Avid followers of actor Matthew Waterhouse (hello?) may have read in Doctor Who Magazine (ah, there you all are!) that the former TARDIS member has released Â a book entitled Blue Box Boy, in which he recalls his time playing Adric in Doctor Who with Tom Baker and Peter Davison as the fourth and fifth Doctors, respectively.
And as with all revealing books, Matthew has also dished some dirt on his fellow actors; notably he talks of Tomâ€™s final days on the show and what he was like to work with. Apparently one early encounter with Baker didnâ€™t turn out quite the way he expected:
â€œSuddenly [he] turned to me and barked, â€˜why donâ€™t you piss off?â€™…I was baffled and upset and determined that things would be better by tomorrow.â€
Matthew also comments on how Bakerâ€™s drinking (in his eyes) affected him on set:
â€œBy five, there were big oval sweat rings under the arms of tomâ€™s thin, white shirt… oddly, the temperamental and nightmarish he had been that day the larger the rings of sweat, as if his own dreadfulness had made him perspire – a weirdly appealing failing.â€
According to the Waterhouse, no one was free from Baker’s wrath. Scriptwriters and even Lalla Ward were given grillings from the jelly baby-toting bohemian. However, as bad as Tom could be to his co stars, he always valued the children above all:
â€œTom once told me a story about throwing up in a car park. Halfway through, a little boy came up to him and said â€œAre you Doctor Who?â€ â€œHang on a moment,â€ said Tom. He then pulled, from the inside pocket of his rain-splashed raincoat, a photograph of himself which he inscribed for the child, who walked away blissfully happy.â€
Whilst for some younger readers who have only just got into Doctor Who in the last five years this may be new information, Baker himself has already gone on record many years ago admitting that by the end of his run as the Fourth Doctor, he was incredibly difficult to work with.
It seems that Tom didnâ€™t (and still doesnâ€™t) suffer fools gladly and is happy to speak his mind. How much of this is down to his attitude and how much is caused by the attitudes of the others around him is a matter of debate but for all the joy heâ€™s brought children and adults alike, I think we can let him off for some of it.