The Tour continues to empty out our prize closet of abandoned posts with one we started scratching out six months ago. You could say it time traveled, but that wouldn’t be true now would it.
Determined to repeat last years tard(is)iness on the occasion of his birth, the Tour continues to come out of slight hibernation to remark that Tom Baker has successfully circumnavigated the sun 85 times and is onto lap 86. Well done.
It got us thinking about his first and largest introduction to American TV audiences back in the 80s, and it wasn’t in Doctor Who either. There have been high periods of cross-Atlantic co-mingling where bundles from Britain have pollinated US TV prime-time. The late 60s saw programs such as The Saint and The Avengers and even The Prisoner on US TV schedules. Another window appeared in the mid-80’s with Edward Woodward leading a drama and a bunch of UK people, including Peter Davison in Magnum PI, popping up as guest stars.
In Spring 1984, just after Davison left the role, an early marker in the legitimization of Doctor Who as a dawning phenomenon occurred when Tom Baker popped up in Season 2, episode 21 of Remington Steele titled ‘Hounded Steele.’ He played the bad guy, Former Interpol agent Anatole Blaylock, who was obsessed with a jewel thief to the extent that he crossed the line a long time ago. With one slight exception, it’s not all that meaty a role, though he gets a slight rant about 2/3 of the way through the story that tries to justify his actions. If anything, especially compared to the Graham Williams era of his overall tenure, it’s a rather subdued performance.
As US fans who came to Doctor Who around this time though, we could hardly have cared. We knew this was an all-too-rare, even for that time, acknowledgment of Doctor Who. When David Tennant did the US version of ‘Broadchurch’ called ‘Gracepoint’ which ran for 10 episodes back in the Autumn of 2014 and left almost no trace, what was one of the primary thoughts most US fans, regardless of how long they’ve been at it, had?
We’ve been experimenting with linking image galleries on the back end of the site. We just put through an update to the Tom Baker Galleries that ties them together in a way we haven’t tried before. We’ll be rolling this out as we address other sections of the Tour, but it seems to work well enough.