CULT FACTION

For all your cult film, tv, cartoon, comic and video game needs

Tom Baker

Tom Baker is, to many fans of the show, the greatest of all the Doctors. In fact he has only lost the official poll three times; once to Sylvester McCoy in 1990 and twice to David Tennant in 2006 and 2009.

Thomas Stewart Baker was born to a working class family on the 20th January 1934 in Scotland Road Liverpool. His father John was a sailor and his mother Mary a cleaner. Whilst at school Baker showed little interest in either academic studies or acting. He instead focused on religion. Tom had been raised in a strong Catholic family and at the age of fifteen he decided to take holy orders and became a monk.

For the next six years Baker lived between the ‘De La Mennais Brothers’ monasteries in Jersey and Shropshire. He left, aged twenty one, after having a conflict of faith and went straight into the Army for his National Service.  It was during his time in the Army that Tom first discovered his love of acting. After his two years service was complete he continued to act, outside of the Army, in a number of amateur theatre productions.

It was during one of these amateur productions that, in the late 1960s, his fellow cast members persuaded him to go professional. He would join the ‘National Theatre Company’, then under the stewardship of respected actor ‘Laurence Oliver’. From here he received his first big break in film playing ‘Grigori Rasputin’ in the 1971 movie ‘Nicolas and Alexandra’. The role earned him ‘Golden Globe’ nominations for ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’ and ‘Best Newcomer’.

Over the next few years Baker started to make a name for himself as a great film and TV character actor. In 1974 the then head of BBC TV Serials ‘Bill Slater’, whom had previously directed Baker, suggested Tom as a replacement for the outgoing ‘Jon Pertwee’ for the lead role in ‘Doctor Who’. Baker impressed in his first meeting with producer ‘Barry Letts’ and was offered the role. Tom had recently fallen on hard times and had been working on building sites to supplement his income from acting. Due to this the BBC had to lend him a suit for his media unveiling. The suit looked cheap and this lead to the short lived nick name ‘Boiler Suit Tom’.

Baker loved the role and quickly made it his own. He was like no ‘Doctor’ before him. He was eccentric, erratic, with the attention span of a child, and a fondness for ‘Jelly Babies’. Tom had worked hard on every aspect of the character, including the clothes he wore. He even suggested the scarf, although the excessive length was due to too much wool being sent to the knitters.

Tom also brought a sense of darkness to the role which, had been missing since the early days of ‘William Hartnells’ tenure. It was quite common for Bakers ‘Doctor’ to show little to no emotion over the death of an ally.

He played the role for seven years, longer than any other Doctor. He reluctantly decided to leave the role after disagreements with new producer ‘John Nathan-Turner’. His last episode, Logopolis, saw such an eccentric and influential ‘Doctor’ given quite a boring death. Falling from a radio telescope and then slowly dying on the ground.

Baker would continue to work, he’s rarely been without a job, mainly on TV. Later roles included ‘Sherlock Holmes’ in ‘ Hound of the Baskervilles’, ‘Puddlegum’ in the BBCs adaptation on ‘C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Silver Chair, ‘Professor Plum’ in the nineties game show ‘Cluedo’ and the narrator in TV sketch show ‘Little Britain’.

He was also offered an audition for the role of ‘Gandalf’ in the ‘Peter Jackson’ (who’s a big ‘Doctor Who’ fan) ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. He turned down the role as it meant spending too much time away from his home.

He would reprise his role as the ‘Doctor’ three more times on television. First in 1983s ‘The Five Doctors’, then in 1993s charity episode ‘Dimensions in Time’, and finally (so far) in the 2013 fiftieth anniversary special ‘Day of the Doctor’. Baker held off until 2009 before he did any ‘Big Finish Productions’ ‘Doctor Who’ audio books or radio plays as he was waiting until he read a script he liked.

Tom Baker is the most loved and influential of all the ‘Doctors’. He’s still referenced in many contemporary television shows such as, ‘Family Guy’, ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Too many fans, and even to himself, he is and always will be the ‘Doctor’.

