Breaking the mould
Tom as Professor Geoffrey Hoyt in “Medics” made by Granada Television.
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Tom’s first long-running role in a decade, and the first real break from “odd” characters to the more “realistic” roles of television soaps, came when he played Professor Hoyt in ITV Granada’s hospital drama Medics between 1992 and 1995. Around this time, Tom began to write. Always a lover of talk and story telling, Tom started on his autobiography and on the basis of the first few chapters, Harper Collins immediately gave him an advance. Who on Earth is Tom Baker? was published in 1997. This was followed in 1999 by The Boy Who Kicked Pigs (published by Faber & Faber), a darkly comic story about a bad boy who causes havoc at home and in his neighbourhood and as a result is eventually eaten by rats. This book, illustrated by David Roberts, is still in print in the UK and has been translated and published in 8 other languages.
Michael Aspel before surprising Tom on This is your life. More Photos >
Tom appears on This is your Life. More Photos >
It was when Tom was signing copies of this book at a bookshop in Surrey that he was surprised by Michael Aspel bearing the Red Book of This Is Your Life. The programme was recorded at Twickenham studios on 6th March 2000 and transmitted a few days later.
Tom with Vic Reeves in Randall & Hopkirk: Deceased View gallery >
At this time, Tom was beginning to be employed by young producers who had watched his Dr Who as children and in particular a group of comedians wanted to work with him. Tom has often thought that with different opportunities, he could have had a career as a comedian. One of these young producers Charlie Higson, cast Tom as the ghost Wyvern in the revived Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), a series made by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer for the BBC. Tom was cast in other sitcoms such as Fun at the Funeral Parlour about family run undertakers called Thomas, Thomas and Thomas, and Swiss Toni about a crazy car salesroom. It was also around this time that comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams involved Tom as the Narrator in Little Britain when it first appeared on BBC Radio 4. Several television series later in the UK and America has now made Tom almost as well known for the voice of Little Britain as he was for Dr Who.