|Main aliases:||Princess Strella, Boudicca|
|Place of origin:||Gallifrey|
|First seen in:||The Ribos Operation|
|Main actor:||Mary Tamm|
When she was a mere sixty years old, Romana used to swim in Lake Abydos, home of the singing fish. She gathered zinc hawthorns from the molten rushes at the water's edge with her friends Taris and Rorvan, an orphaned brother and sister. (AUDIO: Neverland) Romana was given an air car for her seventieth birthday. (TV: The Pirate Planet)
Romana attended the Time Lord Academy when Braxiatel was a tutor there. She hated it. Her classmates were jealous of her effortless academic superiority, nicknaming her "the Ice Maiden". While there, she was contacted by the spirit of Pandora, who told her she had manipulated Romana's genetic make-up through the centuries with the Imperiatrix Imprimatur to create the perfect vessel for her to rule Gallifrey again.
Romana told Braxiatel, who hypnotised her to forget not only Pandora, but also him. She recalled only having heard of him through his art collection before her return to Gallifrey from her travels. (AUDIO: Lies)
Quest for the Key to Time
The White Guardian assigned Romana to assist the Fourth Doctor in the quest for the Key to Time, appearing to her as the Lord President of Gallifrey. Though she was much younger than the Doctor, she considered him an academic inferior. The Doctor was initially unwilling to take Romana along and somewhat hostile to her.
They found the first segment on the planet Ribos in the form of a lump of jethrik. They had to recover it against the will of Graff Vynda-K. During this time the two bonded. Romana came to respect the Doctor for his experience despite his academic failings. (TV: The Ribos Operation)
While the Doctor and Romana searched for the Key, they were twice interrupted by chronometric radiation, disrupting the tracer's operation: a chronometric pulse caused by a breach in the higher dimensions (PROSE: Tomb of Valdemar) and a network of spatial Teleportation paths created by a malfuctioning time cabinet intersected with Earth's ley lines. (PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang)
Romana and the Doctor arrived on the planet Zanak in their search for the second segment of the Key to Time. Here they met the Captain, who used Zanak to materialise around and mine other planets. They discovered that the segment they sought was the planet Calufrax, which had recently fallen victim to Zanak. They retrieved the remaining components of Calufrax, which had been shrunk by the Captain as a trophy, also disabling in the process Zanak's ability to materialise around and destroy other planets. (TV: The Pirate Planet)
On her first visit to the planet Earth in 1978, while looking for the third segment, Romana befriended Professor Amelia Rumford and Vivian Fay. Vivian was really Cessair of Diplos. She kidnapped Romana, taking her to a ship in hyperspace. Upon their escape, the Doctor and Romana found the segment was the Great Seal of Diplos. (TV: The Stones of Blood)
The search for the the fourth segment brought them back to Earth, specifically Norfolk in 2011. They faced Millicent Ferril, a woman with the ability to control ferrous metal. The segment was disguised as a meteoroid which Romana destroyed to stop Ferril's plan. It eventually reformed as a statue on Tara. (AUDIO: Ferril's Folly)
On Tara, Romana immediately found the segment was a statue. However, while fleeing a Taran wood beast, she met Count Grendel, who decided to take Romana prisoner. He introduced her to Princess Strella, whose appearence was identical to Romana's. Taking advantage of this likeness, the Count decided Prince Reynart would marry Romana, pretending she was Strella. Reynart would be killed and the Count would marry his widow. He would then rule as King. However, the Doctor interrupted the wedding and defeated the Count. (TV: The Androids of Tara)
On Delta III, Romana was captured by Swampies and offered as a sacrifice to Kroll. The Doctor freed her, but they were quickly recaptured. This time both the Doctor and Romana were offered in sacrifice in the last of the Seven Holy Rituals of the Swampies. This involved them being stretched by vines, known as creepers, until their backbones broke. The Doctor freed them by resonating his voice and breaking a window so rain water loosened the creepers. The segment was within Kroll himself and the Doctor recovered it. (TV: The Power of Kroll)
The Doctor and Romana assembled the Key in the TARDIS, then disassembled it to escape the wrath of the White Guardian's foe, the Black Guardian. The Doctor fitted a randomiser to the TARDIS' controls to prevent the Black Guardian from hunting them down. (TV: The Armageddon Factor)
After the completion of the Key to Time mission, Romana chose not to return immediately to Gallifrey, she and the Doctor sharing a few more adventures. (AUDIO: The Stealers from Saiph, AUDIO: Tales from the Vault, AUDIO: The Auntie Matter) During the first of these adventures, Romana and the Doctor lived as Lady and Lord in London in 1929 while K9 led the Black Guardian on a wild goose chase. However, Romana found herself as a target for marriage by Reginald "Reggie" Bassett as his aunt Lady Florence Bassett wanted her to be possessed by the alien entity that controlled her. She considered Earth in the 1920s to be "harmless, if a bit primitive" considering that humans had only recently discovered the theory of relativity. (AUDIO: The Auntie Matter)
Soon afterwards, Romana was taken to London in 1899, where she met Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot. Together, they investigated an alien justice robot that had crashed on Earth and a Victorian vigilante called the Pugilist. While the Doctor believed that the aroma of Victorian London was "bracing," she considered it "rancid." (AUDIO: The Justice of Jalxar)
Accounts of the reasons for her first regeneration and the circumstances differ, though all agree that in this incarnation, Romana adopted the likeness of Princess Astra of Atrios.
