K-9 was supposed to be a Time Lord’s best friend but Tom Baker has admitted he was not a fan of the robot dog for most of his Doctor Who tenure.
“I didn’t like K-9 at all,” said the Fourth Doctor. “Every time we had a shot [together] it meant that I had to get on my knees, which reminded me of the days when I was a Catholic, and it was pretty bloody boring being reminded of those days.”
Baker revealed that he had suggested the BBC do away with K-9 altogether but that the child-friendly character had already become too big a part of bosses’ plans for the show.
“The dog couldn’t move quickly in the old days,” said Baker, speaking at the launch of the Horror Channel’s season of classic Doctor Who episodes. “It was retrieved in rehearsal by John Leeson [who voiced K-9], actually playing the dog, he actually moved around. And I said ‘Why don’t we give him another costume and get him to answer the phone or play chess or something’. But by that time, of course, the BBC had calculated that they were marketing K-9 and they didn’t want any discussion about that.”
Baker’s Doctor travelled with two versions of K-9 (Mark I and Mark II) during his seven series on the show, and despite his initial feelings about the talking dog, he admits “I finally got used to it.”
Either way, it seems K-9 left an impression on his former master. “I’m on some very powerful anti-inflammatories and the doctor said there might be some side-effects,” said Baker. “And one of the side-effects I’ve had recently is I’ve started calling my dog Poppy K-9…”