Doctor Who fans are eagerly awaiting the adventures of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor when the show returns later this year. But while we can’t zip forward to avoid the long wait, we can do what the Doctor would do: go explore another time period and come back later. And while we don’t have a TARDIS, we do have YouTube, and it can magically transport us back to 1974, when a curly-haired eccentric named Tom Baker was about to take over the beloved sci-fi series as the Fourth Doctor, picking up from Jon Pertwee’s number Three.
We’re so used to the polished, multi-media introductions when we get introduced to a new actor taking on the role of the Doctor these days, so it’s really charming to see this glimpse of the process when the show was a lot younger and not quite as slick. It perfectly fits Tom Baker, honestly, and it’s great to see his casual charisma and quirkiness on display, not to mention his underestimation of just how much the role is about to change his life. Sure, he expects “the anonymity of my ordinary life will disappear,” but little did he know that he would not only play the role for seven years, longer than any other actor, but that, for the general populace that weren’t fans the show, especially in America, he would become the face many visualized when you said the words “Doctor Who.”
The YouTube poster doesn’t have any more specifics of when the interview was filmed, aside from the year 1974. It’s clearly before any of his episodes have aired, as his fame is still a subject of speculation at a distance. He references The Ark in Space and Robot, the first two full serials he starred in, as not having aired yet. Baker first popped up in Planet of the Spiders, just long enough for Jon Pertwee to regenerate into his now-familiar mug. That episode aired on June 8, 1974, and Baker’s reign proper began in the four-part Robot, which began airing on December 28, 1974.
All in all, it’s a great bit of Who history. And how can you beat the fact that it ends with Baker and some Cybermen hopping franchises by retreating into a place called the “Wookey Hole?” (Just remember, let Chewie win.)
Tom Baker, ladies and germs. From the beginning, to…