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Tardis Party: Mary Tamm/ Lalla Ward ~ Time Ladies

September 13, 2013

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Talent…

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… These are the lovely ladies and gorgeous girls of eras gone by whose beauty, ability, electricity and all-round x-appeal deserve celebration and – ahem – salivation here at George’s Journal

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Yes, this blog’s celebration – in the show’s golden anniversary year – of all things Doctor Who (not least the eye-catching, er, eye candy it’s offered watching dads down through the years) continues apace, peeps, as we enter the late ’70s and the short but estimable era in which The Doc was accompanied on his TARDIS-steered adventures by a frighteningly fine pair of fillies from his own home-world. Yup, unequivocally then, for their original and regenerated guise, respectively, of Time Lady Romana, the simply marvellous Mary Tamm and the utterly wonderful Lalla Ward more than deserve their timely joint entrance into this blog’s Talent corner…
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Profiles

Names: Mary Tamm/ Sarah (Lalla) Ward

Nationalities: English

Professions: Actress/ Actress, author, illustrator

Born: March 22 1950, Bradford, Yorkshire (Died: July 26 2012)/ June 28 1951, London, England

Known for: Mary – originating the role of The Doctor’s only companion from his home planet Gallifrey, Romanadvoratrelundar (Romana for short) in Doctor Who (1963-present). However, she played the role – a highly intelligent, capable, attractive and wonderfully well tailored Time Lady – for one season only (1978-79’s 16th, loosely known as The Key To Time), citing the character reverting too much to a ‘damsel in distress’ type the reason for her decision to move on. Prior to her brush with Who, she appeared in memorable supporting roles in the films The Odessa File (1973) and The Likely Lads (1976) and later enjoyed leading roles in the BBC dramas The Treachery Game (1980) and The Assassination Run (1981) and sitcom The Hello, Goodbye Man (1984), as well as between 1993 and ’96 in the Channel 4 soap Brookside (1982-2003) and another drama for the Beeb  Paradise Heights (2002). Sadly, she died last year, aged just 62.

Lalla – daughter of Edward Ward, the seventh Viscount Bangor (thus descended from both the English medieval kings Edward IV and Richard III), Lalla left school aged 14, impressively taking her O-Levels on her own, to pursue an acting career. Her big break came in the Hammer horror film Vampire Circus (1972), after which she won a long-running role in the BBC drama The Duchess Of Duke Street (1976-77) and guest spots in The Protectors (1972-74), Van der Valk (1972-77) and The Professionals (1978-81), while she played a young Elizabeth I in the cinematic adaptation of The Prince And The Pauper (1977) and starred as Ophelia opposite Derek Jacobi in the BBC’s 1980 version of Hamlet. She succeeded Tamm in the role of Romana in Season 17 (1979-80) of Who after first appearing in the previous season’s serial The Armageddon Factor (1979) as Princess Astra. She remained The Doc’s faithful and (more than close?) companion until midway though Season 18 (1980-81), Tom Baker‘s last. Indeed, she got on so well with the latter that they embarked on an affair, the result of which was a marriage – mind you, it only lasted 16 months. Later, through Douglas Adams (author of The Hitch-Hikers’s Guide To The Galaxy radio plays and books and Who script editor during her time on the show), she met scientist and infamous atheist Richard Dawkins, whom she subsequently married. Nowadays, she can be heard voicing characters in Who-related audio plays and narrating audiobooks and has also authored knitting and self-illustrated children’s books.

Strange but true: Tragically, just two weeks after her own death and literally hours after her funeral in the summer of 2012, Mary’s husband also died/ an illustrator and an amateur scientist, Lalla Ward’s great-grandmother was the first person documented to have died in a car crash.

Peak of fitness: Mary – her introduction in Who; in a long, langurous white dress, her hair up and showing a wee bit of leg in her first appearance in The Ribos Operation (1978) / Lalla – many would suggest her Romana in the naïvely chosen schoolgirl outfit in the wonderfully realised Who story City Of Death (1979), but I might just plump for her appearance in that oh-so fetching sailor-cum-Edwardian-boy’s-swimming-costume-number on Brighton beach in the following season’s The Leisure Hive (1980). Mmm…

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CLICK on images for full-size

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