Tom Baker On Doctor Who, Horror And Scaring Children

As part of Horror Channel's launch of WHO On Horror, a specially selected season of classic Doctor Who episodes featuring the first seven Doctors, the Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker, was invited to chat to an audience of journalists and bloggers earlier this week.

As classic Doctor Who settles into its new home on Horror Channel, Tom was asked to consider which were the more horrific episodes of the show. Tom confessed that he had never considered the stories to be horrific.
"I thought they were all great comedy when I was doing it," he said. "It’s going to be The Talons of Weng Chiang, all that rather spooky stuff...There was one about pyramids...The Pyramids Of Mars."

During Tom's tenure as the Doctor during the 1970s, an accusation often levelled at the show was that it was too scary for its young audience. Tom felt that it was an unjustified charge.
"Well, I don’t know about now because I don’t watch much television and things have changed, but I used to like the idea of children being scared," he explained "I used to live with an actor and he had three children, in a big house in Muswell Hill, and sometimes we used to play games, because it really was a big house, where we’d put the lights out and I’d count to 50 and I’d creep about and it was marvellous with these children, sometimes I could hear them squeaking with terror when I was creeping into cloakrooms or whatever. Children like playing at being frightened, don’t they? And in television you can go much further than in the cinema because in television they’re watching in a domestic context, that’s why it’s so powerful, and when they look from what’s frightened them they can see fish fingers or whatever it is that their mother is giving them. Or.." he contemplated, "...Muesli nowadays, I suppose."

On the nature of horror he said, "I’m very interested in Horror. We like to be frightened. I heard a woman the other day in Waterstones, saying, have you got any murder...and when you look that’s the biggest selling thing. We all want to get away from sanity and chastity and virtue and be frightened into another world. In reality, of course, we want nice neighbours and no crime."

"I never heard anyone complain that I frightened them," he concluded "I mean, just look at me, and try and imagine me 40 years ago if you can, I wasn't at all frightening. Even now as an old man I can’t do fright."

Horror Channel begin their run of classic Doctor Who episodes with the WHO ON HORROR launch weekend starting on Good Friday (18th April) at 7pm BST with the first ever adventure An Unearthly Child starring William Hartnell. This leads into a classic marathon from Saturday 19th featuring one story from each of the Doctors across the Easter weekend.  There will then be weekday double-bills in daytime and evening slots with stories shown in chronological order starting on Easter Monday (21st April). 
Find Horror Channel on  Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138

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