Before I ever knew about time lords,regeneration or even knew what a TARDIS was this man was the one image I associated with Doctor Who. His name is Tom Baker. He was born today in 1934 and turns 79 this year. With his trademark fashion,including a 17 foot scarf and his distinctive,fruity speaking voice he became the poster time lord as it were for Doctor Who during his seven years in the role,especially when it came to American audiences who viewed his many episodes of the show on PBS during the 1980's. It was during his era on the show that Doctor Who ascended to the level of international fame. And he remains many Whovian's favorites of the eleven people to play the time lord on television thus far.
Though highly successful in his years on the show,his strong belief in how his character should be portrayed often came into odds with the programs new producer John Nathan Turner during Baker's final series on Doctor Who. He was succeeded by Peter Davison in 1981 following Baker's final serial Logopolis. Although he felt it was too soon after his departure to appear in the multi-doctor reunion special The Three Doctors on the program's 20'th anniversary,he has been an active participant in many Doctor Who related events since and currently has no qualms of speaking of his long and unique time as the fourth incarnation of the famous time lord.
The fourth doctor Tom Baker portrayed was,in his own words,very much an extension of his own personality. He relished his position of putting the oppressed first in his priorities,with brain over bron,in all situations he encountered. He often took serious things with humor,and seemingly humorous things quite seriously. And with his almost child-like alpha personality he seemed the most genuinely extra terrestrial of all the other incarnations of the doctor. With assistants such as Sarah Jane Smith,Leela and Romana he was always accompanied by people in some way at least close to the equal of himself. So to Mr.Baker and the many Whovians out there I with Tom Baker a very happy 79'th. If he were here,I'd offer him a Jelly Baby.