Tom Baker has written a New Year’s Newsletter to his fans on his official website. In it, he talks about his appearance in the 50th anniversary special and what it was like going back to work on a show he had been away from for so long and that had been such a large part of his life.
In a particularly touching note he recalls meeting Matt Smith on-set having spent the morning feeling increasingly anxious about the job:
“In the old days I knew everybody, or nearly everybody, the technicians and make-up people and all the other actors: I was at home in those long gone times. My gloom was lifted by the arrival of Matt Smith who welcomed me so enthusiastically that I began to think life was worthwhile.”
His writing gently simmers with wit and a playful understatement – though you can well imagine, in the midsts of worry and apprehension, Smith’s generous and genuine enthusiasm would make the world seem a brighter place!
Tom talks about his work with Big Finish and appearing at the official anniversary convention. In particular he notes how the Celebration event allowed him to briefly travel in time…
It’s also heart-warming also to read his thoughts on what it meant to appear in the anniversary special:
“My agent e-mailed me a few days ago and told me I’d had a good year, that I was magnificent and he was proud of me. I confess to a warm glow as I read his generous assessment of the year. And then I delved or dived into my memories of 2013 and wondered what Michael, my agent, had in mind in describing my year as good, and me as magnificent. I suppose he meant my very brief appearance in the 50th anniversary Doctor Who Special”
Our Tom has perfected the art of Grand Modesty – of course it helps if you genuinely are a bit marvellous.
I recall watching the VHS (for our younger readers, that’s an historical piece of technology, like a DVD but it rattles more) of The Tom Baker Years when I was about 10 years old (many moons ago etc.) This involved TB watching a clip from every one of his stories over his seven year tenure and talking to camera about the memories they brought to mind.
He related events around the scene in The Deadly Assassin where he had a weight tied to his foot so he could temporarily duck under the water as his pursuer passed by. He talked about how nervous he was and that he was somewhat afraid of water – and then, wide eyed, he raised an eyebrow and said matter-of-factly, “In fact I’m a very timid washer…”. Aged 10, I remember being a bit alarmed thinking. “crikey [not actually ‘crikey’ – this is mental paraphrasing] Tom Baker’s is REALLY WEIRD.” It was years later, when I re-watched the tape as an adult that I realised he is, of course, a very funny man. I’d even say he’s a delight.
Have a look through the previous newsletters on the website – some lovely reads to be found. Happy New Year, Tom – thank you for being magnificent, we’re proud of you too!