- One account said that, unknown to the Doctor, Romana was harmed by the Key to Time. Just as she was about to regenerate, an anthropomorphised manifestation of the Doctor's TARDIS, jealous of her, trapped her in a force field and pretended to be her. The TARDIS changed into different forms and finally became a double of Princess Astra. Realising the error of its ways after that, it released Romana, but not before making her assume the form of Astra. (PROSE: The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe)
- Another account said that the torture which Romana had endured at the hands of the Shadow had somehow resurrected the influence of Pandora; the only way to regain full control was to regenerate voluntarily. (AUDIO: Lies) The first Romana's form would later be used by the Pandora entity when she confronted Romana's second incarnation and Leela and again when Pandora became corporeal after Romana declared herself Imperiatrix, letting it take control of part of Gallifrey to begin a civil war. (AUDIO: Imperiatrix)
- A third account said that when the Key to Time was assembled without the sixth piece, it left Princess Astra and was absorbed by Romana. The strain forced a regeneration. (AUDIO: The Key 2 Time - The Chaos Pool)
Though a young and relatively inexperienced Time Lady, Romana was extremely bright and capable. She had taken a triple first at the Academy. The Doctor had scraped through with the minimal passing score of 51% on his second attempt, information Romana cited to put her achievement in perspective. (TV: The Ribos Operation)
Romana was an exceptionally clever (on par with the Doctor) and slightly bossy person. She shared many of the Doctor's traits. She was haughtier and more "by the book" and was occasionally annoyed by the Doctor's eccentricities. However, she was naive about things outside her experience and occasionally made unwise clothing choices.
Like the Doctor, Romana preferred to think her way out of situations, but was not opposed to force when necessary. She shot a guard to protect others, an act that momentarily saddened her. (TV: The Pirate Planet)
She considered Earth to be "harmless, if a bit primitive." On a visit to London in 1929, she commented that, having only recently discovered the theory of relativity, humans were only one step above banging each other on the head with rocks. (AUDIO: The Auntie Matter)
After the Doctor was believed to have been killed in the Proxima System, Romana told Mr Dorrick that she and the Doctor initially had an adversarial relationship but that they had gradually become good friends without even noticing it. (AUDIO: The Final Phase)
This incarnation of Romana was perhaps his most fashion conscious companion to date. She had access to a large variety of clothing in the TARDIS wardrobe and changed her clothing frequently. (TV: The Ribos Operation, et al.)
In 1929, both Tommy Creighton and Reggie Bassett found her extremely attractive. (AUDIO: The Stealers from Saiph, The Auntie Matter) Reggie asked her to marry him but she declined. (AUDIO: The Auntie Matter)
Romana told the Doctor that she was one hundred and forty when they met, (TV: The Ribos Operation) although her second incarnation would later give her age as one hundred and twenty-five. (TV: City of Death)
In an alternative timeline in which it was standard policy for the Time Lords to sell their temporal technology to the highest bidder and regenerations could be extracted and sold, Romana never travelled with the Doctor. She remained on Gallifrey, married Andred and had a son named Antonin. After being widowed, she resided in her ancestral home, the House of Heartshaven. One of her servants, Vansell, was secretly in the employ of her son. Towards the end of her first incarnation, she met her counterpart from the proper timeline, who was in her second incarnation and had previously served as Lady President of Gallifrey. Although the other Romana used the pseudonym "Lady Astra," she realised her identity almost immediately. After being shot and killed by Antonin, she regenerated into her second incarnation. (AUDIO: Reborn)
Behind the scenes
- For a long time, it was only assumed that this is Romana's first incarnation. There was nothing in any televised episode to indicate this to be so. She was never actually called "Romana I" in any story, televised or otherwise. The nomenclature comes from repetition across several non-fictional reference books, such as Companions of Doctor Who, that have been written throughout the years. The Gallifrey series finally established that this incarnation attended the Academy, and explicitly stated in-narrative that she was the first Romana. (AUDIO: Warfare)
- Mary Tamm agreed to play Romana after being convinced she wouldn't just be a "damsel in distress". However, by the end of season sixteen, Tamm felt her character had fallen into that category. This, along with the fact her character had no room to grow in such a small format, left Tamm unwilling to carry on.
- The first episode filmed with Tamm's successor, Lalla Ward, was The Creature from the Pit. Ward complained at the way her character was scripted to be like Tamm's version, even wearing the same style of clothing. (TV: The Creature from the Pit)