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Baker in 2010
|Born||Thomas Stewart Baker|
20 January 1934
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Spouse(s)||Anna Wheatcroft (1961–66; divorced)|
Lalla Ward (1980–82; divorced)
Sue Jerrard (1986–present)
Baker in 2010
|Born||Thomas Stewart Baker|
20 January 1934
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Spouse(s)||Anna Wheatcroft (1961–66; divorced)|
Lalla Ward (1980–82; divorced)
Sue Jerrard (1986–present)
Thomas Stewart "Tom" Baker (born 20 January 1934) is an English actor. He is best known for his role as the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction television series Doctor Who, which he played from 1974 to 1981. In a 2005 poll, Baker's voice was found to be the fourth most recognisable in Britain.
After abandoning a possible religious vocation and serving in the British military, Baker took up acting and joined the Royal National Theatre Company under Laurence Olivier. His first major film role was as Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra, and he played the villain in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in 1973. In 1974, Baker assumed the role of the Doctor in the BBC science fiction series, Doctor Who, becoming an iconic figure, and the longest to hold the role. He reprised the role in the show's 50th anniversary special in 2013. With his highly distinctive voice, in addition to other character roles, Baker has narrated in video games and series including Little Britain. He has also reprised his role as the Doctor in audio recordings for Big Finish Productions.
Married three times, the second to Doctor Who co-star Lalla Ward, Baker has two sons from his first marriage.
Baker was born in Scotland Road, Liverpool, England. His parents were working class Liverpudlian; 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 until he left school at 15 to become a Roman Catholic monk and remained in this lifestyle for six years, but left after losing his faith. He did his national service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving from 1955 until 1957. At the same time, he took up acting, first as a hobby but he turned professional towards the end of the 1960s.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Baker was part of the National Theatre Company, then headed by Laurence Olivier, and 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 was 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. As the Fourth Doctor, his eccentric style of dress and speech (particularly his trademark long scarf and fondness for jelly babies) 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; 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. When John Nathan-Turner took over as producer of Doctor Who in 1981, Tom Baker was infuriated by the changes made to his wardrobe.
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. In a poll published by BBC Homes and Antiques magazine in January 2006, Baker was voted the fourth most eccentric star. He was beaten by Björk, Chris Eubank, and David Icke.
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 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 June 2006, Baker once again expressed interest in the role in a guest column for Radio Times, noting that he "did watch a little bit of the new Doctor Who and I think the new fella, Tennant, is 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 (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".
On 20 November 2013, Baker revealed that he would appear in The Day of the Doctor, the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who, which aired on 23 November. He stated, "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.
In 1982, Baker portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a four-part BBC1 miniseries version of The Hound of the Baskervilles; in the U.S., 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 has 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: "Hello, tellyviewers. You're watching the BBC One! In half an hour, Jenny Dickens's classic serial Bleak House. But first let's see what the poor people are up to in the first of two visits this evening to the EastEnders."
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).
Baker starred as the Fourth Doctor in the 1997 video game Destiny of the Doctors. 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 and highly recognisable voiceover artist. In a 2005 survey of British adults, Baker's voice was found to be the fourth most recognisable 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, Baker 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 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).
Baker's first marriage in 1961 was to Anna Wheatcroft (niece of the rose grower Harry Wheatcroft). They had two sons Daniel and Piers, but divorced in 1966 and 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, the marriage lasted only 16 months.
In 1986, Baker married for a third time, 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 near Maidstone, Kent where they kept several cats, before moving to France in January 2003. They sold the property to Jim Moir (Vic Reeves), shortly after Baker had worked with him on the BBC1 revival (2000–01) of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). In November 2006, Baker returned to live in the UK, initially buying a house in Tunbridge Wells, before later moving to the East Sussex countryside.
