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Published on January 20th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

The Day YOU Met Tom Baker

We don’t usually waste bandwidth with Doctor Who birthdays, but today is a particularly special one. It’s Tom Baker’s 80th!

Born in 1934, the Fourth Doctor actor has become an increasingly popular character in his post-Who years, with recent appearances in the Big Finish range – and of course as the Curator in The Day of the Doctor – cementing his place in the hearts of fans and many non-fans.

There are few ways we could celebrate Tom’s big day without it sounding like an obituary, so after browsing Facebook for a few moments and reading some of the greetings there, I decided to ask you, the readers, to share your memories of meeting The Great Man at book signings (perhaps for Who On Earth Is Tom Baker or any 50th anniversary events), readings (there were some for The Boy Who Kicked Pigs), or even when Tom Baker was the Doctor.

Those comments below are for you – please use them and share a moment in the life of today’s birthday octogenarian, Tom Baker!

 Tom Baker taken by Legend Photography

Tom Baker taken by Legend Photography


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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+.

28 Responses to The Day YOU Met Tom Baker

  1. avatar Dave Rudin says:

    I met Tom Baker at an event in Brooklyn, New York in 1986. That was the Baker-Baker tour, as Colin was the other guest. I really don’t remember much about meeting him, though I have a photo of us together. I also have a number of good photographs I got of him during his talk to the audience. He signed my copies of Peter Haining’s 20th anniversary volume and “The Key to Time.” The other thing I remember is that I missed my chance to interview him for my club newsletter because the president of the club was a huge Tom Baker fan and she asked me if I would let her do it (as I had become the unofficial interviewer). I agreed. ;-)

    I remember this story that he told. He was performing “Hamlet” somewhere, and while he was waiting in the wings to go on for his big soliloquy, a stagehand who happened to be eating some peanuts asked him if he wanted some. Just to be polite, he said yes. So, he ate the peanuts, but when he went back on stage for his soliloquy, he felt part of a peanut caught in his throat. He knew that if he spoke at normal volume, the peanut would cause him to gag. So – he decided to do his soliloquy as a whisper. Afterwards, when he was off stage, the director came to him with tears in his eyes and said “That was brilliant!”

    And it all came about, Tom said, because he was just being polite to the fellow with the peanuts.

    • avatar Fiona Davies says:

      I pressed thumbs down by accident! Sorry! Was supposed to be a thumbs up!

  2. avatar Tim Church says:

    Met the man himself at a book signing. Felt a bit sorry for him as the book I asked to be signed was “The Green Death” rather than one of his stories. Still the best part of “Time of the Doctor” was the curator!

    Happy birthday Tom

  3. avatar Laura says:

    I shared a bus journey with him a few years ago. He spent the whole time making jokes with the driver, helping the elderly on and off the bus and booming away. As soon as he got off at our little train station in Suffolk everybody turned round and asked why he hasn’t taken the Tardis. It was the most bizarre and silly bus journey I’d ever taken!

  4. avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

    At his book signing in Waterstones, Glasgow back in October 1997. He gave a talk about his book, with many laugh out loud moments. When he came into the store he picked up the bottle of red wine that was put out by the staff for the “cheese and wine” for after. In he scoffed at the cheap Bulgarian label. Typical Tom. Then when queuing up for the autographs I gave him a favourite fountain pen to sign my copy of his book, which didn’t work his reply “you’re lucky pen has run out” in a big booming voice. Then he signed my “The Seventies” book and chatted about some names on already signed previously that he recognised like Louise Jamison and Nick Courtney. Then got a photo of him with my brother, one that I will treasure. The day I met my favourite Doctor.

  5. avatar tracy rickhuss says:

    ive met tom 14 times and seen him 15 times he is a great guy to meet and every time ive met tomhe knows my name he is a such a great guy i was 10 when tom joined dr who imnow will be 50 in march tom is my hero what ever he has done in his acting he is a great guy im loyol fan

  6. avatar Adi Himpson says:

    Once, while working as a staff writer, I had to interview Tom about his book “The Boy Who Kicked Pigs”. It had been scheduled for a Friday and I’d been beside myself with excitement all week at the fact I’d actually be talking to the man who was then and would forever be *my* Doctor.

    The interview was to be carried out over the phone and when the day came I spent the whole morning in a tizz, jumping every time my phone rang and barely daring even to nip to the loo in case I missed the call. After all it’s not everyday that your idol is going to call you up for a quick chat! As I tried to explain to my very religious mother at the time, it was to me like it would have been for her if Jesus had decided to give her a tinkle for a chinwag about the bible…

    When finally he phoned it all went well – very well in fact – but my abiding memory of the occasion is the moment when I answered the call. “Hello. Is Adi there?” he said, sounding, much to my surprise, almost nervous. “I’m just calling to talk to you about my book…. ah sorry – it’s Tom – Tom Baker – here by the way.”

