Colin Baker, that intrepid troubadour that he is, still likes to push the creative boat out when it comes to his work. Not his Doctor Who audio work for Big Finish or his regular news column for his local newspaper (although both of these are still brilliant).
What we’re talking about is his latest play, The Final Test by novelist Chris Paling. The story, in which Baker plays the lead role, is about Peter whose wife leaves him whilst selling their home in the process. Peter, a cricket obsessive, does the only thing that he can do to stay in control: he sits in the garden and listens to the test match, much to the surprise of his house’s new owners.
Baker himself told What’s On (Cambridge News’ events page) about the interest he has in the play straight away:
“I’m appalled to say it coincides so much with many of my characteristics, it was a part I had to play. It sits far too comfortably to be a grumpy old man in his garden.”
Further on in the interview, which talks about the challenges of creating The Final Test, playing Inspector Morse and the way in which Baker comes up with ideas for his weekly news column, there’s a generous portion of talk that involves, you guessed it, Doctor Who.
Some of the best sound bites include Baker’s view on fandom’s fresh new view on him now that “old sixy” has been given a full makeover:
“They [Doctor Who fans] recently invited me to be president of the Doctor Who fan club . . . Jon Pertwee was the first, followed by the wonderful Brigadier; to follow them, when there are so many other Doctors around, I think is a measure of the fact the fans have appreciated my continued championship of the programme. “
His retrospective view on the claim that he wanted to last longer on screen then Tom Baker are also looked at:
“Maybe it would have been a mistake to do seven years, as I originally threatened!”
He also goes into detail about the recent event he took part in at Milton Keynes where for the first time ever, Doctors four to eight were on stage together for a Q & A session regarding that not everyone knew they would all be on stage at the same time:
“Tom didn’t realise until he got there, otherwise I think he might have feigned a diplomatic illness! He’s a bit of a loose cannon. But I think he’s mellowed over the years. He was very entertaining, certainly.”
And most intriguingly, Baker talked about the little comment he made that he would not come back for Doctor Who’s big 5-0 birthday bash next year:
“I said it purely to irritate. ’Cos they’d [McCoy, Davison, McGann and Tom Baker], all said: ‘yeah yeah, I’d be interested’ so to provoke a reaction I said: ‘I wouldn’t’… it was a gag that fell like a lead lump and didn’t go any further!”
But in clearing up the matter, it seems that Baker would come back to Doctor Who for an appearance, but he would want to know a few things first, such as:
“The first is, is my Doctor going to get a fair crack of the whip in the story, and not be eclipsed by anybody else? Because you want parity. And the other one is, what vast fortune are you offering me? I’d be quite brutal about myself and say, if they offered me a million quid, I’d go on and say one line for them. If they offered me a tenner, I wouldn’t.”
And to sum up, Baker is very pleased with how Doctor Who is regarded these days:
“It’s quite nice that a programme that actually does have high production standards like Doctor Who is extremely successful.”
You can read the full interview by visiting http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Whats-on-leisure/Choice/Colin-Baker-time-gentleman-04072012.htm
Colin Baker’s new Play The Final Test is being shown at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on hte dates of Monday July 9th, Saturday July 14th at 7.45pm (Thursday/Saturday matinee 2.30pm). Tickets range from £15-27. For further details you can contact: (01223) 533 333 or visit www.cambridgeartstheatre.com