28 June 1951 1
London, England, UK
|Years active||1972–1993 (actress)
|Spouse(s)||Tom Baker (1980–1982)
Richard Dawkins (1992–present)
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".2 Her father was the BBC's war correspondent in Finland at the beginning of World War II, while her mother was a writer and BBC producer specialising in dramatised documentaries.3
She has a brother, Edward, two years her junior; and a half-brother, William, who is the 8th Viscount Bangor, three years her senior. Through her father she is descended from George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, brother of 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.45
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 1971.3 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.3
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.6 Club International magazine ran nude pictures from the film, claiming they were of her and Ward successfully sued the magazine.6 In 1980, she played Ophelia to Sir Derek Jacobi's Hamlet in the BBC television production.
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.
After Doctor Who, she appeared in Schoolgirl Chums (1982) and The Jeweller's Shop and The Rehearsal on stage. Ward decided to end her acting career after marrying Richard Dawkins.6 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.citation needed In November 2013 she appeared in the one-off 50th anniversary comedy homage The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.7
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.citation needed
For almost twenty years, she has served on the committee of the Actors' Charitable Trust, TACT, and as a trustee for ten years. Alongside Richard and Sheila Attenborough, she led a successful £7.5 million redevelopment of the actors' care home, Denville Hall.citation needed
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 sixteen 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:
It's something I still feel sad about. I loved — and, in many ways, still love — Tom very much. The trouble is, our careers came to be just as important as each other, and we grew apart. I was angry at suggestions that it didn't work because I was too young, or that Tom was unreasonable to me. We just irritated each other occasionally — we weren't close enough, I suppose. It was a decision we discussed and felt was for the best.9
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).610 Ward and Dawkins married later that same year.
- Asteroid 8347 Lallaward – Asteroid named after her.
- "The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Mosley, Charles (1999). Burke's Peerage and Baronetage (106th ed.). Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd.
- Cook, Benjamin (3 March 2004). Doctor Who Magazine (340) (Tunbridge Wells). pp. 14–19..
- "Appalling Accident: Sudden Death of the Hon. Mrs. Ward". King's County Chronicle. 1 September 1869.
- "Mary Ward 1827-1869". Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
- Cook, Benjamin (31 March 2004). Doctor Who Magazine (341) (Tunbridge Wells). pp. 14–18.
- "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot", BBC programmes, retrieved 26 November 2013
- Parker, Kevin. "Lalla Ward profile". Doctor Who Companions. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- Dawkins, Richard (17 September 2001). "Lament for Douglas". Edge. Edge Foundation. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- Lalla Ward at the Internet Movie Database
- Photos of Ward and information on her knitting books
-  Interview with Lalla Ward about her textile art.
-  Article in the Independent about Lalla Ward and Richard Dawkins