Matthew Waterhouse & Tom Baker: Reunited?

The narrative territory of Big Finish just keeps growing – the Companion Chronicles have explored and expanded the early years of the first three Doctors, now sadly lacking their leading men. We’ve had a new companion join Steven and the First Doctor, another come back to life as a possessed house, we’ve had new companions and new arcs for old companions from the later Classic years. But there is the odd gap here and there…

Hot on the heels of the announcement that maths genius Adric, as played by actor/author Matthew Waterhouse, will be returning alongside the Fifth Doctor later this year, is this tweet:

Waterhouse, who now resides across the Pond in New Haven, Connecticut (alleged home of the frisbee and lollipop), would be up for reprising his character alongside the Fourth Doctor – and apparently Tom Baker is up for it too… Adric was one of the last companions to travel with his Doctor, alongside Nyssa and Tegan. A diverse TARDIS trio to smooth over the transition from one Doctor to a very different one. The character was killed off in Earthshock in an act of mathsy-self sacrifice where he managed to prevent the Cybermen from wiping out the human race, bringing about the end of the dinosaurs instead.

He seems pretty keen, tweeting:

It remains to be seen how convincingly he can recreate a character he last played aged 18 but he might well be right – there is something about the contrast between his and Baker’s voices that could work wonderfully on audio. The character has drawn mixed feelings from fans over the years and perhaps was written with a little too much teen-angst and joined one of the least functional TARDIS families we’ve seen over the years. That said, I jumped in to the Big Finish Fifth Doctor range recently with The Emerald Tiger and was blown away by how well the post-Adric crew worked. And then there’s the wonders that Colin Baker has delivered on audio after his less well handled tenure on-screen. Can they work similar magic with Adric’s character?…

In the meantime, here’s a trailer for MJTV’s mystical sci-fi pilot, Ghostlands from 1996 – haven’t seen it but it features Two Doctor‘s villainess Jacqueline Pearce, Sylvester McCoy and one Mr Waterhouse looking rather unwell with a raised eye-brow and creepy stare at 2m33s:

His website matthewwaterhouse.com/site is worth a visit and features links to his blog and audio snippets from his novels.


'Matthew Waterhouse & Tom Baker: Reunited?' have 12 comments

  1. August 1, 2014 @ 1:35 pm TimeChaser

    I always thought Adric could have developed better had he had more adventures with Tom, because he seemed more suited to the eccentric Doctor rather than the boyish Davison and his Crowded TARDIS (TM).


  2. August 1, 2014 @ 2:28 pm simon magellan (Doctorian)

    I always thought Adric could have developed better had they chosen someone who could act. That would certainly have helped.


  3. August 1, 2014 @ 3:01 pm Ranger

    I never quite liked the dynamic between Davison’s Doctor and Adric, I felt that the Doctor lost his authority and became as childish as Adric in their exchanges, especially at the beginning of Earthshock. That goes for Tegan as well. Don’t get me wrong – I love Davison’s Doctor and I love Tegan, I just felt that this incarnation of the Doctor was challenged too much by his companions and lost authority as a result.


    • August 1, 2014 @ 4:54 pm J W

      See, now that’s what I liked about the Davison era. There was a different dynamic with the companions than Baker’s time. The companions didn’t immediately look to the Doctor for answers, in fact most of the time they questioned his decisions. With Baker, when he made a decision – it was final – no questions asked. The only one who ever questioned his Doctor was Romana.
      On the subject of Baker and Waterhouse, I predict it will happen now that Waterhouse has returned to the fold. As much as I like Leela and Romana, Baker’s Doctor needs stories featuring another companion to keep things fresh. The only other solution would be to create a wholly new companion for Baker’s Doctor.


  4. August 2, 2014 @ 4:38 pm Castellan Spandrel

    There’s an elephant in the room here.

    I’ll say it if no one else will: the Ghostlands promo.

    Watch it if you want to see a honkingly bad pilot trailer.


  5. August 2, 2014 @ 8:11 pm rickjlundeen

    Unfortunately, JNT had a horrible taste in picking out wardrobe, production talent and acting talent. Let’s face it, aside from Davison–who was too young for the role at the time, he said so himself,—Sutton, Fielding and especially Waterhouse were simply not good actors.

    Once in a while, I buy the odd audio drama from big finish but as much as I love Tom Baker, I steer very clear of anything with Adric in it.


    • August 2, 2014 @ 9:00 pm simon magellan (Doctorian)

      Janet Fielding not a good actor? Have you seen Kinda and Snakedance?


      • August 3, 2014 @ 11:53 am James Mclean

        I didn’t have a problem with any of them as actors. I found Adric fine. He was an occasionally a precocious and annoying character, but he was written that way, and whether you believe that was Waterhouse or Waterhouse acting, it worked for me. I think occasionally the direction, as with all eras of Classic Who failed the actors, but time, budget and pressure can bring those sort of gaffs to a show.

        I think Adric is a horrendously under-rated character. He was challenging to the Doctor, he did have a character (if it did go somewhat askew in Four To Doomsday) and he had an origin/motivation – furthermore, he could do stuff without the Doctor. He could McGuffin, he could even almost pilot the TARDIS, giving him flexibility. It was a refreshing dynamic away from the usual girl/Doctor “What’s Going On Doctor” format.

        Furthermore, his dynamic was very different with Davison and Baker which makes his crossover more interesting – it isn’t the same relationship.


        • August 3, 2014 @ 2:50 pm rickjlundeen

          I agree the character had potential but JNT was not the guy to shape that potential. And any ability the actors had were often smothered by his attempts at production.


      • August 3, 2014 @ 2:48 pm rickjlundeen

        Yes and I’m continually astonished that either of those are held in such high regard. There were some nicely stylized scenes and occasionally, Fielding had her moments but even then, the quality of production during that era was always shaky and over lit at best.


        • August 3, 2014 @ 4:12 pm Castellan Spandrel

          They’re extremely well-written, thoughtful character pieces, Rick, with good performances, which outshine production values (though Snakedance looks okay for a studio-bound 80s story-Kinda less so). I think that’s why they’re popular.

          The quality of production in stories like Ark in Space is arguably shaky at times too, but the story still grips.

          But while I like Janet Fielding, I’m not sure that the ‘Mara’ acting really is that great. As much as I applaud the intelligence of the Mara as a concept – the way it preys on people’s fears and other weaknesses – it is essentially presented as another unsubtle, laughing, textbook-evil panto baddie.


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