For many, many fans of classic Doctor Who, one of the real high points of The Day Of The Doctor 50th anniversary special had to be hearing a very familiar voice say, “You know, I really think you might” and then seeing Tom Baker play the Curator opposite Matt Smith as the Doctor for a few short moments. There had been clues that Baker, who’d played the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the 1970s, would appear in the special in the days leading up to November 23rd, most notably from Baker himself. The details of where and how this bit of magic from showrunner Steven Moffat came about were largely unknown, however, until a few days ago.
Mr. Baker discussed his involvement in The Day Of The Doctor as a part of his New Year’s message on his official web site. In it, he touches on aspects of the filming day, his working process as an actor for the role, and the publicity leading up to the first screening.
Here’s part of what he wrote about the experience:
So through the wintry darkness of April, I travelled to Cardiff where my scene was to be shot. My appearance in the Anniversary Special was to be a secret – a surprise for the fans – so we and the BBC decided that I shouldn’t stay in a hotel in Cardiff in case people guessed what I was there for, so I agreed to travel overnight under cover of darkness. The pick-up was at 1.30am at home in East Sussex. The car was warm and the driver superb, so superb that we arrived in Cardiff at about 4.30am! The BBC had said they would shoot my bit at 8.30am and that I would probably be away in no time at all! That’s what they said.
He also spoke warmly and generously to the fans in his newletter:
I am constantly touched and amazed by the personal stories people have told in my guestbook about how watching Doctor Who helped them through difficult times and inspired them to make something of their lives. Thank you for sharing these wonderful stories with me and other fans. I certainly find it very interesting.
My heartfelt thanks to those fans who sent me such affectionate messages about my role in the Doctor Who Special. It’s a wonderful feeling to be swamped with love after my cameo appearance.
Continuing reading about Baker’s entire experience regarding his involvement in the anniversary special over in his Newsletter.
At nearly 80, Baker won’t likely be around for the next big Doctor Who anniversary special, making The Day Of The Doctor perhaps his first and last appearance opposite another actor playing the Doctor on television. Thank you, Tom Baker, for sharing a little of the old magic with us one more time.