Lalla Ward is an English actor, author and illustrator, best known for playing the part of Romana alongside Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, whom she briefly married.
Lalla Ward is the daughter of Edward Ward, 7th Viscount Bangor, and his fourth wife Marjorie Alice Banks; as such, she is entitled to use the courtesy title "The Honourable". Her father was the BBC's war correspondent in Finland at the beginning of World War II, while her mother was a writer and BBC producer specialising in dramatised documentaries.
Through her father she is descended from George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV, via John Mordaunt, 1st Earl of Peterborough, John, 1st Viscount Mordaunt, and Bernard Ward, 1st Viscount Bangor. Her great-grandmother Mary Ward was a talented illustrator and amateur scientist, and is documented as the first person in the world to die in a motor vehicle accident.
She studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama from 1968 to 1971. She began her acting career in the Hammer horror film Vampire Circus (1972), and played the teenage daughter of The Duchess of Duke Street in the popular BBC drama series of the 1970s. She appeared in films such as Matushka, England Made Me (1972), Rosebud (1974), and The Prince and the Pauper (1977) and on television featured in Van der Valk (1973), The Protectors (1973), Quiller (1975), Who Pays the Ferryman? (1977), The Professionals (1978) and Hazell (1979). In 1980, she played Ophelia to Derek Jacobi's Hamlet in the BBC television production.
She is best remembered as the second actress to play the Time Lady Romana (Romanadvoratrelundar) in Doctor Who. After a guest appearance as Princess Astra in the Doctor Who story The Armageddon Factor in 1979, Ward was chosen to replace Mary Tamm, who had decided against continuing in the role. She appeared in all of Season 17's stories and then her character was written out in the third to last story of Season 18 in the story entitled Warriors' Gate.
After Doctor Who, she appeared in Schoolgirl Chums (1982) and The Jeweller's Shop and The Rehearsal on stage.
Ward was in a relationship with her co-star Tom Baker whilst working on Doctor Who, and they lived together in a flat in Chelsea. The couple married in December 1980, but the marriage lasted only sixteen months. Ward attributed the separation to work commitments, different lifestyles and conflicts of interest. Regarding her marriage to Tom Baker, Ward is quoted as saying:
It's something I still feel sad about. I loved - and, in many ways, still love - Tom very much. The trouble is, our careers came to be just as important as each other, and we grew apart. I was angry at suggestions that it didn't work because I was too young, or that Tom was unreasonable to me. We just irritated each other occasionally - we weren't close enough, I suppose. It was a decision we discussed and felt was for the best.
Ward was introduced to her second husband, Richard Dawkins (biologist and author of such books as The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and, later, The God Delusion), by former Doctor Who Script Editor Douglas Adams.
Aside from acting, her other talents include book illustration, and she is particularly adept at sketching animals. One example of this was the 1985 Shell Calendar, which features embroidered pictures of sea birds. Ward also illustrates Dawkins's books, and has also been known to help create material for his lectures.
For almost twenty years, Lalla Ward has served on the committee of the Actors' Charitable Trust, TACT, and as a trustee for ten years. Alongside Richard and Sheila Attenborough, she led a successful £7.5 million redevelopment of the actors' care home, Denville Hall.