The Collector’s Corner #7: Baking Your Cake & Eating It

Good grief! It’s Jon Pertwee, BBC TV’s Doctor Who! 

In 1973, when Season 10 was on air and the Doctor battled giant maggots, Omega, Drashigs, and invisible Daleks (their ranks ably swelled by Louis Marx toy Daleks – that’s fabulous ’70s SFX for you); when the Doctor was a bit of a toff and declared he was a nobleman of Draconia; when Ted Heath had just taken us into the Common Market and we nearly missed some of Doctor Who because of power cuts; when Theresa May was in the sixth form and Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were still at prep school; when I missed the first 10 minutes of Frontier in Space Part 4 because we were late back from the BBC Visual Effects Exhibition at the Science Museum (it was wizard and had a police box you walked through to get into a mock-up of the TARDIS set)…

Then it was that the Co-op did publish its mighty and immortal work, Baking Your Cake & Eating it.

This was a recipe book which showed you how to bake a cake and sundry other delicacies. No instructions were included on how to eat it. The publisher presumably assumed that the reader needed no briefing on this. 

But, who’s that on the back cover? Or should I say: WHO’s that on the back cover, hohoho?

Jehoshaphat! It’s Doctor Who himself, spouting some extraordinary and risible guff. Here is what the great man said: 

“Men* may go shooting off to outer space but it’s really their inner space that matters most. I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes to be adventurous at meal times. When the meal I’m eating is home cooked, but doesn’t cost the earth, then I know I’m getting the best of all worlds.”

*Note: “men”. No chicks. 

That’s it. That’s the Doctor Who connection. (And what the hell is he on about anyway?) Jon is not mentioned elsewhere in the book. Extensive research (i.e. at least 3 minutes with Google) does not reveal the fee Jon was paid, which would then have been in those new-fangled pounds and “new pence”, as we used to call them (yes, we did, and the abbreviation used to be “np” rather than “p”, too). Jon was a bit of a businessman and was not averse to making a few np out of his role as BBC TV’s Doctor Who, you see. (Why, he even made a record of him rapping a brilliant poem called “I cross the void beyond the mind”, over a piano-led version of the Doctor Who theme tune.)

I’m not sure whether that’s a cake or a jelly in front of Jon’s kipper tie… perhaps it’s an alien space monster that’s about to leap into his face and attack him for talking garbage. Yeah, that must be it. I’m sure that’s right. 

Baking Your Cake & Eating It is fairly widely available on eBay, and you can sometimes find it on the bottom shelves of secondhand bookshops. One place in Cromer had two for sale and I bought both of them. The eBay price for this tome is usually about a tenner. Hurry, hurry, hurry while stocks last!