The Letter, about the early life of Tom Baker, is heading for production soon. Here are some details…
Comfortably one of the funniest autobiographies we’ve ever had the pleasure is Tom Baker’s Who On Earth Is Tom Baker?, which we talked about in the Den Of Geek Book Club (which is a thing), right here.
Now, however, news has reached us, via The Digital Fix, that there’s a one-off drama heading to our screens that tells the story of Tom Baker’s early life. A casting call for a project called The Letter has appeared online, with the focus on “how a chance letter to the BBC when working as a builder’s labourer lead to him becoming the most iconic Doctor Who”.
The following roles, lists the casting call, are all required for a single day of filming. Given that contracts are on a “deferred profit share” basis and that “each person will be paid 1% of any gross profits made from this film”, it seems to be an independent production (“we are working on a next to nothing budget”). Whether it heads for big or small screen remains to be seen. Intriguingly, the role of Tom Baker has already been cast. But these haven’t…
Sue Gerrard – Tom Baker’s current wife
Driver – Male – Tom’s chauffeur
Anna – Tom’s first wife
Bartlett – Private nursing home doctor.
Alf – Tom’s father-in-law
Constance – Alf’s wife
Richard – Tom’s friend and Landlord
Laurie – Friend of Tom
Talent agent – From The National Theatre
Laurence Oliver – Director of the National
Peter – Tom’s Agent
Don 1 – Friend
Don 2 – Friend
Maude Spector – Casting director
Dianne – Pub Landlady
Bill Slater – BBC Head of Serials
Mary Slater – Bill’s wife
Shaun Sutton – Head of Drama
Barry Letts – Producer
Terrance Dicks – Writer
Lis Sladen – Actress
Jim Acheson – Costume designer
Nick Courtney – Actor
Michael Wisher – Actor
Ian Marter – Actor
Louise Jameson – Actress
Lalla Ward – Actress
Matt Smith – Actor
Steven Moffat – Producer/writer
It seems as though some Doctor Who monsters will be part of the production too, and that the film will span quite a lot of Baker’s life. How official all of this is remains to be seen. More details can be found at the official casting call notice here.
We speak exclusively to the actor who will play the fourth Doctor in The Letter, a film project that has already got the Who community talking…
The makers behind a film of Tom Baker’s life – speculated by fans to be a de-facto sequel to An Adventure in Space and Time – have revealed details of the project to RadioTimes.com.
Over the weekend, Doctor Who fans were intrigued by a casting call for the amateur film based on the life of fourth Doctor Tom Baker. Casting website To Be Seen hosted an ad for The Letter: “a film based on the early life of Tom Baker and how a chance letter to the BBC when working as a builders labourer lead to him becoming the most iconic Doctor Who.”
The ad appeals for actors for 29 roles – from Tom Baker’s wife sue Gerrard all the way up to Steven Moffat and Matt Smith – and says, “All characters will be required for 1 days filming in either London or Hitchin… Food, lifts etc will be provided and a deferred profit share contract will be offered. Each person will be paid 1% of any gross profits made from the film. This is NOT guaranteed and in any event WILL receive considerable exposure due to the theme of the project.” It also states that the role of Tom Baker has already been cast.
The company behind the 90 minute film is IBH Productions, an independent production company who specialise in entertainment events such as children’s parties, corporate events and a Doctor Who tribute roadshow. A showreel of their work can be found below, including their interpretation of classic Doctor Who.
The film will be directed by IBH Production’s co-owner Annie Albici, while the lead role will be filled by her husband and professional Tom Baker look-a-like Ian Brutten-Hall. According to IBH Production’s promotional material, Baker himself said in the ’70s that that Brutten-Hall, “looks more like me than I do.”
A showcase of Brutten-Hall’s talents are below.
Speaking about the project, Brutten-Hall said that The Letter is “based on fact, it is fictional. We’ve used poetic license to tell the story.”
The actor also added that the film has a very low budget, with it being funded by him and his wife.
“Luckily, that money is only going towards props, costumes and location sets. As far as the equipment, we already have that as we have our own production company. The great thing with modern technology, though, is that there’s more you can do with it. You are going to get quality. It’s not going to be something you see on Youtube, with a few people mucking around in jumble sale costumes in their back garden… It’s not going to be An Adventure in Space and Time part two, but it will be the same quality. It could be a distant cousin.”
The Letter is not affiliated with either the BBC or Tom Baker himself. Brutten-Hall has clarified, though, that his script has “gone through a copyright solicitor to make sure we’re not infringing on anyone’s rights. It is purely a tribute film.”
“Anything used in terms of Doctor Who will obviously be used in a documentary style, so the police box is not the Tardis, it is a prop that is used to tell the story.”
Tom Baker’s agent has told RadioTimes.com that, “We know virtually nothing about it and they certainly do not have our permission.” The makers behind The Letter, however, have said that they will make contact with the actor at some point.
The Letter is scheduled to premiere in the West End at the end of the year.
On Sunday 3rd August, Spaceport will be welcoming a brand new Doctor Who exhibit to the Time Travellers exhibition. A lifelike sculpture of the fourth Doctor and Liverpool native, Tom Baker has been skilfully created by Phil Robinson and will be carefully installed by Phil this weekend.
Philip will also be on hand doing a painting demonstration based on Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones to show the techniques he uses to bring his work to life!
Some of your favourite sci-fi costume characters will also be appearing throughout the day!*
Spaceport will be invaded with costume characters as part of our Time Travellers exhibition!
Come and see some of your favourite costume characters on the following dates:
Saturday 6th September
Saturday 8th November
Saturday 21st February 2015
Saturday 16th May 2015
Costume characters will appear 11am – 12.30pm and then 1.30pm – 3.30pm.
