Lalla Ward

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Lalla Ward
Lalla Ward 2014.jpg
Lalla Ward in 2014
Sarah Jill Ward[1]

(1951-06-28) 28 June 1951 (age 69)[2]
London, England
OccupationActress, author
Years active1972–present (actress)
1985–1988 (author)
(m. 1980; div. 1982)

Richard Dawkins
(m. 1992; sep. 2016)
Parent(s)Edward Ward, 7th Viscount Bangor
Marjorie Banks

The Hon. Lalla Ward (born Sarah Jill Ward; 28 June 1951) is an English actress and author. She played the role of Romana in the BBC television series Doctor Who.


Early career[edit]

Ward's stage name, "Lalla", comes from her attempts as a toddler to pronounce her own name. She left school at age 14 because she "loathed every single minute of it", and took her O-levels on her own. Ward studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama from 1968 to 1971.[3] After spending a few years painting, she auditioned at London drama schools "as a sort of dare" to herself:

It was a 'see if you can do it' sort of thing, because it was the thing I hated most—just like somebody who's scared of heights might go rock climbing, or, I don't know, go potholing if they're claustrophobic.[3]

Ward began her acting career in the Hammer horror film Vampire Circus (1972), and played Lottie, the teenage daughter of Louisa Trotter (Gemma Jones) in The Duchess of Duke Street, the BBC drama series of the mid-1970s.[4] She appeared in the films England Made Me (1973), Matushka (1973), Rosebud (1975), and Crossed Swords (or The Prince and the Pauper) (1977). In 1974 she acted in a film called Got It Made, which was later recut with sex scenes featuring other actresses and released in 1978 as Sweet Virgin.[5] Club International magazine ran nude pictures from the film, claiming they were of her, and Ward successfully sued the magazine.[5] Her television work included The Upper Crusts (1973) as the daughter of Margaret Leighton and Charles Gray, Van der Valk (1973), The Protectors (1973), Quiller (1975), Who Pays the Ferryman? (1977), The Professionals (1978) and Hazell (1979). In 1980, she played Ophelia to Derek Jacobi's Hamlet in the BBC television production.[6]

Doctor Who[edit]

She was the second actress to play the Time Lord Romana in Doctor Who. After a guest appearance as Princess Astra in the Doctor Who story The Armageddon Factor in 1979, Ward was chosen to replace Mary Tamm, who had decided against continuing in the role.[7] She appeared in all of Season 17's stories and then her character was written out in the third to last story of Season 18 in the story entitled Warriors' Gate.[8]

After Doctor Who, she appeared in the TV movie Schoolgirl Chums (1982),[9] and The Jeweller's Shop and The Rehearsal on stage. Ward decided to end her acting career after marrying Richard Dawkins.[5] However, she has since reprised the character of Romana in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time, the 2003 webcast version of Shada, and in several Doctor Who and Gallifrey audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions.[10] She also played the 'Mistress' opposite John Leeson's 'K-9' in two audio plays from BBV. In addition, she has appeared at a number of Doctor Who conventions and related special events. In November 2013 she appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.[11]


Ward has recorded audio books, including Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct and Shada by Gareth Roberts and Douglas Adams. She co-narrates The Selfish Gene, The Ancestor's Tale, The God Delusion, The Blind Watchmaker and The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution with her husband. In the 1980s. She also wrote two books on knitting and one on embroidery. Ward is a keen chef, and she contributed a recipe to The Doctor Who Cookbook which was edited by Gary Downie.[12]

She also provided illustrations for Climbing Mount Improbable[13] and Astrology for dogs (and owners) by William Fairchild (1980).[14]

Textiles and ceramics[edit]

Ward is a textile artist and ceramicist. Her subjects are rare and endangered animals. She refers to her technique of creating fabric pictures as thread drawing, considering this a more accurate term for her work than the commonly used thread painting.[15]

In 2009, at the suggestion of the Gerald Durrell Foundation, she prepared an exhibition of textiles and ceramics on the theme of Galapagos wildlife. The auction raised £24,000 for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's campaign for the Floreana mockingbird and other wildlife of Galapagos.[16]

She has shown three exhibitions at the National Theatre, London. Her 2010 textiles exhibition, Stranded, was inspired by the evolution of animals on islands.[17] In 2011, Migration featured works which combined textiles and ceramics, the subjects seeming to move across both media.[18] The theme of Vanishing Act, 2013, was camouflage. As with previous shows, Ward made available detailed instructions explaining her techniques. She also used one glass case to recreate her workspace, including such sources of inspiration as music, quotes, and a photo of her dog.[19]

