Tom Baker Answers Your Questions!
The bits of our interview with Doctor #4 that we couldn’t fit in our new Doctor Who bookazine
Tom Baker and Louise Jameson at the rcording of Big Finish’s new Fourth Doctor/Leela audio adventures
The brand new, 100% original content, 180-page, utterly fantastic SFX bookazine, Doctor Who: The Fanzine, is on sale NOW!
In it, we subject Tom Baker to a Fannish Inquistion, but we couldn’t quite fit the entire interview, so here are the extra, like a bonus feature on a DVD.
What souvenirs from the programme do you have?
Callum Smith, via email
Tom: Well, not many left, because so much was begged off me! Charities are so insatiable! But I’ve got one thing left – an engraved glass from Elisabeth Sladen from when she left in 1975 or 1976, engraved “with love from Elisabeth”.
I think in the days when I was not so happy I didn’t save much because I couldn’t see much point. I wasn’t a boy when I got that job, but I never thought I’d be 78 and in rather good health. I think that’s why in those hectic days in Soho in the 1960s and ’70s no-one thought like that, otherwise no-one would have behaved like that! And we didn’t believe in anything except hanging in together and sharing our desperation. We all chose the illusion, that life with in the Colony, that life was in the French and of course we all had very tragic domestic situations. There were broken hearts or abandoned partners or betrayals because that kind of behaviour led to outrageous recklessness. Weird days…
What’s been your weirdest fan experience?
Lizzie Rogers, Molland
Tom: To cut a long story short, I bought a gravestone. I gave the Church a hundred pounds for it, so it was now my gravestone. I used to mow the churchyard and one day I heard, chink chink chink, and bugger me, there was a monumental mason engraving a gravestone for some poor soul. So, I went up to him and said, “Excuse me,” and he went, “Christ! Doctor Who!” He was a big fan of mine. So I said, “Do you want to earn 30 quid?” and he said, “Not ‘arf!”
So I said, “Look I bought a stone off these guys here, so would you put my name on it?” So I gave him 30 quid, went off and when I came back he’d put in TOM BAKER in really big letters and “1933 -” He didn’t fill in the second date. I’d have died if he’d have done that! So there it was. Anyway, one day when I was mowing the lawn, months and months later, looking over the wall I saw somebody standing by my gravestone. I thought, “If he’s having a pee on my gravestone, I’ll kill him.” When I looked again, he wasn’t standing by it, he was kneeling by it. So I continued mowing and on my next trip back, he was standing there again. So I said hello. And he said, “I’ve just been putting flowers on your grave.” I thought, this is odd, why doesn’t he see that I’ve got a Honda mower and I’m extremely corporeal? He said, “It’s so sad… I’ve put forget-me-nots down there. Did you like forget-me-nots?” I thought, “Did I?” But I said yes I did and he said, “It’s so sad…” And he started to back way. Not walk away, back away. It was quite a long way down the hill and he was still waving at me and I thought, “Why is he waving at the dead?” But I thought now he knows where I live, he might bother me, but he never did come back.
Will you write another book?
Andy Watt, via email
Tom: I don’t know, really. It’s a big deal, writing a book. I’m tempted to try another horror or bad-taste novel. I was also offered some money to bring up to date my autobiography, so I thought I’d better give it a whirl. So I had a look at it, and I was so horrified about what I’d written. I think it was about 12 years since I wrote that book, and I’ve changed so much. I remember the incidents but the tone of voice sounds anxious and at times unhappy. I didn’t like that Tom Baker with all his carping and slamming into everything. Although I can get indignant when I think of certain things in my past, there’s no need for me to bang on about it as much. I think because I’d never written anything before I think maybe I overdid it. Maybe it was too vital or too vivid.
Have you seen Matt Smith in action?
Simon Colenutt, via email
Tom: If I had seen any of these other Doctor Whos I’d have either had to have been very honest and perhaps embarrass them or be very dishonest and therefore bland. David Tennant sought me out at Nick Courtney’s Memorial Service and there was a kind of portaloo which looked a bit like a TARDIS so we had a photograph taken there for the vicars of that Church in St Paul’s. That was nice. But all the Doctor Whos, well not all, but they’ve sent nice messages to me. I don’t know about from Matt Smith, but certainly from David Tennant… But people have their favourite Doctor Whos and are irrational about that. Now that I meet them occasionally at conventions, we’re all pals together and they’ve all grown old, like me! I mean I’m the oldest by a long way, but Colin must be gone 60 now and Sylvester. He does a lot of serious work, doesn’t he, Sylvester? He used to work with Ken Campbell, did he?
READ THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW IN SFX’S DOCTOR WHO: THE FANZINE, ON SALE NOW!
Two of the new audio adventures Tom and Louise have recorded for Big Finish. Learn more here.