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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Last Word from the Top Companion"
I'm pleased to say that this is a great read. To be honest, if I hadn't enjoyed it, then I probably wouldn't have bothered with a review. I would have felt bad writing a negative one but fortunately I don't have to consider that.
Like all good autobiographies, it's got a good conversational style which the afterword by her family comfirms very much has her turn of...
Published on 15 Nov. 2011 by Bob Marlowe

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh I feel such a traitor but...!
Let me first say that I adored Sarah Jane & Elisabeth Sladen (indeed, as a child, I was shocked to learn that they are actually two separate people!) However, this book has been a bit of a personal disappointment to me as Elisabeth doesn't come across as the person I thought she was.
As another reviewer mentioned, she is very catty - bitchy at times - about people...
Published on 29 May 2013 by Kelly A19


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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Last Word from the Top Companion", 15 Nov. 2011
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I'm pleased to say that this is a great read. To be honest, if I hadn't enjoyed it, then I probably wouldn't have bothered with a review. I would have felt bad writing a negative one but fortunately I don't have to consider that.
Like all good autobiographies, it's got a good conversational style which the afterword by her family comfirms very much has her turn of phrase etc to it. It's the kind of book best enjoyed on train & bus journeys to & from work, when you can pretend your having a chat with her.
Dr Who is covered in some detail but that doesn't mean the rest is not interesting.

The early portion on her family history suggests enough material existed for a good "Who do you think you are. & similarly the period on her early life (find how she came to vommit on Edwina Currie)& a fascinating and varied stage career will easily prevent you skipping onto the Who section. She clearly loved acting and mixing with people such as actor Robert Morley & playwright Alan Ayckbourn but that's not to say it's a luvvie's bore of a book. Where there were famous names she had problems with she explains why she thought badly of them and in hindsight whether she was right.

Naturally the Who section is of prime interest & even though there will be anecdotes & stories heard before in interviews, commentaries & so on, she still does the fans proud. We learn who were the directors who were difficult to work with were ( some names there will surprise you) and best of all what it was like to work with Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker & more recently David Tennant.

She found Pertwee initially difficult to work with because their styles & approaches clashed but does acknowledge that some of his apparently insensitive acts were just the opposite e.g. he thought it was supportive to watch her film her 1st scene & to introduce her to fans who had at that point no idea who she was. He had no idea that it made her feel more daunted. The 2 worked better toward the end of his time and later became good friends.

She clearly hit it off and gelled with Tom Baker from the off & found he was happy to listen to her, was full of mad ideas himself & quick to champion her suggestions. She jokes that she didn't want to watch him with other companions likening it to seeing your husband with another woman.

There are in this section and (in the rest of the book but I noticed them here most) some great insights. She believes when he had resigned because the Beeb refused to give him a raise (this has been questioned more recently but she seem certain it's true) Jon Pertwee regretted his decision. He didn't really want to leave the show but it had only hit him once it was too late to stop. She believes this and a form of jealousy over Tom's apparently greater success & longer tenure in the role, coloured the bad relationship between the 2.

Her account of the making of the 5 Doctors is similarly interesting e.g. all Doctors going off with their own cliques at breaks.

She recalls her initial reluctance to return to Sarah Jane Smith, the false start with K9 and Company all leading to a triumphant return in "School Reunion" and then her own show "The Sarah Jane Adventures." She speaks about the role attending conventions with Jon Pertwee played i bringing her back to Who & her affection for her fans shines through.

Acting jobs between Who are covered well too as is her decision to retire from acting(fortunately temporarily).

There's plenty of humour e.g. she jokes that Yasmin Page who left Sarah Jane Adventures early on to avoid typecasting will probably manage her career better than she did & compares acting opposite Alpha Centauri to playing Shakespeare with a tellytubby! She's also very amused most papers etc. knocked 2 years of her date of birth.

Whatever work her family and co-author Jeff Hudson did to get the book ready for publication, I commend them because it does not read as rushed or unfinished.

There's an introduction from David Tennant and some material form her husband & daughter.

