DVD Review: The Doctors: The Tom Baker Years
To a generation of fans that grew up watching Doctor Who in the mid to late 1970s Tom Baker was and still is The Doctor. Baker, sporting a bohemian appearance reminiscent to a Lautrec painting topped off with a 6-foot multi coloured scarf had the seemingly impossible task of following on from William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee as the Time-Travelling hero. All previous actors had put their own stamp on the role but Baker would seemingly redefined Doctor making him more alien but seemingly more accessible.
Myth Makers presenter Nicholas Briggs and Producer Keith Barnfather set out to interview key people associated with Doctor Who over 30 years ago and this compilation release brings together 6 interviews with the shows stars spanning between 1985 and 2000.
Tom Baker kicks off the proceedings with one of the first major interviews he ever gave on screen discussing his career. “It’s the best job I ever had” he tells Nicholas Briggs, oozing with sincerity and even though many fans will be familiar with some of the stories from Tom’s autobiography its great to hear him speak so warmly pf the programme.
The 2-disc DVD set also features interviews from Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan), Louise Jameson (Leela), Mary Tamm (Romana) and K9 (John Leeson).
Rather than interview the actors in studios, they are usually taken back to locations used in the Doctor Who series, these along with several comical interludes (usually aided by Nicholas Briggs), give the interviews more appeal and interest. In some cases, the stars are also allowed to shine brighter, Louise Jameson particularly giving several mini performances from her vast repertoire as an actress, while John Leeson gives an insight into the life of a jobbing actor outside of been the voice of K9.
The DVD also gives a much welcome reminder of three actors that are no longer with us, Elisabeth Sladen, Ian Marter and Mary Tamm, all sadly gone to soon, but thanks to this allowed to give their own personal take on their contribution to Doctor Who.
Presenter Nicholas Briggs of course is now more familiar as the voice of The Daleks and Cybermen in the current Doctor Who series. It’s great however to see him here at various points in the early phase of his career as an interviewer (his appearance changes as frequently as our beloved Doctor and this is a quite fun aspect of watching these DVD's in succession).
All the interviews are tied up neatly with an update from both Nicholas Briggs and Keith Barnfather, making this an essential view for any fan of classic Doctor Who.
- The Doctors: The Tom Baker Years (Certificate E, 2 Discs, 331 Minutes) is available on DVD from September 11, 2017.