Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Marriage is good for me says Tom

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1981-03-21 Daily Express.jpg



DOCTOR WHO flew into the pub, wearing a pin-striped suit and blow-waved hair. There wasn't a woolly scarf or floppy fedora in sight.

None of the regulars turned a hair, but stoutly, carried on guzzling. Actor Tom Baker, the outgoing Time Lord who tonight makes his final appearance in "Doctor Who" (BBC1, 5.10), is a familiar sight in several well-known Soho el inking haunts.

But his get-up was alien, to say the least. These days Tom Baker Is looking positively dapper.

Marriage to Lalla Ward, daughter of Viscount Bangor and his girl assistant Romana in past "Doctor Who" episodes, and a luxury fiat in Chelsea obviously suit him.

It's all a far cry from the poverty of his Liverpool childhood, a brief time-warp as a monk until he left to discover "women and pubs"-- and his days of sleeping on other people's floors years after the break-up of his first marriage.

"Well. I know a good thing when I see it, explained Baker disarmingly with a pantomime laugh. "It's a great pleasure to go home now!"


He's eating well—"Lalla's a super cook," he said appreciatively, gesturing expansively to the large carrier-bag of meat he'd been despatched to buy.

"She laughs a lot at me—she finds it amusing that I'm so chatty at all hours, even in the morning. Well, I'm not raucous exactly, but I'm pretty perky first thing.

"We're always having meals with her parents. We all get along very well. I'm very confident and happy."

And he has no regrets about leaving "Doctor Who" after six years of inter-galactic derring-do.

"It's the end of an era for me. But I'm glad I made the break. I strongly felt I couldn't get anything new out of the character.

"My only single disappointment what is that there was no 'Doctor Who' film. We were beaten to it by a big wave of science-fiction blockbusters-- 'Star Wars' and so on.

Tom Baker's suits might have got snappier, but the magic charm that "Doctor Who" to a peak of popularity-- 98 million viewers in 38 countries at the last count — shows no signs of fading.

Baker is one of those larger than-life personalities who are God's gift to scriptwriters. The man who first achieved TV fame by playing the Mad Monk Rasputin could never, he said sweepingly, play ordinary characters.

"I'm interested in the whole area of fantasy parts —Long John Silver, Captain Hook. Fantasy is what engages my enthusiasm above all. I'm off to play Oscar Wilde in Chichester now."

He admitted he would have liked a part in Radio 4's serial adaptation of Tolkien's epic "The Lord of the Rings" (tomorrow, 12.0).

But the next best thing, be said, would be Flay the butler in Mervyn Peake's trilogy "Gormenghast."

"Those endlessly creaking knees of his-- I could really do something with that.

"I'm' not interested in the commonplace or ordinary. That's why I so enjoyed 'Doctor Who." It's a great privilege to be a children's hero.

"And I was very interested in what would make children laughs. I was never deliberately jokey-- I hate jokes.

"I'll miss that instant rapport with children. I never went reluctantly to work when I did 'Doctor Who.' Oh dear, that sounds like Pseuds Corner, doesn't it? But it's true."

Now he's older-- 46-- and his gangling 6ft 3in frame has filled out a bit. Baker is offered a much wider range of parts.


He looked, he said, like an under-nourished, over-sized freak well into his thirties—and was offered nothing but under-nourished, over-sized freak parts.

"I'm confident enough in my range to leave a sinecure like ' Dr. Who.' Playing Oscar Wilde - will be the. first test. But I could never play out-and-out baddies or villains.

"Basically I want to be wanted," Baker added, with a flash of his tombstone teeth. "In fact I want to be adored."

In that case, couldn't he see Dr. Who devotees being shocked by his portrayal of that arch-shocker Oscar Wilde?

"Oh yes," said Baker hopefully, eyes popping at the very thought. " I do hope so !"

Meanwhile, he said, tonight's episode of " Doctor Who." will be quite a shocker —a real cliff-hanger.

"I fall from a great height, you see. And my old enemy the Master appears to emerge triumphant."

But producer John Nathan-Turner promises a positive ending—with the problem of how to revive the doughty Doctor in time for a new series beginning in the autumn firmly resolved.

"It will be the most dramatic ending the series has ever bad, though," he says.

He'll miss Tom Baker for his "boundless" enthusiasm and tireless promotion of Doctor Who at schools and libraries around the word.

"Tom really threw himself whole heartedly into the promotion —he was always prepared to give up a lot of his free time. But we hope to continue that with the new Doctor, Peter Davison."

Nathan-Turner won't go into any more detail for fear of spoiling the surprises for the viewers.

But one thing he is firm about. Peter Davison may be the dishiest Doctor Who vet, with not one but two girl assistant in tow—"but there'll be no hanky-panky on the Tardis."

Tom and Lalla ... it's all a far cry from the poverty of his Liverpool childhood.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Paton, Maureen (1981-03-21). Marriage is good for me says Tom. Daily Express p. 20.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Paton, Maureen. "Marriage is good for me says Tom." Daily Express [add city] 1981-03-21, 20. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Paton, Maureen. "Marriage is good for me says Tom." Daily Express, edition, sec., 1981-03-21
  • Turabian: Paton, Maureen. "Marriage is good for me says Tom." Daily Express, 1981-03-21, section, 20 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Marriage is good for me says Tom | url= | work=Daily Express | pages=20 | date=1981-03-21 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 July 2024 }}</ref>
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