|Occupation Actor, writer|
Height 1.91 m
|Name Tom Baker|
Years active 1968–present
|Full Name Thomas Stewart Baker|
Born 20 January 1934 (age 89) (1934-01-20) Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Spouse Sue Jerrard (m. 1986), Lalla Ward (m. 1980–1982), Anna Wheatcroft (m. 1961–1966)
Books Who on Earth is Tom Baker?, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
Movies and TV shows Doctor Who, Little Britain, Doctor Who: The Five Doct, The Deadly Assassin, Little Britain USA
Similar People Jon Pertwee, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton
Children Piers Baker, Daniel Baker
Tom Baker (Doctor Who actor) Wine & Dine Interview 1999 *strong language*
Thomas Stewart Baker (born 20 January 1934) is an English actor. He is known for his portrayal of the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction series Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981, a longer tenure than any other actor, and for the narration of the comedy series Little Britain. Baker's voice, which has been described as "sonorous", was voted the fourth-most recognisable in the UK.
- Tom Baker Doctor Who actor Wine Dine Interview 1999 strong language
- Rare never seen before uncut interview with tom baker aka doctor who 1996
- Early life
- Early work
- Doctor Who
- Later film and television work
- Little Britain
- Voice acting
- Video games
- Personal life
- In popular culture
At the age of 15 Baker began study as a monk. However, he gradually lost his vocation and at 21 he left monastic life and undertook National Service in the Royal Army Medical Corps. On leaving the army, he joined the Merchant Navy and then became an actor, joining the Royal National Theatre Company under Laurence Olivier.
Baker was in his thirties when his professional acting career began, and his first major film role was as Grigori Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra in 1971, when he was 37. He went on to play the villainous Prince Koura in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in 1973, which led to his casting in Doctor Who. During his period as its star, the series was distinguished by high viewing figures and many stories which became regarded as classics. He remains one of the most instantly recognisable incarnations of the character. He continued to win regular roles in TV later in his career, most notably in the series Medics and Monarch of the Glen. In addition to performing acting roles, Baker has narrated commercials, video games, audiobooks and television series.
In a poll for the BBC Homes and Antiques magazine in January 2006, Baker was voted the world's fourth-most eccentric star. He was beaten by Björk, Chris Eubank and David Icke. Married three times, the second to Doctor Who co-star Lalla Ward, Baker has two sons from his first marriage.
Rare never seen before uncut interview with tom baker aka doctor who 1996
Baker was born in Scotland Road in Liverpool. His parents were working class; his mother, Mary Jane (née Fleming), a cleaner, was a devout Catholic, and his father, John Stewart Baker, was a seaman. Baker attended Cheswardine Boarding School. At 15 he became a novice monk with the Roman Catholic Brothers of Ploermel in Jersey and later in Shropshire, but left the monastery six years later after losing his faith. As he wrote in his autobiography he realised he wanted to break each of the Ten Commandments in order and thought he should get out before he did something serious. He did his national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving from 1955 until 1957. At the same time, he took up acting, studying at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, Sidcup in 1956 where he met his first wife. He went on to become a professional actor in the late 1960s after the marriage broke down.
After his marriage ended in 1966, Baker eked out a living in provincial rep theatre. He had his first break in 1968 whilst performing in a late-night pub revue for the 1968 York Festival. His performance was seen by someone with the National Theatre who encouraged him to audition for the company, then headed by Laurence Olivier. Baker did so and was offered a contract. From 1968 to 1971, he was given small parts and understudied, one of his bigger roles being the horse Rosinante in Don Quixote.
He had his first big film break with the role of Grigori Rasputin in the film Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) after Olivier had recommended him for the part. He was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for his performance, one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and another for Best Newcomer. Baker appeared as Moore, an artist whose paintings are imbued with voodoo power, in The Vault of Horror (1973) and as Koura, the villainous sorcerer, in Ray Harryhausen's The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973).
In 1974, Baker took over the role of the Doctor from Jon Pertwee to become the Fourth Doctor in the BBC TV series. He was recommended to producer Barry Letts by the BBC's Head of Serials, Bill Slater, who had directed Baker in a Play of the Month production of Shaw's play The Millionairess. Impressed by Baker upon meeting him, Letts then became convinced he was right for the part after seeing his performance in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Baker was working on a construction site at the time, as acting jobs were scarce. Initially he was dubbed "Boiler Suit Tom" by the media because he had been supplied for a press conference with some old studio set clothes to replace his modest garments.
