Just two years after departing Doctor Who in 1981, Fourth Doctor Tom Baker turned down the chance to make a brief comeback in 30th anniversary adventure The Five Doctors (the BBC inserted unused footage of him instead).
Having so recently left the role of his life, Baker didn’t see the appeal of returning to share it with other actors – and he also had his differences with incoming producer John Nathan-Turner.
A surprise role in last November’s 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, alongside Matt Smith, was his first television appearance in Doctor Who since his regeneration.
Perhaps the experience whetted his appetite – or perhaps the 80-year-old has mellowed in his old age – but Baker now says that if more opportunities to star in the TV show were to come his way he could be keen.
“I turned down the five Doctors because it wasn’t long since I’d left – I had left Doctor Who because I think I’d run my course,” said Baker, speaking at the launch of the Horror Channel’s season of classic Doctor Who episodes. “I didn’t want to play 20 per cent of the part. I didn’t fancy being a feed for other Doctors – in fact, it filled me with horror.
“Now, of course, if someone asked me to do a scene with some other Doctors, I think, if they let me tamper with the script, it would probably be quite drole. I would think about that, yes.”
The Horror Channel’s season of classic Doctor Who episodes begins on Friday 18 April with an Easter weekend marathon