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Characters / Doctor Who Romana

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Romanadvoratrelundar (Fourth Doctor)

A Time Lord, or more properly a Time Lady, like the Doctor, and therefore has multiple regenerations. (Two were seen onscreen, dubbed Romana I and Romana II by fans; the Expanded Universe added several possible thirds.) Sent to assist the Doctor against his will in the search for the Key To Time. She was initially what one would call "book-smart": extremely well-educated (her academic record trounced the Doctor's), but quite young and with little practical experience. As such, she is the one companion who could serve as the Doctor's co-pilot with the TARDIS.

Tropes associated with all incarnations:

  • Always Someone Better: How the Doctor feels about her. At one point, she even builds her own sonic screwdriver (which he tries to swipe!)
  • Character Development: Her first incarnation was cold, detached and focused purely on the mission. Once she regenerated, Romana loosened up considerably and became much more fond of the Doctor.
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  • Contralto of Danger: Both of them had reasonably deep voices.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Whereas Leela was an uneducated but resourceful and intuitive savage, Romana was the Doctor's superior in intelligence but with less life experience.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both of them were prone to this. The first Romana's snark was rather icy, whereas the second preferred good natured ribbing.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To the Doctor. A wandering Gallifreyan who dresses oddly, has adventures and (eventually) carries a sonic screwdriver.
  • The Fashionista: Loved trying on new outfits, sometimes a few different ones in a single episode. Mary Tamm designed her own outfit in "The Androids of Tara" and Lalla Ward came up with her own ideas.
  • Hot Scientist: Smarter than the Doctor, albeit less experienced.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Romana's full name is only used in the first part of the first episode she ever appeared in, and she switches to using the abbreviation halfway into that. In the novelizations, the fact that her full name is Romanadvoratrelundar might get mentioned a couple times in the early chapters, but she will still only be referred to by the shortened version in conversation.
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  • Only One Name: As with most Time Lords and Ladies. However, unlike many traveling Time Lords, she never adopts an alias, she just shortens her real name.
  • Overly Long Name:
    Romana: My name is Romanadvoratrelundar.
    The Doctor: ...I'm so sorry about that. Is there anything we can do?
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Grows into this with the Doctor, engaging in Snark-to-Snark Combat that gradually becomes more affectionate.
  • Women Are Wiser: Much more rational and level-headed than the Doctor.


Romana I
Debut: "The Ribos Operation" (1978)
Final Story: "The Armageddon Factor" (1979)
Regeneration Story:note  "Destiny of the Daleks" (1979)

Played by: Mary Tamm (1978–79)

Romana I: You have absolutely no sense of responsibility whatsoever!
The Doctor: What?
Romana I: You're capricious, arrogant, self-opinionated, irrational, and you don't even know where we're going!
The Doctor: Exactly!

A tall, leggy, dark-haired woman; the initial concept of her was a "Grace Kelly" sort of character. Had a penchant for armchair psychology. According to the Big Finish Audios, she regenerated when forces beyond her control were drawn out by the Key to Time and started to weaken her body, but she passed the reasons off as a whim.

Tropes associated with the television continuity

  • Action Girl: Occurs unexpectedly in "The Pirate Planet" when she gets into a laser gun fight and wins.
  • Agony of the Feet: Romana's fashion statement got the better of her when she made a really bad choice of shoes in "The Stones of Blood" and wore high heels in a terrain filled with rocks. Naturally, she switched to bare feet before the end of the first episode to alleviate the pain and then put on some pragmatic boots.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She relaxes a lot over the course of her tenure.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Without actually getting rid of the character. Since she is part of the same race as the Doctor, she could regenerate and stay on as a character. However, the regeneration comes with no explanation and is a lot like a standard Put on a Bus. She doesn't even get a death scene. Romana just happily walks into the console room with a new face and announces that she's regenerating, in a completely new way that was never seen again, The Doctor is absolutely baffled. The Expanded Universe offered several possible explanations, which of course all contradict each other.
  • Foil: The Doctor is very experienced in adventuring but barely managed to graduate from the Time Lord academy; Romana is new to the wider universe but is very accomplished academically.
  • Identical Stranger: Princess Strella of the planet Tara.
  • Love Redeems: The Black Guardian's minion the Shadow develops a bit of a crush on Romana.
  • Naïve Newcomer
  • Pimped-Out Cape: Made of white feathers — a gift from the Doctor on their first trip together.
  • Rich Bitch: Quite posh and stuck-up, especially compared to Tom Baker's Doctor.
  • Ship Tease: One Christmas Bonus Material short had the Doctor and Romana I very obviously kissing just out of view, following by a rather suggestive look from Tom Baker.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Maybe even more intelligent than the Doctor, but lacks any experience. When she first sees a monster, it terrifies the life out of her. She gets better though.

