In late 2013, DWO caught up with Doctor Who Actor, Tom Baker, to discuss his recent role in the 50th Anniversary Special; 'The Day Of The Doctor', Christmas and his future plans.
Millions of Doctor who fans worldwide were given a very special treat when we all saw you return in the ‘The Day Of The Doctor’. How long ago did you find out you would be in it, and what was it like coming back to the main TV series after 32 years?
I was invited to be in the Special about 7 months before transmission. I was reluctant at first but a very persuasive Miss Skinner convinced me that it was a good idea and that the fans would be happy to see me again. The second part of that argument convinced me: I never wanted to do more than please the fans. By the time the shooting date drew near Miss Skinner had disappeared though her argument remained, so I stood by my promise.
I was driven through the night to record the scene in Cardiff on a very cold and dreary morning. No glamour on a film lot, caravans scattered everywhere and tea was simply a dream of long ago when I was in lovely Sussex: long ago? well five hours but this was BBC Cardiff at 5 am! Never mind. At last 8 am crawled into view and make-up, costume and weak tea too! And then the scene.
Matt Smith came to find me with such affectionate enthusiasm that my anxieties were allayed. The film set was packed with people, scores of them, full of curiosity to see the old Doctor with the reigning one. Whatever I offered, Matt responded with terrific jollity: he was just so generous and I was grateful. As you know the scene was very brief, very, very brief; and in 4 and a quarter hours it was complete and I fled.
Your Big Finish range continues to do very well indeed. Now that you’re coming up to 2 years with them, how have you found working with your past companions and what can we expect to look forward to in the upcoming series?
I don't know exactly how long or how many adventures I have recorded for Big Finish but I am full of enthusiasm for whatever they offer me this year. I have told David Richardson more than once that I have never been happier than I am doing their scripts.
I have not discussed happiness with the other actors, except Louise, and she tells me she is delighted to be part of the group. I think that means she is very happy. But I can tell from the atmosphere in the Green Room and from the waves of laughter I hear that Big Enthusiasm is the house style at Big Finish. I have mostly had a happy time with other actors; not always but mostly. Generally actors are nice people to be with.
With the Christmas season upon us, do you have any traditions you like to keep each year?
I don't have any particular rituals at Christmas. Nearly all the planning and organising is done by my wife. I try to help out by doing my share of shopping and by being sociable at mealtimes. Christmas is no longer a novelty at my age; nor is New Year.
Do you have a particular favourite Christmas Movie, Song or Book?
I used to like the Alistair Sim Christmas Carol for many years but now I would prefer to watch Frank Capra's film "It's a Wonderful Life."
Last year I recorded the complete Dickens' script, “A Christmas Carol”, not a word missed out. One person told me she liked it, so I got something right. I think one can justifiably make some cuts to the text as there are some obscurities here and there. But James Stewart was such a wonderful actor in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, so warm and sincere and so funny; and that slightly cracked voice and his hesitant quacking just makes me yelp with joy. And the title of the film is great, eh?
Your autobiography has recently been released on Kindle, but you’ve had some more adventures since its original release in 1997, and with the recent success of ‘The Boy Who Kicked Pigs’ as a stage play, do you have any plans to write any more books?
My autobiography and “The Boy who Kicked Pigs” remain in print and that pleases me. The pig book is published in 5 languages including Chinese, Dutch and German. But I'm not a writer and those two efforts were little attacks of inspiration, so I don't feel another book coming on.
I still enjoy going to conventions and interacting with the fans who have supported me for so long. Some of them I know quite well and some I even know their grandchildren!
I wish you all a heartfelt Happy New Year and many thanks for all your encouragement over so many years.
From old Tom Baker
Watch Tom Baker's DWO video greeting:
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