Tom Baker (1974)

I think this is Tom Baker’s first interview after getting the role of the Doctor, and to be honest it’s less an interview and more a series of press quotes. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that while he’s now turned the interview into something of an art form, this is Baker way before he became such a seasoned interview ‘pro’…

“Perhaps what clinched it for me was my appearance in the special effects film ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’.

“We are not playing Dr. Who for laughs. I am trying to stress his strangeness, that he is out of this world, not human, therefore his reactions would be different from ours. I may only be a middle-aged ten-year-old, but I take Dr. Who very seriously. He has to be genuinely loveable, not pleased by violence, and he must be honest. Humourous, but never comical.

“I seem to have played so many psychotics, it will be a pleasant change. The Doctor’s a fantastic character and I’m not sure yet how I’m going to play him. It’s very difficult. Fortunately, kids have such elasticity of imagination that it is easy for them to accept that he has to be killed, but because he is a Time Lord he doesn’t really die. He regenerates into another form.

“I have a nine-week break in the summer. I’m under contract with Sam Speigel to do a film then. I don’t know what. But if I wasn’t acting I would take some job. I don’t like saying ‘I’m resting’ when I’m out of work. It’s a fallacy that actors get paid astronomical sums of money. I get paid very well sometimes, of course, and it’s a temptation to blow it on a flash car. But I live very simply. I have hardly any possessions and I live in a bedsit in Pimlico. I read in a national newspaper that I was getting paid ¬£1,000 a week for ‘Dr. Who’. That’s absolutely preposterous. The BBC must have had a good laugh.

“(The Daleks) are terrible creatures that just want to kill everybody. They’re terrible. No humour, no jokes. And without jokes, there’s no optimism!”

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