Doctor Who legends Tom Baker and Louise Jameson at the BFI

From Radio Times

Doctor Who: The Robots of Death screening at the BFI

It was the finest afternoon of the year so far, last Saturday, and everyone I spoke to felt bonkers being indoors, crowding into the NFT1 cinema at the BFI Southbank in London. But, yes, it was worth it to watch The Robots of Death on a big screen. It’s one of the finest Doctor Who stories of the 1970s – indeed one of the finest pieces of British television, full stop.

And not only that, but up on stage were three of the luminaries who worked on that show. Pictured above: producer Philip Hinchcliffe with actors Louise Jameson and Tom Baker, who, of course, played companion Leela and the fourth Doctor.

It was a huge coup for the BFI to secure Tom Baker, Doctor Who legend, earliest surviving Doctor and fabulous raconteur, so there was wisdom in having a smaller panel than usual at these monthly events.

(More After The Break)

Also in attendance, however, were Anneke Wills (1960s companion Polly), and Brian and Sadie Miller, husband and daughter of Elisabeth Sladen, who died almost exactly two years ago. Before her latterday success with The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sladen was a key figure in the Tom Baker period and, as a tribute, a clip was played of her in buoyant form at a BFI event from 2010.

Current showrunner Steven Moffat introduced The Robots of Death as “one of those rare events in Doctor Who where I think it’s sort of perfect. Doctor Who rarely bothers with anything as boring as ‘perfect’. This is from the era that I remember and love the most.”

He was clearly delighted to have schmoozed backstage with his predecessor Philip Hinchcliffe and with Tom Baker. “I remember once queuing for hours and hours for his autograph, and I discovered many years later that in the same queue on the same day was, uh, David Tennant.”

Among other figures from the period coming forward to say a few words was Mat Irvine, who created many of the models and visual effects for the series in the 1970s and 80s. A last-minute guest was Matthew Waterhouse, who played early 80s companion Adric. Now, almost everyone working on Who is a fanboy or fangirl but Waterhouse led the way 30 years ago. He recalled his own childhood enthusiasm: “We had posters of Tom and Louise on our bedroom walls. Because we were in love with Leela. Even if we were gay.”


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