Romana

From Academic Kids

Template:Doctorwhocharacter Romana, short for Romanadvoratrelundar, is a fictional character in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. A Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, she was a companion of the Fourth Doctor.

As a Time Lord (or Time Lady), Romana was able to regenerate, and therefore the character had two incarnations with somewhat different personalities. These different incarnations have been dubbed Romana I and Romana II by fans. Romana I was played by Mary Tamm from 1978 to 1979. When Tamm chose not to sign on for a second season, despite optimistic prodding on the part of the show’s producers, the part was recast. Romana II was played by Lalla Ward from 1979 to 1981. Ward, who in real life married and divorced her co-star Tom Baker, is now married to the scientist Richard Dawkins.

Contents

Romana I

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Tamm01.jpg
Mary Tamm as Romana I

Romana was originally assigned to assist the Doctor during the quest for the Key to Time, which was a series of linked serials which constituted the whole of Season 16 (1978-79). Romana first appeared in The Ribos Operation, and was intended to be a contrast to the savage Leela who was her predecessor. Romana was initially played as haughty and somewhat arrogant, looking down upon the Doctor who she considered to be her academic inferior. However, she soon gained a appreciation for the Doctor's experience of adventure.

Over the course of Season 16, Romana appeared to take some of the characteristics of the screaming damsel in distress, much to the annoyance of the actress who played her. When Tamm decided not to return to the role, Romana regenerated into Romana II at the start of Season 17, emerging with a different physical appearance and a lighter personality.

The suddenness of the regeneration scene was also dictated by real life events. Although Tamm had left the show on relatively good terms and did not object to returning for a brief regeneration scene, by the start of Session 17, she was very visibly pregnant, making her return impractical.

Romana II

Romana II's introduction in Destiny of the Daleks, a script credited to Terry Nation, but with several additions and alterations by script editor Douglas Adams, has long been controversial, mainly because of its casual approach to the subject of regeneration. At the beginning of the serial, Romana changes bodily forms several times, rather like someone casually trying on different outfits, before deciding to take the form of Princess Astra, who had been played by Lalla Ward in the final serial of Season 16, The Armageddon Factor. The controversy arises from the fact that the Doctor's own regenerations have usually been traumatic events, and it had been previously established that Time Lords were limited to twelve regenerations. Since Romana was the first (and, to date, only) female Time Lord shown regenerating, it has been speculated that perhaps the mechanics of female regeneration differ from that of males.1

Romana II enjoyed a more intimate relationship with The Doctor than her predecessor, to the point that fans have assumed a romantic relationship with the Doctor. Although a relationship was never explicitly shown or intended by the writers, many fans have found the signs of a romantic relationship particularly evident in the story City of Death, perhaps reflecting the real-life romance between Tom Baker and Lalla Ward which reportedly blossomed during the production of that story, leading to their brief marriage.

Her final television appearance was in Warriors' Gate, where she left the Doctor with the robot dog K-9 to forge her own path in the parallel universe of E-space. She also appeared briefly in the the 20th Anniversary special The Five Doctors through the reuse of footage from the uncompleted story Shada and in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time.

Shada itself was remade as an audio play with the Eighth Doctor, accompanied by Macromedia Flash animations. Romana II was once again played by Lalla Ward, but as with all spin-off media, the canonicity of non-television stories is unclear.

In The End of the World the Doctor stated that his homeworld had been destroyed and that he was the last of the Time Lords. Whether Romana is still alive, however, is uncertain (see below).

Other appearances

Outside of the television programme, the Fourth Doctor and Romana II also appeared in Australian-filmed television advertisements for PR1ME Computers in 1980, which played in a tongue-in-cheek way with the idea that the two characters shared a romantic relationship. [1] (http://www.tv-ark.org.uk/cult/drwhocommercials-new.html)

Both Romanas have made appearances in the spin-off novels published by Virgin Publishing and BBC Books, and in Doctor Who audio plays produced by Big Finish. Romana II appeared in a separate series of audio plays produced in the early 2000s by BBV.

In the BBV series Lalla Ward played a character who appeared with K-9 in an unnamed parallel universe (known in the titles as the "pocket universe"). This character was called the Mistress (which was what K-9 called her in the television series). Because of the copyright situation in which BBV was able to license K-9 but not Romana, the Mistress was not explicitly called Romana.

In the licensed Virgin Missing Adventures novel Goth Opera, Romana II returned from E-space and was given a seat on the High Council of Time Lords, and subsequently became Lady President of Gallifrey. Her presidency was reflected in the later novels and in her audio appearances (also voiced by Ward). In some of the audio appearances Ward co-starred with other incarnations of the Doctor. Ward herself has been very active in Doctor Who fandom.

In the Big Finish adventure Zagreus, Romana II was forced to banish the Eighth Doctor from the universe as he had become a danger to it following his infection by the forces of "anti-time". Following on from this, she was featured in a number of audio plays with former Doctor companion Leela (played by Louise Jameson) under the umbrella title of Gallifrey. In the second series of the Gallifrey audios in 2005, Mary Tamm is to return to play Romana I alongside Ward.

In the BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, Romana underwent a second regeneration, and her new incarnation (Romana III) was far less sympathetic and far more ruthless than the other two. This third incarnation pursued the Eighth Doctor in a story arc which resulted in the obliteration of Gallifrey and the retroactive wiping out of the Time Lords from history. However, it was hinted in Tomb of Valedemar by Simon Messingham that Romana may be one of a few Time Lords that survived this cataclysm.

Footnotes

  • 1. At least one attempt has been made in the spin-off short stories to explain Romana's regeneration. In the short story The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe by Mark Michalowski, published in the Big Finish Productions anthology, Short Trips: Companions, unknown to the Doctor, Romana regenerated due to damage caused by exposure to the Key to Time. Just as she was about to do so, a humanoid manifestation of the TARDIS — jealous of Romana — trapped her in a force field and proceeded to play a trick on the Doctor by pretending to be Romana and changing into different forms, finally becoming a double of Princess Astra. According to this, the Romana who appeared in Destiny of the Daleks was actually the TARDIS manifestation, and after that adventure realised the error of her ways and released Romana, but not before making the female Time Lord assume the image of Astra.
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