Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mary Tamm [1950-2012]

The absolutely beautiful face of Doctor Who Season Sixteen [1978-1979], English actress Mary Tamm [1950-2012], passed away today following a long fight with cancer.

The striking beauty that was Mary Tamm graced television screens worldwide as the good Doctor's companion over the course of six episodes. She played the role of Gallifrey Time Lady Romana opposite Tom Baker's Dr. Who. Able to regenerate, though Tamm was not invited back to do so, the character was replaced by Actress Lalla Ward who would take over the Romana role beginning with Season Seventeen's The Destiny Of The Daleks. As many know, Ward was married to Tom Baker [1980-1982].

Despite leaving the series with differences over the production, the beautiful Tamm will be best remembered for The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones Of Blood, The Androids Of Tara, The Power Of Kroll and The Armageddon Factor. For fans of this wonderful run of episodes, they are referred to collectively as The Key To Time series and can be purchased as a bundle. The box set contains audio commentaries to which Tamm herself contributed as well as a documentary short entitled There's Something About Mary.

Tamm arrived just a touch beyond my heavy exposure to Doctor Who as a youth. My personal affection for the Doctor's companions revolved primarily around the late, great Elisabeth Sladen [who passed away in 2011], who played companion Sarah Jane Smith through Seasons Twelve, Thirteen and part of Fourteen [1974-1976]. This was quickly followed by another fan favorite in Louise Jameson as Leela for Season Fourteen and Season Fifteen [19778-1978]. Tamm replaced Jameson for one solid 1978-1979 season before Ward's arrival.

Regardless of your companion preference each has offered their own unique style, grace and beauty to Doctor Who along the journey and no one offered more lady-like beauty to the Tardis run than Tamm. She was just a class babe. Mary Tamm leaves her mark on the legacy of the never ending book of Doctor Who mythology. She was the third of four Tom Baker companions in his lengthy run in the role of the Doctor. It's sad to see another chapter close from this fine, long-running series following the loss of both Sladen and Nicholas Courtney in 2011 and I'm sorry to have to write of her untimely departure on this day.

For those interested Tamm's autobiography, First Generation: The Autobiography [2009], is still available from the UK. Unfortunately, but understandably, Doctor Who Magazine will surely follow with either a Special Edition or a full tribute issue on Mary Tamm in the near future. Until then, one thing is certain like the female Time Lord she played and the actors who played these wonderful characters Tamm, too, will remain immortal.

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