Happy Birthday Tom Baker!

Happy 80th Birthday to Tom Baker!

TomBakerBirthdayCake

2013, A Special Year

With 2013 being the 50th anniversary year of Doctor Who, I thought I’d share a little bit about me.  Some of you know a bit from my About page, but I didn’t put too much personal information on there.

When I was young I had an imaginary friend.  Unlike little Amelia Pond, mine wasn’t so real.  Mine looks suspiciously like Tom Baker.  I was a lonely child, and an only one as well.  Because I didn’t have any older brothers or sisters I was left out of the cliques when school started.  I was a little chubby, had glasses, always had my nose in a book and was really shy so you can guess how that turned out.

My uncle introduced me to Doctor Who at a young age, and I can still remember my first episode.  The scarf, the fedora and the jelly babies… yup, the 4th Doctor was my first Doctor (and still my favorite).  When my overactive imagination kicked in I was in the TARDIS with him helping him save the world… and when I was terrified of something under my bed or in my closet I conjured up an image of him to chase the scary things away.  Oh and just so we have any romantic thoughts out of the way: I was a kid and way too young to be thinking about that sort of thing.

When I get a bit of time home alone, I’ve been trying to catch up on all of the programming that was aired for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary last month.  I know, I know.  It’s just that I don’t get much time to myself when I don’t have tons of chores to do.

Tonight I finally got the opportunity to watch Doctor Who – The Companions while wrapping a  few  ton of gifts.  For those who haven’t seen it, it’s basically talking about the companions and their roles in the series.  Obviously they couldn’t get to everyone, and there was quite a bit of focus on NuWho (2005 and later) but it was still enjoyable.  In particular I enjoyed watching all of the actual actors speak about their characters and roles.

At one point John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) is talking about what he would say to himself if he could go back to when he first got the job on Who.  He teared up a little (causing me to as well) and it reminded me of something.  This show means a lot to us fans, but it also means a lot to a ton of other people.  It’s changed the lives of everyone from the actors to the writers, in ways that we can only imagine.

I know I’m a much better person because of it.

I’m sure no one involved with the show will ever actually see this, but in this special year I’d just like to say “Thank You” to the writers/cast/crew of Doctor Who – everyone involved.  May the show continue for another 50 years.

Every Jelly Baby Scene

Have you ever felt the need to watch every Jelly Baby scene?  ME TOO!!!

Tom Baker Interview

The BBC posted an interview with Tom Baker today.  The 4th Doctor was my first and favorite Doctor, although I’m afraid if I go back and re-watch the episodes I may find he’s tied with Ten…  There’s just something about the iconic look of him that brings back memories.  Anyway, I’ll let you read it for yourself and decide if you learned anything about him too.  For instance, I didn’t realize he doesn’t watch the show!:

Tom Baker is planning to break the habit of a lifetime on 23 November.

The actor says he’s never been interested in watching Doctor Who – including his own stories – but he plans to sit down in front of this month’s special episode that will mark the show’s 50th anniversary.

“I hope it’s going to be terrific,” he says. “It’s such a landmark. It’ll be a big, emotional thing, but I don’t know what they’ll do – I’ll make an exception and watch that.”

With his long scarf and love of jelly babies, Baker’s fourth Doctor remains one of the most instantly recognisable incarnations of the Time Lord. He is also the show’s longest-serving star, having played the role from 1974 to 1981.

“I can’t explain the show’s longevity any more than I can explain my own,” booms the 79-year-old actor when we meet in a private members’ club in London’s Covent Garden. “It’s just a happy accident.”

Baker admits he “wasn’t at all happy” just before he was cast to replace Jon Pertwee in what is arguably British TV’s most well-known role.

After joining Olivier’s National Theatre company in the late 1960s, Baker moved into films. He was Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and had roles in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Canterbury Tales (1972) and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973).

But he was working as a labourer when he was cast in Doctor Who.

“I was going through a bad time of feeling rejected, even though I’d had a flirtation with movies. I was on a building site, having no skill there except to make the tea and use a drill,” Baker recalls.

“So when the opportunity came to play Doctor Who, it was a jackpot.”

Baker’s co-workers on the building site found out the news by reading it in the Evening Standard.

“I went to work next morning – famous! They were so thrilled for me. I legged it down to Barclays Bank and got an advance and gave them a party. It was like being reborn.”

Baker admits he had no idea how he was going to tackle his role as the new star of Doctor Who.

“How could I? I didn’t watch it. I didn’t watch it when I was in it and I haven’t watched it since. So when it came, and these scripts were given to me, one of the problems was they were being written for Jon Pertwee – so I had to wrench it my way.”

Without doubt, Baker made the part his own. Viewing figures went up and many of his stories – The Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius, The Deadly Assassin and The Robots of Death – are regarded as classics.

How did he find being the Doctor?

Baker beams. “It was a great experience. Actors want a big audience, and to be admired and to get applause is one thing, but to be adored is something I recommend.”

He reminisces about visiting schools and hospitals, doing charity work and being flown round in helicopters.

“Everywhere I went I was waving like royalty and dishing out 50 pence pieces,” he says.

“It was so much better than real life. I stayed so long because real life at the time wasn’t so terrific.

“Being Doctor Who, I used to look at the clock and know at half past four we were going to stop rehearsing – and that was a sad moment for me because I wanted to stay in this beautiful, unreal world.”

Asked if he has kept any Doctor Who props, Baker responds: “I had lots of bits and pieces but they’ve all been begged off me by the charities. It’s all gone now.”

“I have some interesting letters from fans who saw me as a messianic figure and thought I could do miracles.”

He flashes one of his Doctor-like grins: “They were quite mistaken, but I didn’t disabuse them.”

‘In the groove’

After leaving Doctor Who in 1981, Baker’s career embraced TV, stage and film.

In 1982 he was Sherlock Holmes in BBC TV’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, and his stage roles included Hedda Gabler, Educating Rita (RSC) and She Stoops to Conquer (NT).

More recent TV roles include Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Monarch of the Glen (2004-5) and the narrator of Little Britain.

Despite his assertion that he’s not watched his own stories, Baker has, of course, sat through some of them for DVD commentaries and at conventions.

In recent years he has reprised the role of the Doctor for a number of Big Finish audio adventures.

“I’m back now in the groove,” Baker says. “The fans want to go back in time and I don’t disappoint them because I haven’t advanced at all from Doctor Who.”

All these years on, the actor notes, Doctor Who fans can still be in awe of him.

“Anyone who’s on television gets a reaction when playing a heroic part like the Doctor. And it still happens now with much older people.

“But some of them are telling me lies,” he adds, with a glint in his eye. “I met an old lady, aged about 85, the other day, who said: ‘When I was a little girl I used to hide behind the sofa when I saw you!'”

Many of those who watched the show in the 60s and 70s have helped bring on the next generation of fans.

“People introduce me to their grandchildren or to their children,” Baker says. “It’s very sweet that it’s passed on affectionately by parents, showing my old stuff.

“Small children sometimes approach me and ask ‘is it true you used to be Doctor Who?'”

Wizard101

Wizard101 has a nice little nod to a show we’re all familiar with, although certain things seem to be off.  Maybe they didn’t have the right paperwork?

Wizard101