The Passing of a Time Lord –
Kate O’Mara Obituary
By Patricia Carline
‘Kate O’Mara dies at the age of 74...
Not an earth-shattering news item in the grand order of things but for those of us who remember the Doctor Who of the 1980s, March 30th 2014 marks the passing of a Time Lord, The Rani – twice a visitor to Earth and protagonist of two Doctors, Colin Baker – the 6th Incarnation and Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Incarnation.
And if Kate had had her wish granted, she would have returned to Earth a third time, to plague the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi!
Kate took on the role of the Time Lord, The Rani for the first time in The Mark of the Rani, shown in two 45 minute parts in February 1985, and reprised the character in the 4 part ‘Time and the Rani in September 1987.
The Rani was another renegade Time Lord, but where the Doctor works to protect Earth and her people, the Rani was busy contributing to the ‘brain drain’ by extracting ‘brain fluid’ from the human population with the goal of draining the brain of the Doctor!
When it comes to Kate’s Rani, her flamboyance easily matches that of River Song – with her tight leather trousers, tall stilettos and cascading cloud of hair. Kate herself, like Alex Kingston had a reputation for portraying strong, vibrant, ‘sassy’n’sexy’, often somewhat aggressive characters – I’m sure Kate would have been delighted to play River Song!
What is certain is that she loved working on Doctor Who and when interviewed during the 50th Anniversary celebrations she told the world that she wished she could portray The Rani again and saw no reason why an older female character should be a problem, & could open up interesting plot possibilities – (a point well proven by the glorious Helen Mirren in ‘Red’ and ‘Red 2)’ – and with her slim figure, sparkling eyes and mane of pure white hair Kate could have carried it off, no problem!
Kate enjoyed working on Doctor Who and the cast enjoyed working with her and she made many friends, and the tributes continue - on hearing the news of her death, Doctor Who co-star Colin Baker tweeted: "Oh my goodness. Kate O'Mara is no longer with us. Sad sad news, a delightful, committed and talented lady and actress. We are the poorer."
Carol Drinkwater who worked and also toured with Kate said “She took over from me in An Ideal Husband and I took over from her in something else… She was a gutsy, witty, highly disciplined, intelligent lady and she was a real trooper in every showbiz sense of the word. She will be greatly missed. RIP, dear, dear Kate.”
Being of much the same generation, I too regret Kate’s passing and I believe that all those actresses out there who now get to portray strong, sexy, sassy women, whatever their age should honour her memory and be ever grateful to her and those others of her generation for proving that women could be portrayed as strong, powerful, sexy, sassy, feminine, in fact all the things a woman can be, and helping to destroy the barriers that placed so many restrictions on women in the dramatic arts, be they TV, film or stage.
Thank you Kate, you will be missed.
Special thanks to Carol Drinkwater for her personal tribute