Doctor Who News mary-tamm

Published on July 26th, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

Mary Tamm Dies at 62

Kasterborous is sad to relay the passing of former Doctor Who companion Mary Tamm, who has died from a cancer related illness aged 62.

The stunning actress played the first incarnation of the Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar (“Fred” for short) during the 1978 Key to Time season, appearing in the serials The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll and The Armageddon Factor, before moving on and being replaced by Lalla Ward the following season.

Beyond Doctor Who, Tamm was a recognisable face on TV, appearing in a regular role in soap opera Brookside in the 1990s as well as having key roles in movies The Odessa File (1973) and The Likely Lads (1976).

The news was confirmed by Barry Langford, Mary’s agent for 22 years.

“She was a fantastic actress… she played stage parts of such range, parts that would take your breath away. She could play any role, and do so wonderfully.”

Born 22nd March 1950 in Bradford to a family of Estonian immigrants, Tamm trained at RADA and began acting on the stage with the Birmingham Repertory Company in 1971 alongside Derek Jacobi, Joan Sims and Ronnie Barker. She is survived by husband Marcus Ringrose, daughter Lauren and seven-year-old grandson Max.

Mr Ringrose made a touching tribute to his wife.

“Mary was truly beautiful in every way. On set and offstage, her earthy northern humour and self-deprecating wit brightened every occasion.”

“We will miss her every day.”

In 2009 Mary Tamm published her autobiography, First Generation, which described her upbringing in considerable poverty in 1950s Bradford.

Lunchtime Update

Further tributes have been made, notably from Tamm’s former leading man Tom Baker, who said

“She was a darling companion and wonderfully witty and kind. I’m so sorry to hear of her death.”

Meanwhile Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant who both knew Tamm through the convention circuit and their join association with Big Finish, have also voiced their sadness through Twitter.

Since the beginning of 2011 Doctor Who fans have lost four companions, famous faces that have been constants since the show’s classic era and throughout its wilderness years. Perhaps former DWM editor Gary Gillatt summed it up best:


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About the Author


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+.

9 Responses to Mary Tamm Dies at 62

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    What sad news. My prayers are with Mary’s family.

  2. avatar Gavin Noble says:

    Another companion goes to the TARDIS in the sky. Sad news. I’ve just recently finished watching the entire Key to Time season and was struck at just how good she worked alongside Tom Baker.

    Such sad news and my condolences to her family.

  3. avatar francis cave says:

    This is the sort of Doctor Who news I wish I didn’t have to read.

    Terribly sad….

  4. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    So young. And so soon after Caroline John. Rest in peace and condolences to her family. She was the noblest Romana of them all.

  5. avatar Anthony Dry says:

    Absolutely Shocked at this news. A stunner of a woman too.

  6. avatar Bob James says:

    So sad to hear this news. We are losing some of our best and brightest in our world of Who. My prayers for her family, and Godspeed, Mary, to a better place……….

  7. avatar Drew says:

    The powers-that-be need to realize that there should be a DW reunion episode as SOON as possible! We’ve lost The Brigadier, Sarah Jane, Liz, and now Romana in the space of a year! Get as many of the classic series stars together and put them in front of the cameras for the 50th anniverary!!!

  8. avatar Richard says:

    Unbelievably sad news about Mary Tamm. 62 is no age these day, is it? A lovely lady and a great companion to the Doctor. Not a good time to be a fan this last year or so… My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

  9. avatar Philip Bates says:

    She was due to be at a local convention last year, but she couldn’t come due to illness. Such a shame, as I was really excited about meeting such a wonderful actress.

    This last year or so has been so sad. Such terrible losses to the world.

    Rest in Peace, Mary.

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