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Fourth Doctor

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dw_-_fourth_doctor_1_2632.jpg
"I'm not a human being, I walk in eternity."

First appearance: "Planet of the Spiders" (1974)
Debut: "Robot" (1974-1975)
Regeneration story: "Logopolis" (1981)

Played by: Tom Baker (1974–81, 1993, 1997, 2017 note )

"You may be a doctor, but I'm the Doctor. The definite article, you might say."
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The idiot abroad, an aggravating cross between Sherlock Holmes and the Mad Hatter. Somewhat crazy-eyed, famous for a stupidly-long scarf, and very alien. In reaction to his long exile as the Third Doctor, the Fourth Doctor is defined by his strong wanderlust and a deep-seated resentment toward authority figures — particularly UNIT and his fellow Time Lords. Naturally, this resulted in Four's leash being yanked by every authority figure in the known universe, including the show's embodiment of God; the White Guardian.

Highly eccentric, the Fourth Doctor delighted in keeping both friends and foes alike off-guard with oddball comments (including the occasional Stealth Insult) and pranks. But despite his generally goofy and cheeky attitude, he would occasionally have moments of intense brooding and seriousness, and could even be outright callous and intimidating at times — frequently emphasising and affirming his distance from humanity. Nevertheless, he still displayed a strong moral code when the chips were down; firmly believing that the end never justified the means. His most famous quirks were offering people jellybabies and doing tricks with a yo-yo whenever he needed to relax or think.

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The longest-serving Doctor to date in real-world time, and probably the best known of all his incarnations. If you don't know who Tom Baker is, close your eyes and think of Doctor Who. That's him. (Or possibly David Tennant — see the Tenth Doctor page.)