    It’s the last bit that’s always stuck in my head as rather surreal; that my hero, the man with one of the most distinctive voices in the country, had to tell me who he was, and that he was embarrassed because he’d almost forgotten to mention it.

  7. avatar Steve Herbert says:

    I’ve met Tom so many times the first time was the 20th Anniversary event at Longleat, then followed many signings Memorbillia shows, stage doors and conventions. Last year I got to meet him twice first at last years Big Finish Day and at Fantom films signing event. I got to see him on stage on the 50th at the official event though didn’t get to meet him this time. And I have a couple of treasured photo’s with Tom. It’s always a pleasure to meet Tom. He is by far the best Doctor. And we’re so lucky that he gives his time so often to meet the fans. Happy 80th Birthday Tom Baker the legendary Doctor :)

  8. I met Tom at Waterstones in Aylesbury in 1998 (on my lunch break!) where he signed a copy of ‘Who On Earth is Tom Baker’ and then at the Strand Stamp shop in 2007, along with Peter Davison. On both occasions it was one of the few times I’ve ever been star struck and I’m pleased to say he was as off the wall as ever! A true living legend. Happy Birthday Tom

  9. avatar Stu Moore says:

    Met him at a convention at the Glasgow SECC in 2001 – got a postcard signed by him as well as a jelly baby, he was dead nice but i was sooo fucking nervous i was stuck for words!haha

  10. avatar francis cave says:

    I first met Tom at The Gate Theatre in Dublin in 1985 after a performance of “The Mask of Moriarty” in which he managed to play both Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty himself.

    I didn’t actually expect to meet him and had just handed in my copies of the Genesis of the Daleks and Pescatons LP’s to one of the staff, asking if they could get Tom to sign them.

    I waited outside in the Foyer afterwards with my parents (I was 15 at the time) and was stunned to see Tom appear to give me the signed LP’s and speak to me briefly, I have little memory of the conversation but do remember shaking his hand and staring intently at my own hand for a long time after.

    Since then I saw him appear at many conventions but it wasn’t until 2010 that I actually met him again at one of the SFX Weekender events.

    Reminding him of our last meeting (hoping of course he would remember the 15 year old me!) he signed my copy of his autobiography “For Francis 25 Years Later Tom Baker”.

    As he has said himself, he never stopped being the Doctor and may he live forever..

  11. avatar neil palfrey says:

    I met Tom at the Birmingham NEC back in 1999, during an autograph session I happened to mention that I also enjoyed his turn in Blackadder 2 at which point he grabbed hold of my hand and at the top of his voice exclaimed “aah, you have a woman’s hand”. A memory I’ll never forget absolutley fantastic chap.

  12. avatar Jonathan Appleton says:

    A signing at The Stamp Centre in London last year. To be honest I’d always felt it may not be a good idea to meet Tom in person – never meet your heroes and all that. What if I caught him on a bad day? Shouldn’t have worried. On a very cold day a substantial queue of people lined up outside (the reactions of people passing by when told who we were waiting to see were quite fun…).

    Tom was patient and signed everything put in front of him carefully, taking care over spelling and the choice of pen (no good smudging those precious autographs). I thought he would get bored talking about Doctor Who so asked him about his pet lurcher (check out the photos on his website). Great memory to have from the fiftieth year and now a fab signed photo (‘Doctor Who IV’) on my wall.

  13. avatar Peter Jones says:

    I met Tom (again) at a charity fund-raising do in Hastings a couple of years ago. The number of people attending the event exceeded expectation and I had to queue for hours to meet him. I believe Tom, as well as the organisers of the event, were genuinely surprised that so many people had turned up. As he signed a poster for me I asked him if he was tired of signing autographs. “No!” he said “I need to keep signing my name or I’ll forget who I am!”

  14. avatar Christine says:

    I wish I had met you Tom, but I haven’t. I don’t visit conventions but I did participate in the official 50th anniversary celebration. On the wrong day though. Still: happy 80th to you!

  15. avatar Elvis says:

    I’ve never met Tom, but I can do a fairly good vocal impression of him after decades of watching him. On occasions when I’ve spoken to other Whovians via Skype or other voice chat apps the one grin I get is that though I’m not The Doctor, the idea that for just a moment they are thrown is always so much fun. I can understand just a bit how it must be for him when I get some squeals over the voice…

  16. avatar Mr. Trimmer says:

    After a long drive from Columbus, Ohio to Baltimore, Maryland, I met Tom in a photograph line at the “Day with the Doctor” event in 1990. Put on by the largest US fan group, The Friends of Doctor Who. Don’t remember too much about it, but have a photo (waaay too much flash!).

    One of many stories he told at the talk was a story about a potential coffee brand commercial, alongside Davison, Colin Baker, and McCoy. Until he spoke a little too candidly about how he didn’t really like coffee at all! All the Classic Series Doctors were fantastic about spending time at cons in the states (and around the world). They kept it alive all those years.

  17. avatar Howard Railton says:

    I met Tom in the TARDIS exhibition at Longlete, too many years ago. He was the Doctor on screen at the time.

