Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Talk about Doctor Who when Tom played the Doctor (1974 - 1981).

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Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby Toothy Grin on September 9th, 2010, 11:11 am

What is it about Tom's Doctor that makes him so unique and well loved? Just what is that magic ingredient that sets him apart from all the other Doctors?
I think it's a mix of several things. Firstly, and most crucially, it's Tom himself with his otherworldly personality. He's such an eccentric and unique person and, as he's said, he was just playing himself so Tom's unusual personality shines through in the fourth Doctor. All the other Doctors were just 'playing a part' whereas Tom was being himself, and with no disrespect to the other actors, they are all pretty ordinary people, but Tom is extrordinary.
I think that the fourth Doctor's 'look' is more memorable than any other Doctor - the hat, the long scarf, the mass of curls and staring eyes - he's just so visually pleasing. Then there's Tom's amazing voice, his stature and natural authority. He always dominates every scene he's in even when he's not doing anything. The fourth Doctor's character is also something special, with his unpredictability - you never quite know how he's going to react in a situation - and I also love his childlilke quality. There are so many facets to his character, and Tom's endless enthusiasm for the part always shines through and keeps his Doctor fresh and exciting, whereas I sometimes feel that certain other Doctors were a bit on autopilot at times.
What do other people think are the things that makes Tom's Doctor so amazing?
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby Moderator on September 9th, 2010, 12:51 pm

Dear Toothie Grin -

Good question, though you did manage to list most of the reasons Tom was so very perfect in the part in your own response. :lol:

However, I personally think the writers can take a bow too, as they were the ones who did create, these incredibly good, clattering tales; and most, if not all, of Tom's lines. Tom said once in an interview, that he really wasn't alowed to change his lines, except in the rehersals, which of course he did, all of the time: to the delight and amusement of everyone within ear shot! But when things got serious, it was totally back to the script that someone else had written for his character, the good doctor. The script writers and script editors during Tom's time in Dr Who, did an excellent job for both Tom, and for his fans. So all of us were very well served.

And as a bonus the writers got paid! :mrgreen: [I would have worked for free! ;) ]

Best,
Dirk :ugeek:
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby Marcello Cristiano on September 10th, 2010, 12:35 am

Here here. Well said, Toothy Grin. :D The Doctor is supposed to be an alien with two hearts and TOM BAKER made me believe the 4th Doctor was really an alien more so than any other actor before or since.
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby metalheadjay on February 24th, 2011, 11:41 pm

He was the complete package. He was born to play the role. The image, the charm, the charisma, the humor, his characteristics and facial expressions, sarcastic wit, his intellect. Combine that with the wonderful writing and everything else. Need I continue? There are more reasons as to why Tom Baker is THE best Doctor as opposed to the others who have played the role, period. There is no arguing or even thinking about it with me.
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby Prydonian on February 27th, 2011, 12:45 am

I dare say that Tom's quite legendary status has yet to be met by any of those Doctor actors who came after him, including those Doctors in the new series. No matter how popular David Tennant rose in recent seasons, Tom will still always be the best.
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby Graceful Leonard on February 27th, 2011, 10:27 pm

I agree with most of what's already been said. Apart from Tom himself...

- the writing and direction changed, certainly in the Hinchcliffe era, giving the show more depth and more mature characterisations (not always, but often). The humour was sharper and more sophisticated in a way that adults could appreciate.

- Tom was graced with a superb companion in Sarah Jane, who was way more sophisticated and independant than any before...and acted brilliantly by Lis Sladen. If anything, much as I liked Pertwee, she was too big a character to be his companion. Leela and Romana were also pretty good...and things took a noticeable dive when the companions started becoming crap.

For me, the era of Tom/Lis/Hinchcliffe was the absolute peak.
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby metalheadjay on March 3rd, 2011, 12:40 am

I agree with that Leonard(that is the absolute peak of "Who" to this day) but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire Tom Baker era. I've always loved the "Key To Time" season with Mary Tamm(adore The Pirate Planet). That was quite ingenius. Wasn't too pleased with the lackluster conclusion though. Seemed a bit pointless.
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby Prydonian on March 3rd, 2011, 2:03 am

Also, the companions of the era were well written and interesting, and the quality of the Baker stories seemingly knew no bounds.
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby tracy on March 3rd, 2011, 10:54 am

i dont think the 4th dr would have been so great if it had been any one else playing the part .tom fitted that part so well and thats what made the 4th dr so great
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Re: Why is the Fourth Doctor so great?

Postby tch on March 3rd, 2011, 12:20 pm

It's interesting to think about with any Doctor's era, about what makes it work. How much is the mix of actors or writers/ production staff or whatever variety of factors.
How much is done on purpose and how much is just happy accident?

Would Tom have had the same chemistry with Fraiser Hines ' Jamie?
Would Sylvester Mccoy have been as good in 'Ark in Space'?
Could even Tom have made 'Love and Monsters' a decent story?
If Terrance Dicks had come along later, would Colin be the Baker Doctor everyone thought was the greatest?

So many factors go into making the good and bad in any Doctor's era, it makes you wonder.
Or at least it makes me wonder, but that could also be due to insomnia and those potato chips I had right before bed.
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