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    TV Series Tropes 

Tropes associated with the television series

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: He tended to draw out his vowels a fair bit.
  • Action Hero: In his earlier adventures, Four would have little problem leaping into action, such as in "The Sontaran Experiment," but nearly all of his later adventures feature the Doctor more willing to give the monster-of-the-week a jelly baby than engage in fisticuffs. Keeping in mind that he was in the role for seven years, going from being forty to almost fifty during this time, this gradual slowing down does begin to make a bit more sense.
    • The fact that Tom Baker also slipped and cracked his collarbone during the location filming for "The Sontaran Experiment" had something to do with it as well; for several weeks afterwards, Baker couldn't leap into those kinds of action sequences, so they either had find ways to stage those scenes with a stunt double without making it painfully obvious it was a stunt double, or the writers had to find a way to avoid action-hero scenes.
  • Adorkable: He could act really cute.
  • Arch-Enemy: Davros and the Masternote .
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Much more so than even Eight and Eleven. All he has to do is think and he's completely zoned out of reality.
  • Badass Adorable: He possessed great big eyes, huge amounts of childlike wonderment and behaviour, oversized clothes even though he was enormous and a dog he would treat like a puppy. For instance, on one occasion he wanted to go around modern-day Earth Cosplaying a historically-questionable Viking and is gutted when told it is inappropriate, acting just like a little kid told to take off his costume before he can go outside.
    • When Tom Baker was asked to sum up his Doctor in one word, he said, "Adorable".
  • Badass Baritone: Has the deepest and manliest voice of any Doctor.
  • Badass Longcoat: In several colours.
  • Bad News in a Good Way: (excitedly) "Gentlemen, I have news! This lighthouse is under attack and by morning we may all be dead!" (toothy grin)
  • Berserk Button: The Fourth Doctor is the clown, the court jester, the life of the party. There are very few times in his existence where he is legitimately pissed off. When that happens...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The friendly and childlike Fourth Doctor is also the Doctor who took part in the longest and most brutal fight in the show's history, when he spent the bulk of the episode playing cat-and-mouse with his opponent in "The Deadly Assassin."
    • In "Genesis of the Daleks" he threatened to shut off Davros' life support system to coerce him into destroying the Daleks, and he meant every word of it.
    • In "The Seeds of Doom", he spends nearly the entire episode either screaming at everyone, or trying very hard not to say Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, grab Sarah Jane and leave Earth for good. Plus, he hits a minion with a chair.
    • "The Pirate Planet" is notable for featuring the Fourth exploding into a rage far more violently than he ever had before or after, and perhaps even more so than any other Doctor. As we've established, if you manage to even piss Four off, you're seriously screwed.
    • While he told Leela "No more Janus thorns, ever!" in their first adventure, at other times he seemed to be much more sanguine about Leela killing random attackers, as long as she kept quiet about it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: On a few occasions, it's even acknowledged he is Obfuscating Stupidity. ("City of Death")
    Countess: I don't think he's as stupid as he seems.
    Count: My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems.
    (The Doctor flashes a manic wide-eyed grin at them both)
  • Big Entrance: Loved to ensure that all eyes were on him when he entered a room. Especially in "Horror of Fang Rock": since the lighthouse was cramped and the camera had to be very static, Tom Baker insisted on entering each room with a flourish to make up for it.
  • The Big Guy: At 6'3", matching Three's height in a rare case where incarnations don't get taller or shorter after regeneration, he also towers over almost everyone he meets, but is less likely to physically hit someone than he is to offer them a Jelly Baby, whip out a cunning plan, or troll a foe into submission.
  • Bling of War: As part of his coronation as Lord President in "The Invasion of Time", the Fourth Doctor adorned himself with the giant gold Sash of Rassilon and its accompanying scepter.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian/Cultured Badass: Four may fool you into thinking he's just a cosmic hobo... until he fashions a concert flute out of a piece of reed in minutes, and sits down to play the Badinerie, Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor by J.S. Bach.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Loves to put up his feet, draw his hat over his eyes and doze off — especially while UNIT is talking to him. His old teacher at the Academy, Borusa, remembers him as being his most out-of-control student; the adult Doctor is unrepentant.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Would you like a jelly baby?"
  • Character Tics:
    • He almost constantly boggles his eyes out and stares at things unsettlingly. You will rarely see him blink on screen, even if you're looking for it. His eyes don't quite point in the same direction, especially when he's panicking, surprised or in a loopy mood.
