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Lalla Ward

The Honourable
Lalla Ward
Lalla Ward pictured in 2014
Born Sarah Ward
(1951-06-28) 28 June 1951 [1]
London, England
Nationality English
Citizenship British
Occupation Actress, author
Years active 1972–present (actress)[2]
1985–1988 (author)
Spouse(s) Tom Baker (1980–1982)
Richard Dawkins (1992–present)

Lalla Ward (born Sarah Ward; 28 June 1951) is an English actress and author.

She is known for her role as Romana in the BBC television series Doctor Who.


  • Family 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • Doctor Who 2.2
    • Books 2.3
    • Textiles and ceramics 2.4
  • Charity work 3
  • Personal life 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Sarah 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".[3] Her father was the BBC's war correspondent in Finland at the beginning of the Second World War, while her mother was a writer and BBC producer specialising in dramatised documentaries.[4] Her mother committed suicide in July 1991.[5]

She has a brother, Edward, two years her junior; and a half-brother, William, who is the 8th Edward IV and Richard III, and from John Mordaunt, 1st Earl of Peterborough, John, 1st Viscount Mordaunt, and Bernard Ward, 1st Viscount Bangor. Her great-grandmother Mary Ward was an illustrator and amateur scientist, and is documented as the first person in the world to die in a motor vehicle accident.[6][7]


Early career

Ward's stage name, "Lalla", comes from her attempts as a toddler to pronounce her own name. She left school at age 14 because she "loathed every single minute of it", and took her O-levels on her own. Ward studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama from 1968 to 1971.[4] After spending a few years painting, she auditioned at London drama schools "as a sort of dare" to herself:

It was a 'see if you can do it' sort of thing, because it was the thing I hated most—just like somebody who's scared of heights might go rock climbing, or, I don't know, go potholing if they're claustrophobic.[4]

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 England Made Me (1973), Matushka (1973), Rosebud (1975), and Crossed Swords (aka 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). She acted in a film called Got It Made in 1974 which was later recut with sex scenes featuring other actresses and reissued as Sweet Virgin.[8] Club International magazine ran nude pictures from the film, claiming they were of her and Ward successfully sued the magazine.[8] In 1980, she played Ophelia to Sir Derek Jacobi's Hamlet in the BBC television production.[9]

Doctor Who

She was 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.[10]

After Doctor Who, she appeared in Schoolgirl Chums (1982)[11] and The Jeweller's Shop and The Rehearsal on stage. Ward decided to end her acting career after marrying Richard Dawkins.[8] However, she has since reprised the character of Romana in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time, the 2003 webcast version of Shada, and in several Doctor Who and Gallifrey audio plays produced by Big Finish Productions. She also played the 'Mistress' opposite John Leeson's 'K-9' in two audio plays from BBV. In addition, she has appeared at a number of Doctor Who conventions and related special events. In November 2013 she appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.[12]


Ward has recorded audio books, including Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct and Shada by Gareth Roberts and Douglas Adams. She co-narrates The Selfish Gene, The Ancestor's Tale, The God Delusion, The Blind Watchmaker and The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution with her husband. In the 1980s, she also wrote two books on knitting and one on embroidery. Ward is a keen chef, and she contributed a recipe to The Doctor Who Cookbook which was edited by Gary Downie.

She also provided illustrations for Climbing Mount Improbable.[13] and Astrology for dogs (and owners) by William Fairchild (1980).[14]

Textiles and ceramics

Ward is a textile artist and ceramicist. Her subjects are rare and endangered animals. She refers to her technique of creating fabric pictures as thread drawing, considering this a more accurate term for her work than the commonly used thread painting.[15]

In 2009, at the suggestion of the Gerald Durrell Foundation, she prepared an exhibition of textiles and ceramics on the theme of Galapagos wildlife. The auction raised £24,000 for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust's campaign for the Floreana mockingbird and other wildlife of Galapagos.[16]

She has shown three exhibitions at the National Theatre, London. Her 2010 textiles exhibition, Stranded, was inspired by the evolution of animals on islands. [17] In 2011, Migration featured works which combined textiles and ceramics, the subjects seeming to move across both media.[18] The theme of Vanishing Act, 2013, was camouflage. As with previous shows, Ward made available detailed instructions explaining her techniques. She also used one glass case to recreate her workspace, including such sources of inspiration as music, quotes, and a photo of her dog.[19]

Charity work

For almost 20 years, Ward has served on the committee of the Actors' Charitable Trust, TACT, and as a trustee for 10 years. Alongside Richard and Sheila Attenborough, she led a successful £7.5 million redevelopment of the actors' care home, Denville Hall.

Personal life

Ward was in a relationship with her co-star Tom Baker whilst working on Doctor Who, and they lived together in a flat in Deptford. The couple married in December 1980, but the marriage lasted only 16 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:

Ward said in 2004 that her long friendship with Douglas Adams, with whom she worked on Doctor Who, meant more to her and was "more valuable and more enduring" than her marriage to Baker.[8]

In 1992, at his 40th birthday party, Adams introduced her to his friend Richard Dawkins (biologist and author of such books as The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and, later, The God Delusion).[8][21] Ward and Dawkins married later that year.

See also


  1. ^ "The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "V1LE. Doctor Who - Novel Adaptations Volume 01: The Romance of Crime/The English Way of Death (Limited Edition) - Doctor Who - Novel Adaptations - Big Finish". Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ a b c Cook, Benjamin (3 March 2004).   .
  5. ^ "How We Met: Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward".  
  6. ^ "Appalling Accident: Sudden Death of the Hon. Mrs. Ward". King's County Chronicle. 1 September 1869. 
  7. ^ "Mary Ward 1827-1869". Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Cook, Benjamin (31 March 2004).  
  9. ^ "BBC- Doctor Who - Shada - Lalla Ward - Shakespeare and sci fi". 
  10. ^ "Eye of Horus - Doctor Who - Editorial Contents - Interview - Lalla Ward". 
  11. ^ "Schoolgirl Chums". BFI. 
  12. ^ "BBC - The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot". BBC. 
  13. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins, Author, Lalla Ward, Illustrator W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-31682-7". 
  14. ^ "Astrology for dogs (and owners) / William Fairchild ; illustrated by Lalla Ward. - Version details - Trove". 
  15. ^ "Thread drawing instructions" (PDF). 
  16. ^ "Gerald Durrells Jersey wildlife conservation trust celebrates 50th anniversary". 
  17. ^ "Quilting Daily interview with Lalla Ward". 
  18. ^ "Indie London Migration listing". 
  19. ^ "Lalla Ward Vanishing Act". 
  20. ^ Parker, Kevin. "Lalla Ward profile". Doctor Who Companions. Retrieved 19 July 2007. 
  21. ^  

External links

  • Lalla Ward at the Internet Movie Database
  • Photos of Ward and information on her knitting books
  • Article in the Independent about Lalla Ward and Richard Dawkins
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