Popular Doctor Who actress Mary Tamm has died this morning at the age of 62, after losing a battle with cancer. She leaves behind a son and daughter, Lauren and seven-year-old Max, as well as husband Marcus Ringrose.
Born of Estonian descent in West Yorkshire on the 22nd of March 1950, Tamm began her acting career having graduated from RADA, with the Birmingham Rep in 1971. Quickly establishing a name for herself on television (including a short stint in Coronation Street; later in her career Tamm also had a regular parts in both Brookside and Eastenders), Tamm appeared in films such as The Odessa File and The Likely Lads, before being cast as the new companion Romana in the 1978 series of Doctor Who, popularly known as The Key to Time season.
Romana was the first Time Lord to become a companion of the Doctor, having been assigned to assist him in his search for the six segments of the Key to Time, and as such, even though she appeared in the series for only the one year (regenerating into Lalla Ward once her contact was up), Tamm’s place in the show’s mythology was never in doubt. The Key to Time occurred during one of Doctor Who’s most popular spells, being broadcast in the late 1970s, and the slowly mellowing ice maiden Romana has become a legendary companion in fan memories.
After leaving Doctor Who, Tamm went on to appear in series as diverse as Jonathan Creek, Crime Traveller, Casualty, The Bill and Wire in the Blood, although it is for the part of Romana that she will be forever remembered. In 2009, Fantom Films published her autobiography, First Generation.
Mary Tamm was loved and will be missed by many. “She was a fantastic actress,” said Barry Langford, her agent of 22 years who imparted the news earlier today. “She played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away. She could play any role, and do so wonderfully. She had a zest for life.”