    • His grin is a thing of pure horror and deployed generously. (Christopher Eccleston borrowed a dead-eyed, Hurting Hero version of it for his Doctor.)
    • He tends to run his hand through his hair when he's about to concentrate on something. (David Tennant borrowed this for his Doctor too.) Occasionally fiddles with it if he's in a happy mood - see Peter Davison's impression of this, despite less hair, in "Castrovalva" for a really funny moment.
    • Saying "What!" whenever he heard something he didn't like.
    • Cocking his head and going "Ah, well..." whenever he was about to deliver technobabble. (David Tennant deliberately invoked that last one with his Doctor too.)
    • Cheeky little hand-waves.
    • A lot of his gestures call attention to his unusually big and awkward-looking nose - tapping or pushing on the side for 'on the nose' or 'it's a secret', prodding it, pinching the bridge or the tip in frustration, stroking it in thought.... even the very few times he's being flirty he tends to do so by delicately touching his nose.
    • He would often step on his scarf by accident, which always makes him cross. Often also traps it in the doors of the TARDIS, leading him opening the door, pulling the scarf in and then slamming the door behind him.
    • When entering a corridor or entering a room, he always strikes a pose, rushes in flapping all over the place or enters in some other weird way, with Tom Baker's aim being to 'never enter a room the same way twice'. This supposedly started from frustration with the lack of camera angle and lighting variation possible in most of the cheap sets The BBC used and the stereotypical Doctor Who fascination with substituting action with running down identical corridors, and so becomes very obvious in the more claustrophobic and corridor-based serials, like "Horror of Fang Rock". Since the Fourth Doctor is a massive Attention Whore and a ham to end all hams, it works really well.
    • He never looks at his hands when going for his pockets, so whenever he does he flails his hands around in a rather comical fashion before finding them.
    • He really likes having things in his mouth. Whenever he's fixing, making or sabotaging some sort of device, he will inevitably put one of the tools or parts into his mouth to hold it while he works on it with his hands, even if it'd make more sense for him to just put the item down. If nothing's available he tends to chew on his thumbnail. (This is deliberately alluded to in "Deep Breath" when the post-regenerative-traumatised Twelve bites his thumb while contemplating how much he needs a really long scarf.) He also has a habit of licking his lips whenever he's excited.
    • If there is a chair he has a habit where he will begin to sit on it, and then has a sudden flash of insight just before touching the seat and stands back up again. Particularly hilarious in "The Seeds of Doom" where he actually brings a chair over from another room just to do this to it.
    • If he's sitting down he tends to put his legs up on anything he can. Note particularly when he props his legs up on the top of Bessie's windscreen in his first story - something the Third Doctor would find unthinkable.
    • Remember Sarah Jane's line in "School Reunion" about the Doctor 'stroking' the TARDIS? This is the Doctor she was talking about. Note particularly the funny way the Sutekh-Doctor caresses the door switch open in the last part of "Pyramids of Mars".
  • Characterization Marches On: This was cleverly used in his first story - thanks to production scheduling, Jon Pertwee's producer Barry Letts was forced to produce it instead of the producer lined up for the new Doctor, Philip Hinchcliffe. Having the difficult task of establishing the new Doctor as different from Pertwee while having no idea what Hinchcliffe planned on doing with the character, Terrance Dicks wrote the Doctor as a broad clownish comedy character (with some inspiration from Harpo Marx) but establishes that he's in a loopy, unsettled post-regenerative state for almost the entire story, only indicated as settling down into his real personality at the very end of the episode where the Doctor injures his hand on a brick now that his overdriven physical processes have worn off. While a lot of the Fourth Doctor's quirks are established in this episode (such as the natural funniness, the childishness, the bottomless pockets, his fondness for jelly babies and his resentment of all authority) Hinchcliffe took the character into a more Gothic Horror influenced direction, giving the Doctor a brooding and Byronic side to add an edge to his funniness, and playing his capriciousness and unpredictability For Drama at times as well as for cheap laughs. Even when he became a comedy character again later, he became a playful wit rather than a clown.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Tom Baker has far too many teeth.
  • Classy Cravat: Sports one on occasion, though it can be difficult to see under all that scarf.
  • Climbing Climax: This Doctor was defeated while trying to overpower the Master inside a radio telescope. It was up to the Fifth Doctor to finish the job.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Possibly loopier than all other Doctors combined. If you ever need evidence for why this Doctor was the weirdest, fire up the scene "The Seeds of Doom" when he barges into Sir Colin’s office. He walks around with a chair on his head, puts it down, goes to sit on it, doesn’t bother, soliloquizes on the nature of greed, throws a fit, accuses them of having a security leak whilst staring the guilty party right in the face, insults Sir Colin and orders a car! As written it is functional; but as read by Tom Baker, it is utterly barmy.
