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Bristol lives Bob Baker


WE MEET THE BRISTOL AUTHOR WHO CREATED K9, WROTE FOR DOCTOR WHO, WON BAFTAS FOR HIS AARDMAN SCRIPTS AND SURVIVED SEA VOYAGES WITH KEITH FLOYD


Q. What prompted you to write your autobiography? A. It was one of those dips that come in the career of a writer. I was doing a feature film with a company in Vienna, when the finance went sideways. So instead of spending nine months writing a film, I found myself at a loose end. I’d toyed with the idea of doing an autobiography, and now there was time to do it. Q. You’ve had an amazing career – what have been the highlights? A. Writing for Doctor Who, and creating K9. Also a TV film for HTV called Thick as Thieves, starring Leonard Rossiter playing a safecracker. Then it has to be working on The Wrong Trousers with Nick Park. That was a highlight and a half! Q. Did writing the book make you think differently about your life? A. I was constantly amazed by what I’d done, the varied scripts and crazy adventures I’d become involved in, but I don’t think I feel differently – still just amazed! Q. Which TV programmes and films did you love a child? A. As a child I went to the cinema twice a week, when the film changed.


114 Clifton Life www.mediaclash.co.uk


I enjoyed films like The Third Man and obscure films like It Always Rains On Sunday. When we finally got a TV set at home I watched pretty well everything, but 1984 and The Quatermass Experiment stand out. I also loved comedy – Hancock, Frankie Howard and Benny Hill. Q. Did you always want to get into TV and film? A. I’d always dreamt of being in the film business, but it seemed a very remote possibility when viewed from my first job as an apprentice monumental mason at the Bristol Co-Op. My first break,after I’d met my writing partner Dave Martin, was getting a half-hour play on at HTV – just seeing your name on the TV gave a hell of a boost. Q. You and Dave worked on many Doctor Who scripts in the 1970s. Would you have liked to have been involved in its reinvention? A. Dave and I worked on Doctor Who for nine years and wrote eight stories, and I wrote one on my own. I would have loved to have been involved in the ‘new’ Doctor Who, but it was made pretty clear when I enquired that they didn’t want any of the previous writers.


Top to bottom: David Tennant, ‘simply amazing’ (OH yes); K9, looking a little the worse for wear; Read all about it . . .


Q. Who would you cast as the next Doctor Who? And who has been your favourite Doctor? A. I would choose Hugh Laurie. Without any doubt, for me it was Tom Baker, but equal with him I’d put David Tennant, who was simply amazing. Q. Sum up the experience of travelling with Keith Floyd in three words . . . A. In harm’s way! Q. How did you get involved with Aardman? A. I first met Dave Sproxton and Peter Lord when I was working at HTV. I was amazed by their work and tried hard to get the company to commission something from them. We stayed in touch over the years. I enjoy working with Aardman, simply because it’s fun. Q. What are you working on next? A. The film I mentioned at the beginning suddenly revived, and I’ve done a shooting script for them; there’s still a bit of fiddling to do with the story, but hopefully they’ll start filming later this year. Also I’m in negotiations with an Australian Company to do a second series of the regenerated K9. Q. Where did you grow up? A. I grew up in St George, Bristol and went to school at Air Balloon Hill School. It was a sort of wild place, with narrow lanes bounded by orchards and fields, and there were lots of smallholdings dotted all over the place – the perfect setting for a boy to grow up. The worst thing about it was that it was so far from the centre of Bristol. When I was a teenager I had many a long walk home after missing the last bus from Old Market. Q. Favourite Bristol restaurant, shop and pub? A. My favourite restaurant is Renato’s del Artista, and for a pub The Nova Scotia can’t be beaten. It was my local when I lived in Clifton. Q. What has been your proudest moment? A. Receiving a BAFTA for work on Wallace and Gromit. I really wished my parents could have lived to be there. Q. What’s your most regrettable habit? A. Talking too much. CL


K9 Stole My Trousers by Bob Baker is published by Fantom at £19.99 (h/b) • bobbaker.tv


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