After a long line of supposedly subservient female companions, Sarah Jane Smith was intended as the show’s nod towards the nascent Women’s Lib movement. I didn’t want to make a big thing of this, though, assuming the Doctor to be a more liberal thinker than 1970s Britons. As the only girl running around UNIT’s military set-up, Sarah Jane needed to make herself heard, but I figured this could be achieved simply by making her a strong character. Of course the writers occasionally had other ideas. In ‘Monster of Peladon,’ for example, the Doctor actually orders Sarah Jane to give the Queen the full ‘Women’s Lib’ lecture, no punches pulled. The irony of male writers getting a male character to ‘order’ a woman to talk about feminism wasn’t lost on me.
Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography (via stephadoo)