    • Eventually learns to weaponise this, combined with his Time Lord Academy training: his learned resistance to mind-reading and his inherent loopiness make him able to mask his thoughts better than any other Time Lord.
  • Compensating for Something: According to Romana.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Foregoes any and all authority (and all seriousness) in response to having been forced into following it in his previous incarnation.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Tom Baker's thyroidism is used to full effect. Also, Four rarely blinks.
  • Cuteness Proximity: With K-9, whom he insisted on treating like a real puppy.
  • Dead Man Walking: Four knew he was toast when he spotted the Watcher patiently standing by. This may overlap with Future Me Scares Me, depending on your interpretation of the Watcher.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Steven Moffat once criticised Tom Baker for this, saying his performance was 'thunderously effective' but he 'completely reinterpreted his character to fit that week's script', saying it's impossible to tell that the Doctor in "The Seeds of Doom" and "City of Death" are supposed to be the same person. Moffat since disowned this criticism, but there is a grain of truth in it, especially early on: In "Robot", he's a genuinely funny and goofy Cloud Cuckoo Lander who doesn't care that much about anything, even Sarah; in "The Ark in Space", he's a fearsome and aloof Byronic Hero and very openly fond of Sarah; in "The Sontaran Experiment" he's all Obfuscating Stupidity and foul temper; in "Genesis of the Daleks" he's all wisdom and righteousness and the potential for Dirty Business. "The Seeds of Doom" makes him a cold and violent Tuxedo and Martini Expy, "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" makes him into a bohemian and methodical Sherlock Holmes Expy, in "City of Death" he's somewhere between Zaphod Beeblebrox and Dirk Gently and in "Warriors' Gate" he's a Wizard Classic. There are times in his tenure where he's an Invincible Hero who loves everyone and never ever shows any vulnerability, and times when he's a brooding and fallible Anti-Hero who genuinely struggles with his fear of the monsters, and sometimes swings into the opposite between stories. Tom Baker's performance holds the whole thing together, though arguably less from skill (his skill is in being able to pull off all those different personalities in the first place) and more from sheer force of personality.
    • Chris Boucher wrote him as a passionate atheist who has Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions. He's a lot more respectful of other religions in other scripts
  • Dissonant Serenity: All the time.
    The Doctor: [very happily] Gentlemen, I've got news for you. This lighthouse is under attack and by morning we might all be dead!
  • Distressed Dude: Seriously, HOW MANY times has this Doctor been captured, kidnapped, tied up, locked up, drugged, knocked out, imprisoned, tortured, etc.? Sometimes it happens to him more often than his own companions! The Fourth Doctor is just as bad as the Third.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Thanks to his Nerves of Steel and constant Dissonant Serenity, when someone's trying to brand the Doctor's face with a red-hot iron and counting down from ten, Four helpfully joins in the countdown — confusing his captor and making him lose track.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Borusa admits that the Time Lords owe him a debt of gratitude and literally shoves him out the door.
  • Einstein Hair: A lot of it.
  • Expanded Universe: Tom Baker was the first Doctor to ever record audio stories (starting with "Doctor Who and the Pescatons," and all the way up to his current Big Finish audios). He and Lalla Ward (Romana) also appeared, in-character, in a series of ads for Prime computers (which drew on their Romance on the Set, showing a very odd glimpse of the Doctor and Romana being lovey-dovey) and a New Zealand retirement planning company (as an aged version of the Fourth Doctor, which is now Heartwarming in Hindsight).
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: In one rather bizarre example, his brain became the nest of a pregnant space shrimp in "The Invisible Enemy".
  • Famous Last Words
    "It's the end... but the moment has been prepared for."
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: In "The Invisible Enemy", he has himself and Leela cloned and shrunk down so he can be injected into his own brain, fight the pregnant monster that's nesting inside it, make sure Leela's clone dies inside his head, and then absorb her corpse into his bloodstream to gain her natural immunity to the thing!
  • Fedora of Asskicking: Although not worn as often as his scarf. Gets shot at a few times.
  • Genius Bruiser: Prefers of course to use his considerable intelligence, but of all the Doctors, he's the most capable in the simple art of fisticuffs. His stature probably has something to do with it.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Trope Codifier for the Doctor's fondness for jelly babies (after Two had them first).
  • A God Am I: He temporarily gains Guardian-level powers over time itself, through a nearly completed Key To Time and a bit of MacGyvering.
