After the departure of Jon Pertwee from the role of the Doctor, Tom Baker began his tenure as what is probably the most memorable incarnation of the Doctor to date. Abandoning his capes and frills in favour of a battered fedora and 12 foot scarf Tom Baker was in the role from December 1974 until March 1981 and saw in some of the show’s most radical changes.
The Fourth Doctor
The Fourth Doctor was much different than his predecessors, for a start he was much younger in appearance, and his temperament was much different as well, prone to rambling monologues with a fondness for jelly babies and a little false modesty this Doctor was definitely a man of his own creation.
After fighting a giant robot bent on using the worlds stockpile of nuclear weaponry to wipe out humanity The Doctor chose to leave earth taking with him reporter Sarah Jane Smith and U.N.I.T doctor Harry Sullivan. They travel through time and space, meeting Sontarans, Cybermen, giant slugs, and even witness the birth of the Daleks at the hand of their creator Davros. After returning to earth Harry stays rejoining U.N.I.T after fighting the Loch Ness Monster. The Doctor and Sarah Jane return to space meeting various monsters including Morbius, an exiled Time Lord who led an uprising. Not long after this Sarah Jane leaves the Doctor so that he can return to Gallifrey.
Upon returning to Gallifrey the Doctor is implicated in the assassination of The Lord President, the plot it turns out to be a ploy of the Master, at the end of his regeneration cycle, decaying and emaciated, The Master tried to access the power of the Eye Of Harmony (a black hole that powers the Time Lords ability to time travel) but is thwarted in the attempt by the Doctor, who becomes president of the Time Lords in the process.
Running from Gallifrey the Doctor meets Leela, a savage from a primitive planet and the two travel together for some time, being joined by K-9 a robot dog with a laser in its nose. The three travel together for some time until The Doctor returns to Gallifrey to undertake his presidential responsibilities and fend of an invasion from the Vardans and The Sontarans. Lela remains on Gallifrey as the consort of gurard captain Andred, with K-9 remaining also.
The Doctor sets out with a new model of K-9 in an attempt to discover and then destroy the Key of Time, Joined by the Time Lady Romana the pair travel together for some time. After regenerating once Romana and the Doctor continue their travels, getting caught up in the Dalek Movellan war and an art forgery ring involving taking masterpieces from the past. The pair actually leave the universe, becoming trapped in a parallel dimension where they pick up a young stowaway Adric, before returning to their home dimension Romana and K-9 Mark II decide to remain behind.
Back in his home universe, the Doctor and Adric travel to Traken where the Doctor discovers a plot by The Master to once again gain limitless universal power. On Traken the Doctor meets new companion Nyssa whose fathers body is taken over by the Master, in this new body The Master departs Traken swearing revenge on the Doctor.After picking up another stowaway Tegan the Doctor then begins Working with the Master to stop the decaying of the universe, successful the Master then betrays the Doctor pushing him to his death, and a new regeneration.
Tom Baker is still to this day who most people see as the embodiment of the role of The Doctor, often quoting him as the definitive. He had the longest run and the best writers of the show’s history, and I would have to say that he just made the part so much fun. And I can say from personal experience, having met the man once, (his autograph sits on a shelf in my man cave) he seemed like a really nice man.
Stand Out Serials
- Genesis of The Daleks: This serial gives us the deepest look into the history of the Daleks since their creation. We meet their creator, Davros, a brilliant scientist who is the product of his own environment, the biggest advances in science and medicine usually come about in war time, and this really is shown here with the Daleks, they are the result of endless war, and are designed purely for extermination.
- The Deadly Assassin: Political intrigue and the biggest insight into the world of the Doctor, I often favour the stories set on Gallifrey, because I like learning about the history of the Time Lords, especially their early days and this along with maybe two or three others from the original run are really the only information we have on the past of the Doctor and his people.
- State of Decay: In a show that makes use of history and myth it amazes me that it took so long for the Doctor to encounter Vampires.
- The Ark In Space: The story itself wasn’t bad, but really gets me about this story is that the monster is made out of painted bubble wrap.
Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.
This is the fourth in a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.