A fine tribute to Elisabeth Sladen which I recommend to anyone who enjoyed her work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching Autobiography, 23 Jan. 2012
By 
Coincidence Vs Fate - See all my reviews
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Being in my mid-40s there are certain people and memories from my childhood in the 70s that will always stay with me. One such memory will be Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen, AKA Sarah-Jayne Smith scaring the be-Jesus out of me every Saturday night during those cold dark winters of the mid 70s. I will always look back on affection at those programmes and have enjoyed them again on DVD with my Dr Who mad five-year-old son who is just as aware of Sarah-Jayne as he is with Amy Pond.

Obviously, Elisabeth passed away in April 2011 so her story has more poignancy due to that sad fact. Like the other recent reviewer I found it hard to listen to another actress -albeit one with a Dr Who connection - reading in the first person. It seemed a little odd and I would have enjoyed it better if they had changed the perspective of the reader. However, really that is nit-picking over what is a fascinating and touching autobiography.

She recounts her times with both Doctors and it is interesting to hear how she felt for them while in the Tardis and outside in the "real" world.

There is a nice intro from David Tennant and something written by her husband and daughter.

Not without its flaws but overall a superb audio book about a fine actress who sadly, is no longer around to enjoy the affection she has in the admirers of her work.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good............But Made Me Feel Sad!!!, 13 Nov. 2011
By 
Markie Mark "Markie Mark" (North Harrow, Middx, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I'm not & never have been a great reader but this book was very hard to put down. For any Dr Who Fan it is a must read & if like me you were a Sarah Jane Smith fan then its just excellent!!
Its written so well & the first comments by David Tennant & then the last section by Liz Sladens husband & Daughter brough tears to my eyes!!!............I was so shocked & sad when she died hearing & reading it on the Internet back in April & the last part of the book brought it all back!!!........I recommend this highly & even though it might make you miss her more it also reminds you of her & just how much of a fun person & great actress she clearly was!!!
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly spellbinding!, 10 Nov. 2011
By 
L. Thompson (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Utterly spellbinding! I literally couldn't put this book down... kids late for school? dinner burning? Nevermind, I need to get to the end of this chapter...
Honestly, my face hurt from smiling while I read - I never laugh out loud reading books, but I did with this one. (I mean, if you're gonna throw up on stage at age 11, you have to make sure it's all over a future Tory Minister, right?)
This book is written with such wisdom and humility - the only person who didn't realise the extent of her following was Elisabeth herself!!
From her childhood, through the days of working in Repertory theatre in Liverpool and Scarborough, to the early 'Doctor Who' with Jon Pertwee, and on through Tom baker and up to the present day 'Sarah Jane Adventures', this book conjures up pictures and scenes so perfectly, that you feel like you were privileged to be there yourself... (Jon pertwee reversing his car into the props truck is just great...)
And of course, amidst the humour, there is the poignancy of reading first hand accounts from such a vivacious woman who had such a fascinating life to write about, whilst knowing that that life was so suddenly and so shockingly cut short last April. This is a fitting tribute, with foreword by David Tennant, and a moving Post script by Sadie and Brian Miller, whose love for her, and pride in her acheivements is heartbreakingly clear.
An absolute must for any Dr Who or Sarah Jane fan, whether from 1973 or 2011, and all points inbetween. Goodbye Elisabeth/Sarah Jane, we will miss you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SARAH JANE MEMORY, 9 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
This was my first Amazon kindle read. I decided to try it out while relaxing on holiday to read on my Smart phone. I couldn't put it down, once I'd begun reading it.

I guess like so many other Dr Who fans, Sarah Jane Smith was a part of my influential teenage years and when her character returned for the new generation Dr Who and then with her own show, I was absolutely delighted. It was as if a piece of my past had come back and I too had almost travelled back in time. It is common to have 'signposts' in your life that bring back memories, but in Elisabeth Sladen's case what was more incredible was the fact that she stayed timeless and didn't seem to have aged at all.

I was so shocked and genuinely upset when the news of her death was announced and it took a while to get over this. Having read the book now, (May 2013) it has acted as a bit of a softener because it's almost as if she's back with you again when you read the book. A fascinating tale of her acting career from her very early days and an inspiration to others - notably my own daughter who is looking to follow a similar path and who was a fan of her programmes in the new generation. If you're a fan of Dr Who or indeed looking to follow a theatrical career this book is really interesting. Unlike some autobiographies - It is NOT a warts and all scandal ridden book - just a lovely tale of hard work and ups and downs along the way with some fascinating insights into her fellow actors and the behind the scenes characters involved at the BBC and elsewhere along the way in her career.

