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Published on December 13th, 2013 | by Nick Kitchen

Tom Baker Recalls Relationship With Jon Pertwee

When asked during the recent Doctor Who Celebration what he remembered about meeting Jon Pertwee for his regeneration scene, Fourth (and arguably most popular) Doctor Tom Baker said that he remembered nothing!

“Absolutely nothing at all. He didn’t speak to me. Maybe he was grieving. I don’t remember anything about him at all.”

Baker then had a little bit of fun at the late Pertwee’s expense:

“I do remember he never bought me a drink. He had – we call it on Gallifrey – Alien Hand Syndrome. His hand wouldn’t go where the money was…I remember nothing except anticipating future glory.”

All joking aside, grief may very well have played into how Pertwee interacted with Baker. We know from previous documentary interviews that Pertwee’s decision to leave the role was largely due to the leaving of Barry Letts and the death of actor Roger Delgado (the Master), who had been a close friend. And perhaps deep down, like the Tenth Doctor’s last words, he truly didn’t want to go.

Baker, as we all know, certainly did go on to achieve “future glory,” and Pertwee did reprise his role in the 20th Anniversary special, The Five Doctors, as well as a few audio adventures in the ’80s. However, it is surprising to learn that they had no interaction at all during the filming of Pertwee’s last and Baker’s first scene. Dear readers, what do you think? Did Pertwee’s grief cause him to stay silent? Or is time playing tricks on the Fourth Doctor’s memories?

via DoctorWho.TV


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About the Author


“That’s bacon! Are you trying to poison me?” And from that line on, I’ve been unable to stop watching, reading, musing about the Doctor. As a recent transplant to the Whoniverse, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Who-related knowledge as possible. That journey has taken me from the Tenth Planet to the Fields of Trenzalore and gently set me at the edge of my seat for what’s next. It’s an honor to be here and I plan to bring a unique perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey alongside me.

20 Responses to Tom Baker Recalls Relationship With Jon Pertwee

  1. avatar Christine says:

    Considering what I have read about Pertwee’s leaving and what happened before, It doesn’t surprise me at all. When it was Five Doctor time the grief will have faded somewhat (time does that).

  2. avatar Rick714 says:

    They wouldn’t have had too much interaction really considering Baker wasn’t really a name at all at that point and had just come in for a quick shot, while Pertwee was at the height of his fame. He was sad about the old gang breaking up and himself leaving but he did go to the powers that be and ask for a raise for the next series. They gave him a flat “no”. So he left.

    Was it a huge raise? Don’t know, but Doctor Who was at the height of its popularity then and I’d have thought it sensible to make the star happy considering everything.

    The big question though: Had they said yes to the pay raise and Pertwee stayed for the next year—the first of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes gothic era, what would THAT have been like? Interesting to think about….

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      By all accounts, not just his, he was treated pretty shabbily by the BBC – the problem with DW is that it allows for the lead actor to change, so demands for better pay etc can be met with “sod off” and regeneration. Pertwee had saved a show on the verge of cancellation in 1970 – basically he was sacked because he wanted more money. Does anyone wonder he wasn’t happy?

  3. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Baker has been known to spin a yarn, but knowing what the times were like back then – the departure of Katy Manning, the death of Delgado, the UNIT team ‘breaking up’ as it were – I’m sure Pertwee was feeling emotional at his leaving it all behind.

  4. avatar marion says:

    If I remember rightly I don`t think Tom spoke much To Peter after he regenerated

  5. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    I was at the Celebration event when Tom told this story. It’s as quoted above, but I do think some of you are reading too much into it re: grief, etc. I think it’s just Tom being mischievous as usual! We’ll never know anyway.

