With the Fourth Doctor getting a lot of attention following the release of the Season 12 Blu-ray set and his episodes being watched on Twitch, Tom Baker has been speaking out about some of the issues he’s faced whilst filming.
It is well known among fans that Tom Baker was occasionally difficult to work with and didn’t get on well with some of the production team, but during an interview for the new Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 12 Blu-ray set, he elaborated on his feud with his then boss John Nathan-Turner:
“I didn’t like his approach to anything very much. His approach as a producer, to the scripts and to my performance… he managed somehow – how terrible – to diminish me. He made assumptions about how I should do things, or what lines meant, or how it should be shot, which diminished me, and I found that unbearable.”
Baker also disagreed with JN-T’s redesign of the Doctor’s iconic outfit, in particular the question marks on the collar:
“[That idea] struck me as being insufferably vulgar and cheap. It was silly of me not to have faced him and spoken to him.”
As his time on the show neared its end, Baker admits that John Nathan-Turner had encouraged his leaving:
“He nudged me towards the realisation it [Doctor Who] had run its course and I should go somewhere else. I think, in a way, when I said when I wanted to go, he was relieved, that he wouldn’t have to have that fight. He could get his stamp on it.
There was a lot of tension [before that]. But as soon as I resigned, everything was perfect – he adored me, because he’d won I suppose.”
During the interview, he also spoke about his experience filming for the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, and in particular working with the then current Doctor, Matt Smith:
“Matt Smith is a darling young man – he made me very welcome. [But] he was the only one who welcomed me – I drove through the night to Cardiff, and Matt Smith came seeking me out, so full of joy and so happy to see me! He made it very, very easy acting with him, and I’m so glad he’s going on to tumultuous success.
Nobody else bothered with me at all. I was a bit nettled about that. They didn’t have Matt’s warmth. That’s what he’s good at, warmth… absolutely wonderful, and there’s not much of him – he’s sort of lean, and exudes this warmth.”