Baker quickly made the part his own, viewing figures for his first few years returning to a level not seen since the height of 'Dalekmania' a decade earlier. His eccentric style of dress and quirky personality (particularly his trademark long scarf and fondness for jelly babies), as well as his distinctive voice, made him an immediately recognisable figure and he quickly caught the viewing public's imagination. Baker played the Doctor for seven consecutive seasons, making him the longest-serving actor in the part. Baker himself suggested many aspects of his Doctor's personality, but the distinctive scarf was created by accident. James Acheson, the costume designer assigned to his first story, had provided far more wool than was necessary to the knitter, Begonia Pope, intending for her to choose a suitable colour. However, due to miscommunication Pope knitted all the wool she was given. It was Baker who suggested that he wear the ridiculously long scarf, which he did once it had been shortened a bit to make it more manageable.
The Doctor played by Tom Baker (1974–81) is often regarded as the most popular of the Doctors. In polls conducted by Doctor Who Magazine, Baker has lost the "Best Doctor" category only three times: once to Sylvester McCoy in 1990, and twice to David Tennant in 2006 and 2009. Many of the stories of his era are considered to be classics of the series, including The Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius, The Deadly Assassin and The Robots of Death. Baker was also the first actor to play the Doctor to be seen in the United States. However, the violent tone of the stories produced by Letts' successor, Philip Hinchcliffe, saw the series come under heavy criticism at home from morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse. Concerns over violence during this early period led to a lightening of the tone and an erratic decline in both the popularity and quality of the series. Baker has described Hinchcliffe as "amazing" and identified that as his favourite period of his time on the series. He described Hinchcliffe's successor, Graham Williams, as "absolutely devoted" but lacking Hinchcliffe's flair. He has acknowledged that his final producer on the series, John Nathan-Turner, made changes he didn't agree with and they "did not see eye-to-eye really about very much". He said they became good friends afterwards and forgot their disagreements. Baker did suggest he may have stayed in the role for one series too many.
Baker continues to be associated with the Doctor, appearing on documentaries such as The Story of Doctor Who and Doctor Who Confidential and giving interviews about his time on the programme. He reappeared as the Doctor for the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time and audio for the PC game Doctor Who: Destiny of the Doctors. In 1996 he appraised his time on the show as the highlight of his life. He is often interviewed as part of documentaries on the extras of Doctor Who DVD releases from his era as the Doctor and has recorded DVD commentaries for many of the stories. In a 2004 interview regarding the series' revival, Baker suggested that he be cast as the Master. In a 2006 interview with The Sun newspaper, he claims that he has not watched any episodes of the new series because he "just can't be bothered". In a 2010 interview Baker said that he had not watched Tennant's performance as the Doctor but thought his Hamlet was excellent.
While Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann have all reprised their roles for audio adventures produced since the 1990s by Big Finish (and sometimes the BBC), Baker had declined to voice the Doctor until 2009, claiming that he hadn't seen a script he liked. In July 2009, the BBC announced that Baker would return to the role for a series of five audio dramas, co-starring Richard Franklin as Captain Mike Yates, which would begin release in September. The five audios comprise a single linked story under the banner title Hornets' Nest, written by well-known author Paul Magrs. He returns with a sequel to Hornets' Nest called Demon Quest. Baker has also filmed inserts for a video release of the unfinished Shada in 1992, presented the video release The Tom Baker Years (1992), the latter a look back at his time on the series watching short clips from his episodes and also provided narration for several BBC audio releases of old Doctor Who stories.
In March 2011, it was announced that Baker would be returning as the Fourth Doctor initially for two series of plays for Big Finish Productions, starring alongside former companions Leela (Louise Jameson) and Romana I (Mary Tamm). The first series of six audios were released starting from January 2012. Big Finish had also arranged for Baker to record a series of stories reuniting him with Elisabeth Sladen's character Sarah Jane Smith (for which special permission was obtained from the producers of The Sarah Jane Adventures TV series), but Sladen died in April 2011 before any stories could be recorded.
Baker has been involved in the reading of old Target novelisations in the BBC Audio range of talking books, "Doctor Who (Classic Novels)". Doctor Who and the Giant Robot was the first release in the range read by Baker, released on 5 November 2007, followed by Baker reading Doctor Who and the Brain of Morbius (released 4 February 2008), Doctor Who and the Creature from the Pit (released on 7 April 2008) and Doctor Who and the Pyramids of Mars (released 14 August 2008). In October 2009, Baker was interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Last Word to pay tribute to the deceased former Doctor Who producer Barry Letts. He described Letts, who originally cast him in the role, as "the big link in changing my entire life".
