Geeks of the Round Table

Geekasaurus Mike is a proud affiliate of Geeks of the Round Table at


The Doctors of Doctor Who: Tom Baker

After John Pertwee left the show in 1974 and the then unheard of Tom Baker (who was, at the time of selection, working construction jobs. ). They had no way of knowing, however, that they had selected who was to becoming the longest running, and most iconic image of the Doctor, if not in the whole series, then in the classic serial.

After the third Doctor contracted a fatal case of radiation poisoning, he regenerated at the end of Planet of the Spiders. The new man eagerly ditched Earth to once again roam amongst the stars.
So long and thanks for all the fish...or jelly babies...

This Doctor would probably be the one that those familiar only to the new series could pick up on the most. Baker was silly, manic, had a niche for technobabble, but still had a dark, brooding, if not downright sinister side. This was the Mad Hatter of the Doctors. He was also far more distant and solitary, considering himself at home neither on Gallifrey nor on Earth. He was still interested in humanity (even calling them his “favorite species”) but it was definitely from an outsider's prospective.
This was also one of the more confrontational Doctors, having to issue with using weapons (non-lethal and otherwise) as well as taking the martial arts expertise of his immediate predecessor. Oh, and there were jelly babies. Oh so many jelly babies.

Of course, the thing that everyone remembers about this particular Doctor is his appearance. Tom Baker sported absurdly curly hair, eyes that continually bugged out, and very prominent teeth. To add to this already striking visage, the doctor wore a 14 foot long, multicolored scarf allegedly knitted for him by Madam Nostrodamus.
This is either a kookey alien or a Bond villain...I'm not sure which

As with any series that lasts as long as Baker's, the story style changed throughout his tenure. At the beginning of the run, the show seemed to lean more towards horror and suspense. Although many fans of the classic series view these as the best stories of the whole show, the darker and darker tone was under a lot of criticism, and admittedly did not play to Baker's strengths. Therefore, 1977 saw a switch over to a lighter, more humorous style of show. It was during this time that author Douglas Adams began writing for the show, to mixed reactions. Some believe that the Hitchhiker's Guide author was a flop, while others rave that he was the best thing since regeneration.

Finally, the show went an entirely new, sombre direction, as the Doctor began to become more melancholy to the point of near-depression. This theme of grim decay continued all the way to his regeneration in Logopolis, where he suffers a fatal fall from a high wire.

Baker did not appear as the Doctor in any subsequent specials (his role in The Five Doctors being comprised of unused shots from his original run) and seemed to dislike his unbreakable connection to the character. Despite him, however, the fourth Doctor continued to be the hands-down favorite of the audience, losing in only two polls for “Best Doctor” to Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor) and David Tennant (the 10th).

But, as long lasting and popular as he was, Tom Baker had to eventually step down, and the studio decided, once again, to in a completely new direction with the character...
You may be a doctor. But I'm the Doctor. The definite article, you might say.