Mary Tamm

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Mary Tamm
Romana (Doctor Who).jpg
Mary Tamm as Romana I
Born (1950-03-22)22 March 1950
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Died 26 July 2012(2012-07-26) (aged 62)
London, England, UK
Cause of death
Cancer
Ethnicity Estonian
Occupation Actress
Years active 1970–2012
Spouse(s) Marcus Ringrose (1978–2012; her death)
Children Lauren Ringrose (b. November 1979)

Mary Tamm (22 March 1950 – 24 July 2012) was a British actress, known for her role as Romana in the BBC's science fiction television series Doctor Who,[1] starring opposite Tom Baker in the 1978–79 story arc The Key to Time.

Early life[edit]

Tamm was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire,[2] West Riding of Yorkshire, to Estonian immigrant parents[2][3] and attended Bradford Girls' Grammar School.[4] She was a graduate and an associate member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where she studied from 1969-71.[5]

Acting career[edit]

Tamm began acting on the stage with the Birmingham Repertory Company in 1971. She moved to London in 1972 and appeared in the musical Mother Earth. Before her association with Doctor Who, Tamm acted in a few films, including Tales That Witness Madness (1973), The Odessa File (1974) and The Likely Lads (1976). In 1981, she took the part of Rhoda Dawes in Agatha Christie's Cards on the Table at London's Vaudeville Theatre.[6]

Tamm was not initially interested in playing a companion to the Doctor, believing that the role was merely that of the "damsel in distress". She changed her mind when assured by the producers that Romana would be a member of the Doctor's own race and therefore as capable as he. Tamm left the programme after only one season because she felt that the character had reverted to the traditional assistant role and could not be developed further.[7] In a 2007 interview, Tamm stated that she was willing to film a regeneration sequence to allow a smooth transition between her tenure and that of a new actress, but she was not invited to do so.[8] One source states that pregnancy was the reason that she was not asked to return,[9] which Tamm denied as a false rumour invented by John Nathan-Turner.[10][11][12]

After leaving the series, Tamm took leading roles in two BBC 1 dramas, The Treachery Game (1980) and its sequel The Assassination Run (1981) alongside Malcolm Stoddard. A leading role in the sitcom The Hello, Goodbye Man opposite Ian Lavender was produced in 1984, for BBC 2. In the early 1990s she was a regular guest panellist on the ITV morning quiz show Crosswits.

Subsequently, Tamm played the characters of Penny Crosbie in the soap opera Brookside from 1993 to 1996,[13] Yvonne Edwards in the BBC drama Paradise Heights (2002), as well as guest roles in many other television programmes. Tamm returned as Pandora in the second series of the Gallifrey audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions. Her first such appearance was in Gallifrey: Lies (2005). She also appeared (as herself) in a special feature in the 2007 DVD boxed set release of The Key to Time, discussing her experiences on the programme. In August 2009, Tamm made a brief one-week appearance as Orlenda in EastEnders. Reprising the role of Romana, Tamm recorded seven new Doctor Who audio adventures for Big Finish Productions with Tom Baker shortly before her death[14] and were released in 2013 as season 2 of the Fourth Doctor Adventures[15]

Personal life[edit]

Mary Tamm was married to Marcus Ringrose from 1978 until her death.[4] Ringrose himself died just hours after his wife's funeral.[16][17] They had one daughter, Lauren, born November 1979,[10][11][16] and a grandson, Max, age 9–10.[13][16]

Her autobiography, titled First Generation, was published in September 2009 by Fantom Films. Before her death, she had been working on a second part of her autobiography, Second Generation, which was published in 2014.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title
1973
Tales That Witness Madness
1974
The Odessa File
1976
The Likely Lads
2001
Amazons and Gladiators

Tributes[edit]

Year Title Network Notes Air date
2012
Review 2012: We Remember[18]
BBC News
Archive footage 31 December 2012
2013
BAFTAs[19]
BBC One
Archive photo 12 May 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dr Who star returns to Bradford roots". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Doctor Who star Mary Tamm dies aged 62". The Guardian. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Mary Tamm". BBC Wiltshire. 21 September 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  4. ^ a b "Obituary: Mary Tamm". Daily Telegraph. 26 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Warwick, David (2012). "Mary Tamm (RADA Obituary)". The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Programme for Cards on the Table (Vaudeville Theatre): Theatreprint No 80, May 1982
  7. ^ "MaryTamm.com". [dead link]
  8. ^ "There's Something About Mary", a DVD featurette on The Key to Time - Special Edition (BBC Video/2 Entertain, 2007).
  9. ^ "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Destiny Of The Daleks". ShannonSullivan.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  10. ^ a b "MaryTamm Official Website - Mary Tamm in Dr Who". MaryTamm.com. Archived from the original on 2010-01-06. 
  11. ^ a b McGuigan, Eddie (3 September 2009). "An interview with Mary Tamm". Outpost Skaro. 
  12. ^ Rawson-Jones, Ben (19 October 2009). "Doctor Who Interview: Mary Tamm". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  13. ^ a b Flerlage, Elizabeth (24 September 2007). "The 5-minute Interview: Mary Tamm, Actress". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  14. ^ "Doctor Who - Fourth Doctor Adventures - Coming Soon". Big Finish Productions. 
  15. ^ DOCTOR WHO - FOURTH DOCTOR ADVENTURES - RELEASED ITEMS. Big Finish Productions. Retrieved January 17, 2014
  16. ^ a b c Martin, Arthur (9 August 2012). "Widower of Doctor Who star who died of cancer suffers fatal heart attack hours after giving the eulogy at her funeral". Daily Mail. 
  17. ^ Wilkes, David (24 October 2012). "Husband who died of a broken heart: He fell victim to sudden death syndrome hours after giving eulogy at funeral of Doctor Who actress wife". Daily Mail. 
  18. ^ "Review 2012: We Remember". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "BAFTA's Actor and Actress Deaths of this Year". 

External links[edit]