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Feature
The Doctor Who's Who: A Guide To The Time Lord's Incarnations Through The Years
The Doctors profiled, vote for your favourite companion and the best episodes to watch

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The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker, 1974-1981)

TOM BAKER
THE JOLLY ADVENTURER

 

Tom Baker's epic stint in the role is still considered by many to be the best incarnation of The Doctor. He was a lively, loveable, mad man with a bag of jelly babies almost always to hand. Witty, logical – but also loopy at times – he was intensely moral and interested in finding a peaceful solution to most problems. In summary: a complete change from his predecessor. With a production team looking to take the character to as many new worlds to meet as many weird new life forms as possible, his tenure was marked by grand adventures and a darker, more horror-filled style of sci-fi on occasions. "Tin dog" K9 was introduced in this era too, and the Doctor's look could best be described as shabby coat chic with one of the world's most recognizable – and longest – scarves.
 


COMPANIONS

The Fourth Doctor had an even more eclectic group of fellow travellers than most of his predecessors. Sarah Jane Smith said a tearful goodbye after some notable episodes spent voyaging with UNIT surgeon Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) before they were both replaced by savage warrior woman Leela (Louise Jameson). Time Lady Romana (Mary Tamm in her first incarnation, Lalla Ward in her second) was an intriguing counterpart to our hero, given that she also came from Gallifrey. Vaguely annoying genius Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) joined later in Romana's tenure. Finally, we have the privileged Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and plucky Aussie air steward Tegan (Janet Fielding).
 

Quick poll: Vote for your favourite Doctor Who companion


FIVE EPISODES TO WATCH

1 Robot
This was an Earthbound kick-off for Baker's run, featuring a rampaging robot and a villain who just wants the Earth to be a better place. Unfortunately her plans lead to the rogue robot growing to Godzilla-like proportions...

2 Logopolis
A science-heavy episode from one of the later stories in Baker's run, this also introduces Tegan and sees The Doctor tangling with The Master (played here by Anthony Ainley after Roger Delgado died in a car accident in1973).

3 City of Death
Co-written by Douglas "Hitchhiker's Guide" Adams (serving as script editor on the series), this is generally considered one of the best Who stories ever. Filmed largely on location in Paris, it's an epic sci-fi tale of a villain working through time, and art fraud on a historic scale.

4 Genesis of the Daleks
A classic morality play that sees the Doctor sent back in time and space to Skaro and the birth of the Daleks. Tasked with stopping their development by mad scientist Davros, he struggles with genocidal considerations. As a side note, this is the favourite episode of the classic serial for Empire's biggest Whovian, a story he originally encountered on a cassette from a local library. Yes kids: audiotape. Ask your parents.

5 Talons of Weng-Chiang
Despite one or two racist connotations in its portrayal of the Chinese, this is a good overall blend of the Baker years' high points: The Doctor getting all Sherlock Holmes and investigating a mystery, Victorian creepiness and high tech science stuff.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1
I might be missing something but shouldn't John Hurt be on the list as the 9th Doctor? More

Posted by CaptainAwesome on Thursday November 28, 2013, 13:53

2 This was great...
...although I guess **SPOILERS** (sort of) you'll have to re-arrange the numerical order now - and although it was a one-off, I would consider Sally Sparrow to be a companion, and definitely one of my favourites - such a shame that now Carey Mulligan has made it SO big, we're unlikely to see her reprise the role... well, not until the 2025 Children In Need special anyway More

Posted by christofurr on Monday November 25, 2013, 15:41

3 RE: Missed one
L: Morehumanthanhuman I'm not a massive Dr Who fan, but I fail to see why Paul Mcgann gets a mention as the 8th doctor and yet Peter Cushing played the character several times never gets a mention. I loved those films as a kid getting constant repeats during the summer holidays. Peter Cushing played A Doctor, not THE Doctor. And he only did it for 2 TV movies. While the two movies, Doctor Who and the Daleks, and Doctor Who: Daleks Invasion Earth were based on the television series, they are not considered as canon within the main, TV universe. Cushing's Doctor was a human inventor, not a Time Lord. He also invented and built his Tardis, rather then it being the product of Time Lord science. The characters name was also Doctor Who. Who being used as the family/surname, rather then just the title of The Doctor. More

