The BBC confirmed this morning that Mary Tamm, who played the first incarnation of Romana alongside Tom Baker's Doctor, died in hospital after a long battle with cancer at the age of 62.
Tamm came to Doctor Who in 1978 during a time of experimentation for the show. Not only was she the first companion who was also a Time Lord, she also was part of the first series for the show to have a major ongoing story arc—"The Key to Time." It didn't hurt that she was an absolute knockout with a dry wit and charm that made her instantly unforgettable.
The final moment of that oft-forgotten Christmas scene represents the affable back and forth that Baker and Tamm seemed to share. Never afraid to be a bit rude to each other for the sake of a joke, I can remember listening to the commentary track for Mary's first serial, "The Ribos Operation," where Tom would comment on her breasts and she would scoff at how he'd never have a chance with her. Silly, yes, but it's those sort of off-the-cuff moments that make us feel closest to these actors.
In a statement, Tom Baker said, "She was a darling companion and wonderfully witty and kind. I'm so sorry to hear of her death."
As Doctor Who fans, we're incredibly spoiled. While small characters die all the time, the Doctor and most of his companions are effectively immortal. That their time could somehow ever be up seems impossible. Yet here we are.
In life, the best we can hope for is that, in the end, something we do matters and that we will be remembered. Mary Tamm, wherever you are, you mattered, and you will be remembered.
(via the bbc)