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Elisabeth Sladen: Best 'Doctor Who' Companion Ever?

Doctor Who fans around the world are mourning this week's death of actress Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith — one of the good doctor's companions — during some of the TV series' classic years in the '70s. She was 63 and died of cancer.

Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog writes that:

"Whenever Doctor Who fans gather together, it usually doesn't take long before the question arises over the identity of the best 'Doctor' of all-time. Far less often do followers of the BBC sci-fi show debate the identity of the best Doctor's 'companion.' Why? Largely because — with all due respect to Billie Piper, Karen Gillan, Nicola Bryant, Katy Manning et. al. — it is widely agreed that the best ever actor to play Watson to the Doctor's Holmes was Elisabeth Sladen, who portrayed investigative reporter Sarah Jane Smith."

Now, we're not hardcore Doctor Who fans.

But we know many folks are. So, those of you love the show, tell us what you think. Was Sladen/Smith the best companion ever?

We'll keep the question open until the end of the day on Friday.

By the way, the BBC's website has a Doctor Who beginner's guide.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.