Tom Baker (1981)

Another Tom Baker interview, this time a transcript from his appearance on the BBC’s ‘Nationwide’ in 1981 to mark his departure from ‘Doctor Who’. This is perhaps most notable for the interviewer’s complete failure to pick up on his comment about the possibility of a woman being cast as the next Doctor…

Q: Tom Baker this is extremely sad news that you’re leaving ‘Doctor Who’, and K-9 announced his resignation two weeks ago, so with Master and dog gone, what’s going to happen to the series?

A: Well… it’ll just go on and on and on and on, because it’s part of our television, isn’t it? Why should it stop, there’s no evidence… everyone’s been very successful in it.

Q: But what’s going to happen in the series? There’ll be a new Dr. Who, presumably?

A: Yes.

Q: The goodies always change but the baddies stay the same, the Daleks and Davros and so on.

A: And the Doctor always wins.

Q: Are you going to miss working on the show at all?

A: Terribly, yes. It’s been a very happy time for me.

Q: It must have been fun working with all the machines and special effects?

A: Well… yes, but I don’t think that was as much fun as being involved in something that’s immensely successful. It’s been fun being Dr. Who, it’s been the happiest time of my working life. Um… one has lovely relationships with children in parks… (smiles) by that, I mean I’m the only man in London that ‘Don’t talk to strange men in parks’ doesn’t apply to. I’m possibly the only man in Europe who’s twice in Madame Tussauds.

Q: That’s pretty good. Have you any idea how many times you’ve got in and out of the TARDIS?

A: Thousands of times, thousands of times.

Q: You’ve got a good stage acting background from before you went into ‘Doctor Who’, are you going back to serious stage acting now?

A: I don’t like the ‘serious stage acting’ as if serious stage acting’s more important than television, you know… I’m going into oblivion, I suppose.

Q: No immediate plans?

A: No immediate plans at all. It’s quite hard to leave something when one is really happy in it. We’ve now reached about 100m viewers around the world in 37 countries and I’ve done the best I can with it, and I don’t really think I can do any more with it, which is a good reason to leave and give someone else a chance to nudge it on a bit, the way I nudged it on when I took over.

Q: I suppose it’s good for the series to have different Dr. Who’s now and then.

A: Yes. I think it’s probably good for everybody to have changes now and then.

Q: What sort of person’s going to take over from you? Can you reveal who it’s going to be and how you’re going to be written out?

A: No. The answer to that is No, but even if I did know, I wouldn’t tell you.

Q: What kind of person do you think it should be? A departure from yourself, a mad professor?

A: Well you’re making an assumption that it’s going to be a man.

Q: So you have no immediate plans?

A: No. I’m open to offers.

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