Christopher R. Baker
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Christopher R. Baker
|Born||7 June 1937|
Thornton Heath, Surrey, England
|Died||20 February 2011 (aged 73)|
Sue Ryder Home, Berkshire, England
|Cause of death||Myeloid leukemia|
|Known for||Doctor Who|
Christopher R. Baker born in Thornton Heath, Surrey (England), on Monday 7 June 1937, Christopher Robin Baker grew up in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, in the same house as his grandfather, who'd served in the Royal Air Force|RAF. In 1956, at the age of 18, Chris followed in his footsteps by enrolling as serviceman 3521732. He transferred to RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire to complete his pilot training in De Havilland Vampire jets – but drama ensued when, on 27 May 1957, shortly after taking off from Oakington, his jet lost power due to an engine fi re mid-fl ight and he crashed through a hedge into a fi eld near Primrose Green in Norfolk. Chris only saved his legs on impact by raising them onto the instrument panel and was able to climb out through a hole in the wrecked nose cone. He left the RAF abruptly after the accident, much to the surprise of his colleagues. This decision led to a new career which is how, at the end of 1957, he commenced training with the BBC as an assistant studio manager, working on live episodes of the police drama Dixon of Dock Green. After a short stint with independent television in the early 1960s, when he moved to Southampton, Chris returned to the BBC as production manager for Verity Lambert on her 1968 series W. Somerset Maugham (TV Series)|W. Somerset Maugham. At this point, production managers received no on-screen acknowledgements, but Chris’ work on the 1971 play Edna, the Inebriate Woman|Edna the Inebriate Woman so impressed its producer, Irene Shubik, that she gave him a credit as a member of the ‘Production Team’. Thereafter, Chris remained with BBC Plays at the new Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham. In 1972 he worked with David Bradley (English actor)|David Bradley on This Quiet Earth and Roger Delgado on the Play of the Month presentation The Adventures of Don Quixote. The following year he was production assistant on A Tragedy of Two Ambitions, starring John Hurt. He gained his first two directorial credits on the police drama Z-Cars|Z- Cars, initially with the 1974 episode Night Train (starring Geoffrey Hughes (actor)|Geoffrey Hughes) and the 1975 episode Scapegoat (starring Michael Spice). Chris’ big directorial break came a few months later, when he was allotted a 30-minute production as part of BBC2’s Centre Play series|Centre Play series. His instalment, The Stick Insect, necessitated relocating from Pebble Mill to Television Centre in London’s Shepherds Bush. This explains how he came to be in an office on the same corridor as the Doctor Who production team, just as Carole Wiseman was calling for volunteers. The rest is history. Chris donned his Doctor Who costume as a 17th-century Puritan, with wig and false beard (his daughter confirms he only sported a moustache in the 1970s), and posed for BBC photographer Bob Komar. Minutes later he returned to his routine as a director. Who could foresee that 45 years later people would be freeze-framing the flashback sequence in The Timeless Children and debating his identity? Chris went on to direct episodes of The Brothers (1972 TV series), staring future Time Lords Colin Baker and Kate O'Mara|Kate O’Mara. In 1978 he was one of the directors for The Standard (TV series)|The Standard, alongside Doctor Who directors Paddy Russell and Michael Hayes (director)|Michael Hayes, and Doctor Who’s ex PA-turned-director Carol Wiseman. He also directed episodes of All Creatures Great and Small (1978 TV series), starring Peter Davison. In the 1980s Chris left the BBC to direct such shows as Emmerdale Farm (TV|Emmerdale Farm (with Frazer Hines), Hold the Back Page (with Janet Fielding) and Cuffy (TV series) (starring Bernard Cribbins). In 1987 he rejoined fellow Morbius Doctor Graeme Harper as one of the directors on Star Cops and the following year he directed Billy’s Christmas Angels with Nabil Shaban. He then rejoined Graeme yet again, as one of the directors of Boon (TV series). His last TV credit was for the BBC’s 1991 police series Specials (TV series)|Specials, after which he took early retirement, aged 54, and disappeared from view. On 20 February 2011, Chris passed away from myeloid leukemia at a Sue Ryder home in Berkshire. He was 73.
|1957||Dixon of Dock Green||Assistant Studio Manager|
|1968||W. Somerset Maugham||Production Manager|
|1973||A Tragedy of Two Ambitions||Production Assistant|
|1976||Doctor Who||Cameo Actor (Picture)|
|1978||All Creatures Great and Small|
|1985-1986||Hold the Back Page|
|1988||Billy’s Christmas Angels|
|2020||Doctor Who||Cameo Actor (Picture)|
|1971||Edna the Inebriate Woman||Production Manager|
|1972||This Quiet Earth|
|1972||The Adventures of Don Quixote|
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