Doctor Who: LOGOPOLIS - A Compasionate End? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Doctor Who: LOGOPOLIS - A Compasionate End?

Chris Morley finds the moment that was prepared for was, perhaps, sweet release for both the Fourth Doctor and Tom Baker.

Season Eighteen of classic Who is not universally acknowledged as Tom Baker's finest hour. Rather a limp end to a seven year innings which had done much to establish him as the Doctor in the popular consciousness across everything which preceded it.

But was Logopolis actually a Dignitas moment for Baker in the sense that he could finally cast off the obvious shackles dogging him & go free - with a little help from Anthony Ainley as the Master, who may not have had to do as much pushing as the sequence atop the radio telescope implies!

“I'm merely reporting the state of affairs. I have it in my power now to save them or destroy them.”
In a sense, what transpired could actually have been seen as him saving Tom Baker by bringing about the Fourth Doctor's end. Disagreements with script editor Christopher H Bidmead were among the troubles racking up for the man in the scarf, which were rapidly becoming a millstone around the actor's neck. Gone was the indulgence of the leading man's frequent desire to go off-script, & Bidmead would later admit that...
"He wasn't allowed to improvise. We fought all that like hell and tried to put a stop to it. If we saw Tom doing something that was not in the script, we would come down and we'd have words with him – quite loud words sometimes!”

Cracks in Tom's marriage to Lalla Ward were beginning to affect the atmosphere around the studio as filming took place, as noticed by Matthew Waterhouse back in the day.
"It wasn't a bundle of laughs! I'm very fond of them both... but it wasn't an easy relationship and it wasn't easy, as a very young person, to observe."
Though his moods apparently improved somewhat after she left perhaps Tom had a lingering sense that he couldn't live with or without her? For it hadn't always been that way. In the beginning feelings for each other had begun developing as they filmed City Of Death in Paris, almost a fairytale start - a world away from quarries in Wales in any case!

But it couldn't last. Though Lalla later said it was simply a joint decision made in the light of a gradual drifting apart as...
“...our careers came to be just as important as each other.”
And so the marriage ended after just sixteen months.

As if that wasn't enough there was a new man at the helm of Doctor Who itself with John Nathan-Turner now running the show & almost completely overhauling it top to bottom  - with a little help from Peter Howell of the Radiophonic Workshop as things went electric from The Leisure Hive onwards.

It wasn't just that which pushed Nathan-Turner's one-series leading man to the edge, though. Speaking in an interview for a commentary on the Season Twelve Blu-Ray release Tom had this to say about JNT...
"I didn't like his approach to anything very much. His approach as a producer, to the scripts and to my performance… he managed somehow – how terrible – to diminish me.

He made assumptions about how I should do things, or what lines meant, or how it should be shot, which diminished me, and I found that unbearable."
The redesign of the Fourth Doctor's costume, including the beginnings of the question mark motif, also confused him somewhat!

But it all added up to a moment of revelation for Tom, in that...
“[John Nathan-Turner] nudged me towards the realisation [Doctor Who] had run its course and I should go somewhere else. I think, in a way, when I said I wanted to go, he was relieved, that he wouldn't have to have that fight. He could get his stamp on it.”
Which he did once the first Doctor of his own choice stepped in. Peter Davison's face replaced Baker's in that starfield in time for Castrovalva, and Nathan-Turner wasted little time in casting aside the last reminders of the new man's predecessor as his scarf is unravelled to lay a trail to help navigate around the TARDIS following a bout of post-regeneration confusion.

The iconic scarf now gone it was time to “drop the sonic device”, as instructed by the Terileptil leader on screen. Off screen, though, it was Nathan-Turner who made the decree that it had to go, although Davison agreed with him.
“I feel that, over the years, ‘Doctor Who’ has become less vital, no longer struggling for survival, depending on instant, miraculous solutions to problems. The suspense of ‘Now how’s he going to get out of this tight corner?’ has been missing. I want to restore that.” 
The last vestige of the Baker years gone.... Davison, ever the gentleman, has never commented on how it must've felt to be helping Nathan-Turner get back at his ex, in a sense! Though some years later Peter admitted to SFX that he hadn't been all that intimidated by the seven years prior to his arrival on the scene.
“I hadn’t really watched Tom – I’d seen the odd episode – not because I didn’t like him but simply because at that time I’d been at drama school, I’d been out there working in theatre and things like that, and you just tend not to see it. So although I was aware of how he did the part, he wasn’t a major threat in my mind.”
But the former key-holder of the old Type-40 was at least sporting approaching the handover. As Davison told the Radio Times.
“Tom Baker and I did meet in the bar one evening to discuss the part, and he was all set to give me some advice. But it was ‘Top of the Pops’ that night, and the noise was so furious, all I heard was ‘good luck’."
Whether or not his successor watched the lead-up to the big takeover, at last Tom was free.

The Watcher was a sort of angel of death spiriting him to a place far beyond the series and its politics after an almost joyful leap off that radio telescope, and a year that, by his own admission, nearly broke him personally & professionally.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad