Mary Tamm. Still the most glamorous Timelord, ever.
I remember watching the “Key To Time” episodes from Who’s season 16 when I was a teenager, delayed a number of years from their original broadcast thanks to GPTV’s erratic acquisition of new or unseen Who episodes. Romana, if I’m honest entirely, struck my teenaged mind in a way I interpreted initially as dislike. She was brusque and outspoken. Because of Mary Tamm’s Romana, I learned a new word: haughty. She was haughty.
But she was also striking. Smart. Devastatingly witty.
And it wasn’t long before she became a second crush unearthed from the Doctor Who canon, the first having left the series only a season before. Where Leela was this she-devil of a thing, Romana was sophisticated and self-assured and almost too much for my adolescent mind to bear.
Her tenure with the Doctor was brief, lasting only one season. While her character remained, Mary Tamm left Doctor Who at the start of season 17. Romana, being a Timelord, regenerated into Lalla Ward. The second Romana was kinder, gentler, bubblier … so charming, in fact, that not even Tom Baker, the Fifth Doctor himself, could resist the actress that played her.
As I’ve gotten older, my opinion of Mary Tamm’s Romana has ever moreso improved, so much so that I wonder what she could’ve done with more time in the series. Maybe the show’s writers could’ve done more than make her yet another damsel.
And maybe she could come back, meet the newest of her Doctors …
After all, that’s what plot devices are for. They leave doors open.
So good night, Mary Tamm.