She played Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar – Romana, for short – for only 26 episodes, from 1978 to ’79, but what an impact she made.
Initially billed as an equal to the good Doctor, Mary Tamm’s character was watered down over the unusual (back then) season long arc to find the six disguised segements of the Key to Time .
As Mary herself puts it in an illuminating interview with planetmondas:
‘In those days with the 25 minute format you couldn’t have two leaders … I hoped that with Romana being a strong character our roles might be reversed. In other words, the Doctor might get into trouble, and Romana could rescue him. Or he could ask ‘what’s that?’, and I could explain it for a change. But Tom [Baker] had been doing it for a long time, and it was his show.’
So she left the show. But unlike several other ex-assistants Mary cut herself a highly successful post-Who career, including stints in Brookside, Coronation St, and EastEnders.
To celebrate her birthday, here are some factoids you may not know about this fascinating actress:
Mary is a computer nerd.
A recycling nut.
She likes to drive very, very fast.
She’s a granny, but loves clubbing.
She’s an RSPCA inspector.
Source: 5 minute interview by Elizabeth Flerlage @ independent.co.uk
And here’s a short profile on YouTube put together by SparkyGerbil: