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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > The Essential Doctor Who: Adventures in Space > THE FABULOUS BAKER BOY

THE FABULOUS BAKER BOY

Influenced by Dan Dare and Stanley Kubrick, writer Bob Baker spent much of the 1970s sending Doctor Who into space.
Aliens approach Earth in Episode One of Baker and Martin’s first Doctor Who story, The Claws of Axos (1971).

It’s 13 May 2017 and this evening BBC One is going to show Doctor Who’s spaciest episode in years. So it seems entirely fitting that on the day of Oxygen’s transmission we’re meeting one of Doctor Who’s spaciest writers.

Bob Baker’s Doctor Who career is one of the longest in the programme’s history, stretching right across the 1970s. He notched up no fewer than eight Doctor Who story credits during the decade – seven with his then writing partner Dave Martin and one, Nightmare of Eden, on his own.

Dave having passed away in 2007, Bob is one of only a handful of writers from that era who’s still alive and kicking. And when we meet him at a restaurant in the heart of Bristol, there’s not much to betray his age (he’s a fit-looking 77) except that he’s on mineral water. “I can’t drink very much these days with all the pills I’m on”, he says, laughing.

Back in the 1970s, Baker and Martin had quite the reputation for concocting crazy, left-field, budget-busting ideas. Former Doctor Who producer Barry Letts said that reading their work was like taking LSD, and there’s certainly something mind-banging about their best stuff. Even the stories that start on Earth, such as The Three Doctors (1972-73) and The Hand of Fear (1976), seem to be itching to get off-world.

“Space has been constantly with me since I was a child”, says Bob in a quiet corner of the bar. “Myself and mates of mine used to do nothing except draw rockets and wonder what it would be like to travel to the stars. So when it came to writing Doctor Who I was pleased as punch.”

It seems ironic that Bob Baker and Dave Martin, Doctor Who’s most prolific purveyors of outer-space spectaculars, should have joined the show when it was at its most obstinately Earthbound. The Claws of Axos (1971), their début story, takes place almost entirely on this here planet.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

“Space: the final frontier. Final, because it wants to kill us...” The TARDIS doesn’t just travel through time – stories set in space have been an essential part of Doctor Who for six decades. The inhospitable void between the stars has served as the backdrop to epic space operas and nerve-racking thrillers, while harbouring some of the most dangerous adversaries the Doctor has ever encountered. This lavish publication navigates a revealing course through the space lanes of Doctor Who, with exclusive interviews, rare images, and guides to some of the most memorable episodes.