    Happy Birthday Tom, bring back the Curator!!!

  18. avatar pauliharman says:

    I met Tom at a book signing for ‘Who On Earth is Tom Baker’ in Waterstones on Oxford Street. We were actually going to head over to Forbidden Planet, but could see the queue was about 4 days’ long so popped in on the offchance that he was still at Waterstones. There he was, sitting on his own, no-one around at all. Despite Tom not really being “my” Doctor, I felt rather oddly star-struck and struggled to remember my name… fortunately my Who-loving friend rescued the situation and had a bit of a banter with him. I just stood there flapping my mouth like a codfish…

  19. avatar Paul McGann's Cat says:

    I encountered him twice in London during the wilderness years. Once crossing my path on Baker Street and another time drinking next to a party of work colleagues and I in a bar close to the BBC offices in Portland Place. I later met him at a signing, during which we chatted about the latter occasion and how I felt guilty not engaging with him since he was on his own and could’ve invited him for a drink – but I was too nervous (which was a bit silly since we were all lawyers). He remember drinking in that bar often.

  20. avatar matthew Pittaway says:

    I met tom a few times when they was doctor who cons in coventry hotel mostly a wave as he walked through the different rooms. The most memorial time I met Tom. Was when he did a reading at coventry catherdrel for a Christmas mass, after the mass ended my brother and I found Tom looking at a mussem of world war 2 coventry I wished him a merry Christmas and he smiled

  21. I was lucky enough to visit the studio rehearsals for THE SUN MAKERS back in the summer of 1977; Louise Jameson wearing a pristine white dressing gown repeatedly rehearsed throwing her dagger at a guard, Henry Woolf snarled and spat in his role as the Collector while Tom (time) lorded over it all with expertly relaxed thespianism. I was offered the chance to go over and meet him but froze on the spot, hopelessly starstruck (though I think it had as much to do with the hideous tartan suit I’d been forced to wear complete with high-waistbanded and very flared trousers – the year after punk broke too!)

    Fast forward 20 years to October 1997 and I finally got to meet Tom in person at a book-signing session in Leicester Waterstones for WHO ON EARTH IS TOM BAKER? Tom had the entire room completely spellbound with his talk and he spent a very lengthy session afterwards chatting and signing everyone’s books. When it came to my turn I gave him a framed print of a HORROR OF FANG ROCK painting I did for DREAMWATCH magazine a few years earlier; he was very gracious though far more interested in my wife than the gurning fanboy who had finally realised a childhood dream, gawd bless ‘im! He’ll always be The Doctor, the definite article you might say!!

  22. avatar Mary L Kunze says:

    I met Tom Baker years ago at a convention in Philadelphia back in the 1980′s and have a photo to prove it. Unfortunately I can’t seem to share it here but that’s ok. The memory of that time was that I had a marvelous moment meeting him face to face and it was wonderful.

  23. I met Tom almost 13 years ago, at Memorabilia in Glasgow. I was 14 and was completely starstruck by him. He stood up from behind his table to shake my hand, and proceeded to do so with his MASSIVE hand. He asked my name I said ‘Ryan’, he replied ‘Brian’, I said without the ‘B’… He replied “Okay Brian without the B, nice to meet you. He proceeded to sign my photograph of him for me and chatted some more.

    Very brief but very impressive meeting with a true legend.

  24. avatar Jeremy Daw says:

    February 1977. Tom Baker was opening the new Whistlers in Southport. I’d have been six and I went with my dad. Tom signed my over-sized 1977 annual, was dressed in costume, had the clearest eyes I’d ever seen in my life and asked me a question which for the life of me I can’t remember. What I do remember is that I dried up (which my dad still finds extremely funny) and, confronted with my hero, I was effectively struck dumb by his sheer awesomeness. I did at least get my Dad to buy me the ‘Pyramids of Mars’ novelisation, though. :)

  25. avatar Tom Ballaam says:

    March 2013, Doctor Who convention in Barking, London. Packed to the brim with fans; think I was the youngest there. Pretty much single file for meeting him for a photo. However, meeting him for questions and signatures was definitely one of the best moments in my life; meeting a hero and icon in my life

  26. avatar Naff says:

    1980 booking signing. The line wrapped around the building. Tom must have been there for hours but he was friendly and cheerful by the time he signed my Target Destiny of the Daleks. I still have the book safely stashed away.

  27. I met Tom at a book signing in the long defunct Preedy’s in Nuneaton Warwickshire. He signed my compy of the Jon Pertwee target book The Silurians. It was about 1976 / 77. He pretened to be frightend of a rubber bat i had. I ask him if he knew when the Sea Devils were comming back. He said he didn’t but he did know that he would be getting a robot dog. He gave me an orange jelly baby that i kept for years till it was desicated.
    I met him again in the mid 90s at another signing and #to;ld him of my memories of the first one. He said that people had been recalling their meetings with him as children all day.

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