BAKER'S HALF DOZEN
The Fourth Doctor on his greatest Doctor Who moments WORDS SEB PATRICK
TOM BAKER IS
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.
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.”
GENESIS OF THE DALEKS (1975)
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!”
CITY OF DEATH (1979)
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!”
THE FOURTH DOCTOR ADVENTURES (2012)
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.”
THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR (2013)
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’.