Who on Earth is Tom Baker? - An Autoiography

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9780006388548: Who on Earth is Tom Baker? - An Autoiography

The hilarious, rumbustious and gloriously indiscreet autobiography of the most famous and best-loved Doctor Who.

Tom Baker’s autobiography covers his childhood in the poor, spirited Irish community in Liverpool, during which he developed a penchant for lying, a passion for football and a suspicion of priests; his six years as a monk – when he spent much time trying to avoid eye contact with others; his struggling times as an out-of-work actor; and on to appearances alongside Olivier at the National Theatre, to work with Pasolini and, finally, his time as the ultimate Doctor Who.

Far exceeding the usual expectations of an actorly autobiography, Who on Earth Is Tom Baker? is a blackly comic scream. Baker is the kind of man who could drink the old off-the-wagon Anthony Hopkins under the table. He is a natural writer of Rabbelasian, or at least Spike Milligan, proportions and is, of course, one of the most familiar faces in the British acting world.

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Review:

One of the great British television phenomena of the 60's and 70's, known to all who are now entering or firmly placed in mid-life, was the advent of Doctor Who. This original and most British of television series chronicled the travels and tribulations of the famous Doctor Who and his merry band of followers. Tom Baker, though not the first but probably the most unforgettable of the actors who took on this role, has published an autobiography that not only lets us explore the man made famous but also the man himself. Tom inhabited the world of television production agencies, the BBC with its cast of thousands, and the drinking haunts of Soho with the likes of Jeffery Bernard, Anthony Hopkins and actors for whom feast and famine were a daily way of life.

Tom, with his expressive face and kind eyes was born in Liverpool to a raucous and lively Irish family where love and a good respect for the teachings of the Catholic Church were able to prepare him for an interesting and fulfilling life. In fact, Tom's early experiences with the church involved a trial at a monastery for an unsuccessful preparation as a priest and an insight into the daily workings of these institutions. A slow starting but rapidly improving acting career was followed by time spent pulling pints and on London construction sites before the big break. Then came with the casting agent and the meeting that allowed for instant world-wide recognition for the famous Doctor Who that still exists today.

The style of the story is very much that of a black comedy with a marriage, children and a certain fixation with a lawnmower and the mowing of the grass around his own gravestone, making for an enjoyable read. He is now happily married and living in a rural utopia outside of London, millions of miles and light years away from the hectic and all- consuming career of both straight acting and in the television role that has made him famous in more that 70 countries. --Brian Reinker

From the Back Cover:

'All my life I had taught nonsense by priests and teachers…it was no problem for me to say I came from another world and could go back and forth in time.'

'At school, we were very preoccupied with cleanliness and Godliness and leprosy and suffering of waifs and strays in Africa, while our Guardian Angels perched on our shoulders sneezing away in the clouds of dandruff and falling lice.'
Growing up in a poor, spirited Irish community in Liverpool in the 1930s, Tom Baker had modest ambitions: to be an orphan, to have a wooden leg, to be a sinner. Instead he became a monk, coveting smells and staring at other men’s clogs. No longer ‘randy for martyrdom’, Baker left the monastery for National Service and then became a struggling actor. He learned to drink Anthony Hopkins under the table and take the oddest jobs, while also managing to land parts alongside Olivier in the National Theatre and work with Pasolini. He finally gave up his stint as a builder’s labourer to become the ultimate Doctor Who.

'Who on Earth is Tom Baker?' is a richly coloured startingly wild autobiography that reads like a black comedy. Full of anarchic humour, surreal, ribald and revealing anecdotes, it will soon be favourably compared with those of Spike Milligan, Peter Ustinov and David Niven.

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