The 1970s Doctor Who companions pictured in their own homes
Katy Manning, Elisabeth Sladen, Louise Jameson and Mary Tamm in rare photoshoots from the Radio Times Archive.
It’s the fifth in our monthly run of rarities from the Radio Times photo archive to celebrate Doctor Who's 60th anniversary. This time, we proudly present a selection from photoshoots with four leading women of 1970s Who – many of which have never been published.
Katy Manning (1971)
Famous as Jo Grant alongside Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in the early 1970s, Katy Manning had only been in the role for a year when RT reporter Deirdre Macdonald and photographer Gordon Moore caught up with her at west London home. These few surviving shots from 1971 are probably already familiar to most fans but are worth sharing again.
"That was in my flat in Chiswick with all the dogs and cats," Katy tells RT in 2023. "It was in one of those three stunning, art deco mansion blocks, Beaumont, Beverley and Belgrave – and I lived in Belgrave. Now let me think back. I’d moved in there with my boyfriend Rod Goodall, who was one of the creators of the Footsbarn Theatre group. A little while later, I was there with Stuart [Bevan, later her Doctor Who star]. I probably lived there longer than I’ve lived anywhere."
More than half a century later, the memory of that 1971 photoshoot comes flooding back to Katy. "You can see in some of the photos that my hair goes over the right side of my face. I’d been to the dentist that morning. I thought all would be fine but they gave me an injection and it blew my face up very quickly, like it was bruising. It was swollen – so I had a great big fat cheek under my hair. We took those outdoors pictures under all these wonderful trees in the gardens of the blocks."
She remembers her striking clothes too, purchased from a trendy King’s Road boutique. "The outfit came from Mr Freedom – in a rare moment for me away from Biba – because they did velvet dungarees and I thought they were quite cool. I laced the top a particular way so that it looked like a big sneaker with a red tongue, and it also had red velvet elbow patches. Somebody else obviously bought that suit back at that time because it turned up on the Antiques Roadshow last year. And I think it was valued up to £1,200!"
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Elisabeth Sladen (1976)
Elisabeth Sladen was hugely popular as journalist Sarah Jane Smith, starring opposite Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s Doctors in the mid 1970s. We believe this rare photoshoot – showing her relaxing at home in Ealing, west London – took place around the time of her departure from Doctor Who in 1976.
When RT caught up with Sladen a while later in 1978, she said, "I may be biased, but I think my series was the best! There is a very fine line between fantasy and fear, and they got it right in my time. There was a lot of competition for the part when I auditioned and it gave my career a great boost. I have nothing but happy memories of the series."
Of course, she couldn’t know then that she would return to Doctor Who several times across the decades and eventually garner her own CBBC show, The Sarah Jane Adventures. A new generation of young fans mourned when Elisabeth Sladen died in 2011, aged 65.
Louise Jameson (1976)
Louise Jameson made her mark in 1977 as Leela, a warrior of the Sevateem, who accompanied Tom Baker’s Doctor in the TARDIS for one-and-a-half seasons. Shortly after leaving in 1978, Louise told RT that she’d enjoyed making the part her own. "All they knew at first was that they wanted someone to be a kind of savage. The rest was up to me. I based Leela on two characters I knew well – Bosie my dog and the little girl upstairs – making a half-child, half-animal. It seemed to work."
These rare photos were probably taken in late 1976 and, all these years later, Louise is delighted to see them for the first time. "There’s a blast from the past!" she tells RT in 2023. "Yes, that’s Bosie… so adorable. A really loving dog who got so overexcited whenever anyone arrived – jumping and jumping and jumping, never on you, just in front of you, like he was on a pogo stick."
"I’m not sure where they were taken. Must have been my flat in West Hampstead." She instantly recognises her blue and maroon floral dress. "That dress is the one I wore to the first convention." This would have been the first Doctor Who Appreciation Society gathering in 1977. "And looking through the pampas grass wistfully – that’s hilarious, so of its time!"
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The final picture by the piano, with Louise holding a poster, was taken on a separate occasion. She says, "It was probably at my dad’s home in Epping, and behind me is a mock-up of everything I’d been in to date, which my mother had collected – all my RSC and Bristol photographs. I still have that blue blouse. Given to me by an American friend circa 1975. My mother wore it when I went to LA for 'Louise Jameson Day'!"
Mary Tamm (1978)
In 1978, Mary Tamm took over from Louise Jameson, playing opposite Tom Baker’s Doctor as Time Lady Romana. She told RT at the time that her character would be the Doctor’s intellectual equal. "I’m supposed to be bright, sophisticated and cool, but as I’ve only just qualified from the Academy, I have a lot to learn."
In this rare shoot from 1978, the photographer captured Mary Tamm at home in south London, exploring the streets of Clapham, cycling along Wakehurst Road and exercising on Clapham Common.
Ten years after leaving Doctor Who, she voiced her disappointment to RT’s Johnny Black. "When I took Romana on, the idea was that she would become as important as the Doctor – a partner rather than just a companion. That never materialised because the plots required someone to ask questions all the time."
Mary Tamm died in 2012, aged 62.
Our thanks to Katy Manning, Louise Jameson, photo archivist David Carlisle, Matt Evenden and Radio Times head of heritage Ralph Montagu.
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