Though there have been thirteen Doctors from the long-running British series ‘Doctor Who’, most fans would point to Tom Baker, the fourth, as being the actor that first broke out and propelled the series to new heights. But sadly, it turns out that there were some pretty low lows, during Baker’s journey aboard the TARDIS. In particular, Baker pointed at a feud he had with producer John Nathan-Turner, who he felt “diminished” his contributions to the character and saddled him with a ridiculous wardrobe, including a shirt with question marks on the lapels (above), among other slights.
On a commentary provided for the 12th season of the original ‘Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 12’ (or ‘Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete First Season’ as it is named in the US) on Blu-ray, Baker looked back on that unpleasant period and candidly disclosed what went down behind the scenes.
“His approach as a producer, to the scripts and to my performance… he managed somehow – how terrible – to diminish me. He made assumptions about how I should do things, or what lines meant, or how it should be shot, which diminished me, and I found that unbearable.”
“[The question mark shirt] struck me as being insufferably vulgar and cheap. It was silly of me not to have faced him and spoken to him.
“He nudged me towards the realisation it [Doctor Who] had run its course and I should go somewhere else. I think, in a way, when I said when I wanted to go, he was relieved, that he wouldn’t have to have that fight. He could get his stamp on it.
“There was a lot of tension [before that]. But as soon as I resigned, everything was perfect – he adored me, because he’d won I suppose.”
Baker only lasted one season under Nathan-Turner’s rule and retired from Doctoring in 1980. Nathan-Turner continued producing until 1989, when the series ended. The franchise laid dormant until its splashy reboot in 2005.
Baker’s performance for seven seasons set the standard for future Doctors. Hopefully, time has helped heal some wounds and fans certainly have love and appreciation for his work on the show.
Get more reveals from Baker and more on the ‘Doctor Who: Tom Baker Complete First Season’ Blu-ray, which is available now.
Source: Digital Spy