Fourth Doctor


portrayed=Tom Baker
period_end= 1981
start="Planet of the Spiders (Part 6) (Uncredited)"
finish="Logopolis" (regular) "The Five Doctors" (previously unseen archive footage) "Dimensions In Time" (charity special)
series_list=Seasons 12 to 18
companions= on television:
Sarah Jane Smith
Harry Sullivan
K-9 (Marks I and II)
Romana (I and II)
Tegan Jovanka
in spin-offs:
preceding_doc= Third Doctor
preceding_actor= Jon Pertwee
succeeding_doc=Fifth Doctor
succeeding_actor= Peter Davison
preceding=Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
succeeding=Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)

The Fourth Doctor is the name given to the fourth incarnation of the fictional character known as the Doctor seen on screen in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series "Doctor Who". He was portrayed by Tom Baker and is, as of 2008, the longest-running Doctor in "Doctor Who" history, having been on the show for seven continuous years (as opposed to the Seventh and Eighth Doctors who, although they each remained the "current" Doctor for more than seven years, did not spend that time on the air).


The Fourth Doctor's eccentric style of dress and speech — particularly his trademark long scarf and fondness for jelly babies — made him an immediately recognisable figure and he quickly captivated the viewing public's imagination. This incarnation is generally regarded as the most recognisable of the Doctors and one of the most popular. In polls conducted by "Doctor Who Magazine", Tom Baker has lost the "Best Doctor" category only twice: once to Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) in 1990, and once to David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) in 2006.cite news |title=David Tennant named 'best Dr Who' |url= |work=BBC News |date=2006-12-06 |accessdate=2007-02-25 ]

The Fourth Doctor appeared in seven consecutive seasons over a seven-year period, from 1974 to 1981, making him the longest running Doctor on screen. He also appeared in the specials "The Five Doctors" (via footage from the uncompleted "Shada") and "Dimensions in Time," Tom Baker's last appearance in-character as the Doctor (aside from a series of television advertisements in New Zealand in 1997 [ [ Alden Bates' NZ Doctor Who Page - older news items:Tom's Visit - At the beginning of 1997, Tom Baker visited New Zealand in order to film some advertisements for National Superannuation] ] ).

There are also novels and audio plays featuring the Fourth Doctor. Both audio plays featuring Tom Baker voicing the Fourth Doctor date from Baker's television tenure as he has declined to appear in any further audio plays since leaving the series.


After contracting radiation poisoning on the planet Metebelis 3, the Third Doctor makes his way back to UNIT headquarters, where the Time Lord K'Anpo Rinpoche aids him in regenerating ("Planet of the Spiders").

In his new incarnation, the Doctor draws back from continuous involvement with UNIT (with which he had worked closely as the Third Doctor) and the Time Lords. The Time Lords continue to send him on occasional missions, including an attempt to prevent the creation of the Daleks ("Genesis of the Daleks"), during which he also meets a new adversary, Davros. The Doctor travels with journalist Sarah Jane Smith, whom he had befriended prior to his regeneration, and, for a time, with UNIT Surgeon-Lieutenant Harry Sullivan.

The Doctor's companionship with Sarah is ended when he receives a telepathic summons to Gallifrey, as humans were not then allowed on the planet. The summons is part of a trap set by his enemy the Master, who has used up all his regenerations and become little more than a withered husk. The Master frames the Doctor for the assassination of the President of the High Council of Time Lords. In order to avoid execution the Doctor invokes an obscure law and declares himself a candidate for the office, giving himself the time he needs to defeat the Master. ("The Deadly Assassin")

The Doctor is seen to travel alone for the first time since season 11, returning to a planet he had visited centuries before. During his previous visit, he had accidentally imprinted a human colony ship's powerful computer, Xoanon, with his own mind, leaving it with multiple personalities. On his second visit the Doctor is remembered as an evil god by the descendants of the colonists, some of whom had become a warrior tribe called the Sevateem. After the Doctor cures the computer, one of the Sevateem, Leela, joins him on his travels ("The Face of Evil"). The Doctor brings the intelligent but uneducated Leela to many locales in human history, teaching her about science and her own species' past. In Victorian London, the pair encounters the magician Li Hsien Chang and his master, the self-styled Weng-Chiang ("The Talons of Weng-Chiang"). Later, the Doctor and Leela visit the Bi-Al Foundation medical centre, where they acquire the robot dog K-9 ("The Invisible Enemy").