*Characters created by Hyde Fundraisers to raise funds for BBC Children in Need and other nominated charities.
The Kill List director also says that Capaldi reminds him of classic-era Doctors such as Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee
Along with the casting of an older Doctor in the form of Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who series eight will apparently also go back to its classic roots in terms of tone, according to director Ben Wheatley.
Wheatley, who directs opener Deep Breath along with an as-yet unnamed second episode, has been sharing his thoughts on how the show will change from the era of eleventh Doctor Matt Smith.
“For me, they’re back to classic Who,” he said, “or the mid-Tennant adventures, where you’d tell a story and move on to the next one, less tied up in the final machinations of long plot arcs.”
Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor was defined by a huge overarching story over three series – later revealed to entirely revolve around the planet of Trenzalore and the return of the Time Lords. Reactions to the plot were mixed, with some fans feeling that it was oddly paced and convoluted. Classic Doctor Who and, to some extent, Russell T Davies’ Doctor Who, however, were more concerned with stand-alone stories, with the latter tending to restrict his overarching themes to subtle references to something which would later become clear in a series finale.
As well as talking about the tone of the new series, Wheatley also revealed that he was excited about Capaldi taking the lead, comparing him to classic-era Doctors.
“Capaldi’s his own man but there are elements of [Tom] Baker and [Patrick] Troughton and [Jon] Pertwee,” he told Empire. “He’s inherently funny but inherently brooding and complicated, as a performer and a man.”
As well as Doctor Who, Wheatley is also the director of dark, blackly comic films Kill List, Sightseers and A Field in England. He is currently directing an adaptation of JG Ballard’s High Rise, which will star Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller.
Speaking of getting the chance to direct Doctor Who, he said earlier this year that he was, “achieving his childhood dreams.”
“It’s very good,” he said of shooting the new episodes in Wales. “It’s very tiring and it’s a lot of stuff to do very quickly. Peter Capaldi is excellent and I’ve been able to go into the Tardis and do all this stuff I always dreamt of doing as a 9-year-old.”
Ben Wheatley is the first high-profile film director to helm an episode of Doctor Who but may not be the last. Earlier this month, showrunner Steven Moffat said that talks for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson to direct an episode were still ongoing and, “actually kind of serious.”
“He’s still incredibly busy on The Hobbit,” said Moffat. “I’ve spoken to him face to face, and he would like to do one. He accepts that there’s no money and that there’s no time, and it would have to be when he’s available – and I don’t think he’s even been available enough to answer our emails of late! I think it will probably happen at some point.”
Doctor Who returns with series eight opener Deep Breath on Saturday 23rd August on BBC1.
Doctor Who fan Andrew Younger is in the middle of an impressive bid to raise money for children’s charity Tiny Lives, dressed as the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker.
He’s just completed his first zip wire jump off the Tyne Bridge and will do it again on 6 July from Newcastle’s Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art.
Younger admits it was the combination of his upcoming 40th birthday and the huge 50th anniversary celebration for Doctor Who that inspired him.
“I was trying to think of some way to mark my 40th by doing something for others and tie it in with my love of Doctor Who,” Younger tells RadioTimes.com.
“Thankfully my own son was born fit and healthy, but hundreds across the region aren’t. I became aware of the charity Tiny Lives [who help provide incubators and specifically trained doctors across the North East and Cumbria area] through friends. One of these tiny lives could go on and have a great future, but only if we save them now. That sort of connection, Doctor Who and time travel, it just clicked with me.”
Younger’s not an adrenalin junkie at heart. “I’ve never done anything like it. My wife and son thought I was nuts.” But he admits, “I thought it would be fun to see that image – that scarf in action again swinging down the bridge.
“Tom Baker is such an iconic Doctor still. He resonates particularly with children and it’s a children’s charity I’m doing it for.”
While he felt pretty confident on the way up, Younger reveals, “I literally had to force myself off the bridge. I promised I’d try and scream out ‘Would you like a jelly baby?’. It was kind of half in terror that it came out.
“It’s just that split second when your body sort of goes, ‘Why are you doing this?’”
But that first leap, which was so rainy he had to wring out his iconic Tom Baker scarf, clearly hasn’t put him off as he’ll do his next one in just a few weeks.
“At least this time I know what’s coming,” he jokes.
Younger’s colleagues and friends have also pitched in with some ideas. A day at work dressed as Tom Baker is on the cards for later this year, as well as a recent appearance at the Metrocentre in Gateshead with the scarf and hat firmly in place.
Younger is aiming to continue his efforts until this September’s Great North Run, in which he is awaiting confirmation he can run on behalf of Tiny Lives. But perhaps he could swap to another Doctor and continue on?
“If Peter Capaldi sees this and gives me a thumbs up, I’ll have to change to his costume.”
In fact, people are already waiting in the wings to carry on the bid for Younger. “A lot of people said if I hurt myself one of my friends could dress up as Peter Davison, who replaced Tom Baker, and take my place,” he laughs.
Younger is currently racing towards his £500 target, which he hoped to reach by September.
“It’s just gone a bit mad. I’m hoping to smash that target and raise as much as possible.”
Tom Baker, known best as the fourth Doctor in the Doctor Who series, will lend his voice in the upcoming role-playing game Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms from studio Games Farm.
Baker, who previously took on the role of narrator for the previous entry in the series Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition will play renegade high sage Krenze for this upcoming installment.
“I’m overjoyed that Tom is returning to participate in the new Heretic Kingdoms game!” lead writer and franchise co-creator Chris Bateman said in a prepared statement. “The recording sessions for [Inquisition] were amazing, and Tom took on the role of narrator and knocked it out of the park. I can’t wait to hear his take on this new role, which is integral to the story of the new game.”
The isometric action RPG will launch on Windows PC this year following its announcement in February.