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The monk who became Dr Who

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1979-02-19 Sydney Morning Herald.jpg


Tom Baker, British television's Dr Who, believes that fame is like an aphrodisiac.

"An actor might be absolutely repulsive in most people's eyes, but once he gets that big break. he suddenly becomes socially acceptable and almost desirable," he said last week.

Mr Baker is in Australia promoting the latest series of Dr Who, which begins today on ABN 2 at 6.30 pm. It will be shown each weekday in that time-slot.

He is the fourth Doctor Who in the program. which has been running for 15 Sears.

Tom Baker has no idea why Dr Who has become such a hit with children under 10 years of age.

"It could be because they feel comfortable in the less formidable surroundings of the home." he said. "Perhaps they get the maximum pleasure from terror without the responsibility of being hurt:

Baker, who is 45, is a bachelor. He does, however, have a better understanding of children than most men. The scores of adoring letters from fans in England and Australia assure him that he is something of a hero—and he plays the part to the hilt.

He is always signing autographs. In fact he signed seven photographs —hastily drawn from his coat pocket—for two English fathers while being interviewed.

"I love signing autographs." he said afterwards. "It is very reassuring. If a man came up to me and said, 'You are a lousy actor, a ham, and I can't stand you — but would you give me an autograph for my child'—I'd do it. I couldn't very well smack him in the mouth, because his child's feelings are what you have to consider."

The road has not always been easy for Dr Who, who looks like a British version of Tiny Tim. but less unkempt.

He was in his "younger days" a monk, of all things —then. while filling in between acting, he did housework.

'I was very good at making the tea and pruning the trees." he said. 'So many actors in England do housework—you'd be amazed. Of course, when they make the big lime, their former employers shrug with disbelief when they're reminded of that first meeting"

Of his time in the monastery he says, with whimsy mixed with seriousness:

'Six years of chastity is not recommended. It was a great struggle for me Irving to reach this great Nirvana."

Tom Baker returns to England at the end of the month. He then begins mother series which involves 40 weeks' work.

He belives that it is non-characterisation which mikes Dr Who a success, as well as the make-up. which is an artist's nightmare.

The series is simple and often corny: he sometimes finds it difficult to keep a straight face — but then "we're not trying to do Stir Wars," he added.

Is there anything at all that he doesn't like about Dr Who?

"Yes, the fact that I'm not the executive producer, the director and the script editor."

And what of ambition? "I want to be a big, big glossy star. I'd really love that," he concluded.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Shelley, Garry (1979-02-19). The monk who became Dr Who. The Sydney Morning Herald .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Shelley, Garry. "The monk who became Dr Who." The Sydney Morning Herald [add city] 1979-02-19. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Shelley, Garry. "The monk who became Dr Who." The Sydney Morning Herald, edition, sec., 1979-02-19
  • Turabian: Shelley, Garry. "The monk who became Dr Who." The Sydney Morning Herald, 1979-02-19, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The monk who became Dr Who | url= | work=The Sydney Morning Herald | pages= | date=1979-02-19 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 May 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The monk who became Dr Who | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 May 2024}}</ref>