He returned to the show in the 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, in 2013, playing a character who calls himself The Curator. On 20 November 2013, Baker revealed that he would appear, stating "I am in the special. I'm not supposed to tell you that, but I tell you that very willingly and specifically; the BBC told me not to tell anybody but I'm telling you straightaway." The episode saw Baker in the role of a mysterious curator in the National Gallery.
Later film and television work
In 1982, Baker portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a four-part BBC1 miniseries version of The Hound of the Baskervilles; in the US, this production was telecast on A&E. He also made an appearance in Blackadder II, in the episode "Potato", as the sea captain "Redbeard Rum". Much later, he played Puddleglum, a "marsh-wiggle", in the 1990 BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair.
For the third series of the British game show Cluedo, Baker was cast as Professor Plum, a "man with a degree in suspicion". He was also cast in the 2004 series Strange, as a blind priest who possessed knowledge of the Devil. Previously, he had appeared as a guest on the quiz show Have I Got News For You and was subsequently described by presenter Angus Deayton as the funniest guest in the series' history. A particular highlight was when Baker gave an anecdotal account of how, while entering a recording studio in Wales, he was accosted by a member of the public who told Baker: "I will never forgive you, nor will my wife, for what you did to our grammar schools." Baker responded with: "What are you talking about, you daft bugger?" to which the stranger replied: "I'm so sorry. For a moment I thought you were Shirley Williams."
According to the Daily Mirror, Baker's appearance made him a cult figure once again, and helped revive his career. He later returned to Have I Got News For You as a guest host in 2008. Baker played the role of the Captain in the Challenge version of Fort Boyard, and has also hosted the children's literature series, The Book Tower. He recorded a special called, Tom Baker – In Confidence that was shown in April 2010.
In the late 1990s, it was reported that Baker was a candidate for the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films. Baker has since stated that he was only approached for "a role" in the film, and turned down the offer when told that it would mean spending months away in New Zealand. He appeared as Halvarth, the Elven healer, in Dungeons & Dragons (2000).
After his work on Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World, Baker was cast as a similar narrator of Little Britain on BBC Radio 4 and remained in the role when it transferred to television. Baker has suggested that he was chosen for the part in Little Britain due to his popularity with Lucas and Walliams, part of the generation to whom he is the favourite Doctor. "I am now being employed by the children who grew up watching me", he stated in a DVD commentary. Another trademark of Little Britain's narration is the deadpan quotation of old rap lyrics, usually in the opening credit sequence. On 17 November 2005, to mark the start of the third series of Little Britain, Baker read the continuity announcements on BBC One from 7 pm to 9:30 pm GMT. The scripts were written by Lucas and Walliams; Baker assumed his Little Britain persona. He used lines such as:
Baker has appeared in various radio productions, including a role as "Britain's most celebrated criminal barrister", Sir Edward Marshall-Hall in John Mortimer Presents the Trials of Marshall Hall (1996), "Josiah Bounderby" in Charles Dickens' Hard Times (1998) and a part in the 2001 BBC Radio 4 version of The Thirty-Nine Steps as Sir Walter Bullivant. He guest starred in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (a pastiche series written by Bert Coules) in the 2002 episode "The Saviour of Cripplegate Square". From 2000 to 2005 Tom voiced the character Max Bear in the Channel 4 (UK) Max Bear Productions animated series. More recently, he voiced the role of the villain ZeeBad in the 2005 computer-animated film version of The Magic Roundabout. In 2007 he voiced the character of Robert Baron in the BBC animated series The Secret Show.
Baker narrates the children's computer-animated series The Beeps which is shown on Channel 5's Milkshake! as well as narrating Tales of Aesop on BBC, a television series based on Aesop's Fables with beautiful puppet animation. Most recently, Baker has returned to the role of the Fourth Doctor, first in three series of audio adventures for BBC Audiobooks: Hornet's Nest, Demon Quest and Serpents' Crest; and now in a new series of Doctor Who audio adventures for Big Finish Productions also starring Louise Jameson as "Leela". There were seven releases in 2013 with Mary Tamm: (The Auntie Matter, The Sands of Life, War Against the Laan, The Justice of Jalxar, Phantoms of the Deep, The Dalek Contract and The Final Phase).
In the third season of the animated series Star Wars Rebels, Baker provided the voice of the Bendu, a powerful Force-sensitive being.
Baker starred as the Fourth Doctor in the 1997 video game Destiny of the Doctors where he provided the voice. His voice has also been featured in Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future (2000), Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior (2003), "Sudeki" (2004), Cold Winter (2005), MediEvil: Resurrection, Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising, and Little Britain: The Video Game (2007).
