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“We all were sea-swallowed, though some cast again, and by that destiny to perform an act whereof what’s past is prologue...”

– Antonio, THE TEMPEST



“I’m more fulfilled than i have been at any time in the past 25 years..."

In one guise or another, you’ve been entertaining the British public for almost 50 years – yet still no knighthood. What’s going on, Tom?

“They’ll have to hurry up. I’m close to the bloody grave. A man sent me a message the other day: he said, ‘I think you’re a saint.’ I’ve forgotten the context now, but it made my wife laugh. Actually, I met a guy in Soho quite recently – he’s a tailor on Berwick Street, a fabulous-looking young man – and he’s called Sir Tom Baker. No, he is. You can Google him up. He said he’d make me some clothes. He wanted me to come to one of his fashion shows. I said, ‘Yes, and we could have one of your very pretty models on a dog collar and chain.’ Then he got frightened. He said, ‘Christ, Tom, I don’t think we can do that.’ I said, ‘Well, how about I take to the catwalk? I know how to do the walk – the cystitis walk. It’s terribly theatrical.’ But he wouldn’t let me. It turns out that, despite him being rather outrageous, he bottled it. I would have modelled for him, with whips and chains, but he turned me down. I talked myself off the catwalk.”

That’s an upsetting story. Hey, I’ve got something for you. As this is our last interview, and as you gave me one of these five years ago in Rye... I’ve bought you a lottery ticket.

“Oh, goodness me! (Laughs) That’s absolutely great. You’d better sign it.”

It’s for this Saturday’s draw. If it wins, I’ll have made an old Doctor Who even richer.[1]

“We might make history. Yes, that’s a lovely thought. Thank you, Ben.”

Talking of making history, I’d like to ask you about The Day of the Doctor [the 50th anniversary episode, broadcast in 2013, in which Tom played ‘the Curator’, or possibly a future incarnation of the Doctor]. I’ve heard you say that you were a bit nervous doing it. I can’t imagine Tom Baker being nervous.

“I was nervous, because I’d been away from Doctor Who for so long. I didn’t know what was going on. I don’t know anything about modern TV cameras – about changing focus or whatever they did, and they can do quite long takes now – and there was no-one there to explain those things to me. I don’t think I actually even spoke to the director [Nick Hurran]. No-one gave me any notes. I suppose they were being kind, weren’t they? Maybe I looked a bit worn out or something. It was a long journey through the night, down to south Wales. They couldn’t put me in a local hotel, because they were trying to keep it secret. It was very arduous, really, because I wasn’t all that well, and I’ve been unsteady on my legs. It was a bit of a miserable experience, if it hadn’t been for Matt Smith, who’s got impeccable manners and seemed so thrilled to see me. He was such a darling. He was very kind; a lovely young man. We did several takes, and Matt responded to whatever I did, then away I went.”

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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!