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Matthew Waterhouse Reflects on Filming Doctor Who with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward

Poor Matthew Waterhouse. A Doctor Who fan through and through who got the chance to do what fans everywhere really wanted. He got to be a companion to one of the most popular Doctors in the show’s history. First appearing in Full Circle at the beginning of the E-Space trilogy in 1980, Adric had a bit of a tumultuous time with two different Doctors and loads of companions, and ended up getting blown up when he tried to stop a ship from wiping out all life on Earth thanks to the Cybermen.

Having a bit of a reputation as one of the more eccentric members of the cast, I can second that having met him, he kept himself pretty much to himself — it’s only been since the DVD commentaries and behind-the-scenes documentaries on various DVDs and Blu-rays that he’s opened up on what his time on the show was really like. He says:

“One expects being on Doctor Who would be a lot of fun and sometimes it was, but a lot of the time it wasn’t at all.”

Speaking to SFX, Waterhouse described how little preparation there was before he joined the main cast of Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, and John Leeson. He describes how, after getting cast, producer John Nathan-Turner took him out to lunch and then it was straight into rehearsals with no chance of getting to know his fellow cast mates beforehand:

“I wasn’t even introduced to Baker. Tom arrived late, actually, for the first read-through. I remember him looking the worse for wear.”

It’s well documented that Baker wasn’t very well by this point and his marriage with co-star Lalla Ward was always rocky with the pair often fighting behind the scenes; some fights would result in a frosty relationship on screen too, though it benefits stories like State of Decay. It’s also well known that Baker liked a drink at a nearby pub. Waterhouse described the atmosphere as being very frosty when Baker and Ward were together and how they would row and fight a lot. That can’t have made for a great work space for the young actor, let alone any of the other production team.

Lalla Ward is also pretty vocal about how much she didn’t like acting with Waterhouse, though that didn’t stop any of them from reprising their roles for some boxsets from Big Finish… though what probably helped was that they were all recording from various places rather than in the same studio.

Waterhouse looked back over his first three stories with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward and said it was a very depressing time. While he finds the E-Space trilogy a great set of stories — indeed, there’s a much needed injection of imagination throughout — there is no glossing over the fact that none of the three regulars actually wanted to be there.

It’s a shame that his memories on the show are tarnished by his relationship with Baker and Ward. I think once Romana leaves for The Keeper of Traken and Logopolis, Adric is a good companion and works surprisingly well with Baker. I think you can also see how Baker looks a lot easier to work with, firstly because he knew he was leaving but also because Ward was no longer around, but there are few hiccups in the filming for Logopolis.

Luckily though, it seemed to get better with the introduction of Peter Davison and this TARDIS team work brilliantly together, casting off the darker shackles of the Baker and Ward era and probably the sour taste left from the show that Waterhouse had. Without actually being there, I don’t think we’ll really know what it was really like during this time working on the show, but it certainly seems that Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, and Matthew Waterhouse never liked each other or actually wanted to be there together. Thank goodness it’s only for three stories!

Jordan Shortman

Matthew Waterhouse Reflects on Filming Doctor Who with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward

by Jordan Shortman time to read: 3 min
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