Doctor Who star Tom Baker: Rowan Atkinson wasn’t very fun to work with

Doctor Who star Tom Baker has recalled finding it difficult to work with an “anxious” Rowan Atkinson on an episode of Blackadder.

Baker cameoed in the second series of the well-loved historical comedy as a deranged sailor called Captain Redbeard Rum.

The 85-year-old said playing the blundering seafarer had been an “incredible” experience but he had not enjoyed working with Atkinson.

Tom Baker described Rowan Atkinson as ‘anxious’ (Matt Crossick/PA)
Tom Baker described Rowan Atkinson as ‘anxious’ (Matt Crossick/PA)

He told the Radio Times: “It was an incredible performance. Some people were amazed I ever worked again.

“Rowan Atkinson was so anxious – he wasn’t very fun to work with.”

The former Time Lord said the Johnny English star, 64, had asked him to tone down his performance and make it “as boring as you can” on the set for the 1986 series.

Later he discovered Atkinson gave the same advice to all the guest actors on the programme.

Tom Baker took over as Dr Who in 1974 (PA)
Tom Baker took over as Dr Who in 1974 (PA)

Speaking to Radio Times’ guest editor David Walliams, Baker questioned why Atkinson had been so worried about getting upstaged.

He said: “He took me aside the first afternoon of recording and he said: “You know Tom, I’m very experienced in this and the part you’re playing here, this sea captain, I think you’re actually doing too much. I think he should be as boring as you can make him.

“So, we then had the final run-through, and I did this boring routine, and the producer came down and said, ‘What’s going on, are you ill?’

“I said, ‘No, no, no, I’m just taking in the notes from your boss’. And he then said, ‘Tom, he does that every week. He gives those same notes to the visitors every week.’ Weird isn’t it? A comic genius and yet he has these anxieties.”

Find the full interview in the Radio Times.

- Press Association

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