Baker is sceptical of religion and describes himself as irreligious, or occasionally as Buddhist, but not anti-religious. "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."
|1968||The Winter's Tale||The bear|
|1971||Nicholas and Alexandra||Rasputin|
|1972||The Canterbury Tales||Jenkin|
|1973||The Vault of Horror||Moore|
|1973||Luther||Pope Leo X||Doesn't appear in some versions of the film|
|1973||Frankenstein: The True Story||Sea captain|
|1973||The Golden Voyage of Sinbad||Koura|
|1980||The Curse of King Tut's Tomb||Hasan|
|1984||The Passionate Pilgrim||Sir Tom||Short film|
|1984||The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood||Sir Guy de Gisbourne|
|2000||Dungeons & Dragons||Halvarth|
|2005||The Magic Roundabout||Zeebad||Voice|
|2010||The Genie in the Bottle||Narrator||Short film|
|1968||Dixon of Dock Green||The man||Episode: "The Attack"|
|1968||Market in Honey Lane||Doorman||Episode: "The Matchmakers"|
|1968||George and the Dragon||Porter||Episode: "The 10:15 Train"|
|1968||Z-Cars||Harry Russell||Episode: "Hudson's Way"|
|1968||Dixon of Dock Green||Foreman||Episode: "Number 13"|
|1969||Thirty-Minute Theatre||Corporal Schabe||Episode: "The Victims: Frontier"|
|1970||Softly, Softly||Site foreman||Episode: "Like Any Other Friday"|
|1972||Play of the Month||Dr. Ahmed el Kabir||Episode: "The Millionairess"|
|1973||Arthur of the Britons||Brandreth / Gavron||Episode: "Go Warily"|
|1974–1981||Doctor Who||Doctor Who||172 episodes|
|1975||Jim'll Fix It||The Doctor||1 episode|
|1976||Piccadilly Circus||Mark Ambient|
|1977||Nouvelles de Henry James||Mark Ambient|
|1978||Late Night Story||Host||4 episodes|
|1979||The Book Tower||Presenter||22 episodes|
|1982||The Hound of the Baskervilles||Sherlock Holmes|
|1983||Jemima Shore Investigates||Dr. Norman Ziegler||Episode: "Dr. Ziegler's Casebook"|
|1983||Doctor Who||The Doctor||Episode: "The Five Doctors"|
|1984||Remington Steele||Anatole Blaylock||Episode: "Hounded Steele"|
|1985||Jackanory||Storyteller||Episode: "The Iron Man"|
|1986||The Life and Loves of a She-Devil||Father Ferguson|
|1986||Blackadder II||Captain Redbeard Rum||Episode: "Potato"|
|1986||The Kenny Everett Television Show||Patient|
|Season 1, Episode 2|
|1986||Roland Rat: The Series||BBC Three presenter|
|Season 4, Episode 1|
|1990||The Silver Chair||Puddleglum|
|1990||Tales of Aesop||Narrator|
|1991||Selling Hitler||Manfred Fischer||4 episodes|
|1992||Cluedo||Professor Plum||6 episodes|
|1992||Screen Two||Sir Lionel Sweeting||Episode: "The Law Lord"|
|1992–1995||Medics||Professor Geoffrey Hoyt|
|1993||Doctor Who||The Doctor||Episode: "Dimensions in Time"|
|1994||The Imaginatively Titled Punt & Dennis Show||Actor in supermarket||Cameo|
|1998||Have I Got News For You||Himself|
|2000||This Is Your Life||Himself|
|2000||The Canterbury Tales||Simpkin||Voice|
Episode: "The Journey Back"
|2000||Max Bear||Max Bear||Voice|
|2000–2001||Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)||Professor Wyvern||10 episodes|
|2001||Fun at the Funeral Parlour||Quimby||Episode: "The Jaws of Doom"|
|2003||Swiss Toni||Derek Asquith||Episode: "Cars Don't Make You Fat"|
Series 4, Episode 1
|2003||Strange||Father Bernard||Episode: "Asmoth"|
|2003||Fort Boyard||Captain Baker|
|2003–2006||Little Britain||Narrator||36 episodes|
|2004||The Little Reindeer||Santa Claus||Voice|
|2004–2005||Monarch of the Glen||Donald MacDonald||12 episodes|
|2006||The Secret Show||Robert Baron||Voice|
Episode: "The Secret Room"
|2007||Marple||Frederick Treves||Episode: "Towards Zero"|
|2007–2008||The Beeps||Narrator||45 episodes|
|2008||Little Britain USA||Narrator||6 episodes|
