There’s no doubting Tom Baker retains a huge fondness for Doctor Who, but talking to him, it quickly becomes clear that it is starring in the series that he really misses.
Even now, aged 79, and three decades after his tenure came to an end, he says of his role as the fourth Doctor “I can’t stop thinking about it… it was a terrible blow to leave the programme” – while at the same time admitting that he has never actually watched the show.
“I never watched it when I was in it so I’m certainly not watching it now,” says Baker. “I never wanted to watch Doctor Who – I wanted to be Doctor Who, I wanted to do it.”
This month, however, he will make an exception. The landmark 50th anniversary episode is a big enough deal to get even Baker tuning in.
“I’m going to watch the big show because everybody, the whole country, will be watching it. You’ll be out of it if you don’t watch that,” he says.
“It will be very interesting to see what the BBC do [with it]. I’m a great admirer of the BBC – the BBC’s the sort of place that can make murder sound like charity – and so when they get to a big deal like that they’ll surely get it right. It’ll be exciting…”
The 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor airs on Saturday 23 November and will see Matt Smith’s current incarnation teaming up with his predecessor David Tennant, along with John Hurt’s recently revealed dark and mysterious version of the Time Lord, for an adventure featuring monsters including the Daleks and the Zygons.
Let’s hope it’s enough to make the fourth Doctor glad he tuned in…