Charity work[edit]

Ward has served for almost 20 years on the committee of the Actors' Charitable Trust (TACT) and 10 years as a trustee. Alongside Richard and Sheila Attenborough, she led a successful £7.5 million redevelopment of the actors' care home Denville Hall.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Ward was in a relationship with her co-star Tom Baker whilst working on Doctor Who, and they lived together in a flat in Deptford. The couple married in December 1980, but the marriage lasted only 16 months. Ward attributed the separation to work commitments, different lifestyles and conflicts of interest. Regarding her marriage to Baker, Ward is quoted as saying:

It's something I still feel sad about. I loved – and, in many ways, still love – Tom very much. The trouble is, our careers came to be just as important as each other, and we grew apart. I was angry at suggestions that it didn't work because I was too young, or that Tom was unreasonable to me. We just irritated each other occasionally – we weren't close enough, I suppose. It was a decision we discussed and felt was for the best.[20]

Ward said in 2004 that her long friendship with Douglas Adams, with whom she worked on Doctor Who, meant more to her and was "more valuable and more enduring" than her marriage to Baker.[5]

In 1992, at his 40th birthday party, Adams introduced her to his friend Richard Dawkins (biologist and author of books including The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and The God Delusion).[5][21] Ward and Dawkins married later that year. In 2016, in a joint statement, the couple announced their amicable separation after 24 years of marriage.[22]


Sarah Ward is the daughter of Edward Ward, 7th Viscount Bangor, and his fourth wife, Marjorie Alice Banks; as such, she is entitled to use the courtesy title "The Honourable".[23] Her father was the BBC's war correspondent in Finland at the beginning of World War II, while her mother was a writer and BBC producer specialising in dramatised documentaries.[3] Her mother committed suicide in July 1991.[24]

She has a brother, Edward, two years her junior; and a half-brother, William, who is the 8th Viscount Bangor, three years her senior. Through her father, she is descended from George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III, and from John Mordaunt, 1st Earl of Peterborough, John, 1st Viscount Mordaunt, and Bernard Ward, 1st Viscount Bangor.

Her great-grandmother Mary Ward was an Anglo-Irish illustrator and amateur scientist, documented as the first person in the world to die in a motor vehicle accident.[25][26][27]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Denville Hall 2012". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  2. ^ "The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Cook, Benjamin (3 March 2004). "Across the Universe...". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 340. Tunbridge Wells. pp. 14–19.
  4. ^ "LEV1. Doctor Who: Novel Adaptations Volume 01: The Romance of Crime/The English Way of Death (Limited Edition)". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Cook, Benjamin (31 March 2004). "Here comes the Sun". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 341. Tunbridge Wells. pp. 14–18.
  6. ^ "Shakespeare and sci fi". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Interview - Lalla Ward (Romana II)". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Schoolgirl Chums (1982)". BFI. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  10. ^ "EXCLUSIVE Interview With Lalla Ward". 26 November 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  11. ^ "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot". BBC. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  12. ^ Downie, Gary (1985). "E.T.T. (Extra Terrestrial Terrine)". The Doctor Who Cookbook. London, U.K.: W.H. Allen. p. 36. ISBN 0-491-03214-5.
  13. ^ "Climbing Mount Improbable". 15 September 1997. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Astrology for dogs (and owners) / William Fairchild ; illustrated by Lalla Ward". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Vanishing Act" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Gerald Durrell's Jersey wildlife conservation trust celebrates 50th anniversary". 10 April 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  17. ^ "From Television to Textiles: An interview with artist and actress Lalla Ward". 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  18. ^ "NT Free Exhibitions running into the New Year". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Lalla Ward Vanishing Act". Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  20. ^ Maynard, Carson. "Lalla Ward Biography". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  21. ^ Dawkins, Richard (17 September 2001). "Lament for Douglas". Edge Foundation. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  22. ^ Leake, Jonathan (17 July 2016). "Dawkins evolves into single man after 'amicable' split with Time Lady". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  23. ^ Mosley, Charles (1999). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage (106th ed.). Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd.
  24. ^ Drinkwater, Ros (19 June 1994). "How We Met: Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward". The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  25. ^ "Mary Ward, the first person to be killed in a car accident – 31 August 1869". The British Newspaper Archive. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Appalling Accident: Sudden Death of the Hon. Mrs. Ward". King's County Chronicle. 1 September 1869. p. 3.
  27. ^ "Mary Ward 1827-1869". Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society. 9 February 2007. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

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