    • A God I Am Not: He is, after all, a vagabond at heart, with no interest in toys such as the Key to Time, or the Staff of Rassilon. That's not to say he doesn't enjoy trolling people with them, as seen in "The Armageddon Factor".
      Doctor: (mimics Prophet Eyes) As from this moment, there's no such thing as free will in the entire universe. There's only MY will. Because I possess the KEY TO TIME.
      Romana: Doctor, are you all right?
      Doctor: (snaps out of it) Well of course I'm all right. But supposing I wasn't all right?
  • Go Out with a Smile: Despite being clearly terrified and in pain, he suddenly flashes his trademark Cheshire Cat Grin in a final moment of defiance before he quietly says his last words and dies.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He adores K-9, and takes great offense at others for calling him a "machine" (ironically Tom Baker actually hated the character — not without reason since the prop was notoriously temperamental and always breaking down, though he and John Leeson have always gotten along).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Plummeted off a satellite tower after saving most of the universe from The Master.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Famously struggled with this in "Genesis of the Daleks."
  • Hotblooded Sideburns: To go with his massive hair.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Much like the Master, although he only uses it occasionally, and is the only incarnation of the Doctor to do so.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tends to indulge in this both consciously and unconsciously.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: A few Doctors have since made reference to the scarf, dismissing it as an unfortunate garment choice.
    • Seven tried on the burgundy Fourth Doctor ensemble, only to declare it "old hat" and toss it away.
    • An amnesiac Eight found a scarf in a hospital locker, but decided against taking it.
    • A frigid Twelfth Doctor was overheard pining for a nice, long scarf, then rethought it.
      "No, move on from that. Looks stupid."
  • Iconic Item:
    • The scarf. Always the scarf. And jelly babies.
    • To a lesser extent, his Nice Fedora plays a part, especially when combined with his iconic curly hair.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: For years, he was the most recognizable Doctor in terms of public consciousness. It wasn't until David Tennant that a real threat to this status came along.
  • Identical Grandson: Of a sort. A retired incarnation of the Doctor, now peacefully pottering around the National Gallery, is wearing the Fourth Doctor's face for nostalgia's sake. ("The Day of the Doctor")
  • Invincible Hero: By Season 15, the Doctor has morphed into The Most Interesting Man in the World. He tried being frightened once — just to see what it was like. Season 18 dampened this effect somewhat, what with blood-sucking astronauts, a "mad cactus" framing him for murder, and of course the Master 2.0. Although the Fourth Doctor tried to remain unflappable, he was put into situations that were impressively tough.
  • It's All About Me: Wastes no opportunity in letting the world know how brilliant, marvellous, wonderful and all around amazing he is. Four genuinely considers himself the greatest genius he's ever met, and acts entirely superior to everyone around him. Some of his companions put up with it. Romana, who had much better grades than him at the Academy, doesn't.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is generally one of the nicer Doctors but he loves tormenting people for fun (occasionally going very much too far), and generally has a 'difficult' personality, prone to sudden intensely dark moods and periods of brooding interspersed with attention-seeking and selfish unreliability. On his good days he's lovely to be around, fun and magnanimous and interesting and wise and hopelessly adorable - on his bad days, he's virtually impossible to talk to and no sensible person would consent to being in the same building as him.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Master wanted the Doctor to die in ignominy and disgrace— that's how much he hates him. Chancellor Goth hopes to win the Presidency and pin his predecessor's murder on the Doctor.
  • Large Ham: Even his eyes are hammy.
  • Literalist Snarking: Frequently.
  • Literal-Minded:
    Scorby: Get your hands up. Turn around, Doctor.
    (the Doctor does a full 360 turn)
    Scorby: Facing this way.
    The Doctor: Have we annoyed you or something?
    Scorby: Shut up. Okay, start talking.
    The Doctor: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had perfect pitch—
    Scorby: What happened to him?
    The Doctor: Who, Wolfgang Amadeus? (looks at the corpse next to him) ...Oh, him! He died.
  • Manchild: Willing to go anywhere, do anything to avoid taking orders again.
  • Messy Hair: He has a mop of longish, aggressively curly hair. Messing it up from the Third Doctor's hairstyle with his hand is actually the very first thing he does after regenerating and it's usually tangled, though precisely how messy it is seems to have a lot of variation depending on the story (ranging from relatively smooth and tidy in "Terror of the Zygons" to a complete frizz in "The Power of Kroll"). Tom Baker refused to let the makeup team touch it after the start of recording because he felt it would be out of character for the Doctor to comb his hair while he was saving the universe - see Episode 4 of "Pyramids of Mars", where he starts out with a combed bouffant which you can watch slowly coil up into a springy mess. In "The Deadly Assassin", the Doctor claims his hair curls whenever he's thought up a good idea (or when it's going to rain).
