Fourth Doctor

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The Doctor
The Fourth Doctor
Portrayed by Tom Baker
Tenure 19741981
First appearance Planet of the Spiders
Last appearance Logopolis (regular)
The Five Doctors (archive footage)
Number of series 7
Appearances 41 stories (172 episodes)
Companions on television: Sarah, Harry, Leela, K-9 (Marks I and II), Romana, Adric, Tegan, Nyssa

in spin-offs: Sharon

Related Articles
Preceding Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
Succeeding Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)
Series Seasons 12 to 18

The Fourth Doctor is the name given to the fourth incarnation of the Doctor seen on screen in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He was portrayed by Tom Baker.


[edit] Overview

The Fourth Doctor's eccentric style of dress and speech — particularly his trademark long scarf and fondness for jelly babies — made him an immediately recognisable figure and he quickly caught the viewing public's imagination. This incarnation is generally regarded as the most popular of the Doctors.

The Fourth Doctor appeared in seven consecutive seasons over a seven-year period, from 1974 to 1981, making him the longest running Doctor on screen. He also appears in the specials The Five Doctors (via footage from the uncompleted Shada) and Dimensions in Time, Tom Baker's last appearance in-character as the Doctor (aside from a series of television advertisements in New Zealand in 1997.[1])

There are also novels and audio plays featuring the Fourth Doctor. Both audio plays featuring the Fourth Doctor date from Baker's television tenure as he has declined to appear in any further audio plays since leaving the series.

[edit] Biography

The Third Doctor had contracted radiation poisoning on the planet Metebelis 3. Dying, he made his way back to UNIT headquarters, where the Time Lord K'Anpo Rinpoche aided him in regenerating (Planet of the Spiders).

Early on, the Doctor drew back from continuous involvement with UNIT (with which he had worked closely during his third incarnation) and the Time Lords. UNIT had little control over the Doctor, but the Time Lords continued to send him on missions occasionally, including an attempt to prevent the creation of the Daleks (Genesis of the Daleks), during which he also met a new adversary, Davros. The Doctor traveled for some time with journalist Sarah Jane Smith, whom he had befriended prior to his regeneration. They were also joined for a time by Surgeon-Lieutenant Harry Sullivan.

The Doctor's travels with Sarah were interrupted when he received a telepathic summons to Gallifrey and could not take Sarah with him, as humans were not allowed on Gallifrey at that point during its history. It turned out that the summons was part of a trap set by the Master, who had used up all his regenerations and become little more than a withered husk. The Master framed the Doctor for the assassination of the President of the High Council of Time Lords, and in order to avoid execution the Doctor declared himself a candidate for the now-empty office. The Master had hoped to use the Eye of Harmony on Gallifrey to restart his regenerative cycle (an act which would have destroyed the planet), but the Doctor prevented him from doing so. (The Deadly Assassin)

The Doctor then traveled alone for the first time in many years, and returned to a planet he had once visited before. During his previous visit, he had accidentally imprinted a human colony ship's powerful computer, Xoanon, with his own mind, leaving it with multiple personalities. Centuries later, the Doctor was remembered as an evil god by the descendants of the colonists, some of whom had become a warrior tribe called the Sevateem. After the Doctor cured the computer, one of the Sevateem, Leela, joined him on his travels (The Face of Evil). Leela was intelligent and inquisitive, but uneducated. Teaching her about science and her own species' past, the Doctor brought Leela to many locales in human history, including Victorian London, where the pair encountered the magician Li Hsien Chang and his master, the self-styled Weng-Chiang (The Talons of Weng-Chiang). Later, the Doctor and Leela visit the Bi-Al Foundation medical centre, where they acquired the robot dog K-9 (The Invisible Enemy).

The Doctor returned to Gallifrey and declared himself Lord President, based on the election held during his previous visit. Eventually it was revealed that this was a ploy to reveal a Sontaran invasion plan. With the help of Leela and K-9, the Doctor defeated the Sontarans, but his two friends decided to remain on Gallifrey. The Doctor was saddened, but comforted himself by producing K-9 Mark II (The Invasion of Time).

Shortly afterwards, the powerful White Guardian assigned the Doctor to find the six segments of the Key to Time. To aid the Doctor in his quest, the Guardian sent a young Time Lady named Romana to join him. The two Gallifreyans were able to find the six segments and defeat the equally powerful Black Guardian, who sought the Key for himself. After the conclusion of the quest, Romana regenerated into a new form (Destiny of the Daleks).

For a time, the Fourth Doctor and the second incarnation of Romana travelled in another universe known as E-Space. There, they were joined by the young prodigy Adric. When the Doctor found a way to leave E-Space, Romana and K-9 Mark II chose to remain behind. Adric and the Doctor were joined by the aristocratic orphan Nyssa of Traken and, in the Fourth Doctor's last adventure, by the opinionated Tegan Jovanka.

The conduit between E-Space and our own universe was later revealed to be a Charged Vacuum Emboitment — created by the mathematicians of Logopolis as part of a system to allow the Universe to continue on past its point of heat death. As he investigated this, the Fourth Doctor began experiencing feelings of foreboding, and also spotted a white-clad entity observing him. After succeeding in stopping the Master from disrupting the CVEs and destroying the universe, the Fourth Doctor was mortally wounded when he fell from the Pharos Project radio telescope control tower, where he uttered his last words: "It's the end... but the moment has been prepared for". The white-clad entity, referred to as "The Watcher" was revealed to have been a manifestation of the Doctor's future incarnation. Before the eyes of the Doctor's companions, the Watcher merged with the Fourth Doctor, regenerating him into the Fifth Doctor.