It's a very gentle tale and very Sarah Jane-Smith - It's an absolute must read for Who fans and I now feel as if I can put her to rest after reading her story. Elisabeth and Sarah Jane were clearly very close and from the same friendly 'cuddly' mould. I often considered writing to Elisabeth as a fan, but never quite brought myself to do so and regreted it so much when the news of her death was announced. I'd love to have told her how much enjoyment she brought to a growing lad and then again to a middle aged man! Thanks Elisabeth for taking the time to write this and to her family for going ahead and releasing it - I feel honoured to have been allowed into her life just a little bit and this has made up for not having actually met her at an event or in real life. Her book has left me with the same impression I always had and I am delighted about that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wonderful Lis Sladen; the incomparable Sarah Jane, 24 Jun. 2012
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
I leapt at the chance to read this book, the story of Elisabeth Sladen's acting career. Clearly she is best known to most people from her Doctor Who and associated Doctor Who career - and it was terribly sad to hear of her early death. She never really seemed to age, or change - Sarah Jane was always Sarah Jane - visually, aurally, in every way. Very sad, but I'm so glad she was able to get so much down on paper for so many fans to be able to read in the future.

It was extremely interesting to read of her early life and her family - and her schooling and choice to become involved in acting. I had never really heard of many of the people who she worked with, but some were certainly familiar. Funny to hear of their early days.

Once Elisabeth joined Doctor Who, as the replacement companion for Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who, the story really becomes fascinating. I can imagine Jon Pertwee being larger than life as she writes - demanding, yet kindly in his own way. I would also imagine life as an actress in the 1970's not being all that easy, being looked down upon by many in the industry. More power to Ms Sladen for her drive and forthright approach to her work. It's interesting also to read of the way in which the stories were put together, the rehearsals, the filming, and the power of the Unions in those days. The anecdotes are really interesting to read; the stories of having to get back to the boarding house first to get the hot water for the bath - who would have thought the life of an actor was all glamour and champagne?

I've read Tom Baker's Who on Earth is Tom Baker? Autobiography, and I have Nicholas Courtney's book Still Getting Away with It to read on my shelves, so I was definitely glad to have the opportunity to hear Lis Sladen's story. She clearly had a loving and supportive family, and she had a great opportunity with Doctor Who which seemed to stand her in good stead for so many years, even after leaving the original tv show.

This book is a great memento of the years of a much-loved and missed actress; her writing is, as I image Lis herself was, forthright and honest. She clearly didn't suffer fools gladly, and took her work very seriously, while still retaining her sense of humour throughout some very difficult circumstances. She will be missed by many; I'm glad we get the chance to read her story. The final pages bring tears to your eyes; the mixture of sad and happy is what Lis' life seems to have been about; a bit like Sarah Jane's.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "s" is for "star", 5 Jun. 2012
By 
R. C. McGinlay (Ilford, Essex) - See all my reviews
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It's taken me a while to get around to reviewing this, partly because of the duration - 12 discs and a total running time of 13 hours for your money - but also a degree of trepidation. Did I really want to listen to this? Would experiencing the life story of the much-missed Lis Sladen make me feel too sad? Would it be strange hearing her words being read by an earlier Liz from "Doctor Who" (Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw opposite Jon Pertwee)?

Well, it is an emotional experience, especially at the beginning and the end. David Tennant's admiration for Sladen, which he describes in his foreword, is as palpable as her admiration for him when she opens her narrative with a flash-forward to working on the "Wedding of Sarah Jane" storyline of "The Sarah Jane Adventures". Her regrets over the passing of so many of her former colleagues, including co-stars Ian Marter and Jon Pertwee, and producers John Nathan-Turner and Barry Letts, are as poignant as my feelings as I type this review.

