Interviewing Tom Baker

Christ Al-fucking-mighty, I interviewed Tom fucking Baker! At his house, of all places!

Phew. Sorry about that. It's just that, for several weeks, I had to keep that quiet. Suppression is a terrible thing, unless it relates to wind.

So, yes. In June, I went to Tom Baker's home in Sussex, to conduct a big ol' exclusive interview for Doctor Who Magazine (on shelves now, magazine fans). The mag hadn't interviewed him for 12 years - a Baker's dozen, you might say - which simultaneously made the job a true honour and highly-pressurised. It had always been one of my ambitions to meet Tom Baker, let alone interview him, so suddenly I had nerves relating to (a) sharing oxygen with him for a couple of hours; and (b) getting the kind of interview out of him which makes a 12-year wait worthwhile. That's all shades of scary.

If you're a DWM reader, you'll obviously see how it all went and I really hope you enjoy it. Suffice to say, though, that Tom was absolutely lovely and I can only assume that any journalists who find him grumpy or difficult have somehow rubbed him up the wrong way themselves. Thank God Tom Baker wasn't grumpy or difficult - that would almost certainly have tainted the rest of my life. So I'm immensely happy to say that these (for, yes, there will be more than one part of the interview) are my favourite features I've ever written. Which is nice to be able to say, having spent quite a while in journalism, and now only keeping a few toes in that pond.

I'll tell you this: if the 1979 version of me, with the first ever issue of Doctor Who Weekly (which would ultimately became DWM) gripped in his mucky li'l paw, had received a time-travelling visit from me as I am now, telling him that in 30 years, he would interview The Doctor for Doctor Who Magazine... that little kid would've run down the garden, back into the house, reporting to his parents that a weirdy-beardy stranger had been saying stuff to him.


martin said...

Ive just told my parents that a strange weirdy-beardy man had been saying stuff to me on the internet.

Looking forward to reading it tomorrow.

jh said...

Yeah, he's a lovely, lovely man. I recorded him for a kids show (The Beeps) and every time he was nothing but a joy - funny, good company, a joy to work with - and very, very good as a voice artist.

Admittedly a surprisingly high number of his anecdotes involve the Devil, but where's the harm in that?

Anonymous said...

I remember a Hot August Saturday queuing outside St Martins Crypt to get Tom to sign my Video, and the queue was moving very slowly.

Not because he's grumpy, but because he's actually spending way too much time engaging with everyone. He's a top chap, and one of the most unique characters I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

Robin Brown said...

Ahh, gulping incense, the colony rooms, umm, woke up under the sideboard, ahh, Shirley Williams...

But seriously, lucky you. I've been dreaming up reasons to interview Tom for years.

I met him once, in Liverpool, when he was promoting Who on Earth is Tom Baker? Lovely, funny man with huge eyes. Look forward to reading the interviews.

Scaryduck said...

We had Baker in our studio when he was promoting his autobiography mumblemumblemumble years ago (and he gave me a free, signed copy - w00t!).

Charm personified, and the first famous studio guest I didn't either completely blank or beat up in the car park. Which COUNTS FOR SOMETHING.

Anonymous said...

At his house?

Did he ask you to have some soup and read the Bible with him? ;)

footwarrior said...

well done! I can see how that would be incredibly intimidating. I met him a couple of times at book signings and was instantly struck dumb on both occasions. Really enjoying the interview.