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
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
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 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
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
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
* * *
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