I found it much easier going once I was past the introductory matter and Sladen ventures back to her earliest memories, of her family and her childhood. She recalls her first steps into acting (including being sick on a young Edwina Currie!) before progressing to her early professional career, working alongside such personalities as Warren Clarke, Alan Ayckbourn, Robert Morley and Michael Crawford, as well as meeting her husband-to-be Brian Miller (who provides a moving postscript). Lis didn't get on well with everyone she worked with, but she never comes across as bitchy or unfair in her assessments of them. She shows a level of empathy in each case, often theorising that she or they were not having a good day at the time.

The author keeps mentioning the world of "Doctor Who" from time to time during those opening chapters, usually via early encounters with personnel who would later work with her on the show. I'm not sure whether this is intended to keep her audience of "Who" fans engaged (she needn't have worried on that score), or simply because the programme was so important to her. Possibly it's a bit of both, though her mention of Freema Agyeman playing two different characters in quick succession, in reference to Sladen doing much the same thing in "Z-Cars", did strike me as somewhat shoehorned in.

In any case, we get to her role as Sarah Jane Smith in "Doctor Who" by the end of Disc 3, starting with her most unusual audition. The making of each "Who" serial is covered in depth. Her recollections range from familiar anecdotes (nearly drowning in Wookey Hole while making "Revenge of the Cybermen") to more surprising revelations (her early unease working with Jon Pertwee on "The Time Warrior"), but they are enthralling throughout.

As other reviewers have pointed out, the coverage of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" is less detailed, and there's no mention at all of her work on Big Finish's "Sarah Jane Smith" series. Perhaps her memories of those productions were less potent than those of the heady early days of her career.

It's a pity that Sladen did not live long enough to read out her own autobiography, especially since she specifically mentions her love of audio work. However, having Caroline John narrate the book isn't off-putting at all, as it turns out. John's measured tones make a splendid conduit for her successor's words, and I frequently forgot that I was not being addressed by Sladen herself.

At least Lis was able to give us these words before she was taken from us, far too soon.

Good for you, Sarah Jane Smith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lis Sladen's story, 6 Mar. 2012
By 
Michael Finn (Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Ninety-nine out of every hundred people reading this book are going to be dyed in the wool Doctor Who fans. Lis knew this quite well. Which is probably one of the reasons the bulk of the book is taken up documenting the short period of her life working on the show. She's giving the target audience what they want. I'm a hardcore Doctor Who fan myself. I love all her insights and observations about the show. But I would also have liked to read more about the real Elisabeth Sladen behind the Sarah Jane Smith parade. There are glimpses of it of course but not enough. Her parent's history is just a short prelude and her childhood rushes by in a confusingly unchronological blur of Elvis posters and tomboy hi-jinx. Her early career on stage and tv bring more structure to the book as the various productions provide a set of hooks to pin her years on. There are some fascinating insights into the many famous faces she worked with or encountered - names like Michael Crawford, Robert Morley and Alan Ayckbourn. Here she also meets her soon to be husband and apparent soul mate Brian Miller . There is a sort of embarrassed reluctance though to let the reader get under the surface of their relationship, whether in defence of their privacy or insecurity about how much personal detail a fan of a tv show would want - I don't know. There is an opinion, probably accurate, expressed by her daughter, that Lis didn't really fully realise just how much she was loved by the fans of the show.
It's no use denying that most fans of the classic show are pretty hard-core nostalgia junkies. I am one of them so I lapped up all the stories about her time on the show. All the stuff about her love hate relationship with Jon Pertwee are priceless, the utter Doctor Who legend that was Barry Letts, Tom Baker, the lovely but tragic Ian Marter. There are also names that she was less impressed with allowing her grumpier aspects to have a bit of page space. Her time on the show comes to an and the book almost fast forwards to the finish, stopping briefly to describe some of her later involvements on specials and spin-offs, conventions, missed career opportunities, the birth of her daughter and the eventual resurgence of the show that would lead to The Sarah Jane Adventures.
We live in a media age where it seems that not a day can go by without someone familiar passing away but I can honestly say I have never been shocked so badly as the night I found out we'd lost Lis Sladen. This book was completed only at the last and it has been a sad pleasure to hear her voice in my head again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious Doctor Who memories from a National Treasure., 22 Feb. 2012
By 
Paolo Sammut - See all my reviews
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My very first Doctor Who memory, somewhere around 1973 had me peeking around the side of the settee as Jon Pertwee and Elisabeth Sladen drove Bessie through a dinosaur ravaged London. Doctor Who was rapidly becoming must-see TV to my young impressionable mind and whilst I was always very scared in those days, Sarah Jane Smith was always there making the show safe for me. Since then of course we have seen many Doctors, and many companions, but Sarah was always my favourite and the stories featuring her are among the best. Who could forget "The Planet of the Spiders", "Genesis of the Daleks (with those lethal immobile clams!) and "Pyramids of Mars", and of course it was lovely to see the shock of recognition on her face in the more recent "School Reunion" when she recognises that magic blue box and realises the Doctor is back.

