Back in the ’80s, he was let go from the series after then-BBC One controller Michael Grade – who was outspoken about his dislike for Doctor Who – only agreed to recommission the show if Baker was replaced.
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At the BFI screening, Baker recalled how he was invited by the BBC to return to film a single story for the following season 24, but refused. “This was in November and that would take place the following March/April… I wasn’t going to commit myself to two weeks work the next March/April… and I’ll be honest, I was hacked off. I saw no reason to be nice to them.”
Addressing the audience, he added: “I forgot about you [the fans] – sorry. I was being brutally selfish at the time and I just felt annoyed. Because I loved that part… and I thought I had more to offer.”
Baker did propose that he could return for the entirety of the following season and regenerate at the end of it, but says he “never heard back” from the BBC.
Instead, the next season opened with his replacement Sylvester McCoy wearing Baker’s old costume and a (rather unconvincing) wig to film a rough-and-ready regeneration.
Baker’s final run of Doctor Who ended up being season 23, a 14-episode epic titled ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’.