Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Fan told me I will die - Baker

Tom Baker is still remembered fondly from his Doctor Who days

Tom Baker has told how a cheeky young fan informed him he would be the next star of the long-running Doctor Who series to die.

The 79-year-old actor played the fourth Doctor for seven years after joining the series in 1974 and each of his predecessors - William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell - has died.

He continues to be recognised by fans of the show, but was taken aback by the approach of one youngster who estimated his days were numbered.

Tom said: "Somebody said to me the other day, a smart-a**ed kid, 'Actuarially speaking, you'll be the next one to go you know'.

"I said, 'How do you know that?'. He said, 'My father's in insurance, he's an actuary'. So I made a big effort and asked him if he was all right for money, and he said he was, so I offered him five pounds thinking there must be a vestige of shame in him. But there wasn't - he took the five pounds. I think he did say thanks, very quietly, and then he went."

The star said he thrived on the public adoration he received for his portrayal of the Time Lord.

" People often say very nice things to me in the street, which still pleases me a lot. Because when I first became an actor I wanted to be popular, and then I wanted to be loved, and as the figures went up and up and up I have to admit I wanted to be adored. And they did adore me for a while.

"I'm still being introduced by middle-aged men to their little sons as 'my doctor'. It's been passed on and it enters into our lives, seeps into our lives. Not mine, except as an old Doctor Who, I can't stop thinking about it."

The programme celebrates its 50th birthday later this month with a TV drama about the early days of the show called An Adventure In Space And Time. Then on November 23, there will be an anniversary episode with the current Doctor, Matt Smith, as well as his predecessor David Tennant.

Although Tom said he did not watch the programme before he joined, during his run or since he left, he does intend to watch the anniversary edition.

"I'm going to watch the big show, it will be very interesting to see what the BBC do," he said.

"I'm a great admirer of the BBC, it's the sort of place that can make murder sound like charity, so when they do a big deal like that they'll surely get it right and it'll be exciting."

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