Today is the 86th birthday of Tom Baker, the actor who held the role of The Doctor in Doctor Who for more years than any actor to play the part before or since. He is, if anyone is, the one of the most iconic and recognizable incarnations of the character.

Tom Baker wishes you a happy Doctor Who Day

Baker was in his thirties when his professional acting career began, and his first major film role was as Grigori Rasputin in Nicholas and Alexandra in 1971, when he was 37. He went on to play the villainous Prince Koura in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in 1973, which led to his casting in Doctor Who. During his period as its star, the series was distinguished by high viewing figures and many stories which became regarded as classics.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward, circa 1980, shown here with Daleks

He continued to win regular roles in TV later in his career, most notably in the series Medics and Monarch of the Glen. In addition to performing acting roles, Baker has narrated commercials, video games, audiobooks, radio plays and television series. Most recently, Baker has appeared in the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who and continues to work with Big Finish on their brilliant audio dramas.

Married three times, the second to Doctor Who co-star Lalla Ward, Baker has two sons from his first marriage.

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