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Doctor Who Companion Profile: Romana II

Doctor Who Companion Profile: Romana II

Lalla Ward as Doctor Who Companion Romana II

Romana II

Portrayed by: Lalla Ward

Doctor(s): Fourth Doctor

Tenure: 10 stories, from Destiny of the Daleks (Sept, 1979) to Warriors’ Gate (Jan, 1981)

Background: Romana is a Time Lady first assigned to travel with the Doctor by the White Guardian* (*Spoilers!). After traveling with him for the Key to Time season, she chooses to regenerate, with fans distinguishing between these incarnations by calling her Romana I or Romana II. Just like the Doctor, she has a distinctly different personality in her new regeneration and she and the Doctor have a distinctly different rapport.

Family/Friends: For information about her past, see Romana I. Romana II has a close relationship with the Doctor and the two are incredibly playful with each other. She’s also close with Adric, for the brief span that they overlap in the TARDIS, and when she leaves, she takes K-9 with her.

Personality: Romana II, in contrast to her earlier regeneration, is breezy and relaxed. She’s still made of the same stern stuff as Romana I, but she’s more comfortable with the Doctor and the lifestyle that comes with traveling on the TARDIS. She is of course still brilliant, but she tends to be more easygoing than the rather high maintenance Romana I. She’s also more independent despite her close friendship with the Doctor when traveling with him, venturing out on her own at the end of Warriors’ Gate rather than returning to N-Space to become the Lady President of Gallifrey, as the Time Lords requested.

Special Skills: Regeneration, intelligence, quick thinking, Time Lord knowledge

Best Story: City of Death is one of the most relaxed, charming stories in the show’s run, showing two best friends having wacky adventure in Paris, and it features the fabulous Julian Glover as one of the series’ most memorable one-off villains. The E-Space Trilogy is also pretty fun, though there are a few weaker moments.

Worst Story: The Creature from the Pit and The Horns of Nimon are among the worst stories in the Fourth Doctor’s entire tenure, let alone Romana II’s, and The Leisure Hive isn’t much better.

Highlights of tenure: The single biggest highlight of Romana II’s time in the TARDIS is her interaction with the Doctor and their genial rapport

Lowlights of tenure: While she does do plenty of her own saving, it’s a bit frustrating to see Romana II possessed or captured as frequently as she is

Memorable quotes:

Duggan: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”
Romana II: “If you wanted an omelette, I’d expect to find a pile of broken crockery, a cooker in flames, and an unconscious chef.”  City of Death

“I’m a traveler, I’m a Time Lord, and I am not used to being assaulted by a collection of hairy, grubby little men.”  The Creature from the Pit

[re: the Doctor] “Oh, don’t mind him. He just likes to irritate people.”  Nightmare of Eden

Other notes: After Mary Tamm decided to leave, Lalla Ward, who had just guested in The Armageddon Factor as Princess Astra, was brought on to replace her. This necessitated some creative writing to explain Romana’s new appearance and led to one of the more controversial (and over-the-top silly, not in a good way) post-regeneration scenes in the show’s run.