So here I am, watching Genesis of the Daleks, thinking of what I should write in honor of big Tom's birthday. Obviously if you are familiar with Mr. Baker then you already know how amazing Genesis is. If you are not familiar then what are you waiting for? Go watch it now, this will wait. No, I have decided to tell you all how I first discovered Doctor Who through Tom's wonderful first few seasons. The local PBS station had seasons 12 through 15, Tom's debut in Robot until Leela's final story Invasion of Time. Soon after getting home from school I would rush down into the basement to watch whatever episode was on. In the beginning they played an episode at a time, later when I was in middle school they would edit the episode breaks in each story so it would play like a tv movie.
The television was at the far end of the basement, cold and grey with a big soft chair set in front a small television set. I was not always able to make it down there in time, therefore I was only able to get parts of stories. Despite the dismal surroundings I was warmed by the adventures of this crazy person, not a traditional leading man, he fought with his wits. He was not afraid use a little force, though very rarely. Action, drama, and humor with Tom pulling off the most amazing lines and making his portrayal so believable. Living out in the country and not near enough to a major city to have access to bookstores I only knew what I saw, which meant he was the only Doctor. Which became confusing when I finally had access to a bookstore and discovered the pinnacle novel range. There are other Doctors?
Eventually the station began playing the rest of Tom's tenure as the Doctor, and then Peter Davison's and so on. I enjoy each Doctor for what he has brought to the role (yes, that includes Colin Baker) but I will always be gratefully enamored of Tom Baker for lighting the way for me. Happy 80th birthday, sir!