RIP Bob Baker, One of the Minds Behind Doctor Who’s K-9

RIP Bob Baker, One of the Minds Behind Doctor Who’s K-9
One of the men behind Doctor Who's most faithful companion has passed. (Screenshot: BBC)

Bob Baker, the co-writer of several classic Doctor Who serials with his writing partner Dave Martin, as well as a co-writer for the beloved world of Aardman’s Wallace & Gromit, has died.

As reported by Baker’s Twitter account for news about his iconic Doctor Who co-creation, the writer was 82. Alongside Martin — who Baker began working with in the 1960s on stage plays and TV series like Z Cars — Baker is responsible for co-writing eight stories over nine seasons of the show in the ‘70s for both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s incarnations of the Doctor. Martin and Baker’s oeuvre included beloved tales like “The Claws of Axos” or Doctor Who’s first-ever anniversary special, “The Three Doctors,” and Fourth Doctor tales such as “The Sontaran Experiment,” “The Hand of Fear” — Elisabeth Sladen’s last regular appearance as iconic companion Sarah Jane Smith — and “The Armageddon Factor.”

But perhaps most famous of all is “The Invisible Enemy,” which introduced the robot dog K-9. Originally intended to be a one-off appearance, K-9 was instead entrusted to the Fourth Doctor at the end of the story and became a regular companion alongside Leela and Romana. After exiting the show four years later, Baker’s legacy in K-9 would continue with K-9 and Company, a planned spinoff with Sladen that didn’t make it past the original pilot, and of course, K-9’s brief return to Doctor Who’s post-2005 era with the episode “School Reunion.” The character also had regular appearances in Sladen’s children-focused BBC spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures, until her passing in 2011. Baker would return to K-9 as a character individually with the robot dog’s own self-titled show in 2009 and was purportedly planning to write a new series and movie featuring his canine creation before his death.

Outside of his contributions to Doctor Who, Baker is also best-known as the co-writer of several of Aardman Animation’s Wallace & Gromit stories. Baker worked on original shorts The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, as well as the 2008 special A Matter of Loaf and Death (with series creator and director Nick Park), and wrote the script for the duo’s 2006 movie spinoff, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Baker is survived by his wife Marie, as well as his children and grandchildren — our thoughts go out to his family in this sad time.