I suppose just as Jon Pertwee (and sometimes Tom Baker) were MY Doctors, Sarah was MY companion. So I really welcomed this chance to listen to Elisabeth Sladen tell us the story of her life and my only regret is that it was not read by her, but with her sad passing in 2011 that would be impossible.

Elisabeth's autobiography is beautifully read by Caroline John who was worked to capture some of Elisabeths own inflections and style of speech. It was perfectly possible to suspend disbelief and imagine that Elisabeth Sladen herself was speaking and this really adds to the strength of this product.

Elizabeth Sladen shows herself to have had a richly fulfilling and interesting life having met and worked with many interesting characters. The whole bio was gripping and interesting all the way through, peppered gently with amusing anecdotes such as Liz vomiting on the Red queen in a "Through the looking glass" production, (the unlucky actress on the receiving end of said vomit going on to be a famous politician during the 1990s) or her giggle fit during the production of "the Physicist". Among her most interesting stories is concerned the ghost of a colleage she encountered., this is very interesting since I consider Sladens account to be above reproach.

The bulk of his biography does concern Doctor Who. By Disc three Elisabeth is talking about her time with Jon Pertwee and from here on, her time with Tom Baker, K9 and company and all the conventions cover the vast bulk of thw remaining CDs. As a Doctor Who fan for me this is brilliant.

For me, of course I was most the most interesting part were her Doctor Who years. The stories featuring Sarah are amongst my all time favourites so to hear the backstage account of what happened was fascinating. There is also lots of information on the acting business which is very interesting.

Liz shows herself as a lovely person, without a bad word to say about anyway. In a way it is sad listening to this bio, knowing that another treasure has passed on. However there is also a lot of happiness in that a wonderful person has done so much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elisabeth Sladen:"Don't Forget Me" : No Way!, 24 Jan. 2012
By 
Gregory Shanley (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The famous quote "Don't Forget Me" was one of Elisabeth Sladen's parting lines as Sarah-Jane Smith,beloved companion to firstly Jon Pertwee's Dandy Doctor,then Tom Baker's world famous Bohemmian,4th Doctor.

I was like so many people deeply saddened by the shock news that Elisabeth Sladen had died in 2011,she looked so

young,for her 60 odd years,when she and K-9,returned to the new David Tennant Doctor Who in 2006,the only characters,monsters and The Master aside,to return to the new Who.

Caroline John(Jon Pertwee's first companion Dr Liz Shaw)makes a great job on the narration of Elisabeth Sladen's

autobiography,I just find Elisabeth Sladen's honesty refreshing,she is very honest about Jon Pertwee being a bit

controlling but she clearly loved him all the same and the joy of her talking about her rapport with Tom Baker's

Doctor is a joy.

There was clearly far more to Elisabeth Sladen than Sarah-Jane Smith,its great hearing of her theatre success and early TV roles but her joy at becoming loved by children all over again with her spinoff series "The Sarah-Jane Adventures",is lovely to hear,she loved her fans,I can vouch for that,I wrote to her for a signed picture picture about 10 years ago,which I still have,I saw Elisabeth at a Dr Who convention in 2000,she looked great,she was wearing a replica of the "Pyramid Of Mars" outfit,I was too shy to speak!

Elisabeth's husband Brain Miller,gives a really touching tribute at the end of the discs,its nice he and his daughter,Sadie took comfort in how beloved Elisabeth is,she's greatly missed.
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