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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 501 > THE IMPECCABLE TOM BAKER

THE IMPECCABLE TOM BAKER

PHOTOS: DYLAN THOMAS

“… and with each end of thy blue bow dost crown my bosky acres and my unshrubbed down, rich scarf to my proud earth.”

– Ceres, THE TEMPEST

THE ULTIMATE INTERVIEW

PART THREE

DAY TWO:

PRET A MANGER, WARDOUR STREET SOHO, LONDON 19/08/10

In Tom Baker’s autobiography – the quite-justifiably-titled Who on Earth is Tom Baker? – he wrote, ‘Under June Hudson’s influence, my costume became more and more operatic. This pleased me very much. Some people said that my performance became more and more operatic, too, and they were probably right. June Hudson was very influential, and she and I became friendly. We still are.’

So what could be more fabulous, we thought, than bringing together Tom and June for a DWM interview, to celebrate their extraordinary collaboration? The legendary costume designer had, after all, a profound impact on Tom’s era: costuming both incarnations of Romana and, in what June describes as her greatest professional endeavour, creating the Fourth Doctor’s ‘plum’ outfit and scarf for his final season. “Any change in his clothing was really unthinkable,” she once said. “It was my assignment to think the unthinkable.”

Yesterday, I met with just Tom. Today, we’ve returned to Soho (“You don’t look a day older,” Tom tells me), to another, different Pret, with a photographer in tow, Dylan Thomas (not that one), to meet the one and only Ms Hudson. She had offered her South London flat for the interview, but Tom prefers “neutral territory in Soho”. (“I rather thought he’d go for that,” June confesses.) Today’s encounter will take us all over the district: to a French patisserie, a fabric shop, a recording studio, and off into space, and time…

When she arrives, June is impeccably and elegantly attired, a picture in blue of both the Prussian and Tiffany shades (“I’ve always believed that a costume has a far greater impact if it’s all one colour,” she’ll explain), and she’s brought with her, to Pret a Manger, her original artwork for the cover of A Shard of Ice, a BBC Audio Doctor Who talking book – in which, pre-Big Finish, Tom has reprised his TV role. June’s fetching illustration depicts the Fourth Doctor facing off a mutating Ice Queen.

In Pret, Tom studies the piece closely, as though he will learn all its secrets. Which makes everyone nervous.

TOM: “It’s very vivid, this cover. I do gesture like that, even in the recording studio. They have to put me on a special microphone, otherwise

I knock over the other actors. (Laughs)”

“I realised that if you’ve got fabulous gear on – especially as an alien – you can wear it terribly casually.”

JUNE: “Yes, the horns bursting out of the Ice Queen’s beautiful forehead –”

TOM: “Look, there’s a wonderful space for my autograph there.”

JUNE: “– and her great leathery wings unfurling.”

TOM: “When I became an actor, the first thing

I practiced was my autograph.”

JUNE: “I followed the description in the script completely, because Paul [Magrs, the writer]’s descriptions are so strong.”

TOM: “It is a great script. He’s a nice man as well. He accepts some of the changes I offer.”

JUNE: “Well, he’s creative, isn’t he? He likes creativity, Tom.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who Magazine's 500th birthday celebrations continue! DWM 501 is a Tom Baker Special: a bumper 100-page souvenir issue that features the mag's biggest interview ever with the man himself, and dozens of rare photos. Plus, the start of a brand-new comic strip, The Pestilent Heart, which introduces a new companion; a look at all the latest Doctor Who CD releases; and much, much more!
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