The Doctor returns to Gallifrey and declared himself Lord President, based on the election held during his previous visit. This is a ploy to reveal and defeat a Sontaran invasion plan. Leela and K-9 decide to remain on Gallifrey; the Doctor comforts himself by producing K-9 Mark II ("The Invasion of Time").

Shortly afterwards, the powerful White Guardian assigns the Doctor to find the six segments of the Key to Time, sending a young Time Lady named Romana to assist him. The two Gallifreyans find the six segments and defeat the equally powerful Black Guardian, who sought the Key for himself. After the conclusion of the quest, Romana regenerates into a new form ("Destiny of the Daleks").

For a time, the Fourth Doctor and the second incarnation of Romana travel in another universe known as E-Space. There, they are joined by the young prodigy Adric. When the Doctor finds a way to leave E-Space, Romana and K-9 Mark II choose to remain behind. Adric and the Doctor are joined by the aristocratic orphan Nyssa of Traken and, in the Fourth Doctor's last adventure, by the opinionated Tegan Jovanka.

The conduit between E-Space and our own universe is revealed to be a Charged Vacuum Emboitment (CVE) — created by the mathematicians of Logopolis as part of a system to allow the Universe to continue on past its point of heat death. As he investigates this, the Fourth Doctor begins experiencing ominous feelings and spots a white-clad entity, "The Watcher," observing him. After succeeding in stopping the Master from disrupting the CVEs and destroying the universe, the Fourth Doctor is mortally wounded when he falls from the Pharos Project radio telescope control tower, where he utters his last words: "It's the end -- but the moment has been prepared for." The Watcher is revealed as a manifestation of the Doctor's future incarnation. Before the eyes of the Doctor's companions, the Watcher merges with the Fourth Doctor, regenerating him into the Fifth Doctor.

The Fourth Doctor appears once more in the 20th anniversary special "The Five Doctors". A renegade Time Lord attempts to pull the first five incarnations of the Doctor out of time, inadvertently trapping the Fourth Doctor (and Romana) in a "time eddy" from which they are later freed.



Despite his charm and offbeat humour, the Fourth Doctor is arguably more aloof and sombre than his previous incarnations. He could become intensely brooding, serious and even callous, and would keenly scrutinise his surroundings even when playing the fool. He could also be furious with those he saw as stupid, frivolous, misguided or evil. When taking charge, he could be considered authoritative to the point of egocentricity, but as it is, he is usually the only one capable of solving the situations he finds himself in. He openly maintained his distance from the Time Lords even after they had lifted his exile, although he resented that they were now capable of re-entering his life when they deemed it necessary. Not only did he seem more inclined toward a solitary existence ("The Deadly Assassin"), he also emphasised his distance from humanity, although he stated on more than one occasion that he found mankind to be his favourite species.

Two of the Doctor's most significant companionships occur during his fourth incarnation. His friendship with Sarah is implied to be deeper than the relationships he shared with other companions to that point (as alluded to in the Tenth Doctor episode "School Reunion"). She is consequently still profoundly affected by their separation many years later in her personal timeline. His relationship with Romana (specifically her second incarnation) borders on romantic attraction while being bolstered by her capacity to maintain pace with his mental processes. The largest proof of his influence on her is when she chooses to exile herself from Gallifrey to explore new worlds and help others, as he himself has done.


