I met Tom Baker at Birmingham's NEC in November 2005. I was dressed in my tuxedo and, after Tom had signed a picture for me, we started talking about James Bond. He asked me who my favourite Bond was, and when I told him it was Sean Connery, Tom agreed that he was his favourite as well. Tom then went on to tell me, at some length, what 'connery' means in French!!
Thomas Stewart Baker was born in Liverpool in 1934. Brought up a catholic by his Irish mother, Tom became a novice monk when he left school at 15. Six years later he took up acting as a hobby, following a brief spell in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
After a few small parts in TV series like Z Cars (1968), Dixon of Dock Green (1968) and Softly, Softly (1970), Tom Baker's first major role was as Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexander (1971).
In his personal life, Tom Baker has been married three times. His first wife was a neice of the rose grower Harry Wheatcroft, whilst his second wife, the aristocratic actress Lalla Ward, played his Dr Who companion Romana from 1979-81. Baker married a third time in 1986, and now lives in France.
Because of his very distinctive voice (one of the most recognisable in Britain) Tom Baker has been in great demand in recent years as a voice-over artist, providing the narrations for The Magic Roundabout (2005) and Little Britain (2003-6).
The enigmatic and reclusive Tom Baker returned to theatrical work, and roles in other TV productions like the C S Lewis Narnia adventure The Silver Chair (1990) where Tom Baker plays the part of the marshwiggle Puddleglum. Baker's more recent work has ranged from Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (2000) and Monarch of the Glen (2004-5), where he plays eccentric ex-racing driver Donald McDonald, to Agatha Christie's Towards Zero (2006).
Regarded by many aficionados as the best Dr Who of them all, Tom Baker played the part for so long that his 'companions' came and went. After seven years, the fourth Dr Who regenerated into the fifth Dr Who, played by Peter Davison - a change that was not without controversy.
Many interesting characters like the Zygons were introduced during the series, and the locations varied - from Mars to Victorian London.
In 1974 came the role that was to take over Tom Baker's life for the next seven years, and make him the most memorable Doctor Who of them all. With his 20ft long multicoloured scarves (there is even a website devoted to these - see link below) and faithful robot dog K-9, Tom Baker took the show to unheard of heights of popularity.
Dr Who and K-9 play chess
Tom Baker - the fourth Dr Who
As Donald McDonald in
Monarch of the Glen
As the marshwiggle Puddleglum
in The Silver Chair
Lalla Ward as Romana with Tom Baker in Dr Who
Tom Baker signing my photo
The picture that Tom Baker signed for me
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