  6. Both were wonderful Doctors, it doesn’t really matter what they might or might not have thought of each other.

  7. avatar The Final Doctor says:

    The story is pretty much told identically in Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography (a fascinating book! read it if you haven’t!). Jon had asked for a raise, didn’t get and so he announced he was quitting. During the last few shots, he became very withdrawn from his fellow cast members and spent all his free time answering his fan mail instead of socialising with his friends. And when Tom came in, Jon completely ignored him.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      I didn’t feel she came off very well in that book – her attitude towards Pertwee felt very much like she had a chip on her shoulder. He tried to make her welcome to the “family” and she accused him of being patronising. It was a very strange read – I felt a lot less enamored of her after reading it than I was before, I must say.

      • avatar Dan says:

        I haven’t read it, but is it possible he was patronising, and she was faithfully reporting that?

  8. avatar John Miller says:

    Maybe he wasn’t being cold. The last thing anyone coming into a new job wants is the outgoing person telling you “You don’t want to do it like that!” There was a new Producer, new Doctor, new vision of the show. Which is part of the reason Pertwee was leaving in the first place.

    And in addition to The Five Doctors and those 90′s audios, Pertwee also did Dimensions in Time.

  9. avatar Pete da Cald says:

    I’ve always gotten the impression the Pertwee was a bit of a jerk to fellow actors and crew. Perhaps my impression is wrong, but Caroline Johns recollection of his rude statements about her delivery during the brief scene in a Five Doctors, the clip of the 3 Docs translating the stelae of Rassilon in the Tomb in Five Docs, and his insistence on the dismissal of the “busty and too tall” original Sarah Jane actress (tho we got Lis Sladen so can’t complain there!) are just a few. Certainly an excellent actor and love the Third Doctor, but freaks me out finding that our favorite hero may be Kessler than heroic in his treatment of others off screen. Of course, Baker was apparently as bad or worse, poor Louise Jameson sounded miserable in her early days.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      Indeed, he treated Jameson very badly according to her, and his relationship with both Tamm and Ward were hardly great – at times he didn’t even speak to Lalla Ward on set (and she still married him!).

      Does it matter what the actors are like off set? Hartnell was a git according to some reports, Troughton apparently a womaniser, Pertwee a egotist, Baker ditto – no doubt there are stories to be told about all of them. They are human beings, not saints!

      • avatar Simple Simon says:

        Wrong. They are all Timelords, and should act accordingly!

  10. avatar johnnybear says:

    Jon Pertwee had a down on Tom Baker for a good many years after as well didn’t he?
    Wasn’t there something said about Tom being a lousy human being or something by Jon at one time?

  11. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    I have always understood that they barely met – if at all – as Baker was filming Robot with the new Production team while Pertwee was film his last story. There was no actual meeting at the time of the Regeneration scene, which, like Eccleston – Tennant, was done at separate times. I take this kind of thing with a pinch of salt.

  12. avatar Soge says:

    That’s about the same exchange that Tom Baker had with Peter Davison, though.

  13. avatar Tony Sobol says:

    The only friendly “regeneration shooting day” appears to be Tennant/Smith, so far…

  14. avatar dr jon says:

    They were both strong personalitys by all accounts,i think jon would have been upset about leaving and not himself so it would have been normal of him to be more withdrawn.And tom would have been to busy and preocupied with starting a well known show which he would want to put everything into it.And the time on the set together would be rushed to get things done.And jon pertwee would like a good laugh in rehersals but when filming would like to get it right,so he may have kicked off if people didn’t get it right on the night,but he loved the show and i don’t think other actor’s would take it to heart. And tom by his own admission has said he was more difficult as the years went on in the show,and tom did not really give peter any advice on the show.I think deep down all the actors who has passed the batton on to the next dr would feel a little upset as they had been the dr and put a lot of time and effort into the part would be hard pushed not to.

  15. avatar STLShawn says:

    I have mixed feelings on all of this.
    I spent a lot of time with old men born in the 1910′s and 1920′s over the last few decades. Many of their attitudes, their mannerisms, and ideas really do not translate well to a world past 1963. I think people with Modern (post 1963) attitudes and mannerisms sometimes forget that people from the previous eras may actually seem like they are from other planets, and not in an odd “Matt Smith” way, but in a “you can’t say things like that” way.

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