Imposingly tall, with eyes that seem to constantly boggle, a mass of curls for hair and prominently displayed teeth, the Doctor favours an outfit that usually consists of a shirt, waistcoat, wide-legged trousers, a frock coat (with pockets containing a seemingly endless array of apparently useless items that would nevertheless suit the Doctor's purposes when used), a wide-brimmed hat (on occasion) and, most famously, his impractically long, multicoloured striped scarf, which was apparently knitted for him by Madame Nostradamus (whom he refers to as a "witty little knitter").

According to the creators of the show and Baker, the character's look was originally based on paintings and posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec of his friend, Aristide Bruant, a singer and nightclub owner whose trademark was a black cloak and long red scarf [ [ BBC - Doctor Who - A Brief History of a Time Lord ] ] . The outfit also bears a distinct similarity to the clothing worn by Malcom McDowell during his entrance at the beginning of the film If.....

When John-Nathan Turner became the show's producer in Baker's last year, the Fourth Doctor was the first to sport an item of clothing adorned with red question marks as a motif, in this case above the points on his shirt collars. His coat and scarf were changed to a burgundy color scheme.

Story style

The early stories of the Fourth Doctor were characterised by a strong "horror" theme. The combination of writer Robert Holmes and producer Philip Hinchcliffe consciously took well known themes such as Frankenstein ("The Brain of Morbius", "Robot"), transformation ("The Ark in Space", "Planet of Evil"), alien abduction, and even some elements lifted directly from Universal horror movies, such as the mummies in "Pyramids of Mars", although they were given a science fiction explanation, rather than the typical magic.

This horror element attracted much criticism, notably from Mary Whitehouse, and Hinchcliffe was moved on to police drama "Target" in 1977. The fourth season of Baker's run was produced by Graham Williams who was given specific instructions to lighten the tone of the stories, thus playing to Baker's strengths.

During the Fourth Doctor's run, in Season 17, the science fiction author Douglas Adams was script editor and his distinctive style can be seen in the dialogue and stories of some of the serials such as "City of Death" and "The Pirate Planet". Adams' tenure is controversial with fans, some of whom believe that the humorous stories are uncharacteristic of the series, and others who contend that the diversity of the storytelling was one of the series' strong points.

In Season 18, John Nathan-Turner became the series' producer. He instituted a number of changes to the show, including toning down the humour. During this season, the Fourth Doctor became very much subdued and, on occasion, melancholy. At the time, Baker's health was temporarily impaired, although he eventually recovered. Both the actor and character seemed noticeably older in this season, due to Baker's gaunt appearance and greying hair; many of this season's stories also had an elegiac tone, with entropy and decay being a recurring theme.

The Fourth Doctor's stories saw fewer recurring elements than previously with few aliens and monsters appearing in more than one story. The Daleks only appeared twice and the Cybermen only had one story, "Revenge of the Cybermen". UNIT, which had featured in most of the Third Doctor's adventures, only appeared in four early Fourth Doctor stories, playing a minor role in their last appearance, Season 13's "The Seeds of Doom" in which none of the regular UNIT staff appeared.

Other appearances


The Fourth Doctor's distinctive appearance and manner have made him a target for affectionate parody. The character has appeared several times on "The Simpsons" and twice on "Robot Chicken". He is frequently impersonated by impressionist Jon Culshaw on the radio and television series "Dead Ringers". Even "Barney Miller" had an episode featuring an eccentric man claiming to be a time-traveller, and wearing a long striped scarf. Archival footage of the Fourth Doctor's first title sequence was also used in the "Family Guy" episode "Blue Harvest" to represent (and parody) "Star Wars" hyperspace. Tom Baker, as the narrator of the series "Little Britain", has referenced Doctor Who.

