Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Picture

EDIT: Wasn't satisfied with the original file so I replaced it and uploaded an earlier version that was more appealing.

"What's the point of growing up if you can't be childish sometimes?"

It's been well over a year since my last Doctor Who related photograph, especially when I wanted to start doing little profiles of all (then) eleven Doctors. Part of that came down to how I wanted to properly profile the Fourth Doctor. Because of Tom Baker's length of time in the title role, and manufacturer Character Options producing (for the most part) almost all of the variations on the costumes he wore, there were more options to choose from in terms of finding that iconic look that would resonate past the plastic into something more universal.

I'm somewhat envious that I was born when I was...I'll never be able to experience that real thrill of a Tom Baker serial that those a generation older would. I still can, thanks to the reissues of his stories on video and DVD, as well as new material in the form of audio plays from an older Baker, who still has that touch. Unlike Hartnell and Troughton, who were in the role three seasons each, and Pertwee who stayed for four, Baker was and still remains the all time champ in terms of longevity. With seven consecutive series across seven years, he appeared in 41 stories, with the final tally being 172 episodes, more than any actor before or since (Colin Baker--the Sixth Doctor--has said that he wanted a go at that record but of course that never happened). The Baker era is notable for being the time that the series began its first broadcasts in the United States, thus giving it a higher global profile beyond its original status as an eccentric British children's show. It is also in the Fourth Doctor era that elements previously hinted at in prior Doctors episodes (the Time Lords and Gallifrey) were expanded upon, with the mythologies all given explanations in their respective episodes. The limit on a Time Lord's regeneration is also explained in Baker's years; whenever David Tennant or Matt Smith waxed poetic on the idea of growing older, it was Tom Baker who originated that idea (The Pyramids of Mars, and moreso throughout his final season).

I remember going to Chicago-TARDIS two years ago and meeting Terrance Dicks. Nice man, but he said something that I never quite agreed with. It was that you don't have to be a great actor to be a great Doctor, in reference to believing that Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, who had tremendous range as an actor, was not as good at portraying the Doctor as those who weren't that great at acting. The reason for that segue-way is because Baker himself has said he considers himself to be somewhat average, and that under normal circumstances he probably wouldn't have been given the break if producer Barry Letts (who left after "Robot", Baker's first serial) hadn't seen something in him as the next actor to play the Doctor, following Jon Pertwee's departure.

And that first season does carry over a lot of themes from the Pertwee years, namely having the Doctor still based on Earth, responding to UNIT...he even drove Pertwee's famous roadster Bessie. But it is somewhere early in the season that things began clicking into place, with the tag team of script editor/writer Robert Holmes and producer Phillip Hinchcliffe upping the ante in terms of the gothic horror and violence, reaching back to the classics such as the Mummy, Jekyll and Hyde, and even Frankenstein's monster being rewritten to fit within the science fiction world of the show. The Daleks and Cybermen were once again relegated to the shadows, with the Daleks appearing in two stories and the Cybermen in one. Baker's era saw the Sontaran's returning, along with the Master (in his famous decayed appearance) but a greater focus and effort was made to create original foes. Morbius, Sutekh, the Krynoids, and Scaroth all come from the Fourth Doctor's period in the show.

Unlike previous seasons, the theme of loneliness is a concept that bubbles to the surface but never really explored in full. The Fourth Doctor wasn't without his cast of companions, from the bubbly Sarah Jane, to loyal and lovable K9, to violent and vivacious Leela, to the romantic and innocent Romana (her second incarnation, as I haven't seen Mary Tamm's episodes before Lalla Ward portrayed her), all the way to that final trio in Adric, Tegan, and Nyssa--a group I always saw as more important to the Fifth Doctor but did appear in Baker's final episodes--but he was far more aloof and "alien" than previously and while he was at times pushing his companions away he probably came to realize his reliance on those he traveled with than ever before. Hartnell may have been downright untrustworthy at times, Troughton more manic and dangerious, and Pertwee a little kinder if harsher...Baker was unpredictable. He could taunt and tease on the one hand, be sympathetic on the other, manipulative on yet another, and melancholic on one more.

That's far more mileage and range for someone who believes himself to be an "average" actor.

The figure used here is from the City of Death two-pack. I did have that option of using the figures I have (Season 12-"Robot", "Pyramids of Mars", Season 13-"The Krynoid Experiment") but I used this look for two reasons: it is the far more iconic costume, given that it is one used in promotional merchandise then as now, and also because it is the costume he wore when I started watching the show's reruns. Because I went with this costume for this period of the show, I could not use Sarah Jane since she was long gone, as was Leela...K9 seemed like the next logical choice (especially in light of the fact that neither Romana has been made yet).
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