Mary Tamm

"Your" Doctor Who girl tends to be the one you grew up with. My friend John grew up in the '70s, and so has a particularly fondness for Katy Manning's Jo Grant. I'm an '80s baby, and so Sophie Aldred's Ace should be my favourite Who girl.

But my traumatic move to Australia in the early '90s coincided with a repeat (rare in those pre-multi-channel/DVD/dowmload days) of late '70s Doctor Who, and I fell head-over-heels in love with Mary Tamm's Romanadvoratrelundar - Romana for short.

She looked spectacular (I was entranced by her exquisite beauty, in that particular way gay boys are with certain women), and she was razor sharp, effortlessly cutting Tom Baker's Doctor down to size.

She wasn't a girl, she was, perhaps for the first time in Doctor Who, a woman. She was mesmerising and thrilling, stealing every scene she was in (and in real life, it turned out, not a haughty Southerner, but a down-to-earth Northern lass ). "I never, ever thought of Romana as a sex symbol. Glamorous, but not sexy... An old-fashioned, movie star style," she said once in an interview.

Her death - at 62, from cancer - is as sudden and unexpected as Elizabeth Sladen's last year, and Caroline John's just last month. But, as much as I love those other Who girls, Mary Tamm's Romana was special to me; extraordinary, magical, different. She was my Doctor Who girl, and I truly loved her to bits.

Doctor Who News has a round-up of Twitter reactions from her colleagues.

Read The Guardian's obitiuary.

Mary Tamm's official website.


Immanuel said...

Wow, I loved her character on Dr. Who.

The cool sexiness couple with a sharp intellect. How sexy is that?

Rest in peace Mary.


John said...

That sophistication that doesn't really seem to exist now, that one also saw in the Avengers, with Honor Blackman & Diana Rigg. Mary Tamm also had a gift for comedy: some of the exchanges between her & Tom are just beautifully timed...

Zee Jai said...

@John: Yes, her gift for comedy, I neglected to mention that. She always put a smile on my face.

Frank Collins said...

I would highly recommend her autobiography 'First Generation'.

It does cover her Doctor Who work (and an account of a convention on a cruise ship which is very funny) but what is more impressive is the journal of her journey back to Estonia to meet relatives and the origins of her parents who fled the Communist regime. Very moving.

Equally, her account of filming in Sri Lanka highlighted the abject poverty of the times.

Plus lots of great anecdotes about the theatre (the Richard Burton story is lovely) and cinema work she did.

It's very sad but we've now lost Lis Sladen, Caroline John and Mary Tamm in just over a year. All will be missed.

Zee Jai said...

Thanks Frank - I've been meaning to read it for a while. Shame something liked this is the impetus.

Do you happen know if she had finished the second volume?

Frank Collins said...

I don't think she had finished it. Whether Fantom Films will publish it incomplete or ask someone to provide an ending is debatable. We shall see.

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