Tom Baker returns to play Time Lord in lost 'Doctor Who' series

Ben Arnold
UK Movies Writer
(Credit: BBC Worldwide)

Tom Baker, the legendary fourth Doctor from Doctor Who, is to don the stripy scarf once again.

The 83-year-old actor is returning to the Tardis as part of a new project from the BBC to complete an unfinished Doctor Who serial called Shada, originally made in 1979.

Shada was originally written by Douglas Adams, the celebrated author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but was never completed, due to at BBC strike during filming.

“When I was doing Doctor Who it was the realisation of all my childhood fantasies… so I took to it like a duck to water and I still do,” Baker said.

“Doctor Who was more important than life to me – I used to dread the end of rehearsal… that’s why I can’t stay away from it.

“Shada was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio.

“I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”

Scenes that were filmed are used in the new re-cut, and those The parts of the sci-fi drama that were not filmed have been completed with state-of-the-art animation, and with Baker’s voice.

But he also filmed a live-action scene in the original 1979 Tardis set at BBC Television Centre earlier this year, and which he emerges from underneath the spacecraft’s console.

Baker originally played the Doctor from 1974 to 1981, and is considered by many fans to have been the best of all the Time Lords.

The story finds the Doctor in Cambridge, with his sidekick Romana, played by Lalla Ward, and another retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, working to defeat Skagra, an alien being who is trying to steal the secrets of the prison planet Shada.

It’s said that parts of the plot were later used by Adams in his novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Speaking about filming the original series, Baker recalled: “Mostly I remember being mocked by the students on the [River] Cam because I wasn’t very good at punting, I kept losing the pole.”

Shada is available to buy and download now, and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 4.

The new series of Doctor Who, featuring Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker as the first female Time Lord, will make her debut in this year’s Christmas special.

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