Whilst at the MCM Birmingham Comic Con, I spoke to Lalla Ward, who played Romana opposite the Fourth Doctor, about the character, her work with Big Finish and her views on the series.
I’m here with Lalla Ward who played Romana in Doctor Who.
I did, hello, how nice to be here with you
Well I am. The thing is I haven’t seen much of it because I sit at my desk and get to meet very nice people who come for photographs, but I haven’t yet had a chance to wander round, which I’ll hope to do later.Have you seen any of the latest series?
No I haven’t. I keep being asked that and I absolutely love Peter Capaldi, I think he’s the most wonderful actor, so I really should watch them. I tend not to watch very much television at the moment, I don’t know why. I suppose there’s so much else going on you know, and I haven’t had a chance. I watched a tiny bit of the very first one, but I need to look at it properly because it’s obviously extremely good.
Now recently, a few of the old companions have been coming back. Would you ever consider coming back?
Never say never. *laughs* I don’t know. I’d wait to see if I was asked and in what context. Yeah, I would never say never.
They’ve also recently brought the Master back with different people playing the role. Would you be happy if someone else took over the role?
Of the Master? I don’t care if they take over the Master. I wouldn’t be happy if somebody else took over the role of Romana. I would be sad. One made it one’s own and the things that are happening now are piggy backing on that original way of doing things and I think the people who do the new things kind of owe it to the characters who were in it originally to stick with it. If they want to make new characters that’s absolutely fine, but I don’t really see why they should be me.
You’ve still been playing Romana in the Big Finish audio dramas. Do you enjoy doing those?
Yes. I love doing them. I love working for Big Finish. I love the whole atmosphere in the studio. I love the fact that I get to work with people in the programme who I never worked with previously. It’s lovely to suddenly find oneself doing a series with Colin Baker or somebody who I would never normally have had the chance to work with.
Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m doing another Big Finish next week in fact. And I’m hopeful – but I’m not positive – I’m hopeful that they do some more Gallifrey ones with Louise and me, which would be nice because I adore working with Louise. She’s another, I mean Louise and I never crossed paths in the original series but we love working together – at least I do and I think I can speak for her. *laughs* I think we both get on together. That would be fun.
Having played a companion quite early on, do you think that your companions have influenced any of the later ones?
I think you’d have to ask them. Whenever you come into a long running series there has to be some sort of influence from all that’s gone before if only to say ‘I’m not going to do it that way I’m going to be totally different’. I mean that’s an influence of a kind. I wouldn’t have thought much but I would have thought they would’ve noticed. I don’t know.
And with the show going for so long, does it surprise you that it’s become so big?
I think it surprises all of us that it’s had such a long life and that it’s sort of managed to grow up with the universe. The technology has changed so much since I was in it and yet it’s managed to go on moving with the times and I think that’s a huge thing in its favour and to the credit of the people who do it that they’ve never got stuck, that it’s moved on and that it’s gone along with whatever era it’s in. Like some of the characters in it, they’ve sort of metamorphosed into a new ear.
I notice you’ve also got a book.
Yes, well they’ve done this – I think rather wonderful – book of pictures specifically about me. They do it about lots of people but this one’s about me. It’s got a lovely introduction by dear June Hudson who did a lot of my costumes. There are a lot of her drawings in it. It’s fantastically good value. I mean I wouldn’t buy a photograph of me when you could have a whole book for the same price. And the money for it is going to aid Danville Hall, which is a residential care home for old actors – members of the acting profession – and I chair the trustees there so it’s a cause dear to my heart and we all need more money and ever penny of the profits is going to Danville Hall.
Not at all. Thank you so much for talking to me. Thank you every one. Bye.
We will be reviewing the book later this week. Tomorrow we’ll be revealing what the guys from Red Dwarf think about a Doctor Who/Red Dwarf crossover.