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Published on July 4th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

BBC Wanted Tom Baker or Judi Dench for Doctor Who

Could Tom Baker have been the Doctor if the BBC had revived the show in the 1990s? Perhaps Judi Dench would have been more suitable around the turn of the century…


Thanks to BBC Worldwide we have a preview copy of the forthcoming special edition release of The Green Death, and I was intrigued to watch the latest instalment of Doctor Forever in which Russell T Davies recalls his various meetings with BBC personnel before finally taking on the biggest job in television and breathing new life into Doctor Who.

In it, we learn that during Russell’s first meeting with the BBC they thought it would be a good idea to bring Doctor Who back with Tom Baker, the actor who will always be remembered as the fourth incarnation from 1974-1981.

I remember, actually, someone in the room said, ‘Why don’t we bring Tom Baker back?’ and we all said, ‘Yes!’ I was sitting there, going with anything, ‘Yeah, that’d be great!’

Later, we also learn that aside from being a massive Doctor Who fan, Jane Tranter also fancied Judi Dench (who in those days was M in the James Bond series) in the TARDIS as a female incarnation.

Imagine just what could have been! We’ll have more details from this fascinating interview later in the week…

You can pre-order The Green Death: Special Edition for just £15.25 from Amazon(RRP £20.42) ahead of its 5th August release.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

16 Responses to BBC Wanted Tom Baker or Judi Dench for Doctor Who

  1. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    I seem to recall the BBC suggested Tom Baker to star in the TV movie too. Judi Dench is a magnificent actress. I’d love to watch some ‘parallel universe’ Doctor Who…..

  2. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I’m glad ideas like “Let’s bring back Tom Baker!” never got traction. Tom was marvelous, brilliant, and incomparable, but he had his time and the key to the show’s success has always been to move forward, forge ahead with a new man and see where he takes the character. Backpedaling would disastrous. If we want to to enjoy classic Doctors in new adventures, that’s what Big Finish is for.

  3. avatar joesiegler says:

    I recall inbetween CBaker & McCoy’s time there was some talk of this kindof thing – when they went back and talked to Sydney Newman again. Wasn’t there?

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      Yep, they talked about bringing Patrick Troughton back as a more grandfatherly Doctor. It’s in the Eighties book.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I think I recall that Patrick actually offered to come back when the hiatus happened. Everytime any of us is tempted to complain about anything that has happened with Doctor Who, let us pause and be thankful for what DIDN’T.

    • avatar iLikeTheUDK says:

      If Syndey Newman was in charge of the series in the McCoy years, maybe it wouldn’t have been cancelled, and the 16-year hiatus wouldn’t have happened.

      • avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

        If Sydney Newman had his way in 1963, we wouldn’t have got the Daleks. As Bob says I think we should be grateful for what we didn’t get, as some of the ideas thankfully discarded, over the years are a little boneheaded.

  4. Tbh, I don’t think Baker would come back full time. He’d be the first to say they’d need someone young and new in the TARDIS.

  5. avatar iLikeTheUDK says:

    I think that can be a good idea for a series of Big Finish audio plays. Maybe in the next series of “Phillip Hindcliffe presents”?

  6. avatar lewis seymour says:

    More interestingly in this interview, RTD apparently reveals that both Michael Grade and Mark Thompson tried to stop the revival – Thompson even going so far as phoning up Jane Trantor and asking if filming could be stopped! Which pretty much says everything about the BBC.

    • Indeed – amazing what faith these guys had in RTD. It’s almost as if THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT TELEVISION.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Michael Grade and Mark Thompson were never the programme’s greatest fans or staunchest defenders. It would have been more amazing if they had been behind the revival.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Didn’t Michael Grade subsequently congratulate RTD for a job well done though, sometime later? I seem to remember reading that somewhere. I still believe that it was the Master manipulating Grade, Powell, and the BBC all along.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          Or perhaps, the Silence.

        • If you read Kasterborous Magazine #1 you will see it was in fact the Valeyard ;)

    • avatar TimeChaser says:

      Talk about Kiljoys. Maybe they should take a trip to the Kandy Kitchen.

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