|2008||Have I Got News For You||Himself|
|2010||Tom Baker: In Confidence||Himself||Interviewed by Professor Laurie Taylor|
|2013||Doctor Who||National Gallery Curator/ The Doctor||Episode: "The Day of the Doctor"|
|1997||Destiny of the Doctors||The Doctor||Voice and likeness|
|2000||Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future||Narrator||Voice|
|2001||Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising||Narrator||Voice|
|2003||Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior||Narrator||Voice|
|2005||Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition||Narrator||Voice|
|2006||Cold Winter||John Gray||Voice|
|2006||Little Britain: The Game||Narrator||Voice|
|2007||Little Britain: The Video Game||Narrator||Voice|
|1994||The Russia House||Barley Blair|
|1994||Lost Empires||Nick Ollanton|
|1998||Hard Times||Josiah Bounderby|
|1999||Nicholas Nickleby||Vincent Crummles|
|2009||Hornets' Nest||The Doctor|
|2010||Demon Quest||The Doctor|
|2011||Serpent Crest||The Doctor|
|1||4S/A||Destination: Nerva||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Leela||January 2012|
|2||4S/B||The Renaissance Man||Richards, JustinJustin Richards||Leela||February 2012|
|3||4S/C||The Wrath of the Iceni||Dorney, JohnJohn Dorney||Leela||March 2012|
|4||4S/D||Energy of the Daleks||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Leela, Daleks||April 2012|
|5||4S/E||Trail of the White Worm (Part 1)||Barnes, AlanAlan Barnes||Leela, The Master||May 2012|
|6||4S/F||The Oseidon Adventure (Part 2)||Barnes, AlanAlan Barnes||Leela, The Master, Kraals||June 2012|
|1||The Auntie Matter||Morris, JonathanJonathan Morris||Romana I||January 2013|
|2||The Sands of Life (Part 1)||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Romana I, K-9||February 2013|
|3||War Against The Laan (Part 2)||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Romana I||March 2013|
|4||The Justice of Jalxar||Dorney, JohnJohn Dorney||Romana I, Jago & Litefoot||March 2013|
|5||Phantoms of the Deep||Morris, JonathanJonathan Morris||Romana I, K-9||May 2013|
|6||The Dalek Contract (Part 1)||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Romana I, K-9, Daleks||June 2013|
|7||The Final Phase (Part 2)||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Romana I, K-9, Daleks||July 2013|
One off 50th Anniversary Special and features Tom Baker and Louise Jameson reprising their roles as the Doctor and Leela. Also features Doctors Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann
|*||The Light at the End||Briggs, NicholasNicholas Briggs||Leela||October 2013|
This series of adventures, like Series 1, is set between seasons 14 and 15 of the classic series, and features Tom Baker and Louise Jameson reprising their roles as the Doctor and Leela. Chronologically, it will take place after The Oseidon Adventure.
|1||The King of Sontar||John Dorney||Leela, Sontarans||January 2014|
|2||The White Ghosts||Alan Barnes||Leela||February 2014|
|3||The Crooked Man||John Dorney||Leela||March 2014|
|4||The Evil One||Nicholas Briggs||Leela, The Master||April 2014|
|5||Last of the Colophon||Jonathan Morris||Leela||May 2014|
|6||Destroy the Infinite||Nicholas Briggs||Leela, The Eminence||June 2014|
|7||The Abandoned||Louise Jameson & Nigel Fairs||Leela||July 2014|
|8||Zygon Hunt||Nicholas Briggs||Leela, Zygons||August 2014|
|1||4R/A & 4V/A||The Fourth Doctor Boxset||4th||Leela||January 2012|
|1997||Who on Earth is Tom Baker?||ISBN 0-00-638854-X|
|1999||The Boy Who Kicked Pigs||ISBN 0-571-19771-X|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tom Baker.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Tom Baker|