Tom Baker has given insight into his daily life in a new feature in the Radio Times, as reported by Rupert Smith.
My Kind of Day – Tom Baker
Being an actor makes your day extremely exhausting if you’re not working. When I wake up in Granadaland where we film Medics, I know that in an hour or two I’ll be playing Professor Hoyt and wearing expensive clothes, and I’m exhilarated by that. But my “real” life at home in Kent is less vital and more unreal because I’m not performing. So when I wake up my first feelings are of anxiety about facing another day, despite the efforts of an extremely loyal wife, who works in television, to reassure me and give some order to my life. She sets me little tasks to do for our cats, of which we have 17. I count the cats and ask quite worriedly, “Have you seen Oscar or Dombey or Florence?”, and Sue says, “Yes, they’re in my office” and I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m constantly thinking up little dramas like this to pass the time, because without them the days can be terribly tedious. I occasionally give up drink, just to be dramatic.
Worrying about the lack of work gets me through till about 10.30am, when I go down to the village bread shop to ogle at Rose, and to Lurcock’s, where I buy Jarlsberg cheese and a bottle of milk and listen to Carol, who’s very wise. Next stop is the VG shop, where Bruce serves me with frozen spinach. I buy a lot of spinach; it’s my lunch with a crust of bread when my wife goes out. I would like to be a vegetarian, for aesthetic reasons; there’s no doubt that vegetarians enjoy their bowel movements much more than carnivores. If you stay on spinach and flageolet beans, you can have four bowel movements a day, so that’s the creation of a little pleasure. Four little pleasures, actually.
“I would like to be a vegetarian, for aesthetic reasons; there’s no doubt that vegetarians enjoy their bowel movements much more than carnivores.”Tom Baker
After shopping, I go to the pub and meet a crowd of philosophers who, like me, go out to the shops while their wives are at home. They pop in, as Jeffrey Bernard would say, just for the one. If my wife’s at home, I whizz back and make her lunch, then she retreats and carries on working. Lunch is very comforting, and I know I’ve got through another hour. But now it’s 2pm and the demons are back because I’ve had three pints and maybe a glass of wine, so I pop out the churchyard that adjoins our house and check on my gravestone. It’s a very old, second-hand gravestone that I bought for myself – I’m quite thrifty in that sense – and all the old names have been worn away by the weather. Now, in glorious, bold, top-billing it reads “Tom Baker 1934 – “. Sometimes I’ve actually taken a piece of chalk and filled in the second date “1993”, but that is a sign of appalling self-pity. Fortunately, when I go back the next day the weather will have washed the chalk off because I never press too hard. The wife will come out of her office at 4pm for a cup of tea, and we might begin the Times crossword, although we usually save that to annihilate the dinner time. As you know, happily married people very rarely speak to each other and so they need something to block out the time. A series of severe anagrams can get you through even a very tasty dinner. At 6pm I start dinner, and if I’m in a drinking vein, I might open a bottle of wine. My wife puts on the tales of woe; I can’t imagine why such a lovely girl should want to listen to the news, but she does. When that’s over, we’re into dinner and the crossword, and perhaps some Häagen Dazs ice-cream, a great pleasure. I like to be in bed by about 8.20pm; I’m seeking oblivion as early as possible. I understand the anxieties of people who are unemployed. My heart breaks for them because without an activity, ordinary people (and I count myself at the front line of ordinary people) are annihilated. And so – to bed.
Categorised in: News, Outside the TARDIS