She’s a Lady Whoah-oh-oh She’s a Lady

Hellllloooo Romana! Mary Tamm-tastic, as I once exclaimed, has chatted about the release of The Key to Time on DVD in the UK for the first time with the BBC’s Official Doctor Who website guys. Lucky b*st*rds.

They began with the obvious questions about the DVD commentary:

Well, the DVDs originally came out in America about four years ago and for that we had to sit down in a studio and talk about what we’d remembered. I thought, “I’m never going to manage this,” but it’s amazing how much comes back. So, having done that once, doing the commentaries on the new ones was a lot easier.

On most of them it’s me, Tom and John Leeson – and we’d go off on tangents! We all got on very well, and when you’ve spent that long working with someone you develop a shorthand. So we do go off on these fantastical tangents from time to time, which do make the DVD commentaries more interesting. Every so often the director would say, “Come on, you’ve got to get back to Doctor Who now!”

The lovely Mary TammI’ve also done something which I’ve very much enjoyed – which is presenting a documentary at the location for The Stones of Blood. They rang me up and said, “Would you be interested in appearing in this little documentary? We’re just trying to find a presenter for it…” and I said, “Ooh, this is a good opportunity – why don’t I present it? ” and they said “Oh, great!”

There’s also an answer to that oft-wondered question – why on earth did Mary leave Doctor Who?

By the end of it, the character had not developed in quite the way I had been promised, and it was something that I could see quite clearly would not happen. Because it was a half hour format, there’s always got to be someone who is like a sounding board for the audience.

If you’ve got two very strong characters and they we’re having their own separate adventures, it just wouldn’t work. There’s just not the time. And so they had to revert back to the formula of the companion saying, “What’s that Doctor?” because then you’ve got an explanation for the viewers – which is of course what you need.

So that influenced my decision to leave. I was very happy to have done it, and very happy to have been part of TV history.

It also seems, meanwhile, that the lovely Mary is working on her autobiography.

I can’t tell you all the best stories because they’re going in the book, but I started on my autobiography two years ago, beginning with my life in Bradford. I’ve done 20,000 words so far, and I think I need to aim for about 60,000 – but I haven’t even left Bradford yet! No, no, I have really, but I haven’t got to Doctor Who yet.

I seriously recommend you visiting the BBC’s Doctor Who site and reading the whole interview, with Mary’s deliciously silky voice ringing in your ears… oh and don’t forget!

Christian Cawley


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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