The world of science fiction media and the Doctor Who family have lost a beloved giant among men—Bob Baker, noted film and television writer and co-creator of the legendary Doctor Who companion K9, has passed away at the age of 82.
Born in Bristol, UK, on July 26, 1939, Baker’s early working years had humble beginnings as a monumental stone mason, according to the touching tribute and statement posted today on the official K9 Twitter account. According to the tweet, he found it amusing that he began his career by chiseling words into stone long before he entered the world of animation and screenwriting.
Baker is best remembered publicly for his work on Doctor Who, holding the distinction until his passing of being the last surviving television writer from the Pertwee era of the Third Doctor. Alongside writing partner Dave Martin, Baker developed a reputation for the thrilling and bizarre in children’s television during the ’70s – not something you would expect in kids’ TV, but the pair not only made it work, they made it hugely successful. The duo were not only behind the creation of some of the show’s most memorable villains and most beloved stories, they were responsible for the first multi-Doctor story in The Three Doctors, a script that established the ability of the Doctor to interact with past regenerations and laid the foundation for future multi-Doctor specials, including the 50th anniversary tale The Day Of The Doctor. They were also responsible for the Third Doctor’s utterance of the phrase that would become synonymous with all things Time Lord and TARDIS: “It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.”
Most notably among fans, however, Baker is remembered for co-creating the beloved robotic companion of the Doctor, K9, alongside partner Davis. Written as part of the story The Invisible Enemy, K9 was originally slated to appear in that lone story, but a decision by producer Graham Williams led to K9’s presence in the TARDIS for four more years. Since then, he’s been a fixture of the franchise, spawning attempts at his own spinoff and appearances in the Tenth Doctor story “School Reunion” alongside Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. He subsequently appeared in Sladen’s spinoff, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and according to RadioTimes.com, had recently written scripts for an upcoming film and TV series which will “continue in tribute to Bob and his legacy.”
In addition to writing for Doctor Who, and holding the distinction of being the show’s only British Academy Award-winning writer, Baker also listed among his credits such cult TV hits as Z-Cars and King of the Castle. He also worked alongside creator Nick Park on the Wallace and Grommit films, where according to Eddie Robson on Twitter, he once wrote his own murder.
Baker is survived by wife of thirty years, Marie, as well as his eight children and seven grandchildren. With a body of work that has stood the test of time, a loving family to carry on his memory, and a world of friends who hold him in the highest regard, while all flesh may be grass, he will remain immortalized in name and memory for ages to come. We here at Scifi.Radio, and this writer in particular, would like to extend the deepest of sympathies and the fondest of wishes to all that knew and loved him at this time.
To take a turn of phrase from one of Baker’s most prolific creations: rest well, Master.
Liz Carlie, the Mad Woman with a Box, a regular book reviewer for SCIFI.radio and a regular guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. She has been in and around science fiction fandom for years, and works with the American Red Cross on blood drives at science fiction conventions all over Southern California.