With just 19 days to go until Doctor Who reaches its 50th anniversary milestone, Digital Spy and other press spoke to arguably the BBC sci-fi drama's most iconic star - Tom Baker.
Below, Tom talks the secret of Doctor Who's success, why he's never watched the show, why he'll be changing the habit of a lifetime for the 50th and the profound impact that the series can have on its fans.
> Doctor Who 50th anniversary special: Official synopsis revealed
Tom Baker on... why Doctor Who has lasted 50 years
"There's been nothing like it, really - but it caught on in a marvellous way with families. My Doctor is still being introduced by middle-aged men to their little sons. It's been passed on and it seeps into our lives.
"It passes on through families and fans generate fans. Fan love is quite different from human love - they don't seem to get tired. They're also partially blind - a fan never looks at me and says, 'Christ, he's aged'. Fandom is something to do with nostalgia and nostalgia is an ache to go back - it catapults people back to a time when they were younger or full of hope, and life was pleasant."
Tom Baker on... why he's never watched Doctor Who
"I never watched Doctor Who before [I was in it] and I never watched it when I was in it, and so I'm certainly not watching it now. I never wanted to watch Doctor Who - I wanted to be Doctor Who.
"I was interested in the filming and sometimes being able to slightly influence scripts, or put in jokes, or devise comic business or whatever."
Tom Baker on... why he'll watch the 50th anniversary special
"I'm going to watch the big show - you'll be out of it if you don't watch that! I'm a great admirer of the BBC. The BBC's the sort of place that can make murder sound like charity so when they get to a big deal like this, they'll surely get it right... and it'll be exciting!"
Tom Baker on... the fourth Doctor
"I saw him as this kind of benevolent alien, who was frequently heroic and often utterly silly - and that suited my personality. I come from a very religious background, so that made me very partial to utter silliness and preposterousness.
"When I got the part, I was terribly out of work and rather depressed, because I'd had a flirtation with films and being at the National Theatre. It wasn't going well for me at all, so when I got Doctor Who through a producer who happened to become powerful, I knew nothing about it.
"Of course, the scripts were all written for Jon Pertwee, because the leading actor always has a big effect on the writers and so I had to wrench it my way. But all the silliness and the madness of it, I took to it easy."
Tom Baker on... turning down a return to Doctor Who in 1983
"I didn't really want to be in that one [20th anniversary special 'The Five Doctors'] - John Nathan Turner was the producer and I didn't really like what he wanted to do. I hadn't long left and I didn't need to do it.
"Also, I was feeling agitated - it was a terrible blow to leave the programme, although I had to do that. However, one of the consolations I had was... what they did to reveal their utter contempt for me - they went to Madame Tussauds and got my waxwork figure and put that there... they thought that would really wind me.
"Well, it would've wound me up, except my agent rang me up and said, 'Tom - they're using your waxwork figure, but they're paying you just the same!' And then some mischievous guy writing up in the popular press said, 'And what a performance from Tom Baker!'"
Tom Baker on... the charm of Doctor Who
"The whole thing hinges on his incompetence - he doesn't go seeking adventures, they happen to him. Some people are like that.
"Its incompetence as a navigator - it's always the same villains, who are annexing a place for the physical resources of 'Helicon' or whatever the bloody stuff is - they're always shouting the odds and they always get beaten, don't they? In spite of my incompetence! It's a charming show, really!"
Tom Baker on... his most profound experience with Doctor Who fandom
"I used to visit children's hospitals, which I felt was part of my great duty to promote the programme. I remember on one particular occasion, a doctor said to me, 'Tom, there's a boy downstairs in a coma and he's a great fan of yours - I don't think he's going to make it, but could you bear to go down there and do a little number for him?'
"So I went down to this special room where this boy was, who'd been hit in a car accident - he was surrounded by about 12 people and they were just desperate for help. I said, 'Hi George, it's Doctor Who here - K9 told me about you and I was just wondering how you were…'
"The intensity of those people looking at that child was just daunting - as they looked in hope to see a response. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I told you he opened his eyes and said, 'Hi Doctor!' - but he didn't open his eyes... ever.
"But they thanked me afterwards, as if I'd done the best I could. They didn't show disappointment. They just thanked me."
Doctor Who returns to BBC One for 50th anniversary special 'The Day of the Doctor' on Saturday, November 23.