Posted by GrizBe on Monday November 25, 2013, 00:05

4
livapr99. There WAS A Christmas Carol for the Doctor. It was called a Christmas Carol and aired on Christmas Day 2010 More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Sunday November 24, 2013, 20:58

5 Missed one
I'm not a massive Dr Who fan, but I fail to see why Paul Mcgann gets a mention as the 8th doctor and yet Peter Cushing played the character several times never gets a mention. I loved those films as a kid getting constant repeats during the summer holidays. More

Posted by Morehumanthanhuman on Sunday November 24, 2013, 13:39

6
Nice handy article :) Also concur that The Girl In The Fireplace and Blink should be in the mix. Still don't understand why Moffatt's more intellectual approach to story-telling is often viewed negatively - beats the dumbed down approach of RTD's run (The Big Red Button Era). I would disagree with the comment on the 10ths Master - Jacobi was fantastic, Simms was pantomime dreadful! RTD's period was often camp, but Simm's Master was better suited to Adam West's Batman. Shame, as he is a great actor usually. More

Posted by sirvolkar on Sunday November 24, 2013, 11:54

7
until I saw the bank draft that said $8966, I be certain ...that...my father in law woz like they say truley bringing in money in their spare time on their apple laptop.. there neighbour has done this less than seventeen months and resently paid the dept on there mini mansion and bought a gorgeous Porsche 911. I went here,...JUMP85.COM More

Posted by RachelMcCarter9012 on Sunday November 24, 2013, 02:53

8 Love the article. But...
...it's DEREK Jacobi. Not David. More

Posted by wgfuzzydunlop1 on Friday November 22, 2013, 20:36

9
What about 'A Christmas Carol' for the Eleventh Doctor? Overall, though, a good article. More

Posted by livapr99 on Friday November 22, 2013, 18:25

10 Where's K-9?
You forgot the snooty dog thing. Both of them. More

Posted by Sean Alexander on Friday November 22, 2013, 17:23

11 Great Article
Fantastic piece this. Genesis of the Daleks from the Tom Baker era has to be my favourite Doctor Who story, even though I am a huge fan of the modern era shows. Despite the still somewhat wonky sets, Genesis was the first thing on television that showed me that a TV series could have real dramatic depth and still be entertaining. His moral anguish when on the brink of committing genocide is brilliantly played by Tom Baker, off an excellent script. More

Posted by Topper_Harley on Friday November 22, 2013, 00:48

12 Probably one of the best articles you've written for a while...
But I agree with the others. Girl in the Fireplace and Blink defiantely needed to be on the list for the 10th, and A Good Man Goes to War and Vincent defiantely for the 11th. More

Posted by GrizBe on Thursday November 21, 2013, 21:36

13 Great list but....
Great list but for me Girl in the Fireplace & Vincent and the Doctor are 2 of my favourites. Blink is a great episode too and well deserved to be on the list. More

Posted by casheliser on Thursday November 21, 2013, 20:19

14 Amazing Feature
But for the 11th Doctor, I feel "A Good Man Goes To War" should included. It perfectly shows eleven's wit and his amazing sense of showmanship, as well as his wrath. Best 11 episode in my opinion. More

Posted by tommyinglis on Thursday November 21, 2013, 19:23

15
Awesome list but there's an episode missing from Tennant's run in my opinion: the awesome Girl in the Fireplace; my favourite tenth stand-alone More

Posted by cahoopuk on Thursday November 21, 2013, 14:53

16
Excellent feature and beautifully presented. Thanks. More

Posted by TimEdwards on Thursday November 21, 2013, 13:57

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