
The BBC have confirmed that series 5 of the Doctor Who spin-off series, Elisabeth Sladen's The Sarah Jane Adventures, will be broadcast at a future date.
However, despite rumours that the show would continue beyond the six episodes that were recorded prior to Sladen's untimely death last month, the series will not continue without the popular Doctor Who star.
The BBC statement came via the Doctor Who News Page, which says: "Contrary to press reports [. . .] we can confirm that no new episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures will be filmed following the tragic death of actress Elisabeth Sladen in April, 2011. As a tribute to Elisabeth the six episodes that were recorded with her last year will be broadcast on CBBC at a date to be confirmed."
Last week, the Sun claimed that the popular BBC Wales-produced Doctor Who spin-off would continue, saying, "they want it to continue as a tribute to Elisabeth [. . .] Once the scripts have been rewritten, it is hoped the show will air this year."
The Sun further claimed that "a source" had told them, "Writers will find a way to complete the series without Sarah. Fans will be thrilled to know it is returning."
Following the claims in the Sun, Gareth Roberts – who has been one of the main writers on the CBBC show since it began in 2007 – posted on his Twitter page: "The story... re SJA is not true."
Opinion among the Doctor Who fanbase has been divided as to whether The Sarah Jane Adventures should continue without Sladen – who had played Sarah Jane Smith since the mid-1970's in Doctor Who and various spin-off productions. They included a number of audio plays for BBC Radio and Big Finish Productions and the 1981 BBC TV-produced drama K9 and Company, which saw her teamed up with the Doctor's robot-dog companion, K9.
Sladen, 63, died on 19 April. She's been battling cancer, although only her close family knew she was suffering from the illness. Fans and work colleagues alike have been shocked and saddened by her death, with the BBC receiving thousands of tributes to her.
My Sarah Jane!
On 23 April, the BBC broadcast a tribute programme to the actor – My Sarah Jane: A Tribute to Elisabeth Sladen – immediately after the first episode of the current series of Doctor Who. The episode, The Impossible Astronaut by Steven Moffat, was itself dedicated to Sladen.
This evening and tomorrow evening, BBC 4 will be reshowing Sladen's original 1976 Doctor Who swansong The Hand of Fear. The four-part story starred Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, who had this to say about his co-star: “Lis Sladen was very important to me [. . .] Those sweet memories of happy days with Lis Sladen, the lovely, witty, kind and so talented Lis Sladen. I am consoled by the memories. I was there, I knew her, she was good to me and I shall always be grateful, and I shall miss her."
The Hand of Fear will be broadcast on BBC 4, at 7.40 p.m. on both evenings. It was written by the co-creators of K9, Bob Baker and Dave Martin, and directed by Lennie Mayne.
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