Tropes associated with Big Finish

Voiced by: Mary Tamm

Romana II
Debut: "Destiny of the Daleks" (1979)
Departure Story: "Warriors' Gate" (1981)

Played by: Lalla Ward (1979–81, 1983, 1993, 2001)

"You were the noblest Romana of them all."
Fourth Doctor

Shorter, with strawberry blonde hair. Still snarky, but a lot more bubbly and Constantly Curious. And if anything, her style flair got even more creative.

Tropes associated with the television continuity

  • Bifauxnen: She dressed in men's clothing a lot.
  • Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: Wears a very St. Trinian's style uniform in the "City of Death" serial. Lalla Ward, judging by interviews and the production notes, came up with the idea and had no concept that it was a fetish.
  • Cosplay: Many of her outfits have a distinct "fancy dress" flavour: the school uniform in "City of Death", the pink version of the Doctor's costume in "Destiny of the Daleks", the fox-hunting gear in "The Horns of Nimon". Described (pretty accurately) in one DVD extra as the only woman who could pull off wearing a fruit salad on her head.
  • English Rose: Sci-fi version. Played by Lalla Ward who has the right look (a pretty pale-skinned blonde), she was refined, composed, soft-spoken, but also brilliant and strong-willed. She comes from Gallifrey, which is kinda Englandesque.
  • Expanded Universe: Her Big Finish audio spinoff with Leela, appropriately called Gallifrey (which has its own tropes page), spans eleven years (2004-2015). Big Finish is also one of the various franchises to provide a third regeneration of Romana.
  • Gendered Outfit: Wore a pink version of the Doctor's outfit at one point.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Well, hearts, technically, but she definitely fulfills this trope.
  • I Choose to Stay: After three serials of trying to get out of E-Space, she decides to stay at the end of "Warriors' Gate" to help free a race of enslaved time-traveling lion people from slavery.
  • Lady of Adventure: More keen on adventuring than her first incarnation.
  • Nerves of Steel: An adventurous Time Lady, she likely acquired such nerves after jousting against the Daleks.
  • The Nth Doctor
  • Plot Hole: Her regeneration scene, written by Douglas Adams, is one of the series' most infamous ones. Basically, Romana shows up in Princess Astra's body and clothes and announces that she has regenerated, for no reason whatsoever. When the Doctor scolds her for copying someone else's body, she merrily cycles through a series of different bodies until settling on the Astra look permanently. This type of regeneration contradicted just about everything in the series, was never explained in any way on TV, and was never heard from again. The Big Finish Gallifrey series, dives into the question headfirst and offers a very good explanation. Other bits of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe have also taken a stab at it: the short story "The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe", for example, suggests the TARDIS forced her to in a fit of jealousy (after impersonating Romana during the events of "Destiny of the Daleks").
  • Ship Tease: Big time. The Doctor often gently teases her but is clearly very, very fond of her. The Australian commercials for Prime Computer made it more explicit with the Doctor proposing to Romana — and she says "Yes!" before he even finishes. It doesn't hurt that there was also some Ship Tease between Lalla Ward and Tom Baker. They even got married briefly.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Much more outgoing than her predecessor, she very much took after the Doctor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whether she survived the Time War or not is unknown, in every medium - even Big Finish haven't reached that point in her life yet.
  • Wholesome Cross Dresser: Romana seems to like wearing men's clothing.
  • You Look Familiar: The actress was a guest star as Princess Astra of Atrios in the story immediately preceding her debut. This was referenced in-universe as Romana choosing that form to regenerate into.

Tropes associated with Big Finish

Voiced by: Lalla Ward
  • Break the Cutie: Gets thoroughly broken while she is imprisoned by the Daleks. She recovers marvelously, but she carries the emotional scars with her for a long time.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: In "Gallifrey: Extermination" she performs this on a Dalek, causing it to actually ask her to have pity, before it eventually dies. Romana holds the Daleks responsible for the level in cynicism she took after being their captive for two decades and takes a cold delight in exacting her revenge.
  • Fan Fic: Spends her spare time as Lady President by writing a rather transparent Doctor Fan Fic, about a man named "Sigma".
  • Good Is Not Soft: Plots to kill Rassilon in the Gallifrey: Time War series. She comes close to succeeding, too; seemingly she's the one responsible for him regenerating into Timothy Dalton.
  • Mercy Kill: In "Zagreus", Romana is fully prepared to perform one on Eight.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The audio adventures see her becoming the Lady President of Gallifrey - which was eventually confirmed as canon in "The Day of the Doctor", although only in tiny print in the background of a scene.
  • The Slow Path: She spends twenty years as a slave for the Daleks.

Romana III / Trey

Voiced by: Juliet Landau

Tropes associated with Big Finish

  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: As is anybody played by Juliet Landau.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: She is willing to break all the known laws of time to travel back into Gallifrey's history and help her past self prevent her own apocalyptic future from coming to pass.
  • Younger Than They Look: Trey comes from many centuries in Romana's future, but Leela points out that this new body actually looks quite a bit younger than her current one. Romana is quite miffed by this.

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