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Doctor Who - Tom Baker Posters by Roger Shore - Pyramids of Mars

'Pyramids of Mars'

Dr Who painting by Roger Shore

Pyramids of Mars is the classic gothic Doctor Who tale whereby the Fourth Doctor encounters probably the most dangerous villain he ever encountered - Sutekh, last of the Osirians, a being so powerful he had to be imprisoned to protect the rest of the universe. The Osirians, being pacifists refused to kill him and imprisoned him for all eternity.

The Tom Baker image of the Doctor is influenced by the classic opening sequence in which he stands passive in the TARDIS' control room looking even more alien than the surrounding environment. To get the Tom Baker image right I got a model to pose at the right angle. I acquired a copy of the famous scarf and I was able to get a jacket and hat to match. It was the only practical way to achieve the final result of photographic realism.

Sarah is, of course, central to the plot and it’s the late Elizabeth Sladen’s chemistry with Tom Baker that makes the story work so well, hence her inclusion in this particular Doctor Who painting. I was able to acquire a rare photograph of Elizabeth Sladen from the location shooting which helped a lot.

Sutekh’s close-up of those eyes in the mask are all that is needed to convey his character. I didn't paint in the green glow of the eyes because it was too distracting. My main background had to be the alternative timeline earth that the Doctor takes Sarah to. It's never shown in the episode but it was filmed and at the last minute the sequence was removed. That sequence is so important to the whole story it had to be included. It gels both the first half and the second half of the story together.

Unusually for a show about time travel, it rarely deals with the implications of traveling in the fifth dimension and a reminder to the viewers watching what’s at stake if the Doctor failed to defeat Sutekh who was trying to escape his imprisonment on Earth.




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