Doctor Who: Rare archive footage of Tom Baker unearthed

Archivists rediscover film showing the Fourth Doctor visiting Belfast schools


Completist Whovians will be cheered to learn that some seldom-seen archive footage of Tom Baker visiting Belfast schools in character as the Fourth Doctor has recently been unearthed and aired for the first time in decades.


Makers of Northern Irish BBC documentary strand Those Were the Days stumbled across the film in the BBC’s Northern Ireland archives and used clips of Baker’s visits in the first episode of the series, which was broadcast last Monday.

The footage shows Baker popping in to classrooms full of astonished children, running around playgrounds, chatting with the kids and letting them try on his hat.

“It was his own initiative,” said novelist Glenn Patterson during the programme. “He had a couple of days and decided to come to Belfast. Eventually American presidents would do that, but the idea that a Time Lord would come in [was something else].”

Fans can see Those Were the Days on BBC iPlayer until Monday 19 December.


Apparently more footage of Baker’s time in Belfast exists, depicting him variously visiting a girl in hospital, being interviewed for BBC Radio Ulster and being mobbed by shoppers, which may be made available at a later date.