For many, Tom Baker is not merely one of the Doctors. He is THE Doctor. The definite article, you might say!
Tom Baker is the longest reigning Doctor to date, with an era spanning seven years from 1974 to 1981. He stands tall as the most iconic actor to have taken on the role of the Time Lord. With his trademark scarf and beaming Cheshire cat grin, he exudes character and personality. He eats up the screen and steals the spotlight wherever he goes. A relative unknown upon his casting, Tom Baker brought out the alien side of The Doctor like never before. His Doctor was so full of life, churning out wit at every opportunity. He’s undeniably The Doctor that defines Doctor Who. Without him, the show might be very different today.
What’s more, Tom Baker arguably held the keys to the TARDIS when the show enjoyed a golden age of consistently high-quality episodes. Genesis of the Daleks, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, Terror of the Zygons, The Deadly Assassin, City of Death, The Pyramids of Mars. The list of truly classic Fourth Doctor stories goes on and on! To attempt to pick just one standout Tom Baker moment, let alone a favourite Fourth Doctor serial, is an impossibly tough challenge. There are just far too many highlights to choose from.
“Would you like a jelly baby?”
Even decades on from his departure, Tom Baker continues to entertain those who delve back into the classic series on DVD. While he famously refused to appear in twentieth anniversary special The Five Doctors, he couldn’t stay away from Doctor Who forever. His surprise cameo as The Curator in The Day of the Doctor remains a landmark moment of nostalgia for the series.
Today, let us celebrate Tom’s 83rd birthday by looking back on the Fourth Doctor’s tenure in the TARDIS, from Robot to Logopolis. There’s no point in being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes, and no one embodies that better than Tom Baker himself. Happy Birthday, and may there be many more to come!