Shake out your scarf and stock up on jelly babies as the big news today is the revelation that Tom Baker will be returning to the Whoniverse reprising his role as the 4th Doctor in the 50th anniversary of the BBC series ‘Doctor Who!’
The 78 year old actor who starred as the Time Lord from 1974-1981 has apparently been approached to be part of the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, spacey- wacey storyline that would have the 4th Doctor work with his 11th Doctor self.
“’It will be fitting to have Tom back to mark the 50 years,” a ‘Doctor Who’ insider told The Daily Express, “He was a big part of the show’s success and is much-loved by the fans.”
Now before you get too excited, it must be divulged that the source of this information is from The Daily Express which is a British tabloid similar to the National Enquirer or The Star and that the comment came from a “show insider.” So you can take the news any way you wish.
But how likely is the rumor to being true? In the past, Baker has been reluctant to reprise his role and even shunned appearing in the 20th anniversary special, ‘The Five Doctors,’ prompting the producers to add him in onscreen via unseen footage from the episode ‘Shada.’ For publicity shots, the BBC used his mannequin from Madam Tussand’s Wax Museum as a stand in.
At a recent Doctor Who panel at the Collectormania convention featuring 5 former Doctors, Baker had said that although he loved playing the Doctor, it essentially killed his acting career due to typecasting:
“I was never really happy until I became Doctor Who. At the same time, although it’s the loveliest job I ever had, it essentially killed my career stone dead because I suddenly realized I liked playing Doctor Who more than anything that had ever happened to me before. So when I went to play Macbeth, the audience wanted me to play Macbeth in the style of Doctor Who and naturally I did. Afterwards a critic said ‘I had no idea how nice Macbeth was’. So I realized then that the people coming to see me – people like you – didn’t want to see me playing Jack the Ripper of whatever it was.”
Time seems to heal all things as Baker now seems more open about revisiting his role as the iconic Time Lord. He recently voiced a series of audio books for the BBC as the 4th Doctor as well as a whole new audio series for Big Finish. When asked if he would like to be part of the 50th anniversary special, Baker responded:
“I think they ask me nicely or I could see what they wanted me to do I would consider it because I think the fans have been so good to me, they expect me at least to make an appearance so of course I would consider that. If it was something witty […] I just don’t want to be paraded through as some shagged out old icon of the last century. It’s too much of a source of happiness.”
The current Doctor, Matt Smith, has said he would love for an epic multi-Doctor crossover event for the 50th anniversary bringing in every actor who’s played the Doctor all in one story. We already know that David Tennant (10th Doctor) is more than willing to come on board as well as Paul McGann (8th Doctor) and Peter Davison (5th Doctor). Sylvester McCoy (7th Doctor) is also interested but “would want to know what they would want (him) to do” first. Presumably Colin Baker (6th Doctor) may also be interested. Of course, none of these actors have been contacted by the BBC or by Steven Moffat so we can only speculate if this gathering would even occur. (Christopher Eccleston (9th Doctor) has already made it clear that he would not be participating in the 50th anniversary event.)
Details about the 50th anniversary event are being keep tightly guarded but The Daily Express has also reported that this could also be Smith’s last year as the Doctor despite him saying the contrary. If so, then having a multi-Doctor sendoff would be an outstanding way for the actor to depart the role.
But then again, this is tabloid news. Despite that fact, what do you think of Baker’s possible return?