Audio dramas

*"Doctor Who and the Pescatons" (1976)
* (1976)
* "Glass"
* "Old Flames"
* "The Beautiful People" (adventure related by the character Romana)
* "The Catalyst" (adventure related by the character Leela)
*Tom Baker also recorded narration, in character as the Fourth Doctor, for a 1976 audio release of "Genesis of the Daleks", which was subsequently re-issued by the BBC on cassette and CD as a radio drama.
*Baker returned again to "Doctor Who" for the 1990s audio cassette releases of "lost" Doctor Who stories. For some of these stories, he is in character as the Doctor. For others, he merely provides descriptive narration.
*Baker has ruled out appearing as the Fourth Doctor in the Big Finish Productions audio plays unless a particular script appeals to him, and Big Finish have ceased asking him to do so as they feel that he has made his desires clear in this respect. [cite web |url= |title=Re: Baker PLEASE |author=JR Loflin |work=Outpost Gallifrey (registration required) |date=2006-09-27 |accessdate=2007-01-01]


Virgin New Adventures

* "" by John Peel
* "" by Paul Cornell

Virgin Missing Adventures

* "Evolution" by John Peel
* "The Romance of Crime" by Gareth Roberts
* "System Shock" by Justin Richards
* "Managra" by Stephen Marley
* "The English Way of Death" by Gareth Roberts
* "The Shadow of Weng-Chiang" by David A. McIntee
* "A Device of Death" by Christopher Bulis
* "The Well-Mannered War" by Gareth Roberts

Past Doctor Adventures

* "Eye of Heaven" by Jim Mortimore
* "Last Man Running" by Chris Boucher
* "Millennium Shock" by Justin Richards
* "Corpse Marker" by Chris Boucher
* "Tomb of Valdemar" by Simon Messingham
* "Heart of TARDIS" by Dave Stone
* "Festival of Death" by Jonathan Morris
* "Asylum" by Peter Darvill-Evans
* "Psi-ence Fiction" by Chris Boucher
* "Drift" by Simon A. Forward
* "Wolfsbane" by Jacqueline Rayner
* "Match of the Day" by Chris Boucher

Eighth Doctor Adventures

*"The Eight Doctors" by Terrance Dicks
*Seen in the TARDIS mirror in "Camera Obscura"

Telos Doctor Who novellas

* "Ghost Ship" by Keith Topping


TV Comic

*"Death Flower"
*"Return of the Daleks"
*"The Wreckers"
*"The Emperor's Spy"
*"The Sinister Sea"
*"The Space Ghost"
*"The Dalek Revenge"
*"Treasure Trails"
*"Hubert's Folly"
*"Mind Snatch"
*"The Hoaxers"
*"The Mutant Strain"
*"Double Trouble"
*"The False Planet"
*"The Fire Feeders"
*"Kling Dynasty"
*"The Orb"
*"The Mutants"
*"The Devil's Mouth"
*"The Aqua-City"
*"The Snow Devils"
*"The Space Garden"
*"The Eerie Manor"
*"Guardian of the Tomb"
*"The Image Makers"

TV Comic Annual

*"Woden's Warrior"
*"The Tansbury Experiment"
*"Jackels of Space"

TV Comic Specials

*"The Sky Warriors"

Doctor Who Magazine

*"Black Destiny"
*"The Iron Legion"
*"City of the Damned"
*"K9's Finest Hour"
*"The Star Beast"
*"The Dogs of Doom"
*"The Time Witch"
*"Dragon's Claw"
*"The Collector"
*"Dreamers of Death"
*"The Life Bringer"
*"War of the Words"
*"The Deal"
*"End of the Line"
*"The Freefall Warriors"
*"Junkyard Demons"
*"Neutron Knights"

Doctor Who Magazine Specials

*"The Naked Flame"
*"Rest and Re-Creation"
*"The Seventh Segment"
*"Starbeast II"
*"Junkyard Demons II"

See also

*"Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday" — a stage play that opened two weeks before Baker began his tenure as the Doctor. In the play, Trevor Martin plays an alternate version of the Fourth Doctor.


External links

* [ The Fourth Doctor] at [ "The TARDIS Index File" website]
* [ The Fourth Doctor on the BBC's "Doctor Who" website]
* [ Fourth Doctor Gallery]
* [ Fourth Doctor's theme music Quicktime file]
* [ Fourth Doctor title sequence]

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