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To France and back


Tom and Sue lived in an old village house near Toulouse in SW France

In 2002, it seemed that good parts in television or film were drying up so Tom and Sue decided to move to France. They bought a house in a village near Toulouse in south west France and started renovating it. Having sold The Bell House to Vic Reeves and his wife, Nancy, they moved to the French house in January 2003. Wanting to avoid the expatriate life of swimming pools and vineyards, Sue & Tom hoped to immerse themselves in French culture which was why they decided to live near a city. Tom already had a good knowledge of French, the foundations of which were laid in his monastery when he was a teenager. His love of reading included French literature – in French – and after listening to French radio programmes for years, Tom had a good command of the language.

Tom as Donald Mc Donald in Monarch of the Glen

Tom as Donald MacDonald in Monarch of the Glen
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Tom and Sue thought they would retire, but this was not to be and in 2004, Tom took the difficult decision to return to the UK for 6 months to play the part of Donald MacDonald in Monarch of the Glen recorded in the Highlands of Scotland. This was probably the beginning of Tom and Sue’s realisation that the United Kingdom they’d abandoned had more to offer than they’d appreciated, and the French adventure was a dream vanishing as fast as they tried to live it. Sue visited and explored the Highlands with Tom, but remained based in France and continued with the renovation of the house, They both found the time apart extremely difficult. With a couple of months on Monarch of the Glen the following year and the great rise in popularity of Little Britain, by now running on prime time television, voiceover and commentary work increased for Tom and he began to commute from Toulouse to London frequently and even recorded a number of voiceovers “down the line” from Toulouse.

The commuting back to the UK made it difficult for Tom and Sue to settle in France, and though they found the experience interesting, made a lot of friends and enjoyed their renovated home, they missed England, particularly their own culture and language. In November 2006 they left France, sold the house and moved to the middle of Tunbridge Wells, but this was noisier, busier and rowdier than they remembered it, so they were drawn back to the countryside and now live quietly in East Sussex with their Burmese cats and a lurcher dog. Tom was most recently seen on the BBC chairing Have I Got News For You, and otherwise is regularly seen in Waitrose!  He has recently returned to his role as the fourth Doctor Who in a series of new audiobooks produced by the BBC.

 

 
Tom Baker as Quimby, the wolf catcher, in his wolf catching cage.

Tom as Donald McDonald in Monarch of the Glen.
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Tom in Scotland

Tom on a rest day filming Monarch of the Glen in the Highlands of Scotland

Tom and Poppy

Tom and his dog, Poppy, a lurcher.
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