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I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward

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1979-08-25 Evening Post.jpg


The latest recruit to the long-running television saga is just what the doctor ordered, says John Garner

DR. WHO, (alias actor Tom Baker), long multi-coloured scarf trailing behind him, strolled along a Paris boulevard, his new girl assistant, Lalla Ward, by his side.

She was wearing a straw boater and a school tunic, short enough to display a sensational pair of legs.

"It was my idea," she admitted. "I thought it would be amusing and different ... and fun for the kids."

Judging by the interest she was attracting on location, it seems a safe bet that it will prove fun for the dads too.

When this 27-year-old dark-haired beauty makes her debut next month as Dr. Who's Girl Friday in the new TV series coming to our screens, she will be the eleventh girl to share his adventures in time and space during the past 15 years.

So simple ...

She has already been seen in the series as Princess Astra, but becomes a Time Lord in an amazing switch.

She explains, "Romana dematerialized as Mary, (actress Mary Tamm), at the end of the last series and rematerialises as me in the new one!

"It sounds very complicated, I know, but for a Time Lord, it's all very simple."

And Leila knows all about the aristocratic life. After all, off-screen she's daughter of the seventh Lord Bangor, who is perhaps better known as war correspondent, broadcaster and author Edward Ward.

Her mother, Marjorie Banks, has also fashioned a formidable reputation as a writer.

Ancestral home

They have an ancestral home, Castle Ward, in County Down, an hour's drive from Belfast; and another near St. Tropez.

"But it's not quite so ritzy as it sounds," says Lalla, "death duties have taken their toll. Our home in Ireland now belongs to the National Trust and we all work very hard.

"Still the truly important thing is that it's a very happy family."

The new "Dr. Who" series is the story of a time traveller who steps back to the 16th century in a bid to persuade Leonardo Da Vinci to turn out more Mona Lisas.

And this is a curiously appropriate story for Lalla Ward who, at the age of 14, was being hailed as an artistic wonder child.

Her poems were appearing in glossy magazines, while her paintings and drawings were regarded very seriously indeed.

'But there was never really any dilemma," she says. "I loved drawing . . I still draw all the time .. but acting was to be my career.

"I love the film camera, especially, the way you only have to think, not act, and it picks up every nuance.

"I've never looked upon art as anything more than a very enjoyable sideline."

She designed a couple of book jackets for her parents and clearly could have turned this talent into a profitable career, had she wished.

Turning Point

But ever since she left drama school at 18, stage and screen work has been coming in: steadily.

She was a vampire in "Vampire Circus" with Adrienne Corri, Lord Seacroft's daughter in the television series, The Upper Crusts" and the star of "Got It Made" after being the 304th girl auditioned for the part.

This proved to be a turning point in her career for Otto Preminger was sufficiently impressed to cast her opposite Robert Mitchum in "Rosebud."

In "The Duchess of Duke Street," she was Lottie, the illegitimate daughter of the Duchess and Lord Haslemere.

"I started out in the series as a Yorkshire waif; then I'm sent to a finishing school and taught to talk posh.

No romance

"So before I could start work, I had to take a month of lessons in how to speak broad Yorkshire!"

Just how does she view her involvement with the good doctor?

"From an acting point-of-view," she says, "you couldn't have a nicer man to work with. But, of course, there is no romance between us in the story. The doctor is never allowed to fall in love."

Tom Baker explains: "If there was an emotional attachment, it would defeat the purpose.

'It's an odd relationship really. My assistants are a bit like daughters."

A point underlined by Lalla when she says: "I used to watch the series as a child ... and I was so terrified by the monsters that I hid behind the sofa."

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  • APA 6th ed.: Garner, John (1979-08-25). I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward. Yorkshire Evening Post p. 6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Garner, John. "I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward." Yorkshire Evening Post [add city] 1979-08-25, 6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Garner, John. "I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward." Yorkshire Evening Post, edition, sec., 1979-08-25
  • Turabian: Garner, John. "I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward." Yorkshire Evening Post, 1979-08-25, section, 6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward | url= | work=Yorkshire Evening Post | pages=6 | date=1979-08-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=I could never fall in love with Dr. Who says Lalla Ward | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 May 2024}}</ref>