  • Murder Tropes: Four was more willing than most regenerations to commit murder, and didn't mind turning a blind eye to Leela's killings. At one point, he murders a villain by filling the room with deadly chemicals; later on, he kills a guy by strapping a bomb to his chest and merrily laughing when he blows up (though the man in question was an immoral monster who had it coming). "Genesis of the Daleks" has the Doctor trying to decide whether or not he has the right to commit genocide; he only refuses once he realizes more planets have united hands in peace because of the Dalek threat. (Also, spending a few minutes with Davros clearly rattled him.)
  • My Greatest Failure: His refusal to wipe out the Daleks from existence in "Genesis of the Daleks" has long lasting consequences for his future incarnations since he inadverently fired the first shot of the Last Great Time War by meddling with the Daleks' creation.
  • Nerves of Steel: Has a habit of striking up casual conversation with whatever's trying to kill him. At one point, he greets someone who's strangling him with a very friendly "oh, hello!".
  • No Indoor Voice: Usually very hammy.
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Conquerors keep making the mistake of thinking the Doctor will be impressed with their exploits, preferably over red wine.
  • No Social Skills: He doesn't care at all for social conventions, and at times seems genuinely oblivious to them.
  • Not So Above It All: Occasionally his temper got the better of him: In "The SunMakers", the Collector is happy to spill the beans about his exploitation of Pluto and how he taxed its inhabitants into indentured servitude. In the middle of wheedling the Collector with flattery, the Doctor turns around and declares him a bloodsucking leech. For more, see "Full Circle", which features one of the Doctor's all-time greatest freakouts. He also found it impossible to break bread with the Tharils in "Warriors' Gate", overturning his goblet and disrupting the banquet they throw for him.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Frequently.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: All the time.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Through a twist of fate in "The Deadly Assassin", he finds himself elected President of Gallifrey — and when he returns to the planet to take up the position in "The Invasion of Time", he promptly turns into a President Evil. Actually, it's part of The Infiltration to fool some Sontaran marauders; he clearly had fun tormenting his subordinates, though (his Emperor Nero moment with the jelly babies being a highlight).
  • Pimp Duds: In contrast to his previous incarnation, this Doctor dressed to be invisible (well, more or less — people tend to notice twelve-foot long multicoloured stripe scarves). In later life, however, he returned to wearing red velvet again. His floppy fedora got swapped for a maroon zoot hat with bright red trim.
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: He's known for veering wildly between being quite a sexual character and a very asexual one. He has trouble understanding what features are supposed to make women beautiful in "City of Death" and seems sexually oblivious to the gorgeous, ludicrously underdressed Nubile Savage he has following him around for a while, except to remind her that her style of dress is inappropriate on modern-day Earth or Victorian London. Yet he gets dialogue with Romana that is clearly intended to be flirtatious, makes double-entendres and even blowjob jokes, and sometimes flirts with side characters. Sometimes he treats Sarah Jane very sensually, touching her face gently, talking to her in a sultry voice, sniffing her hair while hiding behind her and even spooning her on one occasion - wheras at other times he looks at her like a thing. While carrying Eldraad in "The Hand of Fear", he uses a delicate touch, parts of the action choreographed like a dance; but notice how he manhandles Sarah Jane in "The Ark in Space" and "The Android Invasion", in a way intended to give the impression he had no understanding of handling women.
  • Quirky Curls: Lots of them.
  • Rail Roading: Constantly railroaded, most frequently by the Time Lords, and sometimes by other factions. He hates it.
  • Raygun Gothic: The secondary TARDIS console room he decides to use instead of the main one for a while — it first appears in "The Masque of Mandragora," near the end of his run with Sarah Jane, and goes on to be used for many of his adventures with Leela.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Moreso than any other Doctor, he chafes at following orders, whether they be from his fellow Time Lords or the White Guardian. His first instinct at being in any kind of office is to put his feet on someone's desk.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Rather than face the indignity of hearing the judgement during his mockery of a trial, the Doctor puts himself up as a candidate for the Presidency, an act so barking mad that nobody bothers to question why this loon slipped through the net in the first place. ("The Deadly Assassin")
