Tom Baker (1974)

This might be Tom Baker’s first interview after he began filming ‘Doctor Who’. It’s entertaining stuff, as he discusses his ‘ordinary life’ and the dangers of filming while having a moment off in the Wookey Hole caves where ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ was filmed. At one point he offers the interviewer a jelly baby, and there are times in the original footage where he’s clearly having fun with the interviewer.

Q: Tom Baker, seeing you scramble about on those rocks it seems to me that the life of Dr. Who is a bit fraught and a bit dangerous, isn’t it?

A: Well sometimes it’s a bit dangerous, I mean a few weeks ago I broke my shoulder falling off a cliff in Dartmoor. And I suppose standing on rocks playing with yo-yo’s… (laughs)

Q: I’ve got to ask you, what kind of character is the new Dr. Who?

A: Well I don’t think I can really give away… I don’t think I can really comment on my own character. The situations will be somewhat as they’ve been in the past, full of excitement and great problems that I get involved in.

Q: But you’re not in the traditional Dr. Who costume of flowing robes and satins.

A: No, no I’m not, I can’t really follow that very sophisticated line my predecessor used. I think that I have a capacity to be surprised by any situation, like I’m surprised by this situation I’m in now. Would you like a jelly baby?

Q: Yes, thank you very much.

A: I have a capacity for surprise and for enjoying whatever I’m doing. And playing Dr. Who, against… ‘The Ark in Space’ was the last one, and the robot and things like that, is a tremendous pleasure. Whether in fact it will please the regular audience of ‘Doctor Who’, I don’t know. They’ll see it in a few weeks’ time anyway and judge.

Q: Now the other three Dr. Who’s became national figures, particularly Jon Pertwee. This is likely to happen to you, I should think. Will that change your life?

A: Yes. Yes, it will affect my life. I understand. I mean this has never really happened to me before because most of the parts I’ve played have been dogs or bears or Rasputin or whatever, so that when my make-up is off I’m not recognised. Presumably I will be recognised by a great number of people and the anonymity of my ordinary life will disappear.

Q: What is your ordinary life?

A: My ordinary life is really a quiet living bachelor who likes some fun. I mean I work like a dog on this series, I go home and do a few hours work and go to a pub and meet friends and talk and go to the movies. Presumably some of that will change, but it’s a very very small price to pay.

Q: I remember seeing a little girl scream and bury her face in the cushions when ‘Doctor Who’ was on. Isn’t this a very difficult line to tread between frightening children and just entertaining them?

A: Well I think that it’s a very nice point, but I hope that after a while I will be able to convince the children that are watching the programme that no matter how terrifying or amazing or exciting the situation is, that actually I’ll solve it and that really it will all come right finally.

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