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Doctor Who's Next Adventure

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1980-12-14 Sunday Times.jpg


After playing Dr Who for seven years Tom Baker is leaving. What will he do next?

If you are a fan of Tom Baker's Dr Who, and were sad when he said he'd be leaving. the series soon, you will be cheered to know he'll still be around in television - presenting The Book Tower. He says this series is the most important thing in my life right now".

There are a lot of stories about how eccentric Tom Baker is but if you meet him in real life, the truths is even stranger. He was born in Liverpool 46 years ago and grew up during the war "when you didn't have to go to school and planes fell out of the sky, the city was bombed and you could loot a bit".

Ho was a lonely child who spent most of his time going to funerals or collecting salvage and, looking back, Tom Baker credits the origins of his acting career to his experience as an altar boy when he discovered that by crying his eyes out at strangers' funerals he would gel a 400 per cent larger tip.

At the age of 15 he became a novitiate monk. a decision he explains as his way of breaking out of the working-class mould. "I would have much rather joined the Foreign Legion or gone to Australia to pick grapes or something, but someone happened to come to my school to give a talk about becoming a monk and I just put my hand straight up."

Five years later, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Baker finally realised he would never make a priest. He was released from his vows and wont straight into the army. He finally left the army to become a legitimate actor and within a few years he had worked his way through provincial repertory companies to join the National Theatre, where he soon gained a reputation for being extremely good at playing loonies and fanatics. Then in 1974 he was offered the part of Dr Who.

Baker readily admits that the role of Dr Who completely changed his life, but he insists that it was the fictional role and not the real Tom Baker that people responded to. and this was one of the reasons why he decided to leave. "It was a reciprocal complicity," he confides. "I played Dr Who when I met children outside the studio, I remained Dr Who to people I met socially and professionally, and as for The Book Tower, it's obviously an exploitation of the public's familiarity with the character."

As with Dr Who, Tom Baker does not think of The Book Tower as a programme for children. "I just try to do something sweet and witty and informative and exciting about certain subjects." he says. "The Book Tower is about the excitement of books. Books are extraordinary because they are the only means by which you can break the awful pattern of learning by experience."

The next series of The Book Tower begins on December 22: for more information about the books they will look al, write to The Book Tower, c/o Yorkshire TV, The TV Centre. Leeds LS3 1JS

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  • APA 6th ed.: Danziger, James (1980-12-14). Doctor Who's Next Adventure. The Sunday Times p. Magazine, p. 89.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Danziger, James. "Doctor Who's Next Adventure." The Sunday Times [add city] 1980-12-14, Magazine, p. 89. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Danziger, James. "Doctor Who's Next Adventure." The Sunday Times, edition, sec., 1980-12-14
  • Turabian: Danziger, James. "Doctor Who's Next Adventure." The Sunday Times, 1980-12-14, section, Magazine, p. 89 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctor Who's Next Adventure | url= | work=The Sunday Times | pages=Magazine, p. 89 | date=1980-12-14 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 January 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Doctor Who's Next Adventure | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 January 2021}}</ref>