Thursday, July 26, 2012

Portrait Of A Time Lady

Only a month ago I was posting here about the sad news that Caroline John had passed away and I drew a comparison between her character of Liz Shaw and that other companion of the Doctor's who was created as something of the Time Lord's intellectual equal: Romana.

And now we've lost Mary Tamm, the first actress to bring the Time Lady to our screens.

It's inevitable, I suppose, that once you hit a certain age it will begin to hit back, taking some of your childhood heroes and heroines. It will always feel too soon, but the fact that cancer has claimed so many - Lis Sladen too - feels especially cruel.

As with the character of Liz Shaw, the introduction of an intellectual rival for the Doctor faced its set of challenges - chiefly that whole problem of needing someone the Doctor can explain everything to, for the benefit of viewers - and Romana I remained only one season aboard the TARDIS. Mary Tamm was a natural fit for the character though and, as well as being royally beautiful, invested the role with elegance, wit and a real sense of aristocracy. Her Romana was wonderfully aloof too and the interplay between Mary and Tom is priceless. That, for me, is what cements the disparate segments of the Key To Time in that season, because, irrespective of which story you're watching, they're a joy to behold.

Sadly in my brush with the world of Who fandom and conventions etc, I never got to meet Mary Tamm, but I did write to her after the 20th Anniversary Longleat celebrations and she sent me a nice reply with a signed portrait.

Needless to say, that's a treasured memory and it goes alongside so many others that are held even more dearly in the light of days like today.

My thoughts and best wishes are with her friends and family and the people who knew Mary best.