  • Rogues Gallery: K1, Wirrn, Sontarans, Davros, Daleks, Cybermen, Zygons, Sutekh, Kraals, Morbius, Krynoids, the Mandragora Helix, Eldrad, the Master, Xoanon, Sandminer robots, Taren Capel, Magnus Greel, Rutan Host, Vardans, The Captain, the Black Guardian, Scaroth the Jagaroth, Nimons, and the Great Vampires.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Believe it or not, he's actually dressed in a dashing Oscar Wilde outfit, with a poet shirt, classy trousers, riding boots and a crimson ascot (see "The Deadly Assassin"). It's just hidden underneath a collection of tacky vests, a giant coat and several layers of scarf. It comes as no surprise that Tom Baker hit several charity shops when first putting together his costume.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: Several iconic ones. In at least one episode he actually used it to trip up enemies.
    • One interesting note: his very, very, very, VERY long scarf was originally intended to be of just ordinary length. But apparently the costume designer brought the knitter hired for the job ten times the amount of wool needed...and she knitted all of it. "Witty little knitter" indeed. Also, it was shortened after "The Sontaran Experiment" when its length caused Tom Baker to trip and break his collarbone on location, requiring a double to take his place in long shots (!).
    • And tripping enemies wasn't the only use for the absurdly long and iconic accessory.
    • Early on, he made the throwaway comment that it was knitted by Lady Nostradamus.
  • Ship Tease: With Sarah Jane & both incarnations of Romana. He had a Kissing Discretion Shot (and a lot of innuendo) with the first Romana in a Christmas sketch. Tom Baker married the second one.
  • Shout-Out: His hat and scarf were inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec's famous posters of the French singer and comedian Aristide Bruant.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", Magnus Greel and Four casually shuffle around chess pieces while Greel delivers his evil speech. Four wins, of course.
  • Stealth Insult: He is very fond of using these on villains, usually mixing them into the middle of his usual erratic chatter.
  • Sword Fight: Got into a rather magnificent and very long fencing duel at the climax of "The Androids of Tara". He keeps the scarf on.
  • Talkative Loon: All the time.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After Sarah Jane left, Four was noticeably more harsh to her successors (Tom Baker felt he didn't need a companion; producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and the production team disagreed. After Hinchcliffe was let go from the program, Tom became much more difficult to work with, something which made it's way on screen).
  • Torture Porn: "The Deadly Assassin" starts with him being subjected to an Agony Beam and proceeds to take it Up to Eleven. By the end of the adventure, he's lost half his wardrobe (and ripped the other half), he's bleeding heavily from several places, and he nearly drowns during a gratuitous mud wrestling/strangling match in a pond (and boy did all this cheese off Moral Guardians at the time).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jelly Babies, of course. Ginger beer was his favorite drink, but it didn't come up nearly as often.
  • Trickster Mentor: To Leela. He very much enjoyed intimidating her, placing her in Fish out of Water situations and playfully calling her "Savage" (as well as other nicknames like "Mouse").
  • Trope Codifier: 99% of what's known about Time Lord Society comes from this Doctor's era. Being by far the longest-serving Doctor, Four also codified much of the Doctor's character, and the series as a whole. He's often considered one of the best Doctors, if not the best. Since his tenure lasted seven whole years, he's — statistically — the Doctor most longtime fans of the show grew up watching.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: President of the Supreme Council of Gallifrey and All Her Dominions, Holder of the Wisdom of Rassilon, Preserver of the Matrix, Guardian of the Legacy of Omega.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Master coerces him into an alliance in "Logopolis". If the whole universe disintegrates, there will never be a galaxy to rule, right? Not so fast: The Master plans to bargain the healing technobabble for the unquestioned allegiance of the universe's inhabitants.
    Doctor: (outraged) Blackmail!
    Master: No, Doctor, I'm merely reporting the state of affairs.
  • Verbal Tic: He says "weeeeell", "I say", generally extends low vooooowels whenever he can get away with it, and has a habit of drawing out the last syllable at the end of his sentenceeeeeees. He also overpronounces the name of his home planet, 'Gallifrey', pronouncing it much closer to "Gallifree". Also, as his general speech is usually rather on the loud side, when he wants to emphasise something he instead drops into a slightly alarming loud whispering tone.
    • Also, just like the First Doctor before him, he would often go "hmmm".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Dives headfirst into this trope with the first Romana, who's sent over to become his assistant without him asking for it.
    Romana: My name is Romanadvoratrelundar.
    The Doctor: ...I'm so sorry about that. Is there anything we can do?
  • What You Are in the Dark: Had a moral struggle when deciding between preventing the creation of the Daleks or letting them live in "Genesis of the Daleks".
  • The Worf Effect: All it takes is nerve-pinching the Fourth Doctor into oblivion, and he's down for the count. Amusingly, this is the exact opposite of Venusian akido.