The Fourth Doctor appeared once more, in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors, however he is represented only in previously unbroadcast footage and does not interact with his four counterparts. In The Five Doctors, a renegade Time Lord attempts to pull the first five incarnations of the Doctor out of time; due to a complication, the Fourth Doctor (and Romana) become trapped in a "time eddy" of sorts, from which they are later freed. It is unclear whether the Fourth Doctor is aware of what happened to him.

[edit] Personality

The Fourth Doctor was a flamboyant bohemian who permanently left UNIT in order to return to a life of wandering. Despite the fact that he was incredibly charming and manic, and would often keep people offguard with his zany, irreverent humour, the Fourth Doctor was actually far more aloof and authoritative than his previous incarnations. In fact, he not only seemed more inclined towards a solitary existence (The Deadly Assassin), he also emphasised that he was not human, but rather a Time Lord with much larger concerns than the Earth. To many fans worldwide, this seemingly indestructible, scarf-wearing eccentric, who would simply laugh his enemies away, was the definitive incarnation of the Doctor.

[edit] Story style

The Doctor occasionally adjusted his costume to fit his surroundings, as shown here in the Sherlock Holmes-inspired The Talons of Weng-Chiang

The early stories of the Fourth Doctor were characterised by a strong "horror" theme. The combination of writer Robert Holmes and producer Philip Hinchcliffe consciously took well known themes such as Frankenstein (The Brain of Morbius, Robot), transformation (The Ark in Space, Planet of Evil), alien abduction and even included some elements lifted directly from Universal horror movies, such as the mummies in Pyramids of Mars, although they were given a science fiction explanation, rather than the typical magic.

This horror element attracted much criticism, notably from Mary Whitehouse, and Hinchcliffe was moved on to police drama Target in 1977. The fourth season of Baker's run was produced by Graham Williams who was given specific instructions to lighten the tone of the stories, thus playing to Baker's strengths.

During the Fourth Doctor's run, in Season 17, the science fiction author Douglas Adams was script editor and his distinctive style can be seen in the dialogue and stories of some of the serials such as City of Death and The Pirate Planet. Adams' tenure is controversial with fans, some of whom believe that the humorous stories are uncharacteristic of the series, and others who contend that the diversity of the storytelling was one of the series' strong points.

In Season 18, John Nathan-Turner became the series' producer. He instituted a number of changes to the show, including toning down the humour. During this season, the Fourth Doctor became very much subdued and, on occasion, melancholy. At the time, Baker was also suffering from an undisclosed illness from which he eventually recovered. Both the actor and character seemed noticeably older in this season, due to Baker's gaunt appearance and greying hair; many of this season's stories also had an elegiac tone, with entropy and decay being a recurring theme.

The Fourth Doctor's stories saw fewer recurring elements than previously with few aliens and monsters appearing in more than one story. The Daleks only appeared twice and the Cyberman only had one story Revenge of the Cybermen (though their appearance did mark a return to the series as the Third Doctor had not encountered them). UNIT, which had featured in most of the Third Doctor's adventures only appeared in four early Tom Baker stories, playing a minor role in their last appearance, Season 13's The Seeds of Doom in which none of the regular UNIT staff appeared.

[edit] Other appearances

[edit] Spoofs

Main article: Doctor Who spoofs

The Fourth Doctor's distinctive appearance and manner have made him a target for affectionate parody. The character has appeared several times on The Simpsons, once on Robot Chicken, and is frequently impersonated by impressionist Jon Culshaw on the radio and television series Dead Ringers. Even Barney Miller had an episode featuring an eccentric man claiming to be a time-traveller, and wearing a long striped scarf.

[edit] Novels

[edit] Virgin Missing Adventures

[edit] Past Doctor Adventures

[edit] Eighth Doctor Adventures

[edit] Telos Doctor Who novellas

[edit] Comics

[edit] TV Comic

  • Death Flower
  • Return of the Daleks
  • The Wreckers
  • The Emperor's Spy
  • The Sinister Sea
  • The Space Ghost
  • The Dalek Revenge
  • Virus
  • Treasure Trails
  • Hubert's Folly
  • Counter-Rotation
  • Mind Snatch
  • The Hoaxers
  • The Mutant Strain
  • Double Trouble
  • Dredger
  • The False Planet
  • The Fire Feeders
  • Kling Dynasty
  • The Orb
  • The Mutants
  • The Devil's Mouth
  • The Aqua-City
  • The Snow Devils
  • The Space Garden
  • The Eerie Manor
  • Guardian of the Tomb
  • The Image Makers

[edit] TV Comic Annual

  • Woden's Warrior
  • The Tansbury Experiment
  • Jackels of Space

[edit] TV Comic Specials

  • The Sky Warriors

[edit] Doctor Who Magazine

  • Black Destiny
  • Victims
  • The Iron Legion
  • City of the Damned
  • K9's Finest Hour
  • Timeslip
  • The Star Beast
  • The Dogs of Doom
  • The Time Witch
  • Dragon's Claw
  • The Collector
  • Dreamers of Death
  • The Life Bringer
  • War of the Words
  • Spider-God
  • The Deal
  • End of the Line
  • The Freefall Warriors
  • Junkyard Demons
  • Neutron Knights

[edit] Doctor Who Magazine Specials

  • The Naked Flame
  • Rest and Re-Creation
  • The Seventh Segment
  • Starbeast II
  • Junkyard Demons II

[edit] Audio dramas

  • Doctor Who and the Pescatons (1976)
  • Exploration Earth: "The Time Machine" (1976)
  • Tom Baker also recorded narration, in character as the Fourth Doctor, for a 1976 audio release of Genesis of the Daleks, which was subsequently re-issued by the BBC on cassette and CD as a radio drama.
  • Baker returned again to Doctor Who for the 1990's audio cassette releases of "lost" Doctor Who stories. For some of these stories, he is in character as the Doctor. For others, he merely provides descriptive narration.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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