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Quotes by Tom Baker

"At the bar, I heard a woman's voice say, 'Well, hello there, dear, dear Tom!' This was said with that challenging inflection which says, 'Well, isn't this a surprise, and you'll never guess who I am!' I turned to face the inflection, who was about fortysomething and very pleasant to look at, apart from the way she held her head on one side, as though one side of her head was heavier than the other. 'Oh, hello there!', I said, wondering who on earth it could be. She looked at me steadily: 'You don't remember me, do you?' Trying to bluff it out, I said with terrific confidence, 'Of course I do! It was the National Theatre, wasn't it?' She shook her head triumphantly. 'I knew you'd forgotten me. Aww, how could you, Tom?' Her confidence unnerved me, and I found myself guessing wildly. 'Play For Today?' She shook her head and smiled on. 'The Royal Shakespeare Company? Surely that was it!' (Everyone's worked at the RSC.) She went on with the enigma, and suddenly I knew the impulse to strangle someone. 'Doctor Who? Yes, it was Doctor Who, wasn't it?' Again she shook her head. 'It was a play wasn't it?' She looked at me sadly. 'No, we used to be married.' I spun 'round towards the bar to find my ale, and when I turned back she was talking calmly to someone else."
Who On Earth is Tom Baker?

"Not long ago, I was walking in Oxford Street and a man stopped me: He said, '—Tom Baker??', and I said, 'Yeah.' And he said, 'Tom Baker, Christ...' As he looked at me, I could see him being catapulted back somewhere. And he said, 'When I was a kid, I was in a home in North Wales and, uh, it wasn't very good. They didn't like us, and nobody wanted us. And you made Saturday night good for us, you know?' ...Now, to make a little speech to an old man in Oxford Street thirty-odd years later showed the power, didn't it? Of a benevolent character on children's television."

"Actors are able to trick themselves into treating anything as fantastic. It's a kind of madness, really."

"The difference between Matt Smith and me is that he’s an actor and I'm... well, I’m just Tom Baker."

"Apparently, somebody at a convention in Canada, I think, asked her, ‘What was your favourite monster?’ – an annihilatingly dull question – and Lalla went, quick as a flash, ‘Tom Baker!’ I remember thinking, ahh, good old Lalla.”

"How long, K-9?"
" Insufficient data"
"Yeah, you never fucking know the answer when it's important."
Doctor Who blooper reel

Symphony ...even for monkey shaggers! [...] I adore distilled whippet shit.

Once a man next to me found the handle of a radiator in his mashed potato; he said nothing, merely moving it to the side of his plate after sucking the mashed potato off it first. Nobody else said anything either. If the truth was known several of us were probably jealous.
— Describing army food

But we can't escape into the future like we can escape into the past. So those of us who are not certain of things, and there are an awful lot of us, often rush back to the past. And each one has a particular past he prefers to the present. Sometimes I feel that any past is preferable to the present.

"We are all quite capable of believing in anything as long as it's improbable."

"Hello, and welcome to Have I Got News for You. I used to be Jon Pertwee."
— Introducing himself as guest host on Have I Got News for You

Quotes about Tom Baker

"Tom is one of those people who oscillated between being one of the most wonderful, awesome, engaging people you have ever met, to someone you would gladly shove off a cliff."

"I don't think even Tom Stoppard or Harold Pinter could have written a scene that would have satisfied both Tom and Lalla at that point."
Paul Joyce on directing Doctor Who, "Warrior's Gate"

"Maybe, just maybe Tom Baker had a point when he cited that he did not need a companion. He works beautifully well on his own here, more confident and rebellious than ever and slightly off the rails away from Elisabeth Sladen's calming influence...His nerve knows no bounds – he infiltrates the Panopticon in Gold Usher, the highest honour and then wanders around looking resplendent in his huge orange collar. It should be a ridiculous fashion accessory but Tom Baker is at his zenith of confidence and somehow he manages to pull it off as though it is the height of contemporary gear... His cold, hard reaction to Goth’s death goes unnoticed by fans (‘No answer to a straight question, typical politician’) whereas the sixth Doctor is criticised regularly for that sort of James Bond quip."

"Tom Baker will likely always tower over the franchise, to the point where nobody can really object to the decision to elevate him to the first amongst equals by giving him the only 'classic Doctor' cameo in The Day of the Doctor. Playing the role for seven years at the height of the classic show’s popularity, as well as airing on PBS in the United States, there is an entire generation that will always think of Baker as the Doctor."

"(Douglas) Adams finally got his chance to write for Doctor Who under Graham Williams and used much the same approach to it that he had on Hitchhiker's. Unfortunately, given the chaos the production team was in, this meant Adams' vision didn't always come through as strongly as he, and we, would have liked...Baker had something of an ego and had a tendency to steal scenes and walk all over his co-stars, and by this point was firmly convinced the show revolved around him (irritatingly, he wasn't exactly wrong either). This wasn't the first time the actors and the producers were at odds (and sadly won't be the last), but it is the most explosive and several times threatened to outright destroy the show."
Soda Pop Art, "An Introduction to Classic Doctor Who"

During Doctor Who's 20th anniversary event at Longleat in 1983, Tom Baker was asked why he left the show. "I was pushed," he replied, giving a long hard stare at John Nathan-Turner, before adding, "by Anthony Ainley."

For years Baker was the sticky wicket when it came to reunions. He remained absent in The Five Doctors, the desire (whether based on a real need or a perceived need) to frame the 30th Anniversary special around his Doctor with the others in cameo roles largely derailed that project, he for years did not appear on stage with other Doctors at conventions, and was the one who didn't do audios for the longest time.

But then, when you are less an actor than a performer and have been typecast in a role the result is necessarily awkward. In all of this there is an uncomfortable sense that anything that can fairly be called Tom Baker has dropped out of the equation, that his very self was eaten by the part... His later reluctance to return to the part becomes an understandable need to maintain the fragile existence he had separate from his definitive role.

And it is not until he becomes the man who was the Fourth Doctor and not simply The Doctor that he could return to Earth - not until David Tennant finally relieved him of the burden of being the most popular Doctor, not until he had a career separate from the role. More than any other actor to play the part, it seems, Tom Baker gave his life to the role. Let us say little more than that it is good to know that, at last, he seems to have gotten it back.
El Sandifer, TARDIS Eruditorium


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