Recommended film and TV appearances (outside of Doctor Who):-

Moore – The Hound of the Baskervilles

Capt. Redbeard Rum – Blackadder 2 Ep: Potato

Puddlegum – The Silver Chair

Narrator – Little Britain

Related Posts
Ōgon Bat

Ogun Bat is a Japanese superhero created by Takeo Nagamatsu in 1931 and is considered to be the first Japanese superhero. The anime ran 52 episodes between April 1st 1967 and March 23rd Read more

Zork: The Great Underground Empire – Part I (1980)

Released in December 1980, Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I aka Zork I was an interactive fiction video game written by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Bruce Daniels and Tim Read more

Zoolander 2 trailer released

Zoolander is back but a lot has happened since 2001! Rest assured the Ben Stiller comedy features familiar faces and a few new ones with plenty to get you excited. Read more

Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966)

At a dinner party with their wives, NASA scientist Dr. Keith Ritchie (Tony Huston) reveals to his colleague Dr. Curt Taylor (John Agar) that he has secretly been in communication Read more

Zone Troopers (1985)

In Italy during World War II, an American military patrol discovers a spaceship that has crash-landed in the woods, along with its alien crew. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm9fnNfLg8M A nearby Nazi unit also Read more

Zone Fighter

Zone Fighter was a tokusatsu science fiction/superhero television series produced by Toho Company Ltd. It aired from April 2nd 1973 to September 24th 1973, with a total of 26 episodes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdhcjsVLDQY The series follows Read more

Zombo – You Smell of Crime And I’m the Deodorant

When the government's latest crime deterrent, obmoz, goes completely off the rails and starts to destroy everything from the underfunded super team Planetronix to the president himself, who ya gonna Read more

Zombies-Outlive The Undead trailer released

Tony Todd is back in an all new zombie movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBlWz-n-nec When the world is in shambles, plagued by a zombie outbreak, only the strong will survive, but just how Read more

Zombiegeddon (2003)

Directed by Chris Watson and distributed by Troma Entertainment, Zombiegeddon begins as Satan creates a human-like race called zombies. When the zombies begin taking over the world, dirty cops Jeff Read more

Zombie Hotel

Zombie Hotel ran for twenty-six episodes in 2006 and focuses on Fungus and Maggot - two child zombies who pretend to be human to get into their local school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzXhCDspKxU Read more

Zomben #1

After surviving the 'Multipocalypse', Ben tries to live a normal life, hiding the fact that he is infected with a zombie plague. His new friends have just found out ... Read more

Zombee

A dutiful Samurai, a madcap Ninja and a bizarro Zen Monk team up to battle the undead in Feudal Japan. Can these unlikely allies stay friends long enough to stop Read more

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Based on Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen's book of the same name, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was directed by Kenneth Johnson and set in the year 2049. It Read more

Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2010)

Arriving in 2010, Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City was the sequel for 2004's Zebraman, and starred Show Aikawa once again as Shinichi Ichikawa/Zebraman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqnYJugzaiU As the film opens it Read more

Zebraman (2004)

Directed by Takashi Miike, Zebraman follows Shinichi Ichikawa (Shô Aikawa), a man whose life is unravelling before his eyes. At work he is a failing school teacher and at home he Read more

Zazie Beetz to Play Domino in Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds announced via Twitter that Zazie Beets (Atlanta) will play Domino in the upcoming Deadpool sequel: https://twitter.com/VancityReynolds/status/839947701487796224 Deadpool 2 will be directed by David Leitch (John Wick), with original Deadpool scripters Rhett Reese Read more

Zardoz (1974)

Zardoz, often referred to as "the one where James Bond is in his pants," is set in a future post-apocalypse Earth in the year 2293. By this point in history Read more

Zapped Season 3 Ep. 3: Popcorn

The awesome third season of Zapped returns with it's third episode - Popcorn- where Brian (James Buckley) has moved on from being the pub chef and has launched a business Read more

Zapped

Zapped is a British sci-fi/fantasy sitcom that takes place in both in the real world and in a town called Munty which exists in a medieval fantasy world. The series Read more

Z-Nation #1

A prequel set in the world of Syfy's #1 scripted hit zombie series Z Nation, Black Summer is as bad as the apocalypse gets. A worldwide drought and famine when Read more

%d bloggers like this: