With his curly mop and long, stripy scarf, Tom Baker was the eye-catching Doctor for a whole generation of kids in the 70s.
But he is one of the few former Time Lords not to have popped up in an anniversary special.
The fourth and longest-serving Doctor, he has no interest in reuniting with fellow stars of the show.
“I avoid them, you know,” he admitted. “Not with any malice. A degree of contempt, perhaps. But mildly. Mildly contemptuous.” Baker, 89, has stood apart for decades, regularly declining lucrative invites to appear at conventions with other Doctors. “Inevitably comparisons are made,” he told Radio Times, “and I find them odious.”
That’s despite his seven-year stint, from 1974, coming at the peak of the show’s popularity, with ratings of 13.6million. The idea ex- Doctors are be pals who meet for lunch is “unthinkable”, he says, adding: “Though I’d quite like to walk into a restaurant and find 12 of them around the table. I’d enjoy that double-take, as I desperately tried to remember who they were.”
Baker has enjoyed success away from the Whoniverse, as a theatre actor, voiceover artist and the narrator of Little Britain. And despite his lack of interest in the show that made his name, he is pleased almost every episodes will be on iPlayer as the series turns 60, and impressed by “handsome” Ncuti Gatwa who will become the 15th Doctor at Christmas.
Meanwhile, tenth Doctor David Tennant, 52, returns on Saturday for a three-part anniverary special on BBC1.
And he can’t wait for the next series, saying: “I have seen a bit of Ncuti, and he’s magnificent. I think he’s going to be great.”