Legendary ‘Doctor Who’ actor Tom Baker has made a surprising return as the Time Lord to film new scenes in order to complete a long-lost episode of the BBC science-fiction show.

The loveably eccentric Baker, the longest-serving Doctor and now aged 83, has not starred as the Gallifreyan since 1981, when the character regenerated and the role was taken over by Peter Davison.

However, nearly 40 years on, the English actor has been persuaded to put on his trademark hat and stripey scarf once again, in order to finish off an episode that began filming in 1979 but which never completed due to BBC strike action.

Doctor Who

At the time of the walkout from staff, seven hours’ worth of footage had been filmed for an episode titled ‘Shada’, penned by the renowned author Douglas Adams (of ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’) and which was due to be the series finale for the 17th season of ‘Doctor Who’.

In 2017, the Beeb’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide has reconstructed the original storyline from the footage and is filling in the gaps using animations, based on the original scripts and featuring the voices of the original actors – including Baker.

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He also appears in the flesh, in new, live-action footage of the Doctor as an old man. The producers used 1970s TV cameras, the original Tardis set and K-9 robot dog model to make it resemble the original footage as closely as possible.

Asked why he had agreed to star in the revived project, Baker said that it was always “a matter of regret” that ‘Shada’ had never been completed.

“I think it never left me and that’s why I can’t stay away from it. It was a lovely time of my life. I loved doing ‘Doctor Who’ because it was life to me. My real life was really rather drab compared with the life of ‘Doctor Who’ when we were making it. ‘Doctor Who’ for me was an asylum and when I was in [it], in full flight, making silly suggestions or pulling funny faces to make actors laugh, then I was happy.”

The episode is downloadable from Friday (November 24th) via iTunes and is released on DVD on December 4th.

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