    Comic Tropes 

Tropes associated with the TV Comics

  • Rogues Gallery: Professor Sarric, Daleks, Shazar the Half Time Lord, Vogans, Nazis, Zandans, Vrakons, and Cycrans.

Tropes associated with the Doctor Who Magazine line

  • Rogues Gallery: Malevilus, the Moderator General, Beep the Meep, Werelox, Daleks, Brimo, Sontarans, Zeus, Cannibals, Cybermen, and Catavolcus.

Tropes associated with Titan Comics

  • Rogues Gallery: Medusas, Cybermen, the Kroton Imperium, Quarks, & the United Confederation of Ogrons.

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    Book Tropes 

Tropes associated with the Virgin Missing Adventures

  • Rogues Gallery: Barris Kambril, the Black Guardian, Hsien-Ko Chang, Managra, Mr Sin, Percival Ross, Tobias Breckinridge, Voracians, & Xais of Guaal.

Tropes associated with BBC Past Doctor Adventures

  • Rogues Gallery: Jennifer Richards, Josh Randall, Koel Paddox, Lady Hakai, Living Ice, the Repulsion, Sandminer robots, SASV 1, & Voracians.

    Audio Tropes 

Tropes associated with Big Finish

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/four2_8651.png
"What's the point of a time machine if you don't use it, hmm?"
Voiced by: Jon Culshaw (2006); Tom Baker (2012–present)

In 2006, the Fourth Doctor made a cameo appearance as a recording in The Kingmaker, a Fifth Doctor audio. However, he was voiced by impressionist Jon Culshaw instead of the genuine article.

In 2011, a good five years later, someone somehow finally convinced Tom Baker to join the cast of Big Finish. Baker says that it was Elisabeth Sladen and Louise Jameson who eventually wore him down. Tragically, Sladen passed away before a planned series of Four and Sarah Jane stories could be recorded. The Fourth Doctor is by far the loopiest of all regenerations, and freely uses Obfuscating Stupidity and Obfuscating Insanity to make himself seem even more out-there than he already is. Big Finish likes to show off his skills as The Chessmaster as well.


Alternative Title(s): Fourth Doctor

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