Baker is a prolific voiceover artist and his voice was voted as the fourth most recognisable in the UK after the Queen, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher. In 1992 and 1993, Baker narrated BBC radio comedy series Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World. In 1994 he provided the narration for Channel 4's Equinox rave documentary Rave New World. In 2002 he had a speaking role in the critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful Hostile Waters as the Narrator.
Baker provided the voiceover for the Perfect Dark (2000) TV adverts. He also voiced both the narrator and the god "Tetsu" in the role-playing game Sudeki, but was uncredited. During the first three months of 2006, his voice was used by BT for spoken delivery of text messages to landline phones. He recorded 11,593 phrases, containing every sound in the English language, for use by the text-to-speech service. The BT text message service returned from 1 December 2006 until 8 January 2007, with two pence from each text going to the charity Shelter. Also, a single "sung" by Baker's text voice, "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks, was released on 18 December 2006 with proceeds going to the charity. The creator of the song was Mark Murphy, designer of the site.
Baker's voice may be heard at London's Natural History Museum narrating commentary to some of the exhibits that demonstrate Darwin's theory of natural selection. He has made three other brief forays into the world of music: he provides the monologue to the track "Witness to a Murder (Part Two)" on the album Six by Mansun; he appears on Technocat's single "Only Human" in 1995, and in 2002 he recorded the monologue to the track "Megamorphosis" on the album Andabrek by Stephen James, although the album was not released until 2009. Baker provides narrative at two British tourist attractions: the Nemesis roller coaster at Alton Towers, Staffordshire; and the London Dungeon, a museum depicting gory and macabre events in the capital, narrating the events leading up to and comprising the Great Fire of London.
Baker voiced the character "Max Bear", a series of animated stories broadcast on Channel 4 (UK Terrestrial) from 2000 to 2005. He narrated Australian cartoonist Bruce Petty's 2006 film about world politics, Global Haywire.
Baker's autobiography, Who on Earth is Tom Baker? (ISBN 0-00-638854-X), was published in 1997, and made available on Kindle devices in September 2013.
Baker has also written a short fairytale-style novel called The Boy Who Kicked Pigs (ISBN 0-571-19771-X). In 1981 he edited a collection of poems for children: "Never Wear Your Wellies in the House and Other Poems to Make You Laugh" (ISBN 0-09-927340-3).
After playing the horse in The Travails of Sancho Panza (directed by Joan Plowright), Laurence Olivier subsequently cast him as the Prince of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice. The play was directed by Jonathan Miller, with Baker appearing alongside Olivier as Shylock. Still under contract at the National, Baker also played a Russian in The Idiot, Sir Frances Acton in A Woman Killed With Kindness, opposite Anthony Hopkins, and Filippo in The Rules of the Game.
After leaving the role of The Doctor in 1981, Baker returned to theatre to play Oscar Wilde in Feasting with Panthers at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The following year, he played Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler, with Susannah York as Hedda, in the West End. Also in 1982, Baker played Dr Frank Bryant in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Educating Rita, alongside Kate Fitzgerald as Rita. He returned to the National Theatre in 1984 to play Mr Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer in the Olivier Theatre and on a later tour. The following year he played both Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty in The Mask of Moriarty by Hugh Leonard at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.
Baker's first marriage in 1961 was to Anna Wheatcroft, niece of rose grower Harry Wheatcroft, whom he met and began dating when they were both students in acting school. They had two sons, Daniel and Piers, but divorced in 1966. Baker lost contact with his sons until a chance meeting with Piers in a pub in New Zealand allowed them to renew their relationship. In December 1980 he married Lalla Ward, who had co-starred in Doctor Who (playing his companion Romana) with him for two years. However, 16 months later in April 1982, the marriage dissolved, and the pair divorced.
Baker married for a third time in 1986, this time to Sue Jerrard, who had been an assistant editor on Doctor Who. They moved to the Bell House, a converted school in Boughton Malherbe, Kent, where they kept several cats before moving to France in January 2003. They sold the property to Vic Reeves shortly after Baker had worked with him on the BBC revival (2000–2001) of Randall and Hopkirk. In November 2006, Baker returned to live in England, initially buying a house in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, before later moving to East Sussex.
Baker is cynical of religion and describes himself as irreligious, or occasionally as Buddhist, but not anti-religious. He states: "People are quite happy believing the wrong things. I wasn't unhappy believing all that shit. Now I'm not unhappy thinking about it because I can laugh at it." Politically, Baker has expressed disdain for both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, saying in 1998: "When the Conservatives were in I cannot tell you how much I hated them. But I realise how shallow I am because I now hate the Labour Party as much."