The Fourth Doc­tor on his great­est Doc­tor Who moments WORDS SEB PA­TRICK

Empire (UK) - - RE.VIEW -


one of the most iconic Doc­tors, defin­ing the char­ac­ter’s key traits of whimsy, charm and manic un­pre­dictabil­ity. Here, the ever-mer­cu­rial ac­tor walks us through his time in the TARDIS.

RO­BOT (1974)

In his first ap­pear­ance, Baker was given the line, “There’s no point in be­ing grown-up if you can’t be child­ish some­times.” “When I took over, Jon Per­twee had stamped on it so hard that the writ­ers, for quite a while, they were all still writ­ing for him. I was wrench­ing Jon’s id­iom, to make it my own. And of course, over time, they be­gan to write for me. But that line, it’s quite a charm­ing bit of non­sense, isn’t it? It’s the one that peo­ple still ask me to quote.”


The ori­gin story of The Doc­tor’s most fa­mous foes saw him faced with a moral dilemma over whether to de­stroy them at the point of their cre­ation. “The Doc­tor does tend to moralise slightly, and to waf­fle on about it a bit. He’s al­ways on the side of good, but good and evil is of­ten a very com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship. He might even bor­der on be­ing a bit preachy some­times — but we tried to mask that a bit!”


A hugely pop­u­lar story in which The Doc­tor and Lalla Ward’s Ro­mana ex­pe­ri­ence time dis­tor­tion. Co-writ­ten by Dou­glas Adams, it was filmed on lo­ca­tion in Paris. “That was a par­tic­u­larly fine script, and it was lovely to work with Ju­lian Glover — a big, clas­si­cal ac­tor. There I was, trot­ting around in some smart area of Paris with my long coat on and my long hair and my fly­ing scarf. All the peo­ple around, they just thought I was some quaint artis­tic type, dash­ing around Paris and show­ing off a bit.”


Af­ter a record-break­ing seven years in the role, Baker handed over the reins to Peter Davi­son. “When the mo­ment comes, it’s re­ally rather poignant, that you’re go­ing off and let­ting some­one else have a go. But it wasn’t all that painful. I slipped out of it, and went off and did other things — of course, noth­ing ap­proach­ing the suc­cess of Doc­tor Who. But I never re­ally stopped. I’ve spent half of my life play­ing this part!”


In fact, Baker re­turned to the role of The Doc­tor for a se­ries of au­dio dra­mas, pro­duced by Big Fin­ish, and is still go­ing strong in the role. “It’s so won­der­ful to be still in de­mand in this glo­ri­ous part which fits me like a glove, re­ally. We work a long way ahead, so some of my stuff now won’t come out for maybe four years. That’s an in­cred­i­ble thought, be­cause, in four years’ time I might be, as they say [clear­ing his throat], oth­er­wise en­gaged.”


In the 50th an­niver­sary spe­cial, Baker played the role of ‘The Cu­ra­tor’ — a fu­ture in­car­na­tion of The Doc­tor.

“I met Caro­line Skin­ner when I was do­ing a com­mer­cial, and it was only later that she re­vealed her­self to be the pro­ducer of Doc­tor

Who! So they asked me, and I agreed to do a scene. Matt Smith [the Eleventh Doc­tor] was en­chant­ing. On the big day, I was at the EX­CEL [for the an­niver­sary con­ven­tion]. And when the scene was shown, the whole place ex­ploded — it was very mov­ing, very touch­ing in­deed.” THE DOC­TORS: THE TOM BAKER YEARS is out on 11 septem­ber on DVD and blu-ray

Baker’s Doc­tor in ‘The Horns Of Ni­mon’.

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