Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mary Tamm (1950-2012)

Mary Tamm (1950-2012)The actress Mary Tamm - who played the first incarnation of Romana - died this morning aged 62 after a long battle with cancer, her agent Barry Langford has announced.

Born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, on 22nd March 1950, she graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then acted with the Birmingham Repertory Company. Stage roles included Amanda in Private Lives and Beverly in Abigail's Party. Film and television roles followed, including Tales That Witness Madness, two appearances in Coronation Street, The Odessa File, and the film version of The Likely Lads.

She joined Doctor Who in the role of Romanadvoratrelundar, aka Romana (or Fred!), alongside Tom Baker as the Doctor for the sixteenth year of the show, which revolved around the search for the Key to Time. During the run she had the chance to play another character in the form of the identical Princess Strella in The Androids of Tara (not to mention android versions of both!). She only played the role of Romana for one year, citing that the character could not develop any further from its 'traditional' companion role, with The Armageddon Factor's guest actress Lalla Ward continuing the character from the following story.

Post-Doctor Who, Tamm continued her TV career with a recurring role as Jill Fraser in The Assassination Run and The Treachery Game, Jennifer Reynoldston in The Hello Goodbye Man, Yvonne Edwards in Paradise Heights and a stint in Brookside as Penny Crosbie. Other guest appearances included Casualty, Holby City, Jonathan Creek, Crime Traveller, Heartbeat, and adding EastEnders to her CV as Orlanda in 2009. She was due to play a judge in the film Far Out Far In but illness forestalled that role.

Though departing from Doctor Who in 1979, Tamm continued her association with the show through the audio plays of Big Finish, reprising the role of Romana - as well as the villainous Time Lord Imperiatrix Pandora - in the Gallifrey audio series. Later, she again reprised her original role for the Companion Chronicle The Stealers from Saiph in 2009, followed by Ferril's Folly and Tales from the Vault in 2011. She is also set to feature posthumously alongside Tom Baker once more, with the pair starring in the second series of The Fourth Doctor Adventures, due to be released from January 2013.

The first volume of her autobiography First Generation (Fantom Films) was published in 2009. Her official website can be found here.

Update 9th August: Tragically, her husband Marcus Ringrose also passed away this week, a few hours after Mary's funeral on Tuesday 7th August. They are survived by their daughter Lauren and family, including grandson Max.

Tributes

Her agent Barry Langford said:
She had a great zest for life. She was a fantastic actress - she played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away. She could play any role, and do so wonderfully.
Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor alongside Tamm, said:
She was a darling companion and wonderfully witty and kind. I'm so sorry to hear of her death.
David Richardson, producer for Big Finish, told us:
Such a sad day. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing – everyone is so deeply upset by the terrible news. Mary was just brilliant to work with – and such fun, with her infectious laugh and naughty sense of humour. I feel honoured to have had so many opportunities to work with her over the past year.
Dexter O'Neill, whose company Fantom Films published her autobiography, said:
As you can imagine, Paul [Ballard] and I are devastated to hear the news. Our condolences go out to Marcus, Lauren and Max. We will miss her sense of humour, her emails (affectionately known to us as Tamm Spam) and above all the gossiping. We won't half miss you xxx
Ian Fraser, Mary's photographer, told us:
I will always remember Mary’s honesty, down to earth approach and I have to say the dirtiest laugh I’ve ever come across in a Doctor Who girl, so opposed to the perceived image of ice-queen and aloof. The hours we spent working together in the studio, and her genuine kindness to me as her photographer... photographing such a beautiful woman - not just in looks but in her heart, and hearing her talk of her husband Marcus, daughter Lauren and how much she adored her time with Max her grandson, well you know there was goodness running through her.

My thoughts are with Marcus, Lauren and Max and the big wide Doctor Who actor family, who are missing Mary so badly already.
Steven Moffat, current lead writer of Doctor Who, said:
I remember Mary Tamm's first appearance so vividly - the ice Queen on the TARDIS. The Time Lady who thought the Doctor was HER companion. Perfectly brought to life by Mary, with such style and wit, you always thought she could have kicked the Doctor out of the time machine and got on with the adventure herself. A generation of little girls threw away the idea of being an assistant, and decided to fly the TARDIS for themselves.

On Twitter
  • Colin Baker (The Doctor): Shellshocked to hear Mary Tamm is gone. A funny, caring, talented, lovely and down to earth lady. My heart goes out to Marcus and Lauren
  • Nicola Bryant (Peri): Just heard the terrible news that Mary Tamm has died. Completely shocked. Very sad. Thoughts go to Marcus & Lauren. RIP Mary.
  • Anneke Wills (Polly): Mary Tamm - How sad! A brave, beautiful woman, she will be greatly missed. I'm grateful to have known her. Love Anneke x
  • Frazer Hines (Jamie): I'm still reeling from the shock of Mary passing away!always a smiley friendly person whenever we met at cons.
  • Edward Russell (brand manager): My condolences to Mary Tamm's family. As a companion, Romana was my hero when I was 8 years old. So very sad. Guess we've reached that point in Doctor Who's history where it's time for many of its rich cast to say goodbye. Thank you for taking part.
  • Nicholas Briggs (actor, Big Finish): Very sad indeed about the death of Mary Tamm. She was so much fun and lovely to work with. I shall miss her.
  • Barnaby Edwards (actor): Very sad to hear of the death of Mary Tamm. A lovely actress and a sharp, witty person.
  • Nicholas Pegg (actor): Raising a glass to the beautiful, talented, funny Mary Tamm. So young. What sad news.
  • Paul Cornell: I'm so sorry to hear about Mary Tamm. It's an obit every month in DWM these days. How terrible.
  • Andy Pryor (casting director): Sad times. Caroline John and now Mary Tamm. We salute you both.
  • Mark Ayres (composer): Sad news to wake up to: RIP Mary Tamm, Doctor Who's first Romana, aka Fred. She was of the few Doctor Who girls I never met properly, though I did "music" her Myth Makers, which she played as Alice in Wonderland.
  • Gary Russell (script editor): Mary Tamm, funny, sweet, smart and utterly outrageous. Will miss her so much RIP xxx
  • Toby Hadoke (performer): Reeling from the news that Mary Tamm has passed away. RIP. And what?!
  • Kai Owen (Rhys): Sad news indeed. RIP Mary Tamm.
  • Benjamin Cook (DWM): Such sad news about Mary Tamm. I interviewed her once, in 2009. (Couldn't believe she was old enough to be a grandmother.) RIP. "I never, ever thought of Romana as a sex symbol," she said. "Glamorous, but not sexy… An old-fashioned, movie star style."
  • Gary Gillatt (DWM): Mary Tamm now. Another tragedy. What an awful year it's been to be a Doctor Who fan. This terrible silence, slowly rolling over it all.