Elisabeth Sladen



Real name: Elisabeth Claira Heath-Sladen
Born: 1 February 1948, Liverpool, Lancashire
Married: Brian Miller (1968)
Children: Sadie



Played: Anita Reynolds (January - February 1971)

Lis was not born into an acting family and in fact dance, not acting, was her first love. Originally she wanted to be a ballerina but she eventually found herself playing mouses (specifically a mouse with the Royal Ballet) and other supporting characters and not in a tutu as she had dreamed.

Deciding that dance wasn't her future Lis turned to acting and spent the last two years of her school education in a drama school. After leaving drama school Lis went to work at the Liverpool Playhouse (The oldest rep company in Britain), not as an actress but as assistant stage manager. In 1966 Lis got her professional break playing a dead body at the theatre.

While not a role to remember for Lis, one of her fellow cast members was. This young actor kept getting Lis in trouble by making her giggle while she was suppose to be dead by whispering to her silly things. The young man's name was Brian Miller and they were married two years later.

Like all young actresses starting out Lis acted as well as worked as the crew. Problem was Lis was a very good stage manager and found herself not getting cast in roles by directors who wanted her as their stage manager. Lis had no intention of becoming a profesional stage manager so she started making mistakes on purpose. Soon she was back in front of the scenery and not behind it.

Lis and Brian trained in the classical British style of the rep theaters, most notably in Manchester for three years, where Lis did many small bits for Granada Television; this included six episodes as a barmaid on Coronation Street.

In 1970 Brian got a part in a play in London and so it was off to the bigtime for Lis. Work was hard to come by. Lis got by on bits and pieces like small parts in shows like Public Eye, odd commercials, Doomwatch, Some Mother's Do 'ave 'em, and Z Cars. While she did not become famous in these roles the word was getting around. This young lady had talent.

In 1973 Doctor Who was looking for a new female companion. Barry Letts was making a short list of actresses for the part and on this list was Lis. Finally Barry asked Lis if she was interested in playing the new companion, Sarah Jane Smith. She said yes at once. Lis played Sarah Jane for the next 3 series, but her assocation with Dr Who went on for two decades.

In the late 1970's Lis went back to the Liverpool Playhouse. She was offered a part in the Yorkshire TV children's programme Stepping Stones and did 98 episodes over two years. She then returned to work for Granada, and appeared in her first movie Silver Dream Racer.

In 1980 , Lis returned to Dr Who with her own companion programme. The show was called K9 & Company which aired in December 1981 during a blackout for a large chunk of Britain. The result was low ratings and the BBC passed on the series. Lis' next project was a TV movie called Gulliver in Lilliput with Lis playing Lady Flimnap.

In the 80s Lis did many Dr Who conventions in both in Britain and the US with her husband Brian. In 1985 Lis' life was changed again with the birth of a baby girl named Sadie. After Sadie was born Lis slid into semi retirement.

In the 90s Lis continued her semi retirement. Raising Sadie and taking care of a house she and Brian were semi restoring. She has done a few Doctor Who projects.

One last note is it seems the Miller family has one more actor in the family now. Lis and Brian's daughter Sadie has her Equity card and has done some profesional acting of her own. The most notable appearance was in the BBC's 30th anniversary video, released in 1993. Remember the little girl in the Andy Pandy outfit with the owl? That was Sadie, Lis and Brian's daughter